As we approach the preseason, it's a good time to check back in on your roster and determine whether yours is a contender. As I've written many times, the one place I don't want to get stuck is in the middle of the league because you have little chance of winning anything important and it's more difficult to draft impact players.
So fully digest your roster, then look at the rest of the league. If you're clearly a rebuilding team, then it's time to deal any running back over the age of 25 and any pass catcher over 28. Those players are far more likely to lose value next year than gain it. They also have the potential to help you win games this year, which is the opposite of what a winning team should want. Those players are exactly what a contender should be looking for.
If you're one of those contenders, older running backs are the perfect target. Running back depth in-season is paramount for a contender, especially in deeper leagues where the waiver wire is thin. Unfortunately you often have to pay too much for studs, even when they're at an age that should negatively affect their Dynasty value. It can be much cheaper to target lower-end backs who still have something in the tank. And there's a handful of those guys outside of my top five tiers below.
And if you're looking for those players, Tier 6 is the place to find them. Chris Carson, specifically, fits the mold perfectly. The industry as a whole never really wants to believe Carson will hold the job for the current season, much less into the future, but Carson keeps producing top-20 seasons. Kareem Hunt is a little younger, and can be more expensive in Dynasty. Darrell Henderson is probably the hardest to figure out, because he's still just 24, but most people probably view him as a rental.
If you want to make a really cheap acquisition, look to Tier 9 guys, who should be available for a late Round 2 rookie pick despite the fact that Mike Davis, Melvin Gordon, and Raheem Mostert are all expected to be starters at the beginning of the season. They've also flashed top-15 upside as recently as last year. Even James Conner and Kenyan Drake project as flexes and could just be an injury away from top 20.
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Finally, Tier 10 gives you some aging guys who may already be backups. David Johnson and Leonard Fournette flashed last year as well, but it's hard to believe they'll keep their jobs (if they even have them right now), which is why I wouldn't give up more than a Round 3 rookie pick for them.
The bottom line? If you're trying to win it all, ship those late second- and third-round picks off for a back who can provide the running back depth you need to do it. If you're trying to rebuild, get these backs off your roster and get as many rookie pick darts to throw as you can.
Here are my updated Dynasty Tiers at running back: