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Darren Waller: Dynasty hold or trade?

Is the Raiders’ tight end still one of the best at his position?

Los Angeles Chargers v Las Vegas Raiders Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Las Vegas Raiders tight end Darren Waller’s offseason was dominated by rumors that he was going to be traded. Those have since been put to rest—he’s staying with the Raiders in what should be a very powerful offense. Waller’s a household name in fantasy football circles as one of the best players at a shallow position. Even with some splashy offseason moves in Vegas and coming off an injury-plagued year, Waller’s value in dynasty leagues is still sky high.

After two seasons with more than 1,100 yards, Waller’s numbers took a dip in 2021. A knee injury, a back injury and a stint on the COVID list limited him to just 11 games, wiping out the middle part of his season. He still managed to finish the season with 665 yards and two touchdowns on 55 catches.

Trade or hold Darren Waller in dynasty fantasy football?

The Raiders’ big offseason deal to land wide receiver Davante Adams is what has some concerned about Waller’s ceiling moving forward, since he’ll no longer be the de facto No. 1 wideout on the team.

Adams should lead the Raiders in targets, but it feels like an overreaction to think that Waller’s suddenly going to be the odd man out. Now, he’ll be the second best pass catcher on the team, and could benefit with defenses paying more attention to Adams. Besides, it’s not like new head coach Josh McDaniels is averse to using tight ends in his offensive schemes.

Waller’s ceiling might not be as high as Travis Kelce in his prime, but he’s still likely to be a top five tight end. The bigger question is how much longer. He turns 30 this fall, and has just one more year after this one on his deal with the Raiders. It’s hard to trade away a reliable performer at such a thin position if you’re going for it all this season.

Waller’s trade value is bound to be higher later in the year or after the season, once the other managers in your fantasy football league have a chance to see his production levels. In that case, it’s best to hold onto him for now, but don’t hesitate to start making some calls this winter if your roster is in need of help. It might not even be a bad time to try and buy low to make a run for the league title while people are convinced that Adams is going to make a serious dent in his production levels.