The dynasty draft is over, and your roster is full. What now? Well now, you start making moves.
In Mise en place part 1, I explained how to evaluate your team and determine a course of action. (If you missed it, you can read it here.) In part 2, we will go over the fun part — making moves to get your team to contender status.
If you followed my recommendations in part 1, most of the leg work is already done, so you should have an understanding of your league and team. Now comes the fun stuff. The standing of your team will determine what players you target and how you will go about making moves. For reference, I will be using the model of a long-term rebuild of two to three years. (If your team is contending now, do not follow these recommendations.)
THE PLAYER SEARCH
Target players with positional longevity first. Running backs, while very flashy and awesome to see in your starting line-up, have the shortest shelf life of all positions. Making a move for an RB who is at their peak now will not be beneficial to your rebuild. You will want to wait until your team is ready to compete to get these players.
Targeting QB, WR, and TE early in a rebuild will benefit you the most, with QBs having the longest shelf life. Looking for players who underperformed is often a good starting point. Rookies like Denzel Mims, Henry Ruggs, or Tee Higgins are cheaper developing pieces than Justin Jefferson, Cee Dee Lamb, or the incoming rookies of the 2021 class.
Incoming first-round rookie WRs have only a 5.26% chance of being a WR1 in their first three seasons. Obtaining a wide receiver who “under” performed in year one can add significant value to your team moving forward, as there are only twelve WR1s every year. The best teams have quality WR2 and WR3 that fill out their bench.
TIGHT END (TE)
Tight end is probably the trickiest position to fill with a quality player. Thankfully, most leagues only start one. My suggestion is to buckshot the position. Grab as many young, cheap ones, as you can stuff them on your taxi or bench and hope for the best. Tight ends require two or three years just to acclimate to the position at the NFL level — they are asked to do and understand a lot on every play.
Every year, there are three or four TEs who everyone claims will be a “breakout.” The truth is, very few will be an every-week starter. When it comes to tight ends, talent does not always equal production.
The QB position is valuable, but that doesn’t mean you should go out and buy the best QB in the league. What it does mean, however, is that you need a good QB to start weekly. Whether you have a set of two or three that you stream based on matchups or a locked and loaded weekly starter, you’ve got to have a good QB.
In a one QB league, this will be the easiest position to fix. In a Superflex or two QB league, it’s going to be a bit more challenging, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do it.
When determining where to look to make a beneficial trade for your team’s future, start with the top teams from last year. Finding young players is vital, so target teams with young players who are not contributing this year. (Injured WRs and RBs can be acquired at lower prices, saving your top assets for other moves.)
Offering start-able assets that will help this year will often get a move done. (If you’re not sure if you’ve got start-able assets, check out our rankings here.) Don’t be afraid to throw in late-round — like third or fourth round late — draft picks. Per DynastyGuru, the hit rate of third-round players is 9%. Young WRs who “under” performed in the first year is another opportunity to get great value while not using all of your team’s assets.
WHO ARE YOUR TRADE PARTNERS?
Determining a team’s future outlook can help you get the most out of your trades. Contenders with older players or players with one or two years left on their contract are great teams to trade with for future draft picks. Draft picks two or three years down the road have less perceived value and can be acquired cheaper than draft picks in the upcoming draft.
Teams in the situation above will be more willing to move future picks (two or three years away) to stay in contention now. Those picks are more likely to be mid to early picks, based more upon the decline of older players and situational changes than the teams currently at the bottom of the league.
Communication is key in making trades. If your league platform allows you to put players on the trade block, as Sleeper does, then do it! When you send a trade offer, don’t just send it and hope it goes through. Send the owner a DM, letting the owner know you sent an offer, and ask them what they think of it. Then, tag the owner in your league chat and let them know you sent a DM and a trade.
If you really are not sure what to offer, look at the weaknesses of the team. I define that as a position on the team’s roster where there is no depth. Another way to look at it is if their main player went down, is there a player on their bench that they could use and get enough points from week to week that the team could remain competitive? If you see that lack of depth, make an offer that strengthens that. It may not be what the owner wants in return, but it’s a great starting point in negotiations.
Look for injured players from last year and, watch for them in-season. If you bought Dalvin Cook when everyone was out on him because of the two seasons of injuries, you would be ecstatic with what you got from him. Don’t invest in the injury dip too heavily, there are a lot of examples of this not working, most recently Odell Beckham Jr. and David Johnson. Neither player has come back from an injury to the level of play before their injuries.
TIMING IS KEY
Approaching the trade deadline and during the playoff push is when older players and handcuffs have the most value. In the early part of the season, don’t make a trade just to make a trade. If the value isn’t there, stay strong. Just say no — you can always link up with that owner later in the season. It’s likely you can get better value when a team is in need. Completing a trade is hard — don’t be surprised if you send out 10 offers and all 10 get declined. Don’t get discouraged and keep trying — you will find a trade partner.
The waiver wire is an excellent place to build your team. In a rebuild, you need assets to strengthen your team, and working the wavier will help you produce those. Raiders tight end Darren Waller was a wavier wire pick up, as was David Johnson. James Robinson and Mike Davis last year are other great examples. You can utilize these players to gain future assets to build your team with; use them to trade them to owners who need help in season.
A sneaky use of the waiver wire is end-of-season adds. There are players whose potential wasn’t realized in the season, but they could be stars next year. Myles Gaskin is a perfect example. To start 2019, he was buried behind Kalen Ballage, Kenyan Drake, Mark Walton, and Patrick Laird.
By the start of 2020, Drake and Ballage had been traded and Walton was no longer in the NFL. Gaskin had passed Laird on the depth chart, becoming the starting running back for the Dolphins. If you picked him up on waivers at the end of the season, you could have had a top 20 running back for nothing.
I hope this guide helps you and your team when making moves towards being the champion. Whatever tools you need to win your league, we here at IDPguys have them.
Thank you for investing some time in my article, and you can find more of my work at idpguys.org. Follow me on Twitter at @FF_Skinnychef. If there is something you would like to see written, DM me. May the waivers be forever in your favor.