Why This is the Perfect Year to Blow Up That One Dynasty Team & How to Do It!
By Daniel Martinho
Fantasy Football Analyst
* attached below is a summary for those in a hurry
** full team listed below
Setting the Stage
Alright, let's set the stage for my motivation behind this article. I think it is important to understand what inspired the author to write certain articles, especially when it pertains to your fantasy football lineups, so that you can try and understand their thinking and how you can customize it to your specific scenario.
I was looking at my OG dynasty roster. I'm talking about the very first dynasty league I was ever invited to back when I had no idea what I was doing. The league consists of 12 teams, full PPR, 1QB, and no premiums. I took a look at the team and realized that I was not going to be able to compete with the top dogs in this league.
So it was time to be honest with myself. And as the great Michael Jackson once said, it was time to take a look at the man in the mirror. Or in this case, the manager behind the team. “It was time to ask him to change his ways.” I asked myself if my single 2020 pick (the 1.08) was going to be enough to help me compete.
I had a decent team: Carson Wentz, Drew Brees, Kerryon Johnson, Joe Mixon, Keenan Allen, Julian Edelman, Amari Cooper, Tyler Boyd, and O.J. Howard just to name a few of my top guys. (Again, the full team is below.) What I realized is that it was not enough to win in my extremely top-heavy league. So that is when I decided to completely blow up my team.
How to Do It?
First I had to ask myself, what is my goal? This league has been around since 2016 and I was one of the original 12. I had only made the playoffs twice and my best finish was 4th place. That wasn't good enough for me. So after realizing just how much I sucked, I decided that I would be okay with sucking for one more year to try to create a winning team. I fully understood that being awful in 2020 was the cost of being potentially dominate in 2021-2023. My exact goal was to build a team that would get me to the championship in two out of the next four years (2020-2023).
When thinking about your goal, keep the following quote in mind:
“Pigs get fed and hogs get slaughtered.”
It is very difficult to create an actual “dynasty,” so don't get greedy. Make sure to set a realistic goal. Now that you have your goal in mind you need to figure out how to achieve it.
A goal without a plan is simply a wish. So I mapped out the path I was going to take. I started by selling anything and everything on my current team that had any value in exchange for draft picks. In the end I gave and received the following players:
Gave: Joe Mixon, Amari Cooper, Kerryon Johnson, O.J. Howard, Keenan Allen, and Larry Fitzgerald
Received: 1.02, 1.03, 1.11, 2.01, 2.08, 2021 mid-1st, 2021 late-1st, 2021 3rd, and Tyler Higbee
The way I look at it, if I was truly planning to build for 2021 and beyond then I would need to sell high on any potentially depreciating assets or players I was low on when it came to their long term success. (Keenan Allen, Kerryon Johnson, and Larry Fitz fell into this category.) Personally, I believe Amari Cooper is about to reach peak value, and that O.J. Howard is well-stuck with Bruce Arians. As for Joe Mixon, well, I'm not going to lie - that one hurt. But hey, the price of trying to build a dynasty doesn't happen without some bumps and bruises.
I needed decent backup options. This league has 23 bench spots and nine total starters:
1 QB, 2 RB, 3 WR, 1 TE, 2 Flex spots
And as I mentioned above, it is a single QB league, meaning that I'd need to start eight skill players and my current options were not going to cut it. I traded six assets away in exchange for nine future assets. I could even say that I only gave up five assets since Larry Fitz will most likely not even play in 2021 and I decided that my goal was to build my team for 2021. I now had a little more depth to work with.
This new-found roster depth gave me some desirable options. I wasn't planning on losing on purpose, mind you, I was just building my team with 2021 in mind. Therefore, the next thing I had to figure out was the value of my new assets, and to decide if I wanted to flip them or actually use them on rookies. While trying to discern the value of my new assets, another manager offered me Julio Jones for a couple of my top picks. This was the first test of my dedication to my new plan. Yes, the value was obvious in the dominate veteran who is going to be more valuable than rookie picks in 2020. But that did not fit into my plan. With an aging vet I could not take the risk that he would be healthy enough in 2021, when I truly planned on competing.
That same manager was also the Miles Sanders owner, so I offered him the 1.08 and Julian Edelman for Miles Sanders. He turned it down. However, my thinking behind this offer is that I would much rather have Miles Sanders than any other player I could get at the 1.08, so I might as well throw in Edelman who will most likely do very little for me in 2021. The manager listed above has a good chance at making the playoffs in 2020, so I was hoping he would see the value in Edelman as an aging vet who could propel him into the playoffs. Obviously he did not see it that way.
But, all of this brings me to this important point: send trade offers like crazy. Who cares if you get turned down? What you should take away from this section is that you need to commit to your plan 110%. Since my plan was to build my team for 2021, aging vets like Julio or Edelman - who may not even be in the NFL for much longer - are not the type of assets I want on my team.
Another part of my blueprint is that I will continue trying to sell as many aging vets as I can during the year. For example, Drew Brees and Julian Edelman are currently on my trade block. I have received zero offers so far and I fully expected that. However, I will be waiting until the time inevitably comes when a playoff-bound team has a major injury. That is where I strike, where I come in looking like a hero. I offer my aging vet with the idea that they are going to replace their injured player just for this year. I mean, they are already so close to the playoffs. Why give up now? They may miss out on a draft pick in 2021 but why not go for gold this year? Appeal to the other owner's desire to win now and not later.
Why This is the Year to Blow Up your Team!
It is no secret that everyone keeps saying this class is deep, but let's take a look at how deep this 2020 class truly is. In the first three rounds of the 2020 NFL draft there were 36 skill players selected. Wow, that seems like a lot. But just how much is it? The next closest year was 2017 when there were 34 skill players drafted in the first three rounds, followed by the 33 taken in 2019. Since 2017 had only two less players, let's check out some of the big names from the 2017 draft class.
QB’s: Patrick Mahomes, Deshaun Watson
RB’s Leonard Fournette, Christian McCaffrey, Dalvin Cook, Joe Mixon, Alvin Kamara, Kareem Hunt, James Connor
WR’s: JuJu Smith-Schuster, Cooper Kupp, Chris Godwin, Kenny Golladay
I mean I would not mind having a couple of those guys on my dynasty team right now. Imagine if I had four of those guys on my team? I would say that is a good core group to build my team around. Would you agree?
When I realized the depth of this 2020 class I knew that this was the best year to blow up my team to build for the future. My thinking was that I wanted to trade away my top players to acquire as many top-25 draft picks as I could. When it was all said and done I had a total of seven draft picks in the top 25. Given my fantasy football knowledge and all the resources available to me with the Across the Board Sports team, I knew I had a great chance of hitting on four out of the seven.
I just need to figure out exactly how to find those guys. But hey, that's for another article.
(Maybe my next piece will be about how to draft in your 2020 rookie draft if you blew up your team. Comment below and let me know if that is something you'd want to read!)
Covid-19 (bleh) and Recency Bias
As much as we do not want to admit it, football is going to look different this year. Covid-19 is going to affect the incoming rookies. At the time of writing (5/19/20), NFL teams were still not able to meet in large groups. Transitioning from college to the NFL is not easy. If it were easy, Reggie Bush and Johnny Manziel would have made a lot more money. Instead, Bush had to sue the Rams to make any money. (And perhaps by now you've figured out that I'm just a bitter Rams fan.)
But let's get back to the point. The NFL is hard. Like insanely hard. We've all seen that one kid from our local high school who we thought was the greatest to ever play the game, only to not even get drafted after college. My point is this: when one of the few players in the world who are actually good enough to get drafted actually does make it to the NFL, we need to realize that it takes a lot of time for them to learn their new system. And then it takes more time to become good enough to even be listed in the top three at their given position on their own team. And it takes even more time still until they'll actually make it on to the field as a regular contributor.
If we look back at the first three wide receivers taken off the board in the 2017 draft, only one of them is even being drafted before the 8th round of current dynasty startups and that is Mike Williams at the 7.11. I will say it again, THE NFL IS HARD.
Let's take a deeper look at Mike Williams, though, because he is a perfect example. He suffered a mild disk herniation and was forced to miss all of training camp and didn’t play until week six of his rookie season. When he finally got on the field he did not perform as a top 10 draft pick is expected. In those seven games he put up a mere 20-ish full PPR fantasy points for the whole season. Coming into his rookie year, before the injury, his dynasty ADP was 5.11. And after that one season his ADP dropped down to 8.12. That is usually equivalent to an early-to-mid 2nd-round rookie draft pick. If you would have traded for Mike Williams after his rookie year you would have been rewarded with a player who put up at least 160 points in back-to-back seasons and is primed to improve in 2020. You also would have gotten him for a lot less than an early 2nd. And for those of you wondering, he did not have a major injury history coming into the NFL. He got hurt one time in college during the two years prior. The fact that his ADP was equivalent to a mid 2nd round rookie pick is recency bias at its finest.
If you ask Google for the definition of recency bias you will find that it is defined as:
“The phenomenon of a person most easily remembering something that has happened recently, compared to remembering something that may have occurred a while back.”
Can we all just agree that recency bias is a factor in fantasy football? I mean, for the sake of time this article is long enough as it is lol.
The point of my ranting about recency bias is that it truly affects a large amount of the managers in the fantasy population. You will be able to capitalize on this because you are reading this article. One way you can capitalize on recency bias is by looking at high draft-capital players from the 2019 NFL draft. The following players have 2019 1st- or 2nd-round NFL draft capital and are all going after the 6th round in 2020 startup dynasty leagues. (These late ADP’s are usually equivalent to early 2nd round rookie draft picks when 2020 rookies are going in the 4th/5th rounds):
Daniel Jones (11.10), T.J. Hockenson (7.04), Noah Fant (8.05), Marquise Brown (6.12), N'Keal Harry (6.07), Irv Smith (12.12), and Mecole Hardman (8.04).
I mean I would much rather have the upside of say, Mecole Hardman, who has had some time to develop, instead of a 2021 mid 2nd-round draft pick. Wouldn't you? It is at least worth the effort to send over an offer to the Hardman owner. Like I said before, don’t be afraid to send out those trade offers.
I took this into consideration when blowing up my team because I will be able to trade my 2nd-rounder and maybe even my 3rd-rounder in 2021 for players that were going in the first round just a year or two before. Since I am building my team for 2021, these types of players will have all of 2020 to develop even further. And all because of recency bias.
This is something that you and I will be able to capitalize on year after year because every year there are going to be 1st round draft picks that are going to take time to develop, and that is even truer this year with Covid-19. In my opinion there will be even more scenarios next year than we are seeing now. I will be able to use the same strategy as above to strengthen my team for the long run by flipping my future 2nd- and 3rd-round assets for 2020 rookies suffering from a bad case of recency bias.
Now that I took you through the blueprint of my dynasty reconstruction I would love to hear all about your reconstruction plans. Give me a quick breakdown of how you are going to blow up that one dynasty team so that you can dominate in 2021!
I sometimes have the attention span of a gnat so I like to attach summaries at the bottom of my articles so that anyone like me can still get the information, just a little quicker.
Trade any depreciating assets for first-round capital