By: Jay Pounds (@JayPoundsNFL)
In this article I want to touch on the 4 main things I feel owners will tend to overlook when rebuilding. When we as owners start a rebuild, we usually have a core plan set in place but sometimes it’s the small little details that can speed your rebuild up significantly. Today I’m here to help and make sure you factor these little things into your rebuilding process.
If the trade we just saw the Lions and Rams pull off is any sign on how this NFL offseason will be, then be prepared it should be a lot of fun with plenty of drama. The offseason in the NFL in recent years has become much more intriguing than say a decade ago, when stars just seemed to stay put, nor did they have much of a voice. Now days we are constantly seeing stars switch teams whether that be through demanding a trade, or free agency, just look at the blockbuster of 2 former number 1 overall draft picks mentioned above.
This offseason we could see numerous big-name players switch teams from Aaron Rodgers, JuJu, D. Adams, Conner, and so many more that the NFL could look so much different next season. I am a bit torn on which style NFL I enjoyed more between the old school stay where you are drafted, and the new way where the players have much more control leading to so many more players leaving the team that drafted them for new homes.
The players having more control definitely has its pros and cons with the cons being fairly easy to spot, just look at the Deshaun Watson situation. I mention all of this because it has made a huge impact in the way we handle our fantasy rosters. Just 8-10 years ago you could have drafted Hopkins and just forgot about it, instead fast forward a decade later you draft Hopkins, and he gets traded the very next season making his outlook a bit more unclear, even though its still Hopkins stability tends to put our minds at ease.
Another great example of this is Brandin Cooks who seemed to have finally found a permanent home where he would be able to produce gaudy numbers only for his star quarterback to demand a trade, something that was virtually unheard of a decade ago. All of this means you have to be much more vigilant in formats like Dynasty Owner on what type of players you target and the organization they play for (stay away from Jack Easterbay).
If you were to draft Antonio Brown a few years back you would be regretting it big time right now, but a little digging on what kind of person/teammate he is and that would have gone a long way helping you make the correct decision. Aside from the headache some of this movement can cause us fantasy owners I will say it does make the offseason so much more fun, especially when the league’s new year kicks in.
Different Ways to Prepare for the Rookie Draft
How does one go about preparing for the rookie draft when it feels like your roster needs help everywhere, don’t worry this is a common problem and can usually be handled with relative ease. The first step I will recommend is to realize you’re not going to fill your entire roster with studs in just one draft. The most common mistake I see in a rebuilding owners drafts are them going into the draft blind and taking the best available player with no plan, while this isn’t a horrible move all of the time it can be depending on the layout of your team.
If you are picking #1 overall and you have holes everywhere it doesn’t make much since to draft a running back, or even to just target one player per round during the draft. If there are no generational receivers. Tight ends (wouldn’t recommend drafting that high), or quarterbacks that you have fallen in love with as a permanent building block towards the future then find a way to trade down and acquire more picks in the range of players you need. If you have someone like Herbert paired with 2 top 25 receivers then a running back may be ok for your roster, but I always look to fill that position last when rebuilding.
Every draft there will be opportunities to trade down you just have to find the owners that want to pay to move up. If you have no solid players for the future on your roster having one draft pick in each round isn’t going to help much in the short term, which is where trading down comes into play. Let’s say you are picking first overall and have just one young stud on your roster the best choice you have is to look at the owners picking 3-7 and offer them trades.
The goal here would be to swap the first round picks this season, get the other owners 2nd rounder this season, and their 1st next year. The owners that will typically bite on these types of trades are ones that feel they are ready to compete or were hampered by injuries the season prior resulting in a high draft pick. The other route you could go with this is when no owner’s trade for your draft pick you take the best player on the board and look to trade him for more once he is producing.
While right now the 1st overall pick may net the 3rd pick, a 2nd rounder, and a 2022 1st in a few months when that player is balling out you can potentially ask for an extra 1st rounder or even more depending on who the player is. Another great way to look at it is to look at what Jonathon Taylor, Burrow, Herbert, or Jefferson would fetch in a trade right now vs. what their draft slot would have netted in a trade.
Do You Have Enough Quality Young Depth On Your Roster
Another vital piece of information I feel owners may overlook is how much quality young depth they have on their roster. The key word in the opening sentence is quality and without quality depth in Dynasty Owner your team can unravel fast. I tend to not be a fan of handcuffs in more traditional formats but here in Dynasty Owner I’m starting to believe that handcuffs may be the key to staying competitive for many of years.
If you have someone like Dalvin Cook on your roster it makes much more sense to stash Mattison than to let another owner have him. If you roster both you virtually own the entire Vikings running game for basically the same price you are paying for Cook, because of how cheap Mattison is. If you don’t have Mattison and Cook goes down with a significant injury you are now left trying to trade for another back (which will probably be expensive) instead of just plugging in in Mattison and forgetting about it.
If you can find a way to handcuff your top 3 or 4 players as well as your top quarterback, you should be able to withstand almost any injury while still being competitive and not killing your cap space. The other way to go about making sure you have enough quality talent is to just do some research, just because a player is 22 and on an NFL team doesn’t mean he’s a solid piece on your roster.
If you have a bunch of Malcom Perry’s on your roster instead of players like Eno Benjamin, Jeff Wilson, or Preston William’s (2 years ago) you will always have trouble with depth on your team. The other strategy I want to touch on here is to target backups for injury prone players around the NFL, for instance if you were carrying Chad Hanson, or Coutee deep on your practice squad this past season because of the injury concerns for Fuller you were probably wildly happy come playoff time. These types of moves will almost always go under the radar, but they are a great way to keep your team consistent over the years.
How Much Draft Capital Is Too Much?
One of the great dynasty debates of all time is how much draft capital is too much. I have seen numerous times where owners control almost the entire 1st round of a draft, and while this can work certain years it’s also extremely risky. Drafting 10 players in the 1st 12 picks of a rookie draft can be a great thing but it can also devastate your team if it happens to be a bad draft class, and as we all know nothing in the NFL is a guarantee especially with rookies.
This isn’t a strategy that’s a guaranteed failure, but I can’t imagine it has a great success rate either. If you are one of these owners with 10-20 draft picks in the upcoming draft, I would highly recommend trading around half of them and splitting your picks up between a few drafts. The scenario I see working much more often is targeting 4-7 players for each draft class and target them where they’ll go during the draft, while doing the same in the following seasons.
My personal opinion is that anything over 3 picks per round is probably too much and too risky, though having more picks does increase your chances of hitting on a player it also increases your chances of missing. If you have that many 1st round picks your team was more than likely in rough shape the season before which doesn’t leave a whole lot of room for error if you’re wanting to rebuild on the quicker end of things.
The last part I want to touch on here is how to handle the situation of having too much draft capital. If you happen to run into this problem, I suggest you look at the upcoming draft class and decide which players you think just can’t miss, and where you think they will get drafted. Once you have done this you will have an idea of what draft picks you need to keep and what positions you will have filled after drafting, you then take the picks you think you won’t use and trade them for players that you feel will complement the players you’re going to draft.
A great example would be this past season you fell in love with Taylor, Lamb, and Jefferson and you figured they’d be drafted 3rd, 5th, and 8th. Now that you know who you want and what you expect them to be moving forward you start finding owners who you feel would be willing to trade for some of your excess draft picks. In this scenario I would target a 2nd running back to pair with Taylor and a receiver like Woods who is very consistent to help when your rookies Lamb, and Jefferson have off weeks.
Always Try to Determine a Draft Pick’s Value
While this part of the article may seem fairly obvious it is something that gets overlooked in a couple different ways. Let’s start by talking about the value of your own draft picks when you are trying to deal them. When you have a team that is not going to do well then naturally your draft picks will go up in value because of where it is projected to land.
If you are going to attempt to deal your picks make sure you place said value on each draft pick. Another way to add a little extra value is to throw other owners draft picks (that you control) into your trades instead of your own, simply because you know that pick will be later in the round than yours. I know this seems like common sense but it’s also something that gets overlooked often.
The other scenario here is when you are acquiring draft picks you need to do your best at projecting where that pick could potentially fall, for instance if you are working out a deal with the clear cut number one team in your league then you should be treating their draft pick like it would be a very early 2nd in terms of value. It may not seem like it, but you can leave a potential star on another owner’s roster by valuing a draft pick wrong.
If you are trading with a middle of the road team that you are certain won’t win but is also too good to lose a lot, then you look at their picks as true first rounder’s where the value doesn’t change much at all. To sum all of this up in a short sense just be wary of who you’re trading with and the potential that their roster has on it for the year of the acquired pick.
I know I have said numerous times that if you’re really bad multiple 1st round picks will help much more than just one will, but you still don’t want to let picks go for a undervalue or overpay for them at the same time, meaning if you absolutely have to stay put and trade the player later to get a fair value. Always remember just because you’re stuck today doesn’t mean something better won’t open up tomorrow.
In Dynasty Owner finding consistent production for cheap will be the key to winning year in and out. In order to be able to maintain a winning roster you must hit on your picks which is the easiest way to get great production for cheap. You also cannot afford to just trade every rookie pick away for veterans because you will run out of money at some point in time making rookie drafts all that more important.
As you can see there is a lot that goes into winning and losing here at Dynasty Owner. If you take anything away from this article its make sure you are looking at where teams will pick and prepare for your rookie draft. That’s all I have for you all today good luck on your 2021 Chase for the Ring!
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