They say there’s a time and a place for everything and that rings true in fantasy football, especially in our beloved dynasty leagues. In any dynasty league, you could have a given team who wins a single championship based on good fortune throughout the year. To build a true dynasty and perennial contender, it takes much more than luck. Understanding the calendar and its impact on your building strategy is just one of the keys in building a winner.
While most of the water cooler talk this week is going to center around the Super Bowl, winning dynasty owners are methodically plotting their offseason building strategies. In order to do that successfully, there are a few things I feel need to be understood about our current place in the offseason calendar.
1.) This is a terrible time to trade for a running back
There are certainly exceptions to every rule and if you were targeting a player like Jonathan Stewart or Mark Ingram whose values are probably deflated, it’s not totally unadvisable. However, for the most part, this is an awful time to be targeting runners because free agency and the draft will, not could, change the landscape here soon.
I’ve seen it happen way too often in dynasty leagues. Many owners severely overpaid for DeAngelo Williams last offseason, hoping he’d land in Miami or Denver. Instead, he re-signed in Carolina and his balloon popped. Pierre Thomas was a hot name last Summer, then the Saints drafted Mark Ingram. How would you like to have acquired Ryan Torain last year? He’s probably sitting on your league’s waiver wire about now.
If you think last year was unique, go back and look at how things have shaken out historically. The list simply goes on and on and on with every year giving us some surprise movement. In fact, look back to the case of Chester Taylor. In 2006, he rushed for 1,216 yards for the Vikings and was entrenched as a nice RB2 on dynasty teams. In April of 2007, the Vikings had Adrian Peterson unexpectedly fall into their laps in the draft. That was pretty much that in terms of Taylor’s career.
Fact is, there is way too much movement promised from now until the beginning of next season in regards to running backs. Think what you will about your guys being immune from serious threat, but history has shown us that trading for a running back prior to free agency or the draft can be a very dangerous proposition.
2.) This is nearly the BEST time to trade your rookie draft picks
The Senior Bowl is in the books and the NFL combine will be upon us shortly. From now until April, your league mates are susceptible to the brainwashing that’s about to come. The NFL Draft coverage this year promises to make it look as if we have no less than twenty can’t miss prospects who are the future of dynasty leagues. In reality, they’re not.
Perceived values for the draft picks outside of the top three or four will undoubtedly go down after the draft. That’s the just the way it is, folks. Sure, it’s pretty much a given that Andrew Luck, Justin Blackmon and Trent Richardson are the likely 1-2-3 in some way, shape, or form. Robert Griffin III is a likely pick in the upper half of round one as well. Outside of that, it’s a total crapshoot.
It’s easy to look at players like Lamar Miller, David Wilson, Chris Polk and a host of others and think they’re all going to end up in great spots like Cleveland or Cincinnati, but it’s just not going to happen. At this point last year, many had Shane Vereen ranked in upper half of round one. After the Patriots took him and paired him with Stevan Ridley and BGE, that changed things dramatically. Players like DeMarco Murray and even Bilal Powell or Kendall Hunter jumped him in most drafts.
You could say these picks still hold the same value since other players will end up in good situations, but history has shown us that less talented players ending up in good situations isn’t necessarily a sure fire recipe for success. Tatum Bell (Denver), Chris Perry (Cincinnati), JJ Arrington (Arizona), Brandon Jackson (Green Bay), Chris Henry (Tennessee), Tony Hunt (Philadelphia), Glen Coffee (San Francisco) and a host of others headline the list of lesser talented players who had good workouts or combines to vault up draft boards in many dynasty leagues. In the end, they were all busts.
This is the time to take advantage of owners who feel like those late first and early second round picks are worthy of some of their productive players. You can take the risk and keep those kinds of picks, but I’d certainly invite some others to do it instead.
3.) Drop your kicker
If you still have your kicker, you really don’t need to. Kickers are a dime a dozen and finding one who leads the league in scoring consistently is pretty much impossible. The difference between a good kicker and a bad one is probably about two points a game in most leagues – not enough to make much of a difference. Personally, I’d rather make room for a deep prospect instead of carrying a kicker all offseason. That brings me to my last point…
4.) This is a good time to be mining for talent
Most owners feel like this isn’t a good time to be looking for next year’s sleepers. Personally, I feel like it’s one of the best times. Without the week-to-week pressures of the season, you can take some time to really comb through the stats to unearth some sleepers. Who had some unusual target numbers last year? How could free agency affect different teams? Which young guys had great preseasons, but ended up on the practice squads? Who got put on IR early in the season and was just forgotten about? Who had great statistical second halves of the season that are hidden in their disappointing total season statistics? What team rosters in your league seem to be overloaded at certain positions? There are a bevy of questions you can answer with a little bit of research.
There are a ton of dynasty owners asleep at the wheel, being brainwashed by draft coverage, or making some very uneducated assumptions about their rosters. Take advantage of them now, before it’s too late.
Ken is on Twitter at DLF_KenK