Editor’s Note: This is the final installment of a three-part series from our own Andy Miley. The Dynasty Basics ran this month and explored taking over a new team, these roster management issues and trading tactics.
I love dynasty football. There is something about the decisions you make right now affecting your team for the next two to five to ten years and beyond, if you are lucky. I rarely see articles about what to do with your team outside of, “take Player X and trade for Player Y.” How you set up your team is extremely important. It’s your dynasty team, so let’s break down dynasty roster management down into four steps:
- Taking care of your starters.
- Deciding on how much and what kind of depth to have.
- Using the rookie draft to your advantage.
- Scanning the waiver wire and always be closing.
Lock Down Your Starters
In dynasty, just like any other league, it’s key to have the best starters possible every single week. Finding players who excel in your league’s scoring system is crucial. For example, if you are playing points per reception league, RBs like Jamaal Charles are more valuable than Stevan Ridley, because Charles will catch a lot more passes. When playing in an IDP (individual defensive player) league, scoring either favors big plays or tackles. Clay Matthews, Jr. is a better LB for a big play league and Stephen Tulloch is better to have in a tackle-heavy league. Some silly rabbits still think fantasy football scoring is universal and in my younger days I was one of them – lesson learned.
Make sure you have enough starters to play each week. This means watching bye weeks and making sure you have those covered well ahead of time, especially if it is a position that is scarce on the waiver wire. Don’t get caught without a starting kicker or defense because you weren’t paying attention to bye weeks and then lose your game by two points.
Make sure you read the injury reports and get daily information on all your players. You don’t want to be surprised at game time that a player isn’t playing. Keep your starters strong every single week. I love fielding those calls/texts from league mates “hey is this guy starting?” while they are in the middle of a kid’s birthday party or hiding their phone in the hymnal during church.
Stay at Proper Depth
Teams often have two different philosophies of handling positional depth. Some owners load up on certain positions and only keep a minimum of others, such as a kicker, defensive linemen, etc. Depth can be a huge factor due to the potential injuries that occur during the season. It is a tricky balance. In leagues with 8-12 teams having limited rosters (20 players or less), there is usually a sufficient amount of free agents to handle depth issues – you can pick up and drop when needed. Players like Andrew Hawkins can be found and used in shallower leagues. Teams with too much depth may find there is not a great deal of separation between the amount of points scored by the starters and the non-starters. These points are wasting on your bench week in and week out. I always streamline my roster, but get a feel for your league. Watch out for those position hoarders and you peeps know who you are!
Also, teams with great depth will play the “who should I start? (WDIS)” almost every single game of the year. I like to choose healthy players not on bye, but that doesn’t always happen. Chances are that after playing that WDIS game, many teams will be wrong almost as many times are they are right. The argument can be made that it is better to convert your team to one with a great starting lineup and limited depth. Positions with the greater chance of injury like RBs are the ones to have several backups, but other positions such as TE will do just fine with a starter like Jason Witten and then maybe a backup like Jermaine Gresham. Maximize your starting lineup by limited depth.
Advantage Rookie Draft
The rookie draft is the best way for a team to stay young by reloading talent. A good owner should always be looking for talent above opportunity or position. Don’t try to fill your starting positions using the rookie draft unless your team is rebuilding. Take the best available rookie and hold them for the year with no expectation of playing them unless you need bye week help. When you have some starters who are getting older/too many touches, select players to backfill their position in a year or two. Be careful not to reach for them. Last year I selected Lamar Miller and Bryce Brown later in a rookie draft, because I had Maurice Jones-Drew and LeSean McCoy. MJD and McCoy receive an enormous amount of touches and both broke down last year, so I was glad I had invested in lower cost young running backs. Use the roster space to grow young players. Make sure you have strong starters so you can let your rookie picks develop. PLEASE don’t go rookie crazy! Collect those younger players like Chris Ivory and Brown by trading a second or third round rookie pick.
Waiver Wire and Potential Trades
Every year there is someone who was not drafted in your league who will make a huge impact. Last year, Alfred Morris came off the waiver wire to make many teams’ starting lineups. Research in the summer and watching the waiver while everyone else is watching baseball or enjoying the beach can have a positive effect on your team. There are a lot of missteps that can be taken on the waiver wire as well. Keeping your eye open to injuries can help make trades to improve your team’s starters. Don’t stop trying to improve your team ever. Get on Twitter. Follow team beat writers and the guys here at DLF as they will break team news and give you an edge on whom to pick up first.
Once you have your team, either by taking over an abandoned one or by drafting your own, it’s time to manage your team. Get your starters in place, keep the right amount of positions stocked, use the rookie draft to build young depth and use the waiver wire and trades to build a better team. Last but not least…DOMINATE!