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Stocking the Backend

Julio_Jones3

If you follow me on Twitter, you probably feel like you’re at church sometimes.  Why?  Because I’m constantly preaching about how dynasty owners need to draft the best player available, regardless of team need.  If you draft talent, you can trade for your needs.  It’s that simple.  My theory is this – if a player possesses enough talent, opportunity will eventually present itself, unless of course your name is Jonathan Stewart.

So instead of preaching, I’m going to put my money where my mouth is and expose one of my own teams as an example of how drafting talent can help you with this season’s outlook, without reaching for team need via your rookie drafts.  I’ll show you first hand how using the rookie draft to “stock the backend” allows you to trade for your team needs, without mortgaging your future.

Let’s start off by examining my roster and determining what its “needs” are.

My Roster (before the rookie draft/trades)

Starting & Roster Requirements: 10 team PPR:  2QB, 2RB, 2WR, 1TE, 3 WR/RB/TE Flex (27 man rosters, 1 TS (taxi), 1 IR)

QB:  Matt Ryan, Sam Bradford, Ryan Tannehill, Blaine Gabbert, Chad Henne, Kirk Cousins.

RB: Jamaal Charles, David Wilson, Rashard Mendenhall, Ahmad Bradshaw, Isaiah Pead

WR: Julio Jones, Randall Cobb, Justin Blackmon, Torrey Smith , Antonio Brown, Kenny Britt, Rod Streater, A.J. Jenkins

TE:  Dennis Pitta, Ladarius Green

TS:  Empty

IR:  Empty

Draft Picks:  1.04, 2.07, 3.04, 4.07, 5.04, 6.07, 7.04

Being a realist when I look at my own roster(s) is imperative.  There’s no reason to convince myself I’m a contender if I’m not.  I believe this team as it sits currently, is a borderline playoff team at best.  It’s pretty obvious what my holes are if you look closely enough.

  1. I don’t have a proven top 15 QB2 (which is HUGE in 2QB leagues).
  2. My RB3 (Mendenhall) is injury prone and could lose his job at a moment’s notice.
  3. My RB4 doesn’t even have a team.
  4. My TE2 has a ton of potential, but isn’t quite startable yet.

Needless to say, I had some work to do in order to make this team a solid contender.  The rookie draft is always a good place to start.

The Rookie Draft (my picks)

1.04:  DeAndre Hopkins WR, HOU– It’s worth noting that Giovani Bernard was mine for the taking here if I wanted him, but I had to stick with my best player available approach.  In my mind, Hopkins is a much more talented player than Gio and also has a much higher floor.  Taking Hopkins here also makes me more comfortable using some of my wide receiver depth as trade bait.

2.07:  Christine Michael RB, SEA –  Never in a million years did I expect who I felt was the best running back in this class to fall here, but he did and I was absolutely ecstatic.  I’ve said on many occasions I feel Michael could have more dynasty value than any other player in this class within two years, so to me, he’s just money in the bank and a prime example of “stocking the backend.”

3.04:  Quinton Patton WR, SF– I’ve been talking up Patton for a while, so taking him at 3.04 was a win for me.  Having Patton and Jenkins should ensure I have San Francisco’s future WR2 after Anquan Boldin calls it quits.

4.07:  Tyler Wilson QB, OAK – In a 2QB league, this was a tremendous value pick in the fourth round.  It’s not out of the realm of possibility another quarterback with the last name of Wilson beats out Matt Flynn for the starting gig this year.  How ironic would that be?

5.04:  Charles Johnson WR, GB – Upside, upside, upside.  Man, this guy has a ton of it.  I immediately designated him to the taxi squad after drafting him.  He could be looking at a WR3 role in Green Bay as soon as 2014.

6.07:  Marquess Wilson WR, CHI – A year ago, Wilson was being touted as one of the best wide receivers in the 2013 class.  However, his stock dropped due to character concerns. I love the value I got here.  He also landed in a pretty nice situation and has enough talent to make a strong push for the WR3 job in Chicago very soon.

7.04:  Chris Harper WR, SEA – Most mock drafts I’ve seen have Harper going anywhere from the mid-third to early fourth round, so getting him this late is a solid value for my team.  He could get an opportunity for early playing time if Sidney Rice, Golden Tate or Doug Baldwin go down, which is not out of the realm of possibility.

Draft Day Trades

This was an old school live draft where everyone was drafting by writing their picks on a piece of paper, which I love.  However, when you get ten guys together in the same room, it usually means there’s going to be a lot of trade offers flying around.  Needless to say, I put on my hard hat and got to work.

Trade One

While on the clock at 3.04, an owner offered me Greg Olsen for Kirk Cousins (he’s obviously the Robert Griffin owner) and 3.04.  I declined because I felt Cousins and Olsen have very similar value in a 2QB league.  I ended up making my pick and we finally agreed upon Cousins straight up for Olsen.

So if you refer to my list of needs above, that trade immediately fixed the problem I had at tight end, giving me two solid starters and also a high upside player for the future.

Trade Two

If you looked at my roster close enough, it was painfully obvious that wide receiver wasn’t even close to a need of mine, but I chose to draft Hopkins regardless.  I felt I could “stock the backend” with the safest player in the draft.  So what that meant to me was either Torrey Smith or Antonio Brown were expendable and it was time to use my depth to go out and get myself a running back.

Fortunately for me, the person who owned Daryl Richardson selected Zac Stacy in the mid-second round.  This made him the ONLY owner to dump Pead on.  We ended up working out a deal where I sent Pead and Brown for Lamar Miller.  This immediately fixed my second problem (listed above) giving me a player who could end up being a huge difference maker in 2014, as well as a legit RB2 with plenty of upside.  It also pushed Mendenhall into my RB4 spot, created an extra roster space and deepened my options due to injury or bye weeks.

Trade Three

Every once in a while, if I feel strongly enough about a player, I’ll overpay for him.  That was exactly the case when another owner sniped me on Latavius Murray.  I wanted him so badly; I paid a two second round picks and Tyler Wilson to obtain his services.  With Darren McFadden being highly injury prone and also in a contract year, this trade could pay huge dividends in the very near future.  I’m not averse to shooting the moon every once in a while. A year or two down the road, this could be one of the best or worst trades I’ve ever made.  Only time will tell.

Trade Four

While I think Miller has a ton of upside, he’s also very unproven considering he’s only toted the rock 51 times in his career.  So to give myself a little insurance, I ended up giving away two third rounds picks to snag Mike Gillislee shortly after the draft ended.  He’s not one of my favorite players in this class, but he’s a solid insurance policy should Miller go down.

My Roster (after the rookie draft/trades)

QB:  Matt Ryan, Sam Bradford, Ryan Tannehill, Blaine Gabbert, Chad Henne

RB:  Jamaal Charles, David Wilson, Lamar Miller, Rashard Mendenhall, Ahmad Bradshaw, Christine Michael, Latavius Murray, Mike Gillislee

WR:  Julio Jones, Randall Cobb, Justin Blackmon, Torrey Smith, Kenny Britt, DeAndre Hopkins, Rod Streater, Quinton Patton, A.J. Jenkins, Marquess Wilson

TE:  Dennis Pitta, Greg Olsen, Ladarius Green

TS:  Charles Johnson

IR:  Empty

At this point, the only issue I haven’t addressed is that top 15 QB2.  Although neither has proven to be that yet, no two quarterbacks in the NFL saw their situations improve more than Bradford and Tannehill this off-season.

I’m highly optimistic one or both of these players can sneak their way into the top-15 territory with the new weapons their respective teams have surrounded them with.  If that happens, I’ll be looking to package one of them up with a couple of other players and get myself another high-end quarterback to take this team to the next level.

Conclusion

This team is now primed to make a serious run in 2013 (at least in my opinion) thanks to making a few advantageous trades, drafting talent over need and taking a truly objective approach when evaluating my roster.  While I think it would be nice to go out and get a solid QB2 now, waiting for the season to start could see some of the talent I have stashed on the backend develop.

That’s what dynasty football is all about.  Sometimes, you just have to have the patience to let it happen.

Follow me on Twitter @harahduh2

Latest posts by Doug Veatch (see all)

22 Comments

22 Comments

  1. umm

    June 15, 2013 at 6:19 am

    for 2 2nds, you could have improved your team a lot more. Horrendously overpaying for Miller was a very risky move and you could’ve gotten someone a lot better than him if you’re seriously considering a playoff run.

    • Doug Veatch

      June 15, 2013 at 6:41 am

      I’m really surprised you think I horrendously overpaid for Lamar Miller. Antonio Brown and Isaiah Pead were not going to make or break my team. Miller on the other hand, could command a kings ransom on the open trade market around week four if he performs at a high level. I’d make that move 100 times out of 100, even if it doesn’t work out for me in the end. You’ve got to take shots on guys you think have the potential to be studs, before their studs. Otherwise you’ll always pay full price for your elite players.

    • Furnace

      June 15, 2013 at 7:20 am

      I assumed he meant Murray and not Miller.

      I personally believe the deal for Miller was a steal. I don’t care for the Murray deal. I’m not a believer that he is anything special, but I don’t see an issue paying for someone you believe in.

      • Cy23

        June 17, 2013 at 7:46 am

        That is how I interpreted it too– giving up two seconds (And Wilson!) for Murray does not appeal to me.

        The Miller trade was great though.

  2. Brad

    June 15, 2013 at 6:32 am

    I’m so confused about this draft. ADP has Gio as far and away the first rookie taken and the rankings on this site have Gio #1, but two articles in the last few days (this one and the “top 4” article) have him further down the list. I have the 1.01 and 1.06 in a league where RBs go early and often. If I pass on Gio there is no way he makes it to 1.06, but if I do take Gio, there is a really good chance that either Austin or Hopkins make it to 1.06.

    I’m thinking either Gio or Austin, but I don’t know. Luckily our draft isn’t until after 2 of the pre-season games, so I have some time.

    • Doug Veatch

      June 15, 2013 at 7:51 am

      Simply put, ADP is used to identify trends. It’s not the end all be all. I put way too much time and effort into my scouting to have a “follow the herd” mentality. For me Gio is an average talent at best that landed in a favorable situation. For my money I’d take Christine Michael over every single running back in this draft class. People view his situation as a horrible one, but I couldn’t disagree more. His situation reminds me of the one in Philly when Westbrook was still the man when Shady came into town. That only lasted for one season before Shady was handed the reigns. I have necessary patience and roster depth to allow that situation to play out.

      • Brad

        June 15, 2013 at 9:09 am

        I have a really young team (complete rebuild mode) and don’t have a QB (Loecker is my best option), but have young guys that could be really good at my other positions (David Wilson, Lamar Miller, Kendall Wright, Josh Gordon). Would trying to trade the 1.01 straight for Kaepernick or Russel Wilson be a good move, I think I have a chance at either of those deals.

        • Doug Veatch

          June 15, 2013 at 9:16 am

          If it’s a 1QB league, that’s too rich for my blood. The move if you own 1.01 is to trade back into target specific draft positions, while also building up some rookie picks for 2014. If you can do that, you’ll be holding trophies before you know it. That’s what it’s all about.

        • Magma

          June 15, 2013 at 10:58 am

          Although Doug and I seem to think very scary similar after looking at his draft. I do think I’d trade that 1.01 for R.Wilson or Kaep. Your basically just losing a M.Ball or Hopkins, your young RB’s in D.Wilson and L.Miller could be gold already, you need a stud QB to compete consistently for titles. Plus, like Doug and I both agree on, C.Michael is the BEST RB in this class. Grab him w your 1st pick of rd 2 and with Miller, D.Wilson, and C.Michael, that’s a very very possible potent RB core in two years from now. And what its worth, I’d go after R.Wilson first, then Kaep.

  3. SJ

    June 15, 2013 at 7:00 am

    I like the aggressiveness of your trades, but still feel you need to make a move for a current QB1 for your QB2 slot.

    I know theres a degree of overpay involved, but as a veteran of 2QB leagues, and as you also allude to, having two top QB’s will carry your team. Really cannot be understated.

    I know some, not me, are high on Tanne and Bradford, but id figure out a way to maybe package them, or whatever it takes to get a top end QB. After that youd be pretty set.

    • Doug Veatch

      June 15, 2013 at 7:28 am

      I agree 100%, but I need either Bradford or Tanny to show well in the first half of the 2013 season, otherwise I’ll have too much of a gap to make up in order to get myself into a position to land an upgrade at the position. Like I said in the article, it was the only position I didn’t address, but it’s definitely my top priority heading into the season. Playing in 2QB leagues as you already know puts an insane premium on the position and I’m just not willing to sacrifice the plan I have in place in order to go get a guy now. You never know, I may not even have to if Bradford has the season I think he’s going to have. I may end up being just fine.

  4. NFL Lion Blood

    June 15, 2013 at 7:09 am

    Hey Doug. Didn’t you also trade for Michael Floyd? Good article. Too much for Latavius Murray in my opinion for a non DMC owner in my opinion. It could work out but he has a lot of ifs before seeing the field.

    • Doug Veatch

      June 15, 2013 at 7:21 am

      I did trade for Michael Floyd. I gave up a 2014 1st for him, but that was after I wrote and submitted this article. Also, Ahmad Bradshaw wasn’t a Colt when I wrote this article, he was still a free agent. Personally I don’t view Latavius Murray as a handcuff, I think he’s going to be the guy. Considering the fact that DMC is in a contract year, I just don’t see how they can bring him back if injuries plague him again this year. It’s all about thinking forward and I try to never let current situation dictate what I do in any rookie draft I participate in.

      • Slick

        June 16, 2013 at 5:55 am

        Hey Doug,

        another instant classic. keep them coming! you are the 1st to offer good insight on latavius murray and his huge upside/opportunity. I have him ranked high in my 2nd tier of rookie RBs for the same reasons given. refreshing and encouraging to read your article and take on things. Quick question – do you see joseph randle having similar upside based on murray also being injury prone and no clear cut #2 behind him? especially after jerry gave room all of that money, he needs a running game to protect room to get thru that contract.

        lastly, these type of moves/views on young RBs are essential in today’s quickly evolving league. it seems to me that those peak RB years are getting shorter and shorter. basically you need to be ahead of game like doug is to secure legit stud RBs in their prime (which is now like 23, 24, as opposed to 27, 28 only years ago).

        Doug – looking forward to your thoughts on randle and any other RB in a similar situation. btw – who you rank right between joseph randle and latavius murray??

  5. BigD

    June 15, 2013 at 9:20 am

    great article. it really does’nt matter at all about the trades, it’s the point of HOW you went about changing and adding talent and depth. nice work. (the trades were good too, by the way, but it is a opinion)….also a little hidden gem, was that the article was probably written before bradshaw signed with indy, so now you have a great possibility with him also.

  6. Ariakis

    June 15, 2013 at 11:35 am

    Murray is already hurt on a bad team with other rbs if dmc gets hurt. 2 2nds and wilson should have netted a guy with more upside and talent. your other moves are solid but now you lack bullets if murray doesnt pan out. i would have waited for an opportunity. stacy too seems like a guy people are already paying a premium for with no on field reason.

    • Doug Veatch

      June 15, 2013 at 12:41 pm

      Latavius is the second most talented back in this class besides Michael IMO, from a metrics standpoint, he grades out similarly to Adrian Peterson. With that kind of upside, 2 2nd rd picks mean nothing to me. Like I said, it could be one of the best or worst trades I’ve ever made. I don’t care about losing a trade every once in a while to take a shot on a guy I believe in. Not saying to do the same with your team, but I now have a loaded roster with plenty of developing talent stocking the back end. That was the point of this article.

  7. Vision

    June 15, 2013 at 11:59 am

    Everyone can trade for players when they’ve already proven their studs. The key to winning in a dynasty format is to identify players you have a conviction on and acquire them for prices that make sense given your plan and team situation.

    If it were me, I’d follow your plan Doug and see if Tanny or Bradford develop and then reassess at that point.

    My one problem is the Murray trade. If you valued him so highly, why didn’t you simply move up a few spots once he got close to ensure you didn’t get sniped? It would have been much cheaper than that what you gave to get him. Were you just gambling he’d make it and then deciding to acquire him for whatever price after he was taken?

    Good moves and a fortuitous break took your team from also-ran to fringe contender.

  8. Britt

    June 16, 2013 at 6:27 am

    I enjoy reading roster moves like this because they are questionable & show guts. One suggestion – you might want to have your rookie drafts before you post an article documenting your love affair with an unheralded rookie. Your league mates will make you overpay every time. Murray went in the late 3rd in all my rookie drafts this year. Giving up two 2nds is insane.

    I’m always curious when people in the fantasy football industry tout C.Michael as being the best RB in the class. I like him myself but have no illusions that he is the top RB in the draft. I think NFL GM/Coaches know a little more than me & the rest of the fantasy football community. If Michael is the best RB in the class & it turns out that way – you should go work for a NFL team’s scouting department & quit your current job. I put more emphasis on where RB’s are selected in the real draft in ranking them from a talent stand point. NFL scouts know a hell of a lot more than I do.

    If you are high on Miller then the move makes sense but I wouldn’t deal A.Brown – the #1 WR for Pitt for Miller straight up. I don’t see Miller as anything special & doubt he is a starting RB in 2014 – 1 year gig.

    • Slick

      June 16, 2013 at 8:09 am

      easy on the latavius hateration. although I understand your perspective on Christine Michael, have you considered the personnel dept in seattle knows what they are doing?
      look no further than all of the teams (especially QB needy ones) who passed on russel Wilson. and that is not the only high quality decision made out there lately.

      I guess my point is..you have to look deeper and not just assume if gms pass on a guy that means they are automatically right. I believe this site had a good article or 2 before the NFL draft about top NFL GMs you can trust.
      I currently have a top 10 GMs list, I currently have carroll/Schneider at #3 after jerry reese and ted Thompson (WRs).

      something to think about…

  9. Slick

    June 16, 2013 at 8:10 am

    oops. I meant Christine Michael hateration..
    although murray has his detractors as well.

  10. Smudga

    June 17, 2013 at 2:52 am

    Doug I don’t always agree with your opinion on many of the players but I couldn’t agree more with your mantra regarding staying true to your convictions and overpay to ensure you get the player you believe in. This has been my philosophy too in the short time I’ve been playing this wonderful game and so far it’s servede very well.
    It’s important to identify the players that can have value for short periods of time as well as the long term breakouts as these are the guys that you package with your second theirs players to move up for the studs.
    I’ve heard you talk of a similar approach yourself before and it always amazes me how many players will lose a deal because of a rookie 3rd pick or something crazy. If you believe in a particular player then go out and get him regardless. Hats off to you on a good looking draft there bud.

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