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Dear Diary – An Exercise in Patience


I want to share a fantasy lineup with you.  My lineup.

This lineup has been built over a long period of time, assembled over many years with careful attention to buy-low/sell-high opportunities, mindful addition of strategic draft picks and a keen eye for the next training camp, waiver wire and/or rookie gem.  It is from a very deep dynasty format in which 30 players are a kept and competition is very strong.  In fact, your DLF partners all play in this league.

I’m not normally a fan of bringing my personal dynasty league specifics into play here on the site but I’m making an exception for reference to a point to be made.  Here are the primary pieces of my team:

QB:  Matt Ryan
QB:  Joe Flacco
QB:  Brett Favre

RB:  Chris Johnson
RB:  Deangelo Williams
RB:  Marshawn Lynch
RB:  Donald Brown
RB:  Brandon Jackson
RB:  James Starks

WR:  Andre Johnson
WR:  Larry Fitzgerald
WR:  Randy Moss
WR:  Dwayne Bowe
WR:  Kenny Britt
WR:  James Jones

TE:  Dallas Clark
TE:  Jermichael Finley

I won’t bore you with the other details.  Not surprisingly, this team won the championship in 2009.  When looking up and down the lineup, it is easy to see and project potential multiple championships.  But fast-forward to 2010 and read those names once again.

If not for a late Randy Moss TD this past Monday night, this team would have been 0-5 to start the season (a record that gives this missive a bit more punch).  As it stands, here I sit at 1-4 on the season with the 7th most points scored.  Oh what a difference a few months can make.  A team that finished 13-2 in our 2009 regular season and was the clear 2010 divisional favorite starts 0-4 and was steaming towards a pathetic 0-5.

What now?

I can’t tell you how many times, at all hours of the day and night, I have simply pulled up my team page and stared in bewilderment at the lineup, ultimately allowing my eyes to fall up on those three characters, 1-4.  Dare I say that as often as I preach about the variability present in fantasy football, my approach to 2010 in this league was a lackadaisical in nature, certainly ending in what I believed to be a pre-ordained outcome of which I only had to go through the motions to ultimately achieve.  It was understood by all.  Resistance was futile.

If not for a turn of events on Monday night involving both Randy Moss and Percy Harvin, this team would have found itself 5.5 games out of first place and a realistic end to the 2010 campaign.  Instead, I’m 3.5 games back with an outside chance – but a war I’m willing to fight.

What is to be learned through this this example?

I have mulled many a response.  I could trade for a higher end QB, package multiple players for a front line stud or even mortgage future first round picks for sure-fire 2010 difference maker such as Arian Foster, Brandon Lloyd or Kyle Orton.  Did you catch that?  Therein lies the point.

You cannot afford to overreact to any situation related to your dynasty team.  Sometimes you must accept that the variables of fantasy football are beyond your control.  A team loaded with top five talent one year is, in no way, guaranteed of performing the same way in any following year.  After much consternation and strategic thought, it is obviously in my best interest to simply close my browser and walk away.  And sometimes you must do the same.

The season is still young, games are still to be played and anything can happen.  All of these cliches appropriately apply to a start such as this, perhaps you have had a similar one.  But regardless of the how’s or why’s of the situation, your response to them is critical.  Sometimes you just need to walk away.  Is it difficult?  Absolutely!  Should you?  Absolutely.  In the dynasty format, the best you can hope for is a young competing team.  When you have assembled that, focus must be turned to the small moves that can help to keep the team competitive, not wholesale knee-jerk reactions to the variability of the format.  Resist, at all cost, the need to make drastic in-season changes or moves that will have multiple season effects.

Regardless of the team or starting lineup that you have assembled, you are ultimately at the mercy of blind or bad luck, variability, injury and NFL team dynamic.  The factors under your control don’t guarantee anything other than your ability to field a team each week.  To expect anything else is a fool’s folly.

Sometimes the key to building a true dynasty team is an exercise in patience.  Just walk away.

Jeff Haverlack
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Csc
11 years ago

I have had three of your RBs (Williams, Brown & Starks). I feel your pain.

Chris Paradis
11 years ago

I hear you. My team i build with Fitz, Moreno, D-Willy, Calvin, amongst many more has me sitting middle of the pack, and thats only cause my TE Keller and QB Rivers has taken the team on their back in a couple games so far.

Here’s where i have issues though. I don’t make knee jerk trades/FA moves. However, there’s always a min. of 2, sometimes 3 ppl in every league that are just that impulsive. Why is this an issue? Well, cause there’s always a league vulture or two that sits there perched waiting for said individual to buckle. “whats that? Forte’s poor week 3 performance isn’t cutting it? Well here, let me help you. I’ll take him off your hands for this little gem Jacobs here” etc etc.

Sigh.

Anyways. 30 player rosters?? Where can i find that??

Cobra Kai
11 years ago

You won the championship in 2009 because Favre had the best year of his HOF career. You should never have expected him to repeat that feat. Ryan and Flacco are not elite QBs and have never shown they can be counted on for consistent weekly performance. Consequently, your scoring is unstable.

The surprise, to me, is D-Will. I knew the Panthers were on the decline, but I sure didn’t see that cliff looming. The rest of your RBs are either backups for the future or they play(ed) for the Bills. You can’t expect anything there. No depth.

Your WRs are insane but the trend has been to put too much stake in the WR position. That position is the most dependent position in football. WRs are dependent upon QBs and coordinators and head coaches and O-Lines and opposing defenses. The loss of Kurt Warner is devastating to Fitz’ fantasy value. WRs are the least dependable of all fantasy players.

For contrast, here are the main players from my 30 man roster (starting 2/3/5/1+)

QB Peyton Manning
QB Aaron Rodgers

RB Ray Rice
RB Ahmad Bradshaw
RB Lesean McCoy
RB Ronnie Brown
RB Caddy
RB Peyton Hillis
RB Marshawn Lynch

WR Braylon Edwards
WR Steve Smith NYG
WR Johnny Knox
WR Mike Williams TB
WR Mike Williams SEA
WR Lance Murphy
WR Legadu Naanee
WR Mike Thomas
WR Deion Branch

TE Vernon Davis
TE Chris Cooley

I’ve been playing both TEs in lieu of a 5th WR. I finished 2nd last year and am currently 4-1 and leading in total points.

RATM
11 years ago

To Jeff (and/or Ken):

Jeff, your roster made me think about Starks…what have you guys been hearing? Is he healthy? Ready to come off PUP pronto? Will he get a shot to displace Brandon Jackson at all? He’s currently a FA in my league, but we have relatively small rosters for dynasty, and I don’t want to cut anyone to take a shot at him unless I hear some positive buzz. Your thoughts, please? Thanks!

Dlf_JeffH
Reply to  RATM
11 years ago

Yes, I like Starks and I’d add him depending on who you have to drop. Word is that they really want Starks to be eventual replacement for Grant and he should be getting touches an/on week 8 or so. He’s been out of football for a bit but he’s eligible to come off the list here in about 2 weeks. I’d definitely add him as he has the power that they are lacking and this guy has amazing hands. I’m very high on him.

Ross F
11 years ago

I feel your pain. I left my league’s draft the hands down favorite to win my league this year. Everyone was annointing me champion and I thought the same. Now the season is 5 weeks old and I am in 2nd to last place with a 1-4 record. Here’s my team:

QBs:
Romo
Kolb
Palmer
Freeman
Hill
Campbell

RBs:
Peterson
MJD
Mathews
Tolbert
Greene
Choice

WR:
Austin
Jennings
Gafney
Williams (TB)
Breaston
Edwards
Manningham

TE:
Finley
Gonzalez

Cobra Kai
Reply to  Ross F
11 years ago

It’s just a matter of time for MJD. He and Mathews should begin to produce for you. Same with Jennings. Greene has the talent but LT is resurgent. Where you got screwed was QB. Palmer and the CIN offense are a huge disappointment and Kolb was blindsided by Vick. But Kolb and Freeman are both good young prospects for the long term.

Denise
11 years ago

I like your team but really think you need a better QB. You should be able to get a pretty good one with your roster. I feel like you’re hadicapping your team with such medicore QB’s, not just this year but next also. Maybe Flacco gets better but who knows and Ryan is looking like he’s always going to be nothing better than a back-up fantasy QB.

Chris R.
11 years ago

Great article. But see that’s the beauty of a Dynasty league not a redraft. Suck in a redraft, there is no light at the end of the tunnel, you just shuffle the order and may pick 12th to start and you gotta hope you do better.

In Dynasty say you finish 12th, of course it’ll suck but you just won a ring, not many teams go back to back, and you get first crack at an elite talent in the next years draft which you can add in an instant play-maker to an already star studded team.

This is why after some years I’ve adapted and NEVER, I repeat, NEVER trade my own 1st rder. You could have done it already, thinking your team has no shot of finishing worse then 9th or 10th but you need something to fall back on if you do finish bad.

There is always gonna be elite talent at the top of each draft and adding that to your team would easily put you right back into the drivers seat.

But I think I disagree with you saying don’t overreact to some trading which can be needed. I had the EXACT same dilemma, my team in a 25 man dynasty was Jay Cutler/MJD/Chris Johnson/Calvin Johnson/Larry Fitzgerald/Desean Jackson/Aaron Hernandez.

Somehow I started off 0-5, on a team I swore up and down I would never think about changing the outlook of what I had in place because it was no need, but after the 5th loss I put everyone on the block for a certain price just to see what I could get. After an owner was hot for Calvin Johnson we ended up settling on Calvin Johnson(and some lower lever bench fodder not worth mentioning) for Arian Foster, Mike Wallace, Stephen Williams, and a 2010 1st rd pick.

While I am a huge fan of Calvin this is why I say everyone has a price, Wallace has filled in nicely with some big games, Foster has been a huge plus, the 1st rder should be mid round and Stephen Williams is a prospect I’m very high on.

I could then reverse and trade MJD who had been struggling for a bigger WR, and I was able to move MJD and Benjarvus Green Ellis for Greg Jennings and another 2010 1st(I love stockpiling future picks). That one I wasn’t as excited about, maybe I could have gotten a better WR, but I feel like with the 1st it was worth it, and in retrospect when looking what I moved MJD and CJ for I made out like a bandit. I almost came out even with Foster and Jennings replacing those two, let alone 2 extra 1st rd picks, Mike Wallace and Williams.

I think if you just opened house for offers, see what they throw your way, see if someone will overpay for a stud, I’d do it. Guys like Chris Johnson I’d never trade honestly, but Fitz or Andre i’d listen. I moved Andre Johnson for Roddy White and Jamaal Charles this summer and everyone told me I was crazy as hell. Now Roddy looks to be a top 5 WR and has actually been better thus far, if anything not a drop off and younger, I’ll take a free Rb out of the deal.

Some people will lowball to see if your desperate, but you’d be amazed what you can come out with if your willing to explore options and throw out some bait 2 see if you get some biters. Worst case is you get a high pick(if you held onto your pick), and you’ll instantly be competitive for next season.

It’s been a weird fantasy season, but great things about dynasties is if you build a strong competitive team that’s young, you know you can bounce back next year without a doubt.

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