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A 32 Team Rebuilding Project: The Beginning

In February, a fellow poster approached me on the DLF Forums, asking if I was interested in taking over an abandoned squad in a 32 team league. After a little coaxing, I agreed.

This league starts 1 QB, 2 RBs, 3 WRs, 1 TE, 1 RB/WR/TE, 1 K, 2 DEs, 1 DT, 3 LBs, 2 CBs, and 2 Ss.

Basic scoring rules are as follows (VERY important to note): 4 points per passing TD, 6 points per rushing/receiving TD, 1 point per reception, 1 point per 25 pass yards, 1 point per 10 rushing/receiving yards, 1 point per tackle/stuff, 5 points per forced fumble, 2 points per fumble recovery, 8 points per interception, 5 points per pass deflection, and 5 points per sack.This is what I’ve done to turn the “Houston Texans” into a potential contender.

The team I inherited, was (is?) a mess, finishing 20th overall the year before. Looking in the trade history before I took over, the previous owner traded away dynasty man crushes like Dez Bryant, Aaron Hernandez and Brian Cushing (the previous owner then jumped ship to another team). The roster is barren, and the team came with no high draft picks.

The roster looked like this:

Offensive Active

Defensive Active

Peyton Manning – QB

Dwight Freeney – DE

Donald Brown – RB

Karl Klug – DE/DT

Shane Vereen – RB

Amobi, Okoye – DT

Larry Fitzgerald – WR

Tamba Hali – LB

Mike Wallace – WR

Geno Hayes – LB

Plaxico Burress – WR

Leroy Hill – LB

Joel Dreessen – TE

Chris Houston – CB

Delanie Walker – RB/WR/TE

Kareem Jackson – CB

Kendrick Lewis – S

Bernard Pollard – S

Offensive Reserve

Defensive Reserve

Virgil Green – TE

Tyson Jackson – DE

Tyrod Taylor – QB

Antonio Smith – DE

Ryan Whalen – WR

Marvin Austin – DT

Donovan McNabb – QB

Trevor Laws – DT

Marcus Benard – LB

Keith Brooking – LB

Scott Shanle – LB

Javier Arenas – CB

Troy Nolan – S

Rahim Moore – S

Offense: The Good

Donald Brown seemingly put things to together last year, posting 645 rushing yards and five touchdowns, to go with 16 receptions for 86 yards and a +2.5 PFF rating. It’s beginning to look like Peyton Manning will be fantasy relevant again next year after signing a 5 year $90 million deal with the Denver Broncos. Larry Fitzgerald is a top ten fantasy wideout every year, and even though Mike Wallace faded down the stretch last year, he’s startable every week.

Offense: The Bad

It was hard for me to put Shane Vereen here, but New England often renders running backs fantasy irrelevant. Delanie Walker backs up Vernon Davis and I believe Joel Dreessen will be handling the run blocking in Denver. Plaxico Burress is still too old and too slow. Donovan McNabb is only rostered because quarterbacks are at a premium. The rest of the offensive backups are the deepest of deep stashes and most likely waiver wire fodder.

Defense: The Good

While the previous owner did a very good job handicapping the offense, he built a solid foundation to what can be a premier defense. In a league that rewards big plays, the pass rush combo of Karl Klug (DT) and Tamba Hali (LB) could form a solid duo that will last for years. Chris Houston’s points were skewed that last year because of a couple touchdowns, but even nickel corners can average 10ppg in this league (5pt pass deflections and 8pt interceptions), so he still has value if his shoulder doesn’t shatter. Kareem Jackson’s starting job was in jeopardy in 2011, but he will start next year opposite Jonathan Joseph. Bernard Pollard and Kendrick Lewis both averaged over 10ppg last year. Rahim Moore and Marvin Austin are two high upside guys. There’s a good mixture of veterans and young potential.

Defense: The Bad

Dwight Freeney produced 7ppg last year on the worst team in the NFL, but he’s on the wrong side of 30, and the potential change to 3-4 outside linebacker scares me. Geno Hayes and Leroy Hill are both unsigned and Hill has a penchant for rubbing the law the wrong way. Tyson Jackson and Antonio Smith are two 3-4 ends, a position which is not fantasy friendly. Amobi Okoye is a situational defensive tackle. Trevor Laws, Marcus Benard, Keith Brooking and Scott Shanle are all instant cuts.

Trades

The following are the trades I’ve made since February to begin rebuilding the team:

  • 2013 4th for Joseph Morgan, WR NO

I’d delve deeper into this trade, but you can read the article that convinced me to move for Morgan here.

  • Shane Vereen, RB NE for Earl Bennett, WR CHI

Even as a New England Patriots fan, I couldn’t stomach Vereen as being one of my only backs in 2012. Moving Vereen for Bennett, the favorite target of Cutler, felt like a good upgrade at the time.

  • Joel Dreessen, TE HOU, 4.12 for 3.11, 3.30

I believe Dreessen won’t be fantasy relevant at all next year, or ever. While I also don’t care about draft picks, especially in later rounds, someone else in the league will be willing to trade me for them.

  • 2.12, 3.11, and 5.12 for 2013 1st

An owner was looking to acquire more draft picks this year, so I sent him these 3 for a 1st rounder next year. The teams 1st this year was #9, and I expect it to be high next year as he plays in the toughest division.

  • 2013 1st and Akeem Dent for Alterraun Verner and Mike Kafka

I seemingly struck gold with this trade. Mere hours after it was completed, it was announced that the Titans would be letting Cortland Finnegan go. The leagues scoring system heavily favors defensive backs, and CB1’s can bring in 15+ points per game. At the time of this trade, I was stockpiling QBs due to the uncertainty of Manning’s situation.

  • Bernard Pollard, S BAL, two 2014 2nds, and a 2014 3rd for Mike Goodson, RB CAR, Curtis Brinkley, RB SDC, Bruce Carter, LB DAL, and a 2013 4th

Safeties are at a premium in this league, since we each start two and there’s only 64 starters in the NFL, so sending away Pollard was risky. In Goodson, you have a good running back who’s flashed ability, but is trapped behind the committee of DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart. Brinkley might be backing up Ryan Mathews in San Diego this year with the departure of Mike Tolbert. Bruce Carter is the potential starter next time Sean Lee in Dallas’ 3-4 scheme, and I’m surprised the owner was even willing to part with him.

EDIT: This trade looks much better after Goodson was traded to the Oakland Raiders, where he will hopefully backup oft injured starter Darren McFadden.

  • Karl Klug, DT TEN for William Moore, S ATL

I really hated to trade away Klug, who had seven sacks as a rookie, but defensive linemen do not score nearly as much as safeties. William Moore averaged 10.75ppg last year, good for 20th in the league. Klug averaged 5.38ppg, but that can increase if he can become an every down lineman. Only four defensive lineman averaged more points per game than Moore, so unless Klug channels his inner Jason Pierre-Paul or Calais Campbell, then this will go down as a victory for me.

  • Mike Wallace, WR PIT and Donald Brown, RB IND for Vincent Jackson, WR TB and Rashard Mendenhall, RB PIT

This is one of two controversial trades I’ve made. Shipping Mike Wallace away will pair Jackson with Larry Fitzgerald, a fearsome almost-30 wide receiver tandem. I’m not happy that I moved away from a youngish wide receiver to the ultra-talented-but-extremely-inconsistent Vincent Jackson, but the drop from Jackson to Wallace is small enough that I could stomach it to make the massive leap from Donald Brown to Rashard Mendenhall.

EDIT: Following Chuck Pagano’s comments about using “a platoon” of Brown and Delone Carter, this trade got a little better.

  • 3.30 for Sylvester Stevenson, LB PIT

Another trade inspired by some DLF writing, which you can find here. Sylvester Stevenson is a future starting linebacker in Pittsburgh. Giving up the 30th pick of the 3rd round for him was an easy decision.

  • Larry Fitzgerald, WR ARZ and a 2013 4th for 1.09 and 1.14

Now this trade is the most controversial and I don’t expect it to be popular with many people at all. If I can get two elite players with this trade, I’ll be better off. Larry Fitzgerald averaged 16ppg, but guys like Tampa Bay Mike Williams averaged 10. If I can grab a combination of running back, wide receiver, tight end, or linebacker, my team will be upgraded. It also gives me 3 first round picks over the next 2 drafts, along with the chance for me to build depth.

Waiver Wire

The waiver wire in 32 team leagues is a barren, hopeless no man’s land. Despite that, I was able to find a few gems. Darryl Sharpton will be taking over DeMeco Ryans’ place as a n inside linebacker in Houston’s 3-4 scheme. Chad Spann is someone worth looking at since Mendenhall will likely start the year on the PUP. Since my tight end situation is an absolute disaster, it seemed prudent to take a flier on Hayden Smith, the rugby star signed by the New York Jets.

After all these trades and free agent pickups, my roster looks like this:

Offensive Active

Defensive Active

Peyton Manning – QB

Dwight Freeney – DE

Rashard Mendenhall – RB

Antonio Smith – DE

Mike Goodson – RB

Amobi Okoye – DT

Joseph Morgan – WR

Tamba Hali – LB

Vincent Jackson – WR

Bruce Carter – LB

Earl Bennett – WR

Leroy Hill – LB

Delanie Walker – TE

Kareem Jackson – CB

Plaxico Burress – R/WR/TE

Alterraun Verner – CB

Kendrick Lewis – S

William Moore – S

Offensive Reserve

Defensive Reserve

Mike Kafka – QB

Tyson Jackson – DE

Dan Orlovsky – QB

Antonio Smith – DE

Tyrod Taylor – QB

Marvin Austin – DT

Anthony Dixon – RB

Darryl Sharpton – LB

Curtis Brinkley – RB

Geno Hayes – LB

Chad Spann – RB

Sylvester Stevenson – LB

Domenik Hixon – WR

Javier Arenas – CB

Ryan Whalen – WR

Chris Houston – CB

Virgil Green – TE

Troy Nolan – S

Hayden Smith – TE

Rahim Moore – S

In two months, I’ve turned a roster that was barren into something that has potential to at least be better than 20th in the league. The upcoming rookie draft will provide a clearer picture of where my team will stand in the coming season, as there are still plenty of holes that need to be plugged. If I draft well enough, by 2014 I’ll have three studs on my team, and be contending for the playoffs.

I’d like to thank two sites specifically for giving me my love for dynasty football and never ending advice and tips: ProFootballFocus.com and DynastyLeagueFootball.com. I need to thank @JeffRatcliffe and @PFF_RossMiles for giving me a leg up on the IDP side of things, and @RoadWarrior98 for inspiring all of this.

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Ryan
10 years ago

Love looking at these rebuilds, especially in such a large league. Would be interested to see how the draft goes as well.

Reply to  Ryan
10 years ago

You’re not the only one anxious for the draft. Very interested to see how it plays out.

Road Warrior
10 years ago

You obviously had your work cut out for you during this rebuild. With that in mind, looks like you’re well on your way to getting this turned around. Goodson could be a real wildcard here.

Reply to  Road Warrior
10 years ago

He flashed some talent last year in Carolina. He just needs to stop the fumbles, an injury to McFadden, and to beat out Taiwan Jones. So yeah, definitely a wildcard!

Chris
10 years ago

I wouldn’t have even bothered with taking over the team. How does a league let an owner dump a team to take over another team in the same league?

1.01 Guy
Reply to  Chris
10 years ago

Agreed. This would NEVER happen in any fantasy league I was a part of.

Good work so far but it looks like you have a ton more to get done before you are competitive.

Reply to  1.01 Guy
10 years ago

I questioned it to. Happens all the time in these leagues though. We have 5 or 6 owners that have switched teams in the last year or two.

The worst part is, this isn’t even the worst team in the league. There were 12 teams that had worse records than I did. If the league wasn’t private, I’d link you to our worst team, the Pittsburgh Steelers. Here’s the starting lineup:

QB – Matt Moore, RBs – Moreno/Obgonnya, WRs – Armanti Edwards, Cecil Shorts, Buster Davis, TE – Luke Stocker, RB/WR/TE – Ricky Williams.

Awful. So awful.

10 years ago

Interesting stuff. Make sure to post a follow up after the draft!

RP
10 years ago

Josh not Joseph (happens to us all here and there)

Ryan McDowell
Reply to  RP
10 years ago

I think he was talking about Joseph- the young WR for the Saints.

RP
Reply to  Ryan McDowell
10 years ago

I remember Josh went to Washington and thought that was an oversite too!

Shoulda clicked the link…

In my dynasty after our core 6 keepers we loose a pickup move on each guy kept so paying even a 2014 3rd rounder for a guy that most people dont know of is hard to believe in my format.

In a 32 team league I can see why hes relevant.

Ill keep him in mind for sure after this glitch!

Josh G
10 years ago

32 team league is rough! (Did a 24 team for basketball and the wire is..well..SLIM!)

Most of your trades make sense to me. Trading away Fitz is especially rough and I hope you are able to capitalize on it. I traded Fitz in my dynasty this past year, acquiring the 1.02 for him and my WRs are already deep (Nicks, Megatron, AJ Green, Dez), so that I really didnt miss him..though I absolutely love the guy.

It would be interesting to see if you post a follow-up to this once or twice a year to see how the team has progressed.

Reply to  Josh G
10 years ago

I agree, this draft will certainly make or break my team. If I don’t hit on both of those picks, my team will end up worse.

I’d love the opportunity to come back and write more about this process. Thanks for the kind words!

Cameo
10 years ago

Hi,

I am in kind of a similar situation. I took over a bad team and have to rebuild it. I have a particular question for you. Where would you rank Trent Richardson in your WR (not a typo) rankings (available on the dlf website)? Basically, after which player (WR) a trade might be interesting?

Josh G
Reply to  Cameo
10 years ago

Do you mean..what WR is Trent Richardson worth trading..ie..is he worth the value of a Hakeem Nicks or a Sidney Rice..etc?

Dan
Reply to  Cameo
10 years ago

are you asking which level of WR you can get for TRich?

Cameo
Reply to  Dan
10 years ago

Yes, pretty much. Is he worth a Nicks (5), a Wallace (10), a Harvin (15), a Bowe (20), etc. Sorry if this was not clear.

Josh G
Reply to  Cameo
10 years ago

Do you need to know before the draft?

Only asking because..to some the value may rise or drop if he goes to Cleveland, Tampa, St. Louis or another team, plus his value will certainly rise and/or fall during the first couple weeks of the season, so the question is when do you need to know by 🙂

As of right now, I’d rank him something like the following:

McCoy, Foster, Rice are top 3
MJD, CJ2K, McFadden, Forte, JC Superstar, AP and Ryan Mathews are the next tier

THEN

Trent Rich, DeMarco Murray, J Stew, Sproles, Mendenhall..a few others (Ingram, Beanie, Spiller..etc?)

So with that in mind..he is likely near the top of tier 3

and for WRs..maybe you need a tier 2 or 3 WR for him? Just speculating here.

Perhaps thats a Dez Bryant, Maclin or V-Jax? Again, just off the cuff guesses. Maybe Tier 2 ala Victor Cruz or Brandon Marhsall or Mike Wallace? Again..just off the top of my head names and estimation.

I personally value RBs higher than WRs for some reason..even though their shelf life is shorter and you can often times make do with tier 2 and 3 RBs but having top end WRs..so its tough to gauge..especially without knowing what team he will be on and having no NFL game time under his belt yet.

Reply to  Josh G
10 years ago

If you’re in a 32 team league (which I doubt you are) I’d flip the 1.01, as long as you have a solid quarterback. You can get whatever you want for that pick.

Cameo
Reply to  Josh G
10 years ago

Thanks a lot. This is helpful. I have to make a decision quickly (before the draft) unfortunately, so it’s kin ofd a gamble.

MucBuc
10 years ago

lol that’s the Texans team in one of my leagues 🙂

Reply to  MucBuc
10 years ago

Hey league mate!

Cyrus
10 years ago

I am not a fan of the Fitz trade, the Vereen trade, giving up a 1st for Verner and Kafka, and conflicted on the Wallace/Brown for Vjax/Mendy trade.

It really comes down to if Mendy comes back healthy, which I am hoping he does. If he does and becomes a starter, you win.

Otherwise, you downgraded at WR to upgrade from an ineffective RB who might remain a starter to an ineffective RB who is overcoming injury.

Cato
Reply to  Cyrus
10 years ago

Have to agree with Cyrus here on his points.

As well, I get that DB score highly in this system, and that due to 32 teams and 2 CB/S starters they can be scarce. However DB production wise tend to be one of the least certain dynasty investments. Corners when rookies are picked on, as they improve they may not be targeted much. Big plays from the position can be unpredictable. Jairus Byrd anyone? I guess I would rather burn 2nd round picks on them if possible.

Positions I would rather rebuild around would be QBs/WRs,TE,DL due to their relative stability. RBs may not last long enough for a long rebuild. Kickers don’t matter and DBs fluctuate in value too much.

Interesting read, but the author took some moves I wouldn’t be comfortable with. Hope they work out.

bob
10 years ago

I think that team was in much better shape to start than you have made it out to be. You at least had a quarterback and two stud wrs.

Have seen many people take over teams in 32 team leagues with comparable teams but without any QB or any studs or any decent draft picks… those are the really fun ones.

MucBuc
Reply to  bob
10 years ago

Agreed. For a 32 team league it’s not that bad of a team. I took over a team with Matt Cassel, Hardesty, Devery Henderson and Jake Ballard as the top options at their position. On top of that no first round pick until 2014.
I like it!

Reply to  MucBuc
10 years ago

There were definitely worse teams off, 12 of them actually. It was a lot scarier when I first inherited the team, as the general consensus was that Manning would never play again, especially after the 4th neck surgery was disclosed.

Now that he’s starting it really doesn’t look that bad, and the owner did do a good job with the defense.

fulldevilhakysac
10 years ago

no doubt…..the team was much better before the trades.

StevieMo
10 years ago

When you know you’ve gone waaaaaaaay overboard in terms of dynasty league fantasy football: A 32 team league.

StevieMo
Reply to  StevieMo
10 years ago

I told my buddy about this and he said, “A 32 team league is God’s way of saying you’ve gone way over the top in terms of fantasy football.” LOL.

Ches
10 years ago

About to start an IDP keeper league, but still hammering out the scoring rules. Any suggestions?

Reply to  Ches
10 years ago

Here you can check out 2 types of scoring: tackle-heavy and PFF’s custom. See which one you like better.

http://www.profootballfocus.com/blog/2012/04/13/fantasy-pre-draft-2012-idp-player-projections/

10 years ago

The site isn’t letting me post anymore replies, but feel free to tell me what a good or bad job
I did! You can find me on twitter as @coleman_ff. I appreciate all the responses.

Abruzzi
10 years ago

I think you’ve done a good job overall. One issue I have was the Wallace/Brown for VJ and Mendy. Sorry but a massive leap from Brown to Mendy is not. Mendenhall came into the league with high regard and fell into an exceptional opportunity, but never capitalized. He fumbled through a couple years and never became dynamic. Doesnt catch in the backfield and for what I beleive is we already seen his ceiling.
The worst part of the trade was trading the most talented player in Wallace. Atleast Brown Showed some promise playing on an inept team that no defence respected its passer.

For what its worth, trading two young guys for two old guys on a rebuilding team will set your team back. Sorry just MHO.

Eric
10 years ago

I can’t believe you traded Fitz for 2 fliers, like its the most natural thing in the world to dump an elite WR for 1.09 and 1.14. “If I can get two elite players with this trade, I’ll be better off” two elite players, really? Even if by some miracle you pull that off, just yikes as far as strategy and value. Not to mention having to give back a 4th for the pleasure of being hosed on the picks received.

Cato
Reply to  Eric
10 years ago

Agreed. I think he’s assuming all the risk here. I do wonder in a 32 team league, if turning an elite into 2 upper tier players is the way to go. IE turn Calvin Johnson into Nicks/Britt. Or Fitzgerald into Maclin/Spiller or moves of that nature.

I’d feel more certain trying that type of move, though I’ve only played in 10,12,14 team leagues, so not sure what the trade dynamics are in a 32…

Reply to  Cato
10 years ago

That’s exactly my thinking. It’s not hard at all for WRs to score points in this league. It’d actually be more beneficial for me to have Darrius Heyward-Bey and Michael Crabtree than just Fitzgerald. If I can get 2 WR2 or even WR3’s, I’ll get more points that just having Fitz.

Heyward-Bey and Crabtree both average 11 points per game last year. Fitzgerald averaged 16. Usually the people you’re taking out of your lineup are scrubs averaging nothing. In my case, it’s Delanie Walker, who went for 3 points per game last year.

And as for the first comment, I got what the market dictated for Fitzgerald. Colston was traded for a last 1st round pick, and Jeremy Maclin was moved for a 1st rounder in the mid teens. I got 1.09 and 1.14, and it was considered a steal by some of my league mates. The owner offered up 1.14 and 1.20 at first and thought that was very fair. Sending the 4th round pick didn’t bother me at all.

If you’re not in a 32 team league, reading this is probably incredibly offensive. I suggest giving it a try!

Cato
Reply to  Coleman_ff
10 years ago

Hey Coleman,

Thanks for the response. Definitely appreciate the article, it helped crystalize the thought process for me of preferring Calvin Johnson in a 10 team league, (as everyone has good players, you need to be starting the best to win.) but preferring having Nicks/Britt in a 32 team league, Where the talent pool is so diluted if you have the capacity to start 2 potential studs you likely come out ahead.

We’re definitely on the same page about splitting stocks in higher number of teams pools, I still think it was undervaluing Fitzgerald IMO. (ie I would split him but for higher picks/players if I could.)

In regards to getting what the market dictated? If my value is higher then market value on a player, I’m buying or holding. If my value is lower then market value, I’m selling. I get selling Colston for a 1st, who wants to trust his health long term. I don’t understand selling Maclin for a later 1st rounder, how is that not just a lateral move at best? I must be missing something, as I don’t get it.

I wouldn’t trust the valuation of an owner offering me a trade, as I don’t feel they have my best interest at heart, and will see things from their bias point.

All that said, I’m not in a 32 team league, so at some point I will put my money where my mouth is. Thanks for the discussion and food for thought. Hope your moves work out, they are just beyond my personal risk preference, but that’s the beauty of the game, different styles and approaches. Hopefully all roads lead to Rome.

Reply to  Cato
10 years ago

I believe market value was 1.14 and 1.20, and I got more than that with 1.09 and 1.14. Sorry for the misunderstanding.

Hopefully I’ll have an opportunity to come back, and show off my league championship! We’ll see.

StevieMo
Reply to  Eric
10 years ago

That’s one of the worst trades I’ve ever heard of as a 24 year dynasty leaguer.

Abruzzi
10 years ago

I stopped reading after the Wallace/ Brown for VJax and Mendy deal. Yikes trading Fitz too. Well, good luck to ya!!

VoiceofUnreason
10 years ago

If you never made a trade, it looks like you could have squeaked into the playoffs this year. Manning and 2 great wrs is huge in a 32 team league. I’d call it an average team if anything, not great, not awful.

I don’t know, looks like you need to get very lucky and hit huge on your draft picks. I think the other DLF article that is important here was the rookie pick analysis from about 3 months ago. Excellent article to look up.

Cato
Reply to  VoiceofUnreason
10 years ago

Yeah, I’m not sure the team has been advanced. tbh

Eric
10 years ago

I just don’t get the argument that somehow a stud WR becomes worth a a bag of beans because its a 32 team league. The fact that the best competing offer you could get was even worse doesn’t set “Market Value” it only indicates that these other owners were attacking the new guy and convincing him his best players are worth a bag of beans.

In a 64 team league Fitz is still Fitz.

According to your theory the Nicks owner should fall all over himself to accept if you offer him the 1.09 and 1.14, why don’t you try it?

Dan
Reply to  Eric
10 years ago

I totally agree with everyone on this trade. You got killed in the fitz trade. You gave a top 3 Wr in dynasty for two flips of the roulette wheel. Would you trade Fitz for Ben tate and Dexter Mccluster(2010)? Would you trade Fitz for baldwin and helu(2011)? Or Golden Tate and Dwyer(2010)? These were the number 9 and 14th picks in my two leagues that i could find. I am not saying that you will not do your research and get better players. And i am not saying that tate cant be good or helu or baldwin. If that was that was market value for fitz at the time you should have pasted. But i do hope it works out and you find two gems, but the draft can be unforgiving.

10 years ago

For all that work, I think your team became worse. Your main area of strength (wr) became a weakness, and I believe it’s a HUGE dropoff from either Mike Wallace/Fitz to Vincent Jackson.

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