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Dynasty 101: Maximizing Value on Your Dynasty Roster

We’ve all seen the perfect rosters posted on forums that look like they’re from a four team league, but realistically you won’t be able to fill every roster slot with stars. If you can, that’s great, but there was likely either a lot of luck involved or you may want to look for a more competitive league.

What you can do is mine for talent, either in the deeper rounds of your startup draft or by making cheap trades to build the end of your roster. Every roster spot on your dynasty team serves a purpose, whether it’s a prospect you expect to start for you within two years (Greg Little comes to mind) or a solid bye week filler (Malcom Floyd). Understanding this and putting it to good use goes a long way to making you a competitor. Instead of holding Rex Grossman or Brian Robiskie, look for ways to maximize those roster spots. This article is meant to outline a few strategies that can be used to solidify the depth on your roster.

1.) Don’t Overspend on your QB2

Let me say right off the bat these are things I do and aren’t necessarily right or wrong. In a fantasy sense, I’m typically one of the cheapest people in my leagues, and when it comes to QB2, I’m not willing to overpay for a guy I hope will only see the field once a year when my QB1 is on bye.

Sure, because I’m so cheap, I currently have six leagues where I don’t have a QB2, but I have all offseason to find a decent deal to back up my starter. Because of supply and demand, I should be able to find a cheap quarterback by the end of this summer. After all, whoever I acquire him from won’t have any need for him because they probably have 3-4 starting quarterbacks on their roster.

If I was drafting an ideal roster for myself, I would draft an elite quarterback. I’m cheap, so it probably wouldn’t be Aaron Rodgers, but more like someone a few slots below like Matt Stafford. I’d back him up with a cheap QB2 who I like, and have a third developing quarterback waiting in the wings. I’d love for the third quarterback to be a young projected starter such as Christian Ponder or Ryan Tannehill, but if that’s too expensive, I’m fine with someone like Ryan Mallett or Brian Hoyer.

Here’s an example of a trade I made to acquire what I see as a nice QB2:

Gave: 2013 2nd, 2013 3rd
Received: Carson Palmer, QB OAK

Ryan Fitzpatrick and Palmer are a couple of my favorite players as QB2’s. Both may be acquired for a second round pick, but are capable of putting up QB1 numbers. I actually won a championship last year in one league with Fitzpatrick as my starting quarterback, so you never know.

Carson Palmer isn’t going to blow anyone away, but after a full offseason of practice he’ll put up decent numbers and has nice job security, plus he’s often a cheap buy.

While Fitzpatrick has slumped in the second half of the season for two years in a row, it is swept under the rug that he put up QB1 numbers for the first half of those seasons and reportedly played with four cracked ribs that he suffered in Week Eight of 2011. He’s capable of putting up good numbers as long as he is in Chan Gailey’s system and his big contract ensures he’ll stick around in Buffalo.

The advantage of buying a cheap QB2 is that you keep more of your assets (picks and players), but still get the benefit of having decent depth at quarterback. Palmer and Fitzpatrick aren’t exactly sexy players to own, but they provide security behind your starter and are easier to acquire than a more highly regarded quarterback that others may roster as a QB2 such as Jay Cutler.

2.) Emphasize Depth and Upside at WR

I play in mostly deeper leagues so this may not be as true for smaller leagues, but it is much easier to find wide receiver talent either through the end of your start up draft or on the waiver wire. Only one or possibly two running backs per NFL team are usually valuable in fantasy, but it is not out of the ordinary to have three wide receivers on an NFL team who can start for a team depending on injuries and situation.

Unless I am rebuilding, I’m not one to throw running backs at the wall until one hits. I do feel that way about receivers, though. Behind my starters at receiver, I want the following mix of receivers:

1.) Ones who aren’t quite starter quality, but may post a 100-yard game on occasion.

2.) Ones who may offer little long-term upside, but can cover my byes

3.) Ones who may or may not produce, but are in a situation that presents an opportunity in which they may develop into a future starter.

This strategy is most easily accomplished by following it throughout the startup draft. Even if you follow the strategy of going running back early, once you are set with a solid running back stable, turn your attention to drafting a deep set of wide receivers. If you find the right mix of running backs (six or seven running backs should be plenty), you can focus on drafting a well-rounded wide receiver corps.

Here are a few guys I would consider great depth to have when building your wide receivers:

Pierre Garcon, WR WAS

I know he’s drafted fairly early in startups, but there are some people who will sell him for pennies even now. I wouldn’t pay much for him since we’re talking about him as depth, but if you find an owner looking to unload him, pounce.

Titus Young, WR DET

According to PFF’s early dynasty ADP, he is coming in at WR39. Young is in a perfect situation to put up good numbers, and should come on strong after a full offseason. WR39 is a small price to pay for his potential. Young’s ADP may fall even further after the Lions drafted Ryan Broyles, but I don’t expect Broyles to hurt Young’s value.

Brandon LaFell, WR CAR

Carolina drafted a wide receiver in Joe Adams. His value takes a hit, but he still remains a big bodied receiver who has shown nice potential. LaFell can be drafted late or added via trade for a mid-round draft pick and offers much greater upside than players drafted around his ADP.

Malcom Floyd, WR SD

Floyd is one of those veterans I was talking about who can put up a good game from time to time. You can count on him missing a few games, but when your starting wide receiver’s bye week comes around, hopefully he will be there to help you out.

Nate Burleson, WR DET

Burleson represents more veteran depth that can fill in for you if you’re in a bind. The best thing to do would be to pair Young and Burleson together. Young will be a better player to have in the future, but for 2012, Burleson may be the guy who helps get you through the bye weeks. Burleson’s role may be muddied by the Lions’ pick of Ryan Broyles and Young’s continued emergence, but he may still be a nice bye-week filler in 2012. That status is up in the air for now, but if you can get him for cheap he may get you out of a bind.

3.) Push Draft Picks Into the Future

If you’re like me, you never quite know what to do with those mid-second round picks in rookie drafts. It’s usually a toss-up between players there, and that range is a nice place to go get “your guys,” but it’s like throwing darts, even if you have a good feeling about a player. If you’re on the clock and not sure what to do, shop your pick around for a future first.

Don’t get me wrong, you can land a great player in that second round range, but a first round pick will give you a better chance. I landed Cam Newton in one league last year in the mid-second, but I wouldn’t count on that happening very often. If you want to turn those seconds into firsts, look around your league and find a team that doesn’t quite have the promising outlook that I’m sure yours does. One way to find your targets is to find about four teams you expect to have a hard time making the playoffs in the upcoming season. Look at their starting lineups as well as their depth.

Find your target teams and start out by offering your current year’s second for their next year’s first and a later round pick this year. Even if you end up selecting a team that makes the playoffs, the difference between 2.5 and 1.9 or another late first will usually come out in your favor. Even if you end up only gaining a few spots and have given up a year of production from your second round pick, the chances of that second becoming worth anything of value are much less than hitting on a first round pick, so all is not lost.

Editor’s Note: Chase Wheetley can be found on Twitter @Chase_Wheetley.

42 Comments
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Servo26
10 years ago

Love these articles, gives me a lot of good info to continue to build my Dynasty team. Great job.

Sensei John Kreese
10 years ago

I have Austin Collie at roughly 4 percent of my salary cap. Do you think there is a possibility that he will be startable this year?

My team-12 team ppr with IDP

Cam Newton
Jake Locker
Matt Flynn

Mike Wallace
Greg Little
Torrey Smith
Austin Collie
AJ Green

Roy Helu
Darren Sproles
Chris Johnson
Javon Ringer
Jon Stewart

TE

Jared Cook
Brent Celek
Kyle Rudolph

I have Cam, AJ Green, Mike Wallace, Darren Sproles (ppr with return yardage), CJ1k and Jared Cook penciled in as starters. Need one more. Can i win a league with by starting a Greg Little, Torrey Smith, Collie, Roy Helu or Jon Stewart committee?

Sensei John Kreese
Reply to  Sensei John Kreese
10 years ago

Sorry, i know that was really two questions.

Stoney Curtis
Reply to  Sensei John Kreese
9 years ago

Yes you can win…by playing match ups. Play Torrey Smith against his bad secondary match ups. He could blow up with fantasy points, in these games. Greg Little plays better in home games, and he is their #1 option. Helu will be your normal flex stater, and he could be a very good one, too (until Shannahan pulls his multi-back crap). Concerning Jon Stewart, worst case scenario you have a #1 back next season (still can’t believe he wasn’t traded to the Steelers, this offseason).
So can you win? Yes you can…but it’s up to your weekly G.M. magic. Go get ’em tiger!

Sensei John Kreese
Reply to  Stoney Curtis
9 years ago

Thanks Stoney…Can’t say that name without thinking of the Pauly Shore masterpiece, Encino Man.

Glad someone could take 15 seconds out of their day to answer the one question I have ever asked. 🙂

Admin
Reply to  Sensei John Kreese
9 years ago

John,

Yeah, I think Collie can be startable this year, either in your flex or possibly WR2 if he gels with Luck. I’m pretty high on Stewart, even as early as this year, so I think that group gives you a great chance to compete.

The frustrating thing for you might be deciding on which guy, which week, but you have the talent. Don’t be afraid to make a 2for-1 deal to lock down an every week starter if the opportunity presents itself.

Ryan
10 years ago

I was just offered Gronk for V.Davis and #7, thoughts?!?!

My roster (10 team PPR – QB,RB,RB,WR/RB,WR,WR,TE/WR,TE,D,K):

QB1 – Brady
bench – E.Manning

RB1 – MJD
RB2 – Sproles
bench – Tate, F.Jones, B.Jacobs, M.Hardesty, R.Williams, D.Lewis

WR1 – R.White
WR2 – W.Welker
bench – R.Wayne, G.Little, D.Nelson, D.Driver, D.Hester

TE1 – V.Davis
bench – K.Rudolf, H.Miller, S.Chandler

D1 – Packers
bench – Cowboys, Jets, Falcons

K1 – Akers
bench – Crosby

I’ve got the #7 and #17 pick in the upcoming draft.

I was just offered Gronk for V.Davis and #7, thoughts?!?!

Boomer
Reply to  Ryan
10 years ago

Take the deal. Pick 7 isn’t a premium pick and you’re getting better and younger with that trade. A lot of your starters are older so you might want the better player to help you now.

Sensei John Kreese
Reply to  Boomer
10 years ago

Agreed. Take the deal.

Ryan
Reply to  Boomer
9 years ago

I think I am going to try to counter with V.Davis, #7, and #17 for Gronk and the #12

Aaron
Reply to  Ryan
9 years ago

So I was just writing that you would be foolish to trade away Gronk for an inconsistent Davis and a crapshoot pick…then I re-read the deal where you were the one selling Davis!!

I would take the deal and quickly before the owner wises up…

Stoney Curtis
Reply to  Ryan
9 years ago

Let me get this straight. Someone in your league wants to trade you “Rob” Gronkowski(?). You have obviously chosen your league-mates wisely!

Road Warrior
9 years ago

Solid read Chase, and I couldn’t agree with this strategy more. I’ve been high on both Fitz and Palmer as QB2’s in my dyno startups. They are pretty much forgotten, but should your #1 go down for a period of time, can step in. Best case you only play them one game.

I’ve always tried to load depth at running back. Had the good fortune (I think) of taking Tim Hightower late in almost all my drafts (20th round or later). It’s guys like this that many forget about who can seriously pay off.

That said, great article!

CaptiveAssasin
Reply to  Road Warrior
9 years ago

I dont know about hightower any more. If the acl tear never happened then i could see it. I think helu is much more talented and even if carries are shared i just dont see hightower getting enough of the pie, without a rash of injuries, to give you start worthy games.

Reply to  CaptiveAssasin
9 years ago

Agreed. I just drafted Fitzpatrick as my QB2, along with Russel Wilson as my developmental QB, both behind Josh Freeman. I’m banking on a rebound.

Melish1631
9 years ago

Good article Chase…interesting take on QB2! I see teams hording QB’s, just suprises me because, other than the top producers, they typically don’t net you equal value in trades unless you are in 2 QB or 16 team leagues!

Reply to  Melish1631
9 years ago

In a startup draft I’m in, one team took 3 QBs in their first 7 picks. Don’t get it.

dannyboyroto
Reply to  Coleman Kelly
9 years ago

its called cockblocking. you’ll understand when someone goes down and he hold some shlub over the coals for one of his qb’s. happens alot in deep leagues

Admin
Reply to  Melish1631
9 years ago

I agree, sometimes it’s tough when the QB position is de-valued based on league size. On the flip side, it makes it easy to secure your QB2 for your own team.

Sam
9 years ago

How do short rosters (18 players) effect this thought process? Do you still emphasis depth and upside at WRs? Or more balanced through out roster?

On one team I have Fitz, Green, Nicks, VJax, and Cobb with only McCoy and RBush at RBs. We only start 2 wrs. Trying to upgrade Bush, but owners either don’t want to trade (scarcity at position) or overprice them.

Stoney Curtis
Reply to  Sam
9 years ago

Normally in short roster leagues you can find good WR’s on the waiver wire. But, in looking at your WR’s you have little worries at the position. At RB try finding some upside within available Free Agent’s at the position (trading for RB’s is difficult; teams can be nasty with counter offers). Evan Royster, Vick Ballard, & Shane Veeren might get opportunities. Lamar Miller makes alot of sense as a handcuff to Reggie Bush, as well.

d.w. Ruud
9 years ago

What roster and league size are you using to base your position #s?

Lyin' Lions
9 years ago

Not spending a lot on your backup QB is fine until/unless your primary QB gets hurt. With NFL teams throwing more, now you are stuck with a second rate substitute.

Reply to  Lyin' Lions
9 years ago

i always find qbs2 that have good wrs to throw to that get overlooked as #1s……kolb from arizona is perfect. he’ll come cheap and with those wrs? who knows. if you get a top teir guy like say brees, you’ll pay a premium $. you have to find the right mix of qb talent/ vs wr talent. my 2nd qb is always more about the wr. talent he possesses and that has worked well for me. palmer is a great one too, with all those young wrs with a great rb to take off the heat. matt ryan will start to draw to much attention for #1 now, but rivers will take a dive this year! cutler will be considered a #2, but he could be a cheap #1 with alot of wr talent??? andy dalton—-josh freeman—-alex smith???? look at their wrs. and then ask how much will they bring? there’s your answer to getting stuck with a subpar #2 qb…..they could end up better then your starter? do your home work man

Aaron
9 years ago

I am a Rodgers owner who has happily backed him up with Fitz for this upcoming season…great article…and I totally agree that it is easier to scout/cultivate WR’s then RB’s…I recently just traded my depth receivers and through a series of deals I was able to get L. McCoy, now I just have to repeat the process!!

StevieMo
9 years ago

Every now and then I just have to say that this is a phenomenal site.

Admin
Reply to  StevieMo
9 years ago

…and every now and then we say thanks.

9 years ago

this i have to say was one of the “meat and potatoes” articles of dynasty football. there are ways to draft and win…..and then there are ways to maintain that continual winning edge. this article hits it. i read this and said man this guy does it like me. and that made me feel good about my strategy as well. good read and very informative.

Admin
Reply to  bigD
9 years ago

I’ll say ‘thanks’ on behalf of Chase. Really appreciate your kind words.

Stoney Curtis
9 years ago

Concerning cheap #2 QB’s…Alex Smith is a cheap #2 (yes, some would say a #3). But, the 49ers have upgraded his weapons, and he still has a good O-Line, as well as, a great Def to help him play most of his games with a lead, or in good field position. The point is he can be had cheap cheap, and be as good if not better than his crosstown rival Carson Palmer. David Akers might even get to rest his foot, this season. (better advice for yearly leagues)

Rob
9 years ago

Is Terrelle Pryor worth rostering? I am in a 20 team league with about 10 bench spots.

Also what is everyone’s views on Nick Fairly? Will he put up good numbers this year or ever be a top DT?

Admin
Reply to  Rob
9 years ago

Assuming you start 9, that would make about 380 rostered players. If those numbers are correct, I’d say Pryor is worth rostering, but just barely.

I think Fairly is a decent DT if you have to start one. If you just start DL in general, then there are tons of better options out there.

Reply to  Rob
9 years ago

pryor is a work in progress. could be the next cam newton, or maybe jamarcus russell????? they did sign linert last week as a backup so that says that oaklqnd is not ready for pryor to step into the backup role or #2 just yet. i would’nt waste the spot on him this year, but wait till the end of the year, see how linert does there, and maybe stash him for 2013?

Jesse
9 years ago

Do people seriously trade a future 1st for mid 2nds? ::boggle::

Reply to  Jesse
9 years ago

i’m not sure i read that anywhere in this article or posted anywhere???? anyway, no i would’nt.

Alan Bauerle
9 years ago

Ok I was offered the 1.2 and the 1.7 for Antonio Brown the 1.5 the 2.2 and a first rounder next year. The 1.1 will belong to a new owner this year and he has Rothlesberger as his starting qb. My roster is as follows 1ppr Dynasty
Schaub,Hassleback,Tebow,Kaepernick
Bradshaw,Stewart,Ridley,Powell,B Scott
Wallace,A Brown,DHB,Doug Baldwin,R Barden,D Branch
Pettigrew, Cook
Nugent
Jets D

Thanks any imput greatly appreciated

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