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Objective Roster Evaluations

cecilshorts

One of the hardest things for any dynasty owner to do is take a long look at their own roster(s) and have an objective approach when evaluating their own teams.  However, it’s also one of the most important qualities a dynasty owner can possess.  In this article, I’m going to focus on how to properly evaluate your team(s) and when to stay content knowing you’re going to be an unstoppable rebel force within 2-3 years.

First things first – it’s ok if you’ve evaluated your team(s) without rose colored glasses on and determined you’re not a contender.  As a matter of fact, the sooner you realize you’re not a contender, the sooner you can start making sure you will be in 2-3 years.  There are always 4-6 teams that are not going to make the playoffs.  It’s not the end of the world if you’re one of them for a year or two.

One of the most important things a non-contender can do is identify the players on their roster who are expendable due to the fact that by the time your team is relevant, these older players are almost done.  So, if you own players like Andre Johnson, Roddy White, Maurice Jones-Drew, Arian Foster and Steven Jackson, the chances of them playing at a high level (or even in the league at all) by the time your team is a contender, is highly unlikely.

The way I see it, you have two choices.

You can either trade those players now to a team you think is trying to buy a championship this year.  Or, you can wait until the season starts and target teams that are either at or below .500 that consider themselves a contender.  Either way you look at it, the players I mentioned above only have a year or two left of significant fantasy value.  At the same time, they still command a pretty penny on the open trade market.  You’d be surprised what a struggling team is willing to give up in order to make a push for the playoffs.  It’s almost like fishing with dynamite sometimes.

When trading aging vets to contending teams, there are only two things you should be looking for in return – premium rookie draft picks and players you believe have tremendous upside, yet are still relatively unproven.  You have to take calculated risks on talented players whose situations are likely to clear up within a certain timeframe.  Players such as Rueben Randle, Michael Floyd, Cecil Shorts, Ben Tate and Bernard Pierce are a few of my personal favorite targets.

You have to have enough foresight to know Blaine Gabbert and Chad Henne are not going to be the signal callers in Jacksonville in the near future.  Even with two awful quarterbacks chucking him the rock, Shorts still finished the 2012 season as the WR24 – that makes him a low end WR2 with a ton of upside.  However, because his quarterback situation is so terrible, he’s being drafted as a fringe WR4 in startup drafts.  Or that Ray Rice isn’t getting any younger and Pierce looked more than capable of filling in for him admirably if and when his time comes.  Situation is temporary, but talent always endures.

The second part of evaluating your roster consists of identifying what players you currently roster who are going to be impact players in 2-3 years.  Once you’ve done that, patience is of the utmost importance.  Not every rookie comes in and produces fantasy worthy statistics in their first or even second year.

Take C.J. Spiller for example.  In 2010, dynasty owners spent a top three rookie pick on him, but how many had the patience to let him develop on the back end of their rosters into the stud he is now?  You should’ve known he wasn’t going to immediately be handed the reigns.  When Buffalo drafted him they already had Marshawn Lynch and Fred Jackson on their roster.  Conventional wisdom should tell you it was going to take a year or two before Spiller got his shot.  He should’ve been drafted with that in mind.  Otherwise, it’s a classic case of a need for instant gratification.

The third part is going to sound unconventional to some, but let me explain.

Most dynasty owners evaluate their entire roster and judge whether or not it will be competitive in a three year window.  That’s the norm and I’m not an advocate of it at all.  I do think three year windows are important, but on a player-by-player basis.  If you own Trent Richardson, A.J. Green, Jimmy Graham and Andrew Luck, are you really going to tell me that team only has a three year window in which to be competitive?  Those players (barring health) have 5-8 year windows and in Luck’s case a lot more, so I sure hope not.

I also use three year windows to identify when player values are about to drop significantly.  Matt Forte is a prime example of this.  He’s going to be 30 in a three year window and could be out of the league in two years.  You just never know.  I can’t believe how many brilliant fantasy football minds are predicting running backs to be productive into their late 20’s, early 30’s.  Don’t get caught up in that trap.  Running backs that achieve this feat are anomalies, not the norm.

If it’s been a while since you’ve done an all out roster evaluation, now is the time.  The season is rapidly approaching us and I’d hate for you to go into this season with unrealistic expectations.  Just take a long, honest look in the mirror and for once, make sure you’re looking objectively.  If you do and at the same time remember dynasty league are marathons and not all out sprints, you’ll be holding trophies before you know it.  In the long run that’s what this game is all about.

Follow me on Twitter @harahduh2

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NL247
9 years ago

I learned the hard lesson on Spiller. Patience is a must.

Mercenaries
Reply to  NL247
9 years ago

I had Spiller a few years back….traded him for Ryan Matthews…(sigh)…hindsight…

MIKE
Reply to  Mercenaries
9 years ago

I drafted him and held on to him. Fred Jackson ruined many a Sunday but it appears my patience has prevailed.

Jim
Reply to  MIKE
9 years ago

Same here. Came close many times to putting him on the block but didn’t. Now, hopefully 2013 will reward me.

Vince
Reply to  Jim
9 years ago

I drafted him in the 2nd round of a start up three years ago and just held him. After I figured out he wouldn’t start, I made a deal for Fred Jackson and stashed Spiller. Crossing my fingers it will pay off for years to come.

BigD
Reply to  Mercenaries
9 years ago

i can see your trade a few years back looked great. i drafted mathews and then at the start of last year traded mathews/welker for spiller/m.austin. at the time it looked like i gave too much? then it looked like i suckered him. well, time works things out. mathews will get one more shot with a new regime, welker is in denver with manning(enough said)…..spiller is a top 10 pick, and austin has bad hammies? so you just have to wait on trades over time? this year will be the tester. trade success also has alot to do with whoever you have on your roster as depth. calvin is my #1 wr. decker was my #2. would i have wanted both welker and decker? i probably would have moved one of them at the beginning of this season? again time changes everything and it can bring on a championship or take one away in just one offseason.

sixshooter
Reply to  BigD
9 years ago

Very good point with having two receivers from the same team! I went through the season with DeMaryius Thomas and Eric Decker last year and often started both with great success but as soon as the season ended…..I started shopping and unloaded Decker as I felt it was not only a sell high time but also I did not want to go into a season with 2 WR’s in a 3 headed monster with the arrival of Welker.

With that said, I would have to say that your trade is pretty even today with Welker’s numbers likely to be impacted, Matthew’s production in question and Spiller getting alot of attention from fantasy owners! Not sure what to think of Miles Austin this year! One would think he is due for a decent year again but who knows……he definitely gets the targets!

Marco
9 years ago

Hey Doug. I like you, believe in building towards the future when you know you don’t have a champion contending squad. How to evaluate trade value for rookie picks when shopping vets. For example, I have Gore in one league. What would be a fair value pick wise. Do I ask for a 1st, 2nd? How do you make this evaluation?

Doug Veatch
Reply to  Marco
9 years ago

Clever marketing of a player is always a good start. You have to identify teams in the league that are going to be very competitive but maybe have a weakness at RB2/3. Those are the teams that are going to give you the most value in return. So, since Gore is obviously a declining asset, I’d be looking for pieces that are trending upward. What I like to do is check out DLF’s ADP, and identify what players are drafted around 30-40 spots below Gore, pick a few of your favorite players and send offers out to the owner that owns each of them. From there, if you get interest, you have to negotiate hard and get whatever you feel is fair market value at the time. If you need someone to review your trade offers, you can follow me on Twitter @harahduh2. I evaluate an obscene amount of trades for people on a daily basis. I’d be more than happy to help you out as well.

BigD
Reply to  Doug Veatch
9 years ago

doug my man, you are i trading machine. i love this stuff…..wow

sixshooter
Reply to  Doug Veatch
9 years ago

Great advice Doug……I touched on the “finding the right team to trade with” concept in a reply to the Steven Jackson comment below. Jackson and Gore are very much the same when it comes to fantasy relevance right now. They are both older players reaching that age 30 mark this year, both are on playoff teams with a young 23 yr old back chomping at the bit behind them! Very tough players to put a price on…..it just comes down to targeting the right team!

BigD
Reply to  Marco
9 years ago

i would definitly try to move gore sometime this season. i’d wait till about week 4 or so. give him time to take off some. he’ll play hard to start the season and probably post some good #’s? but as usual he will get dinged up at some point so you’ll want to trade him before then when his value is peak. if he starts off super hot you might get a first? but i doubt it. i’d shoot for a early 2nd and an up and coming young guy?

BigD
Reply to  BigD
9 years ago

also i guarantee that lattimore is the star rb next season for 9ers

chad
9 years ago

I have larry fitzgerald, what should I do with him. I was thinking about trading him at the end of the 2013 season after he posts some good numbers in Arians offense. Would trade him now but his value is low after last seasons numbers. Would love to get rid of him for a draft pick and get Lee from USC. Any ideas out there what to do with fitz? Thanks

Doug Veatch
Reply to  chad
9 years ago

The best thing to do with Fitz is hold him, wait until he posts a couple “Fitz like” weeks and flip him. With consistent play his value can’t go anywhere but up. You just have to be patient enough to wait it out and cash in when the opportunity arises.

BigD
Reply to  Doug Veatch
9 years ago

i like the idea of cashing in on fitz, but….i think he has 2 maybe 3 more good years left in his tank? and with the addition of arians offense and palmer chuckin them, who knows? he could get back to that top 5-10 range and you may want to hold him for a year or 2? personally i would wait it out, but thats cause i love fitz. talent wise i rate him right behind calvin dez and aj.

Ariakis
9 years ago

Who are more trade targets if you are going to dump an aging player? Alternatively, any more win now guys that may be had at value? Anyone with strong value you think should be moved asap even if you are a contender?

BigD
Reply to  Ariakis
9 years ago

the trick is always try to guess it right….gore is a great example. look at how the 49ers are stockpiling rbs behind him as doug has commented about. but fitz might not be a good trade now guy because look how the cardnials are building everything around him to get the most of his 1-2-3 years of peak left. i for one, would hang on to fitz for that reason. you have to look at the team, their drafts and signings and then determine if their stars will be a huge part of that going into the next couple of years, or are they being slowly replaced and phased out. if it is the 2nd factor then it is time to dump them when they are at their remaining peak themselves.

invisibulman
Reply to  Ariakis
9 years ago

I’m at opposite ends of this in two different leagues…

My title contender is working on acquiring Roddy White and Frank Gore. Parting with draft picks left and right, trading away Crabtree, Mark Ingram, Kenny Britt…

My rebuild traded away Steve Smith, DWill, JStew and has brought in: Lattimore, Tate, Lamar Miller (before his value exploded), Pierce, Floyd.

Other guys I have looked at:
Contender: Reggie Wayne, Andre Johnson, Steven Jackson, Chris Johnson

Rebuild: Christine Michael, Alshon Jeffrey, Kendall Wright, Mark Ingram

John
9 years ago

I’m holding on to Jon Baldwin and Vincent Brown with the hopes of them popping but it’s a hard struggle at times, especially Baldwin.

I have Steven Jackson in another league and not sure what’s fair value at this moment. Had a couple of nibbles but not enough to part ways just yet. Would Josh Gordon be a good example to target with a Jackson trade?

BigD
9 years ago

in mock drafts he’s going early/mid second round. gordon is going late 6th/7th.i think you can get more for sjax. he’s a starting rb for a playoff/superbowl contender. he’s a low #1/high #2 rb vs a #3 wr? no way i’d do that. if you got gordon and another rb or say a second round rookie pick with gordon???? just my opinion, but a starting rb still draws alot.

sixshooter
Reply to  BigD
9 years ago

Yup, I agree. Steven Jackson is a tough guy to trade right now but not impossible. Just don’t give him away though. But then again, if your team is in a serious rebuild, you almost have to take what you can get!

I did this immediately after acquiring a Dynasty team that was run into the ground. I had to start selling guys like Chad Johnson, Ricky Williams, Carson Palmer and Derick Mason for whatever I could get and don’t regret one single transaction!

When selling a player like Steven Jackson, you have to target the right team that feels they are one player away from winning the Championship and that player is a running back or flex spot! If you find that team, then I would have to guess they would have a hard time passing on Jackson!

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