Winning in dynasty is all about identifying and acquiring undervalued assets. Usually, we think of individual players as undervalued. But sometimes there are undervalued groups — maybe veteran wide receivers or running backs on a certain offense — but it’s not easy to identify which particular player is the bargain. I’ve seen a couple types of undervalued groups in the 2016 off-season, so I created plans to exploit them.
The “Fake Punt”
[am4show have=’g1;’ guest_error=’sub_message’ user_error=’sub_message’ ]
I look at dynasty in a one-year* window. So when I acquire a player, I’m thinking of just two factors: this season’s production and next offseason’s trade price. In 2016 startups, I think folks are overvaluing production early and undervaluing it later in drafts.
So I’ll do the opposite. That means I’m trying to load up on youngsters and 2017 picks in the first six or seven rounds and then draft a contending team from the seventh or eighth round onward. In particular, I like Kevin White (29), Laquon Treadwell (32), Corey Coleman (37), Sterling Shepard (53), and Ameer Abdullah (72) at their current ADP. Where one of those players doesn’t fall to me, I’m looking to trade out of the draft for a 2017 1st. Failing that, I’ll move back to the later rounds to try to land 2016 producers.
Once we’re past the first third of the draft, likely 2016 producers become bargains. Michael Crabtree (83), Marvin Jones (93), Charles Sims (108), Ryan Mathews (114), Danny Woodhead (117), Drew Brees (127), Tom Brady (130), Justin Forsett (166), Antonio Gates (178), Mike Wallace (188), Zach Miller (194), Rashad Jennings (205), and LeGarrette Blount (233) are all guys I’m looking to acquire in this range.
To be sure, you’re foregoing late round fliers like Keyarris Garrett and Tyler Ervin using this approach. But the time to acquire those players is in October. Many of your cheap veterans will be underperforming. Don’t hesitate to cut them and acquire the rookies dropped by impatient owners. Better yet, if everything clicks and your youngsters are producing early, you can trade some of your veterans for future picks and make room for upside on your bench.
* * *
Thanks to DFS, “stacking” is now a household term. I first learned about it 2013, when DLF forum member sloth8u recommended stacking the Broncos offense as a risky way for a bad team to compete. That turned out to be great advice. In 2015, I recommended stacking as a tactic for bad teams trying to win the fantasy playoffs. If you took my advice and stacked Matt Stafford and Golden Tate[i] you may be reading this with a championship trophy sitting on your desk — better yet, one that you don’t really deserve.
The idea is simple: you target underpriced offenses and acquire as many pieces as you can. If you’re right and the offense outperforms expectations, you benefit. And when the offense hits in a single week, you can beat any team in the league. This approach works in established leagues as well as startups.
Pittsburgh Steelers — great deal if you can get it
Antonio Brown: 2 (2)
Ben Roethlisberger: 98 (76)
Ladarius Green: 104 (83)
Martavis Bryant: 106 (73)
Sammie Coates: 119 (93)
Markus Wheaton: 123 (103)
You’ll notice I omitted Le’Veon Bell from this group. In a startup, it’s too expensive to trade up to ensure both Bell and Brown on your roster. Plus, I’m not a big fan of Bell at his current price. The rest of the Steelers, however, can usually be acquired at reasonable prices. Martavis’s 2016 suspension and Green’s acquisition created major uncertainty around the receiving corps. Take advantage of that uncertainty by grabbing Green, Coates, and Wheaton. Roethlisberger and Brown will get theirs, and at least one of the secondary options should be a viable starter.
Full disclosure, I tried a Steelers stack in a recent startup and failed. Roethlisberger (78) went far earlier than I expected, so I did not pursue the other options aggressively. I did end up with Brown (4) and Coates (107). As DLF’s mock draft data indicates, folks “reach” on Steelers — especially Bryant and Roethlisberger — more than on other players. No draft strategy is worth reaching on a player unless you think he’s way undervalued.
New England Patriots — suspension special
Rob Gronkowski: 10 (6)
Julian Edelman: 50 (42)
Dion Lewis: 67 (56)
Tom Brady: 130 (115)
Malcolm Mitchell: 154 (114)
Chris Hogan: 179 (163)
With Brady’s four-game suspension upheld by a federal appeals court, I don’t expect these prices to rise much between now and September. The Patriots ranked in the top 10 in passing yards every season from 2011 to 2015. Basically every receiving threat on the team comes with an “injury prone” label that drives down their individual prices. By acquiring them all, you position yourself to benefit from most injuries, though losing Brady would torpedo your season.
Baltimore Ravens — desperation play
Breshad Perriman: 46 (37)
Kenneth Dixon: 80 (61)
Javorius Allen: 141 (129)
Kamar Aiken: 151 (128)
Maxx Williams: 142 (124)
Justin Forsett: 166 (156)
Steve Smith: 180 (162)
Mike Wallace: 188 (177)
Joe Flacco: 191 (156)
Chris Moore: Undrafted
This one’s not for the faint of heart. But if you’re taking over an orphan team and want to at least try to compete in 2016, the Ravens are the best option in your price range. Or, if you’re doing a startup, you can draft normally throughout most of the draft (though be sure to grab Perriman in the fourth) and then start scooping up Ravens in the double-digit rounds. You probably don’t want to roster all these guys, even on a bad team. Target your favorite running back or two, plus Flacco, Perriman, Wallace, and Moore (in deeper leagues).
Under new offensive coordinator Mark Trestman, the Ravens led the NFL in passing attempts in 2015! Alas, with Perriman and Smith combining for seven games played, the Ravens were also bottom-five in adjusted yards per attempt. Smith’s return to health is questionable, but Perriman and Wallace bring much-needed speed to the offense.
[i] Stafford averaged 267.7 yards and 2.3 TDs, and Tate averaged 19.8 PPR points per game in weeks 14 to 16 of 2015.