In this series, I give you an inside look at all of my teams, their history and my plans for the future. I’d like to provide some insight into struggles I’ve faced, and reveal weekly thoughts and feelings on anything and everything football. Join me as I succeed or crash and burn. For more information on the leagues, check out the introduction or any previous post. If there is anything more you’d like to see or any questions you have, please let me know in the comments section.
It is with great pleasure I’m bringing you the first 2017 in-season edition of dynasty diaries, a series in which I share my results, processes and various thoughts from the world of dynasty football. After week one, there are simply so many points to touch on, so let’s get to it, beginning with a round up of the results.
I got away with one here, winning by three points, but I have serious running back problems. After trading for Ameer Abdullah and Kenneth Dixon in the summer, Dixon headed to the injured reserve. After trying my best to ship Spencer Ware all off-season, I lost him to injury in preseason week three.
The starters were Abdullah and Tevin Coleman, and with only Matt Forte, Alvin Kamara, Charcandrick West and Robert Turbin behind them – what do I do next? It begins with winning Kerwynn Williams on the waiver wire, but I’ll have to make a move. Losing Allen Robinson hurts as well, but that’s exactly why my wide receiver group is deep.
They told me I was crazy for trading Jarvis Landry and a second round pick for Stefon Diggs this off-season, but Diggs went some way to proving his value with a stunning week one performance. Here’s the process of the trade: I offered Landry for Diggs, he declined. I offered Landry and a third, he declined. I wanted to make Diggs mine, so offered Landry and a second. In a 16-team league, on a team I feel is a strong one, that pick may be in the high 20s, and I felt strongly about the Viking – “get your guys”.
Groundhog’s has been by far my most active league since taking over a dispersal team. Here’s the difference between now and then.
Only five players remain from the original team, and I’ve made a ton of moves to make this team competitive. It felt great to kick off the year with the highest point total in week one, but we’ve still got work to do!
My favorite league and probably favorite team kicked off with a couple of double-header wins. Even with Jay Ajayi absent, I was able to put together a big score. There are still concerns at tight end, but I’m hoping for a huge year from this squad.
In my bold startup strategy this summer over going all-in for a strong starting lineup, I neglected the depth in this squad. Unfortunately, that starting lineup I went for included both Andrew Luck, Odell Beckham Jr. and DeSean Jackson, all of whom missed week one. I also made a major misjudgement by leaving Beckham in and didn’t see fit to swap him out for one of the other two options – Duke Johnson or Nelson Agholor. Of course, Agholor would have added 20 points to my total, but thankfully it didn’t make a difference in the game I lost.
I’m already learning lessons about the strategy of building a total win-now team – depth can be lost.
React, But Don’t Overreact
It’s a long season. When you’re playing in a dynasty league, you’re not just in a long season – it’s much more than that. So treat the waiver wire with a long-term view. Unless a player is going to immediately jump into your team or provide short-term value, don’t drop one of your projects from Kerwynn Williams or Buck Allen. In a few weeks, will you regret it?
It’s best to take into account a more long-term past, and think about which players are on the up. Rather than blowing your budget on a short-term hit, can you make a trade for both a win-now and future asset? Who are some of these players with rising value? One place we’ve been able to find value is in the preseason – some of the narratives came true, while some have yet to be determined. Let’s explore them.
Reflecting on the Preseason Narratives
I do tend to go on about it – see last year’s preseason piece and this year’s look back at last year’s preseason piece – but I believe the preseason can be hugely telling in what to expect when the regular season hits. This season, I watched every “dress rehearsal game”, and also posed this question to Twitter to determine what we as a dynasty community saw in the exhibition games:
Planning to put together an article about the biggest dynasty narratives based on preseason play. Can people send over some ideas?
— James Simpson (@JS_Football) September 2, 2017
Here’s what we thought (and what I thought based on the action):
1. Kareem Hunt was the hottest dynasty commodity
E.g. Kareem Hunt is going to be the best rookie running back. https://t.co/Q6JrIPzD6b
— James Simpson (@JS_Football) September 2, 2017
It’s not like Kareem Hunt’s monstrous performance came out of nowhere. Sure, there’s no one who could have predicted a 246-yard, three touchdown performance. But if you were watching in preseason week two against the Bengals, he was already showing what he could do before Spencer Ware went down with injury. Almost all of our writers in “Vox Talks” recommended holding or buying Hunt based on the preseason, and it turned out that was great advice.
2. Kenny Golladay is Babytron
— Ben Whall (@Ben_Whall) September 2, 2017
Ben’s tweet pointed to Kenny Golladay being a star of the preseason, and he was. With a two-touchdown performance in the opener, he looked like a dominant athlete and impact player for the Lions. Things cooled after he (shockingly) didn’t repeat that performance through the rest of the preseason, but it was a sign of things to come. We all know how his debut went – and Golladay will no doubt have another huge value rise moving forward.
3. Chris Carson might be the man in Seattle
Chris Carson da
— Brian Malone (@BrianMaloneFF) September 2, 2017
Progressively as the preseason went on, Carson gained more steam as someone to consider as a fantasy football asset. Ken Kelly picked him out as the Seahawks’ summer sleeper just before he ran in two scores in his debut, and he followed that up with two superb outings and mixed in some time with the starters. On Sunday’s regular season opener, Seattle didn’t run the ball well, but Carson received the most carries. I hope you saw it coming.
4. DeVante Parker’s breakout is coming
Maybe DeVante Parker Y3 breakout.
— James Hewitt (@JHewittFF) September 2, 2017
We don’t have any “real life” data yet to prove it, but if the preseason is anything to go by; Parker is due for a breakout, and Jarvis Landry might regress a little with Jay Cutler under center. In the Miami action (even though there wasn’t a lot of it), Cutler seemed to favor looking deep to his taller, down-field receiver after historically, Ryan Tannehill had looked in Landry’s direction. Don’t be surprised if the look of the offense in Miami is a little different moving forward.
My own thoughts:
1. Buy the San Francisco offense
In a couple of preseason outings, it looked like Kyle Shanahan had already worked his magic. Carlos Hyde looks fast, strong and importantly – involved. Pierre Garcon was getting open, Marquise Goodwin stretching the field and Brian Hoyer finding them both. Unfortunately, it didn’t turn to reality in game one as they were stomped by the Panthers. This week, they head to Seattle and it might not be pretty. However, if there was ever a time to buy low, this stretch of games would be it.
2. Stefon Diggs is on the cusp
He’s got a long way to go, and no one will crown him unless he stays healthy for a full season, but If you’d seen week two or three of the preseason, you’d know Diggs looked special. He was certainly special against the Saints on Monday night – but it’s “just the Saints”. My advice would be to buy. Buy high. Buy super high and make him yours.
3. Ameer Abdullah has arrived
I have a special place in my heart for Abdullah. I believe he’s had a rough time with usage, and is a supremely talented player being overlooked by his own team. In the preseason, specifically against the Patriots, he balled out.
— James Simpson (@JS_Football) August 26, 2017
But as Kareem Hunt proved, anyone can go wild against the Patriots, right? Or is it that no one can run against the Cardinals? I still have faith in Ameer, but it was a rough start even though his team scored 35 points. Preseason play indicated he would be heavily involved – so let’s see him come through against New York this week.
4. DeShone Kizer elevates the Browns, while Deshaun Watson isn’t ready
Of the two quarterbacks in consideration for immediate starting roles, there was a clear contrast. DeShone Kizer was quickly developing a rapport with Corey Coleman and making plays to move the Cleveland offense in a way Brock Osweiler and Cody Kessler couldn’t, while Deshaun Watson was all over the place in his action. Watson played well in limited time against Jacksonville, but I’d be worried about starting him in fantasy football right now. Kizer looks like he has strong potential.
5. Buy your Rams
Did you see week two of the preseason? That was impressive. Jared Goff went 16 of 20 for 160 yards and a touchdown. Cooper Kupp had six catches for 70 yards and a score. Todd Gurley found the end zone too. There were signs the offense under Sean McVay was clicking, and the Goff had shown clear improvement.
6. Offensively, the Titans and Redskins struggled
Finally, two teams who we had (and have) high hopes for struggled mightily in the preseason. Marcus Mariota wasn’t on the same page as his receivers and Tennesee found it hard to move the ball, while Kirk Cousins threw a pick six, couldn’t get his team started and hadn’t yet got in sync with new addition Terrelle Pryor. We saw both of these concerns reflected in game one. It’s a long season, but these two offenses looked very similar to their exhibition performances.
What can we take from this?
A lot of the time, we mistakenly fall for the idea that “it’s only preseason”. We ignore the “fake football” and only take into account the action in September. However, there’s more and more evidence that we need to pay closer attention. Tarik Cohen was absolutely outstanding in the preseason, and rewarded those who bought in early. Kareem Hunt and Kenny Golladay might have been on the rise, but it was for good reason.
Here’s where it counts moving forward. Who are you targeting? Are you buying players based on one performance or multiple? In the future, are you going to pay close attention in preseason? If there’s one lesson to take from this, it’s that every time a player is on the field, it matters. Make sure you’re catching as much action as possible, and you’ll be a better dynasty player for it.
As well as editing for DLF, James writes for Sky Sports and can be found on Twitter at @JS_Football