In Dynasty Diaries, 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.
We’ve discussed the moment in the season when you have to decide what is next for your dynasty teams. It certainly varies – many of your squads will have been playoff bound from the beginning, or immediately ruled out as part of a rebuild. On the flip side, I’m sure, like me, many of you still have teams in limbo. Will I make it or won’t I? Should I go for it, let it play out or plan for next season?
At this point in the season, I go through a checklist of things across each league. Let’s take a look at what they are, then I’ll discuss how I’m applying each to my rosters.
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As you comb through your rosters, who looks like they “don’t belong”? Are you out of the playoff hunt but holding on to an Adrian Peterson or Larry Fitzgerald? Is your team on the way to success, but could be strengthened by moving a young underperformer like Mike Williams or John Ross for someone who can secure a Championship?
Even on winning teams, can you offload players who aren’t in your starting lineups for future capital? It’s important to sit down, spend some time examining your rosters, and see if you can make some moves before trade deadlines hit.
Backups, handcuffs and emergency plans
Especially in 2QB leagues, it could be worth securing your starting quarterback’s backups. Do you have three or more starters, or just the two? What happens if one goes down? Think about it right now – would you need to make a trade, or can you foresee the problem and save the stress by acquiring someone now? If that is the case, do you have enough space on your roster to make the move?
When deciding if this will be worth it, consider every player at the end of your benches. How likely is it that I will start them this year? Conversely, how valuable will they really be to me after this year? If a player doesn’t offer much of either, don’t be afraid to cut them loose.
When dealing with starters at the other positions, it’s more likely you’ll have depth. But how good is it? And if a star goes down, do they have a primary backup you will have to spend big for on the waiver wire? Or will the ball be spread around? These are serious considerations to make over the next month.
Knowing your opponents
Now, this comes third, because it’s not as high priority, but it’s something to consider. What is everyone else doing? If one of the other highly-ranked teams in your league has Melvin Gordon, Austin Ekeler might have been a tad higher on your priority list, for example. In 2QB or superflex leagues, if your own backups aren’t available, can you secure the backups of players on other top teams? Or let’s say the top seed has two good starting runners and nothing else behind them; can you secure the best options at the position and fit them in at the end of your bench?
Ultimately, you need to think about your own team before worrying about others, but it always helps to know your opponents and what is out there.
I was thrilled to have another 7-0 clean sweep last week, but let’s check in on the plans for the playoffs for each team.
We have relatively small rosters for a dynasty league. I’ve always had my struggles in this league, as we hold 25 players through the season and keep 20 at the end of it. Ideally, the plan would be to have a top-heavy roster, but of course you need depth in-season to cover injuries and bye weeks. I lost Spencer Ware and Kenneth Dixon early, and they’ve had to be cut. Aaron Rodgers, Allen Robinson and Tyler Eifert take up space at the end of the bench, but I can’t release them to make room for a new addition. It’s a pickle.
I attempt to keep a strong 20 as ‘keepers’, and then use the last five spots as kickers, defenses, bye week fill-ins or assets that should be traded away as soon as possible for future capital. That makes it even more difficult when I find a kicker (Jake Elliott) and defense (Eagles) I believe in long-term. Considering it’s not a supremely active league in terms of trades, it’s also hard to move an unwanted player. Here, I just focus on getting the best 20.
Playoff prep moves:
- Snag any potential QB starters. For example, I grabbed Nathan Peterman the moment he was announced as one. I shouldn’t need to start him, but quarterbacks are invaluable in this 2QB league.
- Consider defense options for weeks 13 and 14, when the Eagles are on the road in Seattle and against the Rams. For now, I’m holding a New England D that gets Buffalo and Miami.
This is likely the deepest league I’m in – a 16-teamer – so working the waiver wire isn’t easy. Draft picks and trades are where you make your money. However, I’m currently acquiring all the tight ends. Despite looking like a position of strength before the season (with Greg Olsen and Tyler Eifert), it’s instead been one of need. I also can’t bring myself to move Dalvin Cook for win-now options when the playoffs are not guaranteed.
Playoff prep moves:
- Add more tight end depth. Jermaine Gresham is the latest on a team which already has Olsen, Eifert, Darren Fells and Dion Sims.
It’s time. After two straight wins and moving up to second overall in points scored, this team needs a tight end to win it all. As mentioned in the introduction, unproductive youth doesn’t help me right now – so Mike Williams is the top piece of trade bait. Similarly, the core of the team is young (Carson Wentz, Alvin Kamara, Christian McCaffrey and JuJu Smith-Schuster), so adding a veteran doesn’t ruin things long-term. With that in mind, I traded Williams, George Kittle and my 2018 first round pick for Rob Gronkowski.
I’ve also got to treat each game like a playoff one. That means with Jacoby Brissett on a bye and Drew Stanton potentially missing this weekend’s game, it’s essential to secure someone who can be paired with Wentz.
Playoff prep moves:
- Add a tight end – traded Mike Williams, George Kittle and 2018 first for Rob Gronkowski.
- Secure a one-week starter at quarterback if Drew Stanton can’t go, or even someone stronger than Brissett for the playoff run.
With the highest points total last week, I moved into the lone top spot and and top-scorer for the first time this season – with the regular season ending after this week. It’s a great feeling.
That said, it’s only just getting started. The goal moving forward is to lock up anyone I feel can contribute to a winning team down the stretch. The starting lineup is set, and one or two backups can contribute if the worst happens. I’m likely not going shake things up from now with the trade deadline this Sunday and playoffs starting next week.
Playoff prep moves:
- Scour the waiver wire for any potentially key contributors. For example, I picked up Kellen Clemens on the off chance Philip Rivers can’t go this weekend (it’s a superflex league).
It’s a complete bind, and I’m backed into a hole. Everything lies on this week. I’m in sixth, and play the owner in seventh as part of a double-header. A win secures a playoff berth.
Being in this spot ruined a trade discussion this week. My thinking is: if I make a move using a number of assets to get a player for this week only, then I’m giving up future capital (that will be very important). Whereas if I do move a star for future capital, I’ve cost myself a chance at winning this year. Sometimes it’s best to stay put.
Playoff prep moves:
- None. I’ll just have to wait and see!
One thing that intrigues me is how much stock of individual players owners have across multiple leagues. Do most of your teams look the same? Or is it very much league-dependent? At this point in the season, who are the players you are relying on the most for the remainder?
Here are those who I’ll be keeping very close eyes on for the rest of the year. (Note: every-week starters are in bold.)
Three shares: Ameer Abdullah, Melvin Gordon, Duke Johnson, LeSean McCoy, Adam Thielen, Sammy Watkins, Bruce Ellington, Jimmy Graham
Two shares: Carson Wentz, Jacoby Brissett, Case Keenum, Matt Breida, C.J. Anderson, James White, Jordy Nelson, DeSean Jackson, Josh Doctson, Jordan Matthews, Vernon Davis, Greg Olsen
What are you doing to prepare for the dynasty fantasy playoffs, and who are your most owned players as we head towards crunch time?
As well as editing for DLF, James writes for Sky Sports and can be found on Twitter at @JS_Football