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Rebuilding a Dynasty Fantasy Football Squad: Behind the Curtain

Leo Paciga outlines two strategies for approaching a dynasty roster rebuild.

Justin Jefferson

Rebuilding a dynasty squad.

Some folks love the challenge a rebuild presents while others obsess over the difficulty or avoid it like four-day old leftovers. First off, being candid with you folks – during the past two decades, I was generally rebuilding one of my teams. Why? Nothing sharpens your trading skills like rebuilding a roster. I also hate being a middle-of-the-pack squad – enough assets to be sporadically dangerous, but never consistently elite.

Note: Most of my experience comes from playing in 1QB leagues so my articles will always have a 1QB perspective.

Strategy One: BURN IT TO THE GROUND

Basically, I categorize rebuilds into two types – “on the fly” and “burn it to the ground” and both are handled differently. Let’s talk about burning a roster to the ground first. Key factor – you need an active league to accomplish this type of roster reconstruction in a decent time frame. You also need an awareness/understanding when it comes to your league-mates. Who buys vets for a title run? Who sells future picks? Who usually pays fair value? Who responds quickly and negotiates? Who gets turned off and shuts down trade talks by receiving low opening offers? Which league-mate needs a perfect starting lineup in June?

The biggest part of a full rebuild project is really the mindset – how you mentally digest dealing with two polar opposite aspects. It’s what I refer to as Frenetic Patience. You can’t manage your way through a roster rebuild without making a lot of trades and that means making a lot of offers. I tend to track my activity level while rebuilding both internally and externally.

Internal success is measured with each completed deal while external success is measured by the number of offers discussed (knowledge and insight gained). Simultaneously, while navigating through a tsunami of offers, you still need to have a level of “big picture” patience. Yes, you have to be super-active in the day-to-day management of your team, but you also have to understand that rebuilding an entire roster generally takes time. Rebuilding a roster is similar to turning around an old sailing vessel, an entire crew running around frantically on deck trying to do all the little things necessary to change direction, yet the ship itself turns ever so slowly.

The first step in a full roster rebuild is trading away your “shrinking window” assets for picks or players poised to pay dividends two-three years out. I also focus on moving running backs – because of the volatile/limited shelf life and the expected two to three-year turnaround rebuild window, and also because of market value. Productive RBs in today’s fantasy football marketplace generate solid returns due to scarcity and an industry obsession with generating points from that position and the advantage it creates.

Best ROI (return on investment) is always the goal but acquiring picks regardless of year or round is a major key. Always push for a late-round bump. Two fourths can often be flipped into a third. Two thirds into a second. Buy in bulk, load up to be draft active. Take advantage of every buy/sell window. Can stockpiling picks be a risky endeavor? Sure, it can because forecasting player productivity two years out or hitting on every draft pick is nearly impossible. You’ll have swings and misses and that’s why volume acquisition is so important in a rebuild because quantity bakes in those misses and allows you to maintain positive momentum (something I’ll bang the table for often in this article).

Once acquired, I generally try to invest those picks into three strategies. I spend some picks by drafting a few targets in the current draft, I trade some forward for additional picks in future drafts, and lastly, I try to acquire a few young players with some established production at the NFL level. Rarely do I drop all of my assets (picks) into one draft class. I’ve found that by diversifying a bit over multiple drafts thereby creating a larger draft class window, I limit some exposure and keep positive momentum for my squad by pushing a few assets forward. Once again, maintaining that positive momentum is critical.

Lastly, don’t be afraid to acquire aging productive players just because you’re rebuilding. Obviously, you don’t want to hold them long-term or have to start them weekly, but if you can do a quick flip of that veteran player for even a modicum of value (late future pick) – it’s worth it.

Strategy two: REBUILDING ON THE FLY

As I mentioned earlier, rebuilding a major blow-up takes patience and volume. Rebuilding on the fly, however, is often more immediate and far more surgical, requiring precision over volume. You still need that same basic awareness of your league-mates’ trade tendencies. Who buys veterans/depth for a title run? Who needs the perfect starting lineup in June? Who sells draft picks at a discount if they’re two-plus years out? Etc.

The key here is an honest evaluation of your roster. You need to identify tradable (valuable) assets you’re comfortable moving. Where are you the deepest? Which roster position needs the most attention/age flip? Bottom line, you’ve got give in order to get – no one wants to swap value for garbage no matter how nicely you dress it up in a pre-trade email or how many scrubs you cram into your trade bait to look enticing.

That said, the best way I’ve found to rebuild on the fly falls into two strategies: 1) trade draft picks for young established producers and 2) Capitalize on hype! Trade players slathered in hype plus a few lesser assets in a package deal for a true upgrade at one position. A full rebuild is all about volume since there’s so much variable risk baked into each transaction. Conversely, being surgical on the fly means you have to pinpoint your area of concern and your targets while being willing to move value in order to slide the window of productivity further downstream.

The last strategy I’ll mention is looking ahead to windfall draft classes. Class hype often skyrockets pick value so if you can invest a year ahead of groupthink or herd maneuvering for a coveted draft class, that will put you in a position of power and make restocking on the fly a much easier endeavor.

Hopefully, this article provided some insight into the strategies associated with rebuilding a dynasty roster. The tools and opinions provided by DLF can certainly help take your teams to the next level.  You can find me on Twitter @Ciga_FF tossing out more dynasty-related topics and answering questions.

Rebuilding a Dynasty Fantasy Football Squad: Behind the Curtain
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Kraig Wirkus
6 months ago

Great article! I’m in the process of a rebuild after I knew I wasn’t going to make the playoffs. It’s been a lot of fun and really exciting.

Geoff Farina
6 months ago

Nice article, i fall strictly into the burn it to the ground option and think i have done a good job of that. Ive gotten rid of any valuable RBs ive had and flipped them for Recievers i like (Jaylen Waddle and Arizona Hollywood Brown). According to any calc i most definitely overpaid for Waddle but im in this for the long term and I see waddle as a very high end WR1 in 2023-2024. I currently have this years 1.12 because im just not that interested in this class BUT ive accumulated 4 23 firsts already which im very excited about. Patience and probably being awful next year will be tough however and i need to try to stay the course

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