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Bye: Chiefs & Chargers
We've made it to the mid-season hump, for better or worse.
Injuries continue to play a significant role in the season and following-on from the recent loss of running back Javonte Williams, now we lose exciting rookie Breece Hall (ACL) for the season, DK Metcalf (Patellar Tendon) to an unknown number of games, David Njoku (Ankle), Mike Williams (Ankle), Daniel Bellinger (Eye) to add to the injuries we brought into week seven. High ankle sprains seem to be all the rage right now.
The week-seven bye weeks were tough with many great players sitting and, thankfully, week eight sees only two teams down but two top-five quarterbacks in Patrick Mahomes and Justin Herbert. But when surveying the trending stories leading up to this week's games, there's a lot of WTH is going on? Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers are facing criticism and difficult unseen for quite some time, though it's arguable that Rodgers hasn't seen his share of criticism, but he's always been able to perform through it. Matt Ryan has been benched in Indy. James Robinson was traded to the Jets, clearing the way for Travis Etienne. Christian McCaffrey receives an offensive upgrade in the Bay. And what's this? Geno Smith is legit?!?! And what about those Giants?
And this week I have something new for you, taking the place of the trends for this week. I'm summarizing some of the trades I've made. Weeks seven and eight are typically my favorite weeks to make trades, ahead of the NFL trade deadline, well ahead of my league trade deadlines and at a point where I can take an objective view of my teams to determine what work needs to be done. By this point, you should have a good understanding of how the season is playing out. My goal is always simply to be above .500 in every league. In my estimation, too many focus purely on building a championship team, many times trying to figuring out what has gone wrong because they've finished second or third two years running, or more.
Here's an honest fact about this game of ours: Once you get to the playoffs, there's so much luck involved that trying to determine whether you will finish first or third is a fool's errand. Too many variables exist beyond your control. If you lost in the championship game three years running, you could have just as easily finished first all three years. Your goal is to make the playoffs with the best team possible, don't out-coach yourself each week with your starting lineup and hope for the best. If you have extra prizes for finishing first in your division, make that your goal as it assures a trip to the playoffs and additional reward.
Don't get me wrong here, building a dominant team is still the goal and I'll never suggest not making moves to strengthen your team. But, a loss in the playoffs doesn't mean you necessarily have a bad build, holes or significant deficits. Sometimes, bad things happen to good teams. If I had a dime for every time I saw a significant underdog beat the top seed in the playoffs, I'd be a rich dynasty coach. I've been on both sides of it myself.
Remember, bad things can happen to good teams. Keep your wits about you, avoid knee-jerk reactions and don't get "cute" with your lineup decisions.
2022 Team Tracking
Just as a refresher, in 2021 I sent 40% of tracked dynasty teams to championship games. While I'd love to say it was all due to my management, luck still plays a huge role in our favorite hobby and I don't see a repeat of 2021. That doesn't mean I'm not gunning for 100%, however. In 2022 I added three new leagues to be tracked, bringing my total to 13.
Do you ever have those weeks where it just seems the universe aligns against you? In this case, the bye week impact combined with my matchups were something to behold. In many of my leagues I was starting "jump the shark" plays while facing top competition. I always hope my primary bye week will come against a similarly hamstrung opponent or at least a poorly performing team. Not this year! In fact, if I didn't know better, I'd swear the commissioner was conspiring against me. LOL. Furthermore, when surveying the next few weeks, bye week hell, very few of my opponents are significantly impacted. I'm sure many of us are in the same boat.
I knew week seven was going to be brutal. Most all of my teams have significant bye week impact in weeks seven and nine. This does have something to do with my build style and players since there's a common theme across my teams. My goal was to somehow reach a 7-6 record this week though, looking at the matchups in relation to my bye weeks, it was a stretch goal. As I told my wife: This is a good week to maybe not watch football at all and just get out of the house. As if.
I finished week seven at 6-7, better than expected. Surprisingly, it was actually looking like an 8-5 week but I ended up facing some players who had their best weeks of the year and my "running on fumes" teams could not keep up. I had four games decided on Monday night and needed big games from Darnell Mooney, Chicago Defense while needing Khalil Herbert and David Montgomery to do very little. Instead, Montgomery and Herbert both score touchdowns, sinking me in two games, Mooney has a poor night sinking me in another game BUT the Chicago defense did just enough to earn a 1.5 point victory. My Herbert-led loss was by 1.5. All in all, not a horrible week and it could have been much worse.
My week seven 6-7 record brings my total record to 53-38 across the 78 total games. I have two teams below the .500 mark, one being my longest running dynasty league and the one that founded DLF. In that league I take a very different approach, acquiring only my favorite players I like to watch on Sundays. That is how I keep this hobby fun when you have 13+ leagues, where one player is winning a game for you in one league while destroying you in another. Having a single team to focus on each week has been the answer for me and my primary motivation is to ONLY acquire my favorite players. Winning comes second. I'd love to have a dominant team and it's looking really good but I'm still one year away. If there's a take away here it's that my favorite players don't equate to a championship level team.
That said, aside from losing Mahomes in multiple leagues, this is a good week for my players. I'm hoping for a big week
This is what I posted in week one:
Starting in 2021, I began a process of a mindful strategy shift, prioritizing young WR1 players as my core and mid-career veteran receivers as my production anchors with a corresponding RB-light approach as I like to call it. While I haven't updated my numbers-based research to prove out this strategy shift, it has been clear to me that the increased RBBC (running back by committee) usage continues to sap production from the position and when combined with injury potential, makes for a very high beta (risk) in your weekly lineup and long-term build. You just won't see WR1 players play 50% of a team's offensive snaps while rotating with the second player on the positional depth chart. It's the WR3s and WR4s where the greatest rotations take place.
A quick note about my trading tendencies. As a general manner of style, I don't trade often. I build my teams very deliberately and trust my talent scouting ability as well as my eye on the waiver wire. I'm patient and let trades and players come to me but quick when I decide to pounce. I'm not prone to knee-jerk reactions which I think serves me well. For me to make four trades in a week is a rare event. I think I may have another couple in me within the next two weeks - we'll see!
I made four trades in the past week:
In my longest running dynasty league (profiled above):
Sent: Najee Harris, RB
Received: Chris Olave, WR
True to my strategy of moving to an emphasis on wide receivers over running backs, this particular team of mine had too many backs consisting of: Najee Harris, Javonte Williams, Leonard Fournette, Dameon Pierce, Cam Akers, Eno Benjamin etc. In only having to start one each week, I capitalized on another team's need at the position while targeting one of my favorite young receivers in Olave. My trade partner has a deep stable of receivers so the trade made sense for both of us. I continue to believe Olave is a budding star.
Sent: Devin Duverynay
Received: Josh Palmer and Harrison Bryant
Sometimes you just receive an offer out of the blue that you have to accept. Duvernay has had a nice 2022 but I don't see him as anything other than a minor piece within a poor Baltimore passing attack. Meanwhile, I needed tight end depth and also like Palmer as an upside prospect for 2023 and beyond. Njoku falling to injury after this trade helps me a bit as well. Smashed accept quickly.
Sent: 2023 1st Rd. Pick & 2023 2nd Rd. Pick
Received: Deebo Samuel
My team in this league was 6-0 (now 6-1) and I have a relatively clear path to the playoffs and a good chance at winning the division, thus, picking late in each round. But, the team is also thin at depth leaving me open for late season fade based on bye weeks and injury. I targeted an 0-6 team in order to help him rebuild by trading my two picks in return for Samuel, who I believe will continue to be an impact player for the next five years. Unfortunately, this same team now lost Mike Williams, a key starting asset for me. As I pointed out above, however, the key is getting to the playoffs with the best team possible. I'm hoping Williams only misses three weeks.
Sent: 2023 1st Rd. Pick & 2023 2nd Rd. Pick
Received: Cooper Kupp, James Robinson, Tyler Conklin, TE
Another trade out of the blue which I didn't have to think much about. My team lost in the championship game last year and should be picking late in each round again. Getting Kupp and Robinson along with some TE depth is easy for me to accept. When trading away second round selections, I always first look at my quarterback situation as I love taking rookie quarterbacks in the second round of rookie drafts. This team is anchored by Justin Herbert, Justin Fields and Desmond Ridder - enough to feel confident that I don't need the second-round selection. As it turns out, I also lost Marquise Brown on this squad but my receivers of Kupp, Higgins, Hopkins and Lamb are quite strong. It was an easy accept.
Good luck this week.
Join our Discord Server
We've added a new service! Every Sunday morning, you can join DLF's new Discord server to ask those last minute lineup advice questions, or anything else which may be on your mind. In the very near future, we'll cut off lineup advice on Saturday night and use this Discord channel to ensure your questions aren't missed Sunday AM. This new channel is taking our community interaction to the next level.
Lineup Advice Rules & Format
DLF continues to see amazing growth in our membership and each year I wonder how I'm going to keep up with all of your questions while also holding to a level of service and quality you've all come to expect from me. I've been VERY happy with my level of accuracy but, for that to occur, I need your help. Each question can take up to 10 minutes for me to research as I research up to a dozen different variables and trends. I do everything I can to get my answers correct. For that reason, I need you to read the following rules and guidelines to help me maintain efficiency:
- Please don't ask me to set your entire lineup
- Put "TNF" as the top line for any question involving Thursday Night Football games
- Please also make sure to tell me who YOU would be starting if not for my advice. It helps me to understand your gut feeling.
- Include your scoring format (PPR, Non-PPR, etc.)
- Keep your questions as brief as possible - Story questions add a lot of time
- I prioritize questions involving the earliest (Thursday, etc.) games first. If I skip over your question, don't worry, I'll be back to it.
- It's easy to miss responses to my responses in thread. When in doubt, always post a separate new question
Lastly, I work very hard to get my advice correct and I do not mail it in. When I'm wrong, I feel every incorrect answer so, go easy on me! That said, the DLF community has been absolutely fantastic to work with which is why I'm still doing this after so many years.
Have a great week! Have an even better season!
Let's do this...