Dynasty Fantasy Football Mailbag: How to Rebuild

Shane Manila

Welcome back to the DLF Mailbag, the preeminent mailbag in all the dynasty fantasy football land. This year I’ll be answering questions from you via Twitter, Discord, or the old-fashioned way (via email). We’re creeping closer and closer to the NFL Draft, with the Scouting Combine and all the data points it provided us now in our rearview. The mock drafts we will see in the next few weeks hold more water than the ones held pre-combine.

With the Chicago Bears and Carolina Panthers pulling off a blockbuster, all the off-season puzzle pieces are beginning to fall into place, and the dynasty season is on fire, so keep your questions coming!

What are you doing with your picks?

The only good byproduct of having a bad team is being given the ability to rebuild it. You’ll obviously need assets to start your rebuild, so let’s start there, and let’s make an assumption or two. If you’re in a superflex league, I’m assuming you don’t have at least one elite (top eight) quarterback, and we’ll set the starters to a reasonable number, say ten. When I tear a roster down, I’m tearing it down to the studs.

You should be looking to move any asset that isn’t ascending, and you might even look to deal with ascending assets. For example, if you have a player like Chris Olave on an otherwise barren roster, I would look to split him into multiple assets instead of holding onto him Using the DLF Dynasty Trade Finder we find an example of a deal you could look to make, giving up Olave but getting back George Pickens and the 1.07.

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While I might not be the biggest Pickens fan, this deal does give you two shots at the apple, while Olave gives you just the one.

And there is a market for Pickens, so you could immediately look to flip him for another pick, or player (who you again can look to deal with), and continue to build up your assets.

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You’re also looking to sell all depreciating assets, though in the case of running backs, you’re better served holding onto them until the NFL season commences and their point-scoring ability actually matters to your league mates.

Once you have a decent plethora of picks, you shouldn’t treat them equally. Early picks, 1.01 through 1.05 are the picks you look to split into multiple picks. Why? Because they are more valuable than later first-round picks, the return should be higher. I look to make deals like the 1.01 for the 1.05 and 2024 1st, while also trying to squeeze a second-rounder out of my trade partner as well. Whoever owns picks 1.02 through 1.05 is going to get the type of offer from me. This gives me another pick I can split into another two assets, as well as a 2024 first-rounder, which will only accrue in value. I’m trying to turn my singular first-round pick into as many assets as I possibly can, while still giving myself a shot to end up with an early first (the 2024 pick). But if you just want to stop after splitting the asset into two picks, that’s fine too.

With later firsts, once I’m ready to move out of the rebuild stage I then look to consolidate those picks into players, even at the cost of overall depth. Mid-round firsts are wild cards. It’s going to be dependent on what the draft class looks like, what stage I’m at in my rebuild, and what my team needs. The most important takeaway though is when you are rebuilding, always try to split your picks into multiple assets.

Caution, steep cliff coming

I feel for anyone playing in one quarterback league who has picks after 1.03 this year because there is a quick and sudden drop after that. The 1.01 is going to Bijan Robinson, and the 1.02 and 1.03 are going to be some variation of Jahmyr Gibbs and Jaxon Smith-Njigba. After that things get a tad sketchy. Though I like Zach Charbonnet, I’m not sure if he’s going to get the draft capital I want from a player I’m taking this early in drafts.

Though Quentin Johnston almost matches Smith-Njigba from a breakout age and receiving yards per team pass attempt, they are very different prospects.

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Where Smith-Njigba played at Ohio State in the Big 10, Johnston played in the weaker Big 12. More importantly, though, it’s how each player was able to produce. Johnston was a lone wolf at TCU, with minimal target competition, Smith-Njigba had to compete with future first-round NFL wide receivers Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson for targets, and outproducing both. Johnston shouldn’t be knocked because he didn’t have that level of competition on his roster, but I can’t ignore that Smith-Njigba did.

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Courtesy of Sports Reference.

Smith-Njigba feels like the tier break in start-one quarterback leagues, with the players after him bringing a barrage of questions. This isn’t to say the class is poor, just the value drops off after 1.03.



One of my favorite dynasty idioms is that quarterback is the one position it’s okay to overpay for, specific to superflex leagues. It’s rare that an elite, top-eight, dynasty quarterback hits the open market and when they do, you need to do your level best to acquire them. That’s true in 12-team superflex leagues, but in a 14-team superflex league, it’s even more imperative. I would make this deal every single time it was ever offered to me. Even coming off a disappointing finish in 2022, QB15 PPG, there’s little doubt that Justin Herbert is elite.

Just in case you don’t trust the calculator in my brain, I also ran this deal through the DLF Dynasty Trade Analyzer, and it has the deal within 11.5 value points, about as close as you can get.

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Circling back to the first mailbag question this week, this is the perfect way to use your picks. Even after this deal Eric still has the 1.01, 1.02, and 1.05, with strong assets in Breece Hall, Chris Olave, and what’s likely one of the top quarterback duos in the entire league. He’s still a little thin, so I wouldn’t be opposed to looking to see if I could split the 1.02 and/or the 1.05, but either way making this deal has set him up to be a contender going forward.

shane manila
Dynasty Fantasy Football Mailbag: How to Rebuild