Dynasty GAAP Memo: Luck, Moneyball, and Contenders Buys

Cody Mortensen

I am a CPA who fits the typical accountant stereotype. I enjoy writing technical accounting memos, accounting research (yes, it’s a thing), and analyzing the financial statements of a business. In accounting, you often must evaluate qualitative and quantitative factors during complex transactions to forecast future performance. I have found that the outlook and rationale of evaluating business transactions parallels another interest of mine, dynasty fantasy football.

In dynasty, we are given both quantitative factors (athletic scores, draft capital, college production, etc.) and qualitative factors (camp hype, team situation, injury history, etc.) that we must consider and evaluate to derive an estimate or projection of a player. Then, we must take calculated risks based on our team’s overall financial statements (i.e., current roster and league). I could go on and on with accounting-based puns and comparisons, but I think you get it.

I will note that I will write in the form of “accounting memos.” For anyone who has not been exposed, the format is very standard. Each memo will start with the “purpose.” Next, it will outline the applicable “guidance” or accounting literature utilized and supply background. Last will be the analysis and conclusion. The goal is to state the issue and quickly address it. My write-ups will follow this same logic.gaap

To summarize, welcome to “Good at Analyzing Players” or “GAAP.” And yes, this is a play on “Generally Accepted Accounting Principles” and my wife did come up with it.


The purpose of this memo is to discuss the role of luck in dynasty fantasy football playoffs and pick out some buys for contenders.


In dynasty, the best part is that “there is no off-season” and we get to obsess over this wonderful hobby year-round. However, the overarching objective (besides fun and crushing our friends and rivals) is to win the elusive dynasty championship! With that in mind, we are a week away from the pinnacle of the season (besides maybe rookie drafts) with the fantasy playoffs on the horizon. It is officially the fantasy football playoff season!

dlf promo 4for4 03

There is a medley of factors that contribute to making the playoffs in dynasty.

Dynasty managers can obsess over the hobby, follow player news sites daily and identify sleepers with a steady drumbeat in the off-season. Hypothetically, these managers have multiple Puka Nacua shares based on camp hype this summer.

Others can dive into deep data and analytics and identify statistical inferences to predict player performance. This could be applied to athletic testing percentiles, draft capital, or historical statistics. These managers are still drooling over Jaxon Smith-Njigba’s three-cone drill, which was the fastest by any wide receiver at the combine since 2007.

Another element of dynasty is as simple as effort. There are owners who are over-enthusiastic about their teams and are constantly firing off multiple trade offers daily (most of which are trash offers). However, sometimes those offers that started as insulting eventually evolve into a string of good, accepted trades, where they gain value. Then the league chat erupts with “I would have given you more!” and “That is awful! Player X is trash” banter. At the end of the day, ‘caring’ more than your peers can somehow be a competitive advantage.

Others subscribe to dynasty content. There is no shortage of weekly articles (although very few memos) about dynasty and players to buy or sell and rookie profiles. Some people also watch player film to evaluate performance and have good track records. I have not dabbled in this myself, but I know there are plenty of Xs and Os people around (especially on YouTube).

Overall, these various elements (as well as others) should yield fantasy football playoff success if applied correctly. This all comes to a fulcrum once the fantasy playoffs begin. After which, all these other elements tend to fade away and one clear factor reigns supreme: luck. Even the most stacked rosters are often humbled in the fantasy playoffs as the room for error is paper thin. One injury can derail your entire season. The flowchart below illustrates my idea of this concept.

gaap success 1


This memo will explore the concept of luck and explore potential moves to make now to mitigate bad luck and an early exit from the playoffs.


  • Sleeper: Great interface for looking up historical statistics
  • DLF Dynasty Rankings: Best dynasty rankings in the industry
  • DLF Average Draft Position (“ADP”) Data: The best resource to gauge current player value. Based on real dynasty startups.


The theory above of aggregating various elements to make the playoffs is not a new concept. Applying statistical analysis in tandem with subjective elements to better position your team for success is common practice in today’s NFL. Teams often have scouts that travel all over the country as well as data and analytic departments that explore other opportunities to gain an edge on Sundays. This creation of merging analytics into sport is often credited to Billy Beane and his “Moneyball” approach to baseball. Within Michael Lewis’ book (“Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game”), he explores Beane’s approach with the Oakland As in the early 2000s. However, the book is very explicit when it comes to the element being discussed in this memo. For all the analytics within baseball, luck or randomness is an inescapable factor. According to Beane, statistical analysis does not work in the playoffs and that is down to luck.

In business, there is a concept called competitive advantage. Competitive advantage refers to factors that allow a company to produce goods or services better than its rivals. The thought is that you need to have a competitive advantage or differentiator between you and your peers. In layman’s terms, you need to be “great” at something. As such, a lot of businesses focus on the concept of moving from “good to great” to gain that competitive advantage. However, the concept of great in anything often has a prerequisite, luck. Great businesses that generate millions of dollars of net income had some element of luck. For instance, being in the right place at the right time.

So, what does this mean for the dynasty playoffs? Besides locating your lucky rabbit’s foot and four-leaf clovers, managers should be making last-minute acquisitions to not go from good to great, but instead striving to bolster the “good” on your roster. With that, I will explore a few of my contender buys heading into the dynasty playoffs. Please note that I am a big supporter of the longevity of my teams (especially if they are going to make the playoffs). I often do not want to buy players who will only last one year and then die on my roster. The thought is that bad luck is undefeated and I do not hamper my team for years for just one season. With that premise in mind, here are a few players I am trying to acquire before the 2023 fantasy playoffs:

Rachaad White, RB TB (24 years old)

White seems like an enigma for most of the dynasty community. We all focus on his pedestrian 3.6 yards per carry (29th for RBs). However, we are letting that overshadow his other elements. In the dynasty RB landscape, I usually look for three things: elite opportunity, youth, and pass-catching ability. White has the sixth-highest snap share for RBs at 76.7%, he is only 24, with the third most receptions of RBs with 46. Check, check, and check.

Currently White is 76 overall (RB22) on DLF. If he is on another contender, you are probably out of luck as he is RB5 on the season with 15.2 PPR points per game. However, if he is not on a contender, I would be willing to trade the following for White:

James Cook, RB BUF (24 years old)

Please see the discussion above. Young? Check. Catches pass? Check. Elite opportunity…? Um, maybe not with only a 55.3% snap share. However, Cook is highly efficient at 5.6 yards per touch. He has also been sneaky productive and is 12th in the league with 1,039 all-purpose yards through week thirteen and sitting at RB17 in scoring. The difference between him and White above from a scoring perspective? Primarily TDs, as Cook has three while White has six. With a little luck, TD regression and goal-line opportunities could come during the fantasy playoffs.

Currently, Cook is ranked 57th overall (RB16) on DLF. I would pay similar prices to White above.

George Kittle, RB SF (30 years old)

Kittle has slowly been sliding in dynasty rankings over the last two or three seasons. This has been a symptom of the 49ers’ offense being a guessing game from week to week as well as his age. Will it be a Kittle Week? Christian McCaffrey Week? Brandon Aiyuk/Deebo Samuel week? The weekly guessing game is a double-edged sword but certainly presents upside in your lineup. This upside is what can produce the luck needed to win in the dynasty playoffs. However, Kittle has finished as a TE1 in six of his last eight games and is TE4 on the season in PPR. Additionally, TE’s of Kittle’s caliber often produce well into their 30s (Kelce is TE2 at 34 years old), so I am less worried about the age cliff.

Somehow Kittle became a value while being a top-four fantasy TE in the last three seasons. He is currently 75th overall (TE6) on DLF. If I am a contender in need of a tight end (or if I lost Mark Andrews), he is very affordable.

Trade Example #1:

word image 1484406 2

Trade Example #2:

word image 1484406 3

Trade Example #3:

word image 1484406 4

These trades were sourced from the “DLF Trade Finder.” If I can get Kittle for those prices, I would happily do so.

Courtland Sutton, WR DEN (28 years old):

Do not look now, but Sutton is having a small resurgence alongside Russell Wilson and Sean Payton. While the receptions and yardage leave something to be desired, Sutton has nine TDs on the season and is looking more like the premier red zone weapon that he was projected to be after his sophomore breakout in 2019. This is fueled by his 15 red zone targets, which are sixth in the NFL. Based on this, I would expect for Sutton to finish the season with 10 or more TDs, which will likely propel him to finish as a top-24 receiver. When considering this in tandem with Jerry Jeudy most likely moving on in the offseason, I do not view him as a one-year wonder. His TD upside along with his playoff schedule of Detroit, New England, and LA Chargers give Sutton weekly upside.

Unlike the pieces above, Sutton is often an afterthought. This is confirmed by his DLF ranking of 92nd (WR43) on DLF. I would gladly do the trades below:


This week’s memo is a gentle reminder to everyone that dynasty is for fun. Sometimes you get lucky and sometimes you do not. This is true in dynasty and business. Luckily for us, most of us play dynasty for fun and not for our livelihood. Prepare yourself for the worst and you will never be disappointed. Plus, if you lose in round one, you can blame me for jinxing you (my bad!)

Additionally, commend yourself for getting into the playoffs! That is an accomplishment all on its own.

“Success is not about luck, but rather hard work and perseverance.”

cody mortensen