Fantasy Football: Orphans (and 2QB League Targets)

Kirk Cousins, Orphans and 2 Quarterback Dynasty Leagues

“Please sir… I want some more?”

The immortal words of Charles Dickens’s character Oliver Twist when his porridge bowl was empty should keep us all in the spirit of caring for the less fortunate this holiday season.  But I want to talk about a different breed of “orphans” here.

It never fails.  You spend most of the year listening to dynasty news, game planning for your dynasty season and watching your dynasty prospects.  You draw up spreadsheets, celebrate the draft – hanging on every NFL team’s pick like it was your own and you scratch your chin over trading your dynasty league picks back and forth.

Then the football season actually starts and boom!  Everyone starts talking like daily games and redraft leagues are all that exist anymore.  Let me just lodge my own opinion for a moment and be the first to say “whatever.”

But the page is turning now.  We’re entering dynasty season again.  People are counting their draft picks for 2016 and wondering if they can still get anything for that aging running back or the injured tight end.  Two-quarterback dynasty owners like me are wondering how much longer their quarterbacks are going to last while turning an eye to the Senior Bowl and seeking out mock NFL drafts.  I’m beginning to twist my own mustache on how to separate Kirk Cousins, Blake Bortles and Ryan Fitzpatrick from their owners, while selling Carson Palmer, Drew Brees and Tom Brady takes on new urgency due to their ages.  I do like that, Mister Cousins.  It’s the most wonderful time of the year.

Another sign of the season change is commissioners looking to replace owners that have abandoned their teams.  Maybe they didn’t draft well and lost interest after a losing season.  Maybe they decided they don’t really want the responsibility of a fantasy team that is still active in March.  Or maybe they had a real life situation arise that they had no control over like the loss of a job, a divorce or a medical issue.  Whatever the situation, there is now a team without an owner.

If you want to keep the NFL experience going or want to add more activity to make up for the relative peace of the NFL offseason, you should pick up one of these abandoned “orphan” teams.

I love taking over orphans.  The best way to get to know a large variety of players is to actually play them, and when you take over an orphan team the choice of who to pick in the draft happened long before you got there.  From that point on, it’s your challenge to bend the team to your will and make it to the big time a year or two later.  What a great way to do something different!

I had – and I’m a bit hesitant to mention it – twenty-two teams to play this year.  Four were in the MFL10 format, three more were redraft teams, and three were dynasty teams that I drafted myself.  The other twelve teams are dynasty teams that someone else left unattended and I picked up.  Some have players on them that I would never draft or trade for like Kelvin Benjamin, Nick Foles and Breshaud Perriman.  But I’m going to be paying attention to the news on those players now because I’m going to have to trade or play them.

Sometimes the commissioner of a league will cover the fees for a new orphan dynasty owner for the first year or split the fees for the first two years.  This is actually a great deal for a new orphan owner because you get to take a shot at winning in the first year or two on someone else’s dime.  And you never really know how your team might shake out.  Two or three years ago Carson Palmer, Dion Lewis and DeAngelo Williams were waiver wire discards.   Today there’s a good chance winning teams have one or more of these guys on them.  Three years from now I may have to eat my negative analysis on Geno Smith or admit that maybe I should have given more thought to holding Victor Cruz rather than shuffling him off to anyone who would buy him.  Stranger things have happened.

When you first encounter a dynasty orphan, it’s like someone handed you a check and told you to go shopping.  Start looking for buyers of your players and start building up draft capital.  You might hit or miss, but this is where you start molding the team to your own liking.  GO SHOPPING!

In one league where I picked up an orphan six months ago, I almost immediately started sending out feelers, making offers and trying to right the ship.  My trades in order of occurrence are below:

  1. Traded away Jarvis Landry and 2015 1st round pick for Le’Veon Bell.  Offhandedly, this trade caused quite a row at the time with people thinking I should have paid a lot more for Bell.  It seems a great deal more balanced now.
  2. Traded away 2015 1st round pick and received 2016 1st and 2015 2nd.
  3. Traded away Kelvin Benjamin, 2015 2nd and 2015 3rd, received Charles Johnson, 2016 1st and 2016 2nd.
  4. (During the 2015 draft) Traded away 2015 3rd and received 2016 2nd.
  5. Traded away 2016 4th and received James White.
  6. Traded away Andre Ellington and received Carson Palmer and 2016 1st.
  7. Traded away Brandon Marshall and received Ted Ginn and 2016 1st.

The current team looks like this:

    • QB: Carson Palmer, Matthew Stafford, Jimmy Garoppolo, Robert Griffin & Garrett Grayson
    • RB: Le’Veon Bell, Mark Ingram, Dion Lewis, Charcandrick West, Zach Zenner, Cameron Artis-Payne, Terrance West.
    • WR: Danny Amendola, Mike Wallace, Quinton Patton, Ted Ginn, Marques Colston, Davante Adams, Marqise Lee, Charles Johnson, Cody Latimer
    • TE: Martellus Bennett, Kyle Rudolph, Maxx Williams.

Best of all, in 2016 I have first round picks 3, 6, 7, 10 & 11.  That’s a lot of shots at the top of the draft to fill in spaces and put my players in.  I may not actually draft players there as I may decide to trade up or trade back to 2017 on some of those picks.  But sometime soon, if I can keep working the trades with some success, I think I can turn this orphan around.

Are you not finished with football yet this year?  Do you dread the end of the fantasy football season?  Wondering how you’ll stay sane and rational until it’s time to draft again next August or September?

Ask for MORE.

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