Waiving the dynasty white flag
While it may seem early to effectively begin preparing for next season, I think this is the time you must take an honest look at your team and assess your roster’s chance as realistically as possible. This includes examining the teams you need to defeat in your division and/or the top teams in the league. By making moves early, the amount of trade partners you have is nearly doubled, as the 1-2 and 0-3 teams can be thinking they just need one more piece to turn things around. This method of thinking has been far more crucial with the strength at the top of the last two drafts, but securing an earlier first round pick offers you much more flexibility even in a draft like next year’s that looks to be 6+ deep with very quality top WR prospects.
Now don’t get me wrong, in every league If you can just make the playoffs you’ve got a shot at the title…. I’ve seen some crazy stuff happen, so it’s just about making the dance. Anything can happen in the playoffs. Unfortunately the decision to waive the white flag and trade for picks is one you will have to make, but the returns can restock your team in a short time and put it back into contention.
The easy decisions:
Your main goal is to remove players producing weekly in order to advance your draft position. The most obvious of these are the aging RBs soon to retire or those that perhaps land on a commissioner exempt list like Adrian Peterson, Marshawn Lynch, and LeSean McCoy. These guys are producing enough or have enough upside that they may command more than you’d think. To my shock today I saw Adrian Peterson moved for Amari Cooper in a league…. admittedly a new owner to the league, but the point is you never know until you ask. As we’ve seen recently, the cliff comes quick, so with guys like Frank Gore your likely going to have to take what you can get. You need to know your league and what your likely to be able to acquire. Sending a bunch of dream offers for your team has the risk of alienating all of your potential trade partners……tread smartly and quietly.
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Talent over situation:
Your next task is to identify RB’s taking advantage of plum situations with little competition behind them barring injury. This also applies to the other skill positions but I’ll focus on RB. This line of thinking again has been essential the last two years with the sheer amount of incredibly talented backs coming into the league, especially because every year guys pop at RB as late round picks or UDFA’s. A few examples of guys I’d consider moving in the right deal in no particular order; Peyton Barber, Alex Collins, Bilal Powell/Crowell, Marlon Mack, Alfred Morris, Chris Carson, Lamar Miller, Kenyan Drake, Burkhead (oops, too late).
Look for fits with other teams based on recent injuries or poor performance. Have Alf send an offer to the Breida owner….. lots of dynasty players love having situations locked up with deeper rosters. Definitely shop Peyton Barber to the Ronald Jones owner. I thought Barber would show better than this but it’s time to move on.
Although listed last here, you may want to explore your options before making obvious trades that will show your intent. These can be harder to get done when trading for younger players with very high upside, but this is exactly why you want to explore these options. The younger player has more value insulation assuming you’re targeting the Kenny Golladay and Chris Godwin’s, and not the DeVante Parker and Donte Moncrief’s. There’s obviously risk here as trading proven aging assets for younger upside options entails some risk. Yet just because you trade for a player, doesn’t mean you’re married to them. You’re looking for players that will have league wide interest over a couple year window, thus increasing your available trade partners and ensuring flexibility. As an example last year I traded for Brandin Cooks while going through a rebuild on an orphan team. I wasn’t the biggest Cooks guy but I knew he would be the kind player that would interest the majority of the league. While I look to be wrong on his involvement in the Rams offense thus far, I was able to flip Cooks for Diggs late this offseason.
Done the right way your decision doesn’t have to mean a complete rebuild. Think of it more of a retooling. You’re trying to acquire younger building blocks at the positions of greatest value in your league format. Once you’ve got some core pieces and picks added to your team, guess what you now also have? Roster spots! Obviously some leagues are 40 plus deep with taxis but in typical leagues, the most overlooked part of these type of trades is the free roster spots these create for you. While your league mates are sweating dropping that end of roster clogger, you have the room to take some shots and see how it plays out. Don’t discount this advantage if you’re an active player on the wire.