“The Instant Rebuild” Dynasty Start-up Strategy – FFPC Pros vs. Joes

Dynasty Startup strategy is one of the hardest things to know how to attack. I had the pleasure of being invited to the FFPC Pros vs. Joes Best Ball Dynasty league starting up this year where 6 Pros who write for websites/podcasts go up against 6 high stakes “Joes”. 

I participate in a number of FFPC dynasty leagues (seriously, if you want a high stakes league, check out the FFPC,) and it is some of the stiffest competition I have faced, so I was excited to try and edge out the competition long term with an instant rebuild.

There are a ton of dynasty start-up strategies from trying to win Year 1 to going very young for the future or even hyper trading your way into value. I decided this was the perfect league to try a start-up strategy that I had been too afraid to try before, the “instant rebuild”. Go after everyone else’s 2021 firsts and get young value later in the draft.

I admit, this strategy wasn’t my creation but my friend Nick Glenos had developed it to near perfection in the FFPC and elsewhere as he discussed back in 2015 on the High Stakes Fantasy Football Hour with Eric Balkman and Dave Gerczak. He helped me gauge values on start-up picks and where to look for those pockets of value. My goal was to gather at least 9 2021 1st round picks, and grab a few more later 2021 picks to trade as assets in season as needed. 

On the surface, this strategy seems extreme and like giving up before you start, but it actually gives you a lot of flexibility in the future. As Nick pointed out on the podcast, the 1st round pick of start-ups can’t really gain value, but you can accrue future value by moving down for future assets. 

For example, my first trade (as you’ll see below,) was the 1.09 for the 3.04 and a future 1st. The 1.09 ended up as Josh Jacobs. Let’s say that future 1st ends up as the 1.02, I can likely move it for Josh Jacobs + more next year. Even if it ends up late, I will have SOME early picks among my 8 that can be moved for good assets plus more.

It is likely these future 1sts GAIN value than lose it, and then I can decide next year whether to move them for proven assets or go for big time rookies.

You also need to have patience and persistence to execute this strategy. You need to flood your leaguemates with trade offers for each of your picks and try to extract as much value as possible by sending trades that others may view as lopsided or disrespectful (it only takes one to accept).

I offered over 150 trades over the course of this start-up, and I imagine the other 11 teams in this league don’t like me very much after enduring multiple trade offers to them a day. Be kind, but be persistent. Don’t be afraid to send the same offer multiple times as the draft moves and landscape changes, but this strategy is NOT for the lighthearted.

My target was to approximate a 2021 1st to a 6th round start-up value and bump it up to a 5th as needed.  I would try to move my 1-6 picks and end up with a nice bunch in the middle to take young upside with. In this best ball format, if I get last place in 2020, I get the 1.01 in 2021, and that is the goal. My hope is to build a juggernaut with these picks and dominate in 2022 and beyond. 

Here are a few rules to note:

-Best Ball (PPR)

-22 Roster spots (3 additional IR spots)

-16 week season, no playoff

-Start 1 QB, 2 RB, 2 WR, 1 TE, 2 Flex, 1 K, 1 Def

-2 weekly waiver runs ($1000 FAAB)

-TE Premium scoring (1.5 PPR for TEs)

-Cut down to 16 players in the offseason

I drew the 1.09 in the start-up (snake).  Would have been nice to have a higher pick, but we had 2 weeks to trade before the draft.  Let’s break down a few of my trades in the start-up to acquire future picks and see how this turned out. The full Draft Board is here

Trades

Trade 1

@ShanePHallam gave away:

1.09

America’s Team gave away:

2021 1st and 3.04

Notes: This was the type of deal I wanted to make. I get a future 1st, and can use the 3.04 to get another one. Unfortunately, this did clue in my leaguemates to my plan and friend Tod Buros of the Run To Daylight podcast had started sniffing for future 1sts as well.

Trade 2

@ShanePHallam gave away:

2.04 / 10.04 / 2021 4th (4.01)

Grapes of Draft Gave Away:

4.05 / 13.08 / 2021 1st

Notes: The value for this was a bit in the other direction, but I was stalling getting my 3rd 2021 1st. The 2 to 4 drop is great, but looking back, the 10 to 13 drop was iffy and would hurt my team if I didn’t make that value back up with other trade downs. Giving 2021 juice like a 3rd or 4th is great since I will have more picks than roster spots available if I keep them all. 

@ShanePHallam Gave Away:

3.04

The Van Wyck Gave Away:

7.12

2021 1st

Notes: The 7th round is a nice sweet spot this season as I like the value and players there (see some of my selections below).  I figured I can grab some fringe 1st round rookies and young players, so though this was quite a dip, it notched me my fourth future 1st.

Trade 4

@ShanePHallam gave away:

4.04

FadeTheNoise.com gave away:

8.10

2021 1st

Notes: Once again, getting in the 7-10 round range should be good for my team and I get my fifth future 1st.

Trade 5

@ShanePHallam gave away:

3.09 / 4.05 / 2021 3rd (3.01)

Run to Daylight gave away:

3.07 / 8.11 / 2021 1st / 2021 4th

Notes: Probably not the best value trade, but it ends up similar to the last in terms of 4th to 8th drop. Tod is a savvy owner, and he actually got an additional 2021 1st before I did, so breaking one from him meant I was the only team going for this strategy. Thankfully I would get my 3rd (which will be the 3.01,) back later. 2021 1st #6 from this trade.

Trade 6

@ShanePHallam gave away:

3.07

The attack gave away:

7.06 / 2021 1st

Notes: Moved up to that 3.07 and got solid value for it to get my seventh 2021 1st. I didn’t have much time on the clock after moving up, so I went pretty hard to get a 7th or 8th with the 1st.

Trade 7

@ShanePHallam gave away:

5.09

Under New Management gave away:

2021 1st / 2021 3rd

Notes: I really didn’t want to give any picks straight up, but this was probably the best I could get. As I said at the top, the goal was to value 2021 1sts with an early 6th rounder, but I would have given the 5.09 for a 1st straight up if needed. Happy to get the extra 3rd juice here, thus the straight up trade to get my eighth and final 2021 1st.

Trade 7

@ShanePHallam gave away:

6.04

FadeTheNoise.com gave away:

7.03

2021 3rd

Notes: I tried hard to get a 1st for the 6.04, even adding a late rookie pick, but no dice. A slight move down, and I ended up getting the same player I would have taken at the 6.04. I’m sad I didn’t hit my goal of nine 2021 1sts, but hopefully in season I can get one or two more.

Trade 8

@ShanePHallam gave away:

8.04

Run To Daylight gave away:

8.09

2021 3rd (3.01)

Notes: Loved getting this offer when I was eyeing rookie WRs as it was. Gave me two back to back picks and got my 3.01 rookie pick back, which is usually a decent spot or good trade value.

Trade 9

@ShanePHallam gave away:

12.04 / 2021 5th

Under New Management gave away:

2021 2nd

Notes: I didn’t push hard for 2021 2nds due to the uncertainty of this upcoming season, but I had no real target at the 12.04, and it was good value to get another one. I had traded previously for an extra 5th, so giving that up didn’t mean much.

Obviously with trading away so much of the early start-up picks and adding 2021 rookie picks, I am aiming for 2022 as my year to compete and win a title, so I drafted very young with upside (as scoring points this season does nothing for me,) so that was the plan. I think the team came out pretty well for shooting for 2022 to really gel together. 

I did a few other trades moving around the draft (I’m a big mover in start-ups,) and what not, but the 10 trades above gave me my future capital.  Below I have outlined how my team came out and my thought behind each selection at the bottom of the article. If you have questions or want to discuss this strategy further, feel free to contact me on twitter @ShanePHallam or via e-mail: shanephallam@gmail.com 

Full Draft Board

QB – Justin Herbert – 13.08

QB – Teddy Bridgewater – 18.01

QB – Jordan Love – 22.04

QB – Jalen Hurts – 23.08

RB – AJ Dillon   – 9.06

RB – Darrell Henderson – 11.07

RB – Anthony McFarland – 11.11

RB – Eno Benjamin – 20.02

RB – DeeJay Dallas – 21.09

RB – Jonathan Ward – 24.04

WR – Deebo Samuel – 7.03

WR – Diontae Johnson – 7.06

WR – Michael Pittman – 8.09

WR – Tee Higgins – 8.10

WR – Denzel Mims – 10.03

WR – Corey Davis – 16.01

WR – Steven Sims – 18.05

WR – Russell Gage – 23.09

TE– Mike Gesicki – 7.09

TE–  Irv Smith – 7.12

TE – Adam Trautman – 14.03

TE – Cole Kmet – 15.07

K – Liram Hajrullah – 26.04

Def – Washington – 25.09


Selection Breakdown

7.03: Deebo Samuel WR/SF

If I had to stick in the 6th round, I would have taken Deebo. Having him there in the 7th is great. For this “instant rebuild” strategy, WR is usually the best value to find young upside who can blossom into more. Deebo gets the injury discount when I don’t need him until 2021 or 2022 to turn into a true PPR superstar and WR1. If he emerges earlier, he could be good fodder to move for my ninth 2021 1st.

7.06: Diontae Johnson WR/PIT

With Diontae Johnson having the season he had with Mason Rudolph and Devlin Hodges, I am down to draft him with Ben Roethlisberger and whatever young QB eventually takes over there. He is another young player with WR1 potential down the line, so well worth a 7th round pick to blossom in a few years.

7.09 – Mike Gesicki TE/MIA

In the TE Premium format, TEs are gold.  The tight ends got away from me a little bit as I wanted Noah Fant or TJ Hockenson to anchor my TEs.

Gesicki turns 25 this season and essentially plays WR for the Dolphins. For a best ball, I like the TD upside he has week to week and should keep growing in this offense.

7.12 – Irv Smith TE/MIN

I reached a bit on Irv Smith as TEs were flying off the board. He had a strong end to the season in an offense that favors the TE. With Diggs out, all Irv needs is Rudolph to back down and become the real deal.

He is only 22 years old, and should develop right in time for me to make a title run when this team develops. I wanted two strong, young TEs on my team since that position takes longest to develop and the 2021 rookie TEs may just take too long

8.09 – Michael Pittman WR/IND

Michael Pittman and Tee Higgins were targets of mine since Day 1 of this strategy. Pittman went 4 rounds later than CeeDee Lamb and Jerry Jeudy, and he has just as much upside as them.

Early Round 2 capital, and the Colts had been raving about him since the Combine happened. Should eat up PPR points with Rivers and whoever comes after, and I have faith in the coaches and GMs of the Colts to build a big time offense.

8.10 – Tee Higgins WR/CIN

Higgins should move into the AJ Green role by the time my team is competing and I expect a good offense for the Bengals with Joe Burrow under the helm.

Once again, to get him 4 rounds later than the top rookie WRs seems like stealing.  Of the 4 WRs I drafted, I expect at least 2 to become studs and anchor my young team a few years down the line.

9.06 – AJ Dillon RB/GB   

RB is going to be tough to come by with this strategy, and that will be the lynchpin. Dillon, my RB1, was RB34 off the board in the draft. I’ll have to swing for young upside and will NEED a hit or two at RB if I want to win a 2022 title.

The coaching staff obviously drafted Dillon to be their future Derrick Henry. Dillon has grown on me, but I am wary of the Packers future. I do think he has more upside than Zack Moss or Kerryon Johnson to take here.

10.03 – Denzel Mim WR/NYJ

I moved up for Denzel Mims for a 5th upside swing at WR. I’m not a Denzel Mims fan relative to value, especially on the Adam Gase led Jets, but I don’t need production for two years, and the athletic upside is palpable. Once again, my approach is scattershot.

If 65% of my picks in the start-up outperform their draft position, and 50% of my 2021 rookies do the same, my team becomes Top 3 in this league. Denzel Mims is a league winner if he develops, and not much lost if he is a bust.

11.07 – Darrell Henderson RB/LAR

It was time to get a few more RB shots. I like Cam Akers, I do, but Darrell Henderson showed some crazy ability in college and was top of the 3rd round draft capital. I don’t think he goes away.

I like him in best ball for some potential big PPR days, and it wouldn’t surprise me if he emerges ahead of Akers frustrating fantasy players everywhere. I like him over the RBs taken around him in this start-up (Joshua Kelley, Tarik Cohen, Sony Michel,) for upside as a potential RB2.

11.11 – Anthony McFarland RB/PIT

I moved up again here to get another RB swing for the fences. I was higher on McFarland than many, and he is very unique to what RB the Steelers have preferred in the past. If Conner moves on and McFarland proves himself, the upside is there for him to develop in a year or two.

Maybe I should have went for a more proven guy like Phil Lindsay or Tevin Coleman. The move-up may have been a mistake ultimately due to what happened next…

13.08 – Justin Herbert QB/LAC

Best Ball changes the QB strategy in the league. In a typical dynasty, I would wait until the very end and grab a QB, but here you want 2-3 that can give you weekly upside. I waited too long on QB. It was a big mistake I made here, and looking back, I would have rather punted RB more and went for QBs.

I had the 13.08 and 13.09 originally, and planned on back to back QBs but got cute. Joe Burrow went earlier than I expected at the 11.01, so I set my sights on Jared Goff. He went at the 12.11, so I moved onto Tua. He went two picks before me at the 13.06.

I had Herbert pegged much later, but couldn’t wait. I don’t like Herbert’s college tape, but I hate it in the way I hated Josh Allen and Daniel Jones tape. Athletic QBs with good systems can produce, and Herbert can too. Looks like Trevor Lawrence or Justin Fields will be a target next year for me though.

14.03 – Adam Trautman TE/NO

I gave up a future 5th to move up in the 14th and take Trautman. I had wanted Jace Sternberger, but Jared Smola took him rounds before. Though he played at Dayton, Trautman was dominant and the Saints gave up their entire 3rd day of the draft to move up and take Trautman.

He is clearly the heir to Jared Cook in an offense that favors the tight end, so I am down for the upside as my TE3 to hold for a year or two since I’m not competing this season. Young TEs went flying off the board after this, so I am happy with the move up payment and getting the player I was targeting.

15.07 – Cole Kmet TE/CHI

With this being a TE Premium league, I wanted to take shots on 4 young TEs since those are the positions that take the longest to develop, and if I want to challenge for a title in two years, I will need that development to start now rather than with 2021 rookies.

I don’t like Kmet much, and I don’t like the Bears offense much, but he should get early playing time due to his blocking ability and can be a red zone threat. I moved up 2 picks to grab him as I saw a huge fall off at TE after Kmet.

16.01 – Corey Davis WR/TEN

I was surprised Corey Davis fell this far. Yes, he has been a bust, but his high draft capital and talent could mean he blossoms with another team in a year. He still put up okay stats and likely won’t be run out of the league anytime soon.

I’m much happier with him than the next two WRs taken (John Brown and Jalen Hurd,) so as my WR6, the upside is huge and an easy offseason cut in a year if he is a total bust.

18.01: Teddy Bridgewater QB/CAR

I tried moving up for Bridgewater to no avail, but he ended up falling into my lap at the 18.01. I think Joe Brady will do wonders for Bridgewater and the Panthers offense.

Short dumps to Christian McCaffrey and DJ Moore should get some fantasy points and Teddy should hold this job for a few years and give nice best ball upside for the future.

18.05: Steven Sims WR/WAS

I really had one of two WRs I wanted to cap off my young, strong WR group with, Steven Sims or Van Jefferson. I ended up moving up and still having my choice, so I went with Sims. He performed down the stretch last year and has big play ability. 

He should slide into the #2 WR role for Washington with a few big games week to week. Swinging for young upside in these late rounds, and Sims seems like a good bet.

20.02: Eno Benjamin RB/ARI

My RB depth is obviously my weakest position. I wanted to load up on some late round young players and hope for a lottery ticket breakout. Benjamin fits the bill if he ever gets a crack at starting a game this season, production and value could come.

I was a big fan of Eno going into his junior year, but being small and slow really hurt his draft capital. This is a shot in the dark, and an easy cut for a free agent if needed.   

21.09: Deejay Dallas RB/SEA

Dallas is a similar pick to Eno Benjamin except with a bit better draft capital. The Seahawks have a crowded RB room and haven’t exactly nailed RB picks, but Dallas is a solid RB who could get some production if he gets a chance. Once again, this is a dart throw to hope for some production and trade value.   

22.04: Jordan Love QB/GB

I’m not a Jordan Love fan, but the Round 1 draft capital is worth taking a shot on along with his physical tools. It is rare that a QB is drafted in the first round and doesn’t get at least a start in his rookie year. Since I have a year or two to wait, Jordan Love could pay off with upside fitting in what the Packers coaching staff wants to do. If not, he will be an easy cut for a 2021 rookie.

23.08: Jalen Hurts QB/PHI

Jalen Hurts is another high upside QB shot to take. If Carson Wentz goes down, Hurts should be able to step in and be a fantasy asset with his legs. If he somehow finds his way into the job, he could end up my QB1 for 2021, or he becomes an easy cut.

23.09: Russell Gage WR/ATL

I had a number of wide receivers I still liked here, including rookies like Quintez Cephus, Isaiah Coulter, and others. Gage likely has the best upside to give me some trade value and is the end of my receiver list if he isn’t used much. Ultimately, I may have to cut him to get my roster down.

24.04: Jonathan Ward RB/ARI

This is easily my first cut, but I wanted to take a flyer on an UDFA RB that has some college production. Ward and Benjamin should compete for the 3rd RB spot on the Cardinals, and as we saw last year, any RB who gets playing time is productive, so Ward is worth a shot. 

25.09: Washington Defense

In an instant rebuild best ball, defense is a bit strange. I want a defense with some upside that can be traded if it hits big, but I’ll likely be dropping it and swapping it out over the bye no matter what. On top of that, my goal isn’t really to score points this year.

I went with Washington narrowly over Miami. 6 of their front 7 are former first round picks, including Chase Young and Montez Sweat who can get sack numbers. They added some free agents in the secondary, and could be a solid unit, even if the offense struggles. 

26.04: Liram Hajrullah K/LAR

This is a swing for the fences. The Rams kicker will be a valuable fantasy piece, but the competition is between Hajrullah and Sam Sloman, both of whom can REALLY kick distance (which is huge for FFPC scoring). Even in a year I am punting, I won’t be a jerk and not start a scoring kicker, but if Hajrullah wins the job, maybe I can flip him for a future asset.

I’d love your feedback on this strategy and team. Would you ever try it? Do you think I can compete for a title in 2022? Tweet me @ShanePHallam or e-mail me: shanephallam@gmail.com 

See more of Shane’s work here

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