Dynasty League Football: Mid-Season Review
We’re now at the midway point of the NFL season, but for us diehard fantasy players, we are already thinking about a potential playoff run. If you’ve added a layer and you’re playing in a dynasty league (or ten), you might even be thinking about some potential off-season moves.
Nine weeks into the regular season, it's time to take a deep look at your team, your current record and total points scored and make some tough decisions about the future of your squad.
Contender or Pretender?
This is the first real question you have to consider. Is your team in a position to make a playoff run, or are you better off packing it in and looking ahead to 2016 and beyond? Some dynasty players are so competitive they want to win a championship every season. This is a nice dream, but it just isn’t realistic. It is important not to get caught up in just trying to sneak into the playoffs with a poor team when a high draft pick might make a bigger long-term impact on your team.
Obviously, if you’ve already racked up at least six wins through nine weeks, you’re likely in good shape to make the playoffs in your league. Begin by looking at your roster, especially considering the recent rash of injuries. Some teams that looked like strong playoff contenders just a couple weeks ago have now been ravaged by injuries and may seem hopeless. If you pass the roster test, take a second look at your main competitors. If you avoided most of the major injuries, chances are they didn’t, making your titles chances even stronger. Finally, consider what position you need to really get over the hump. This will affect your decisions going forward.
On the other end of the spectrum, if you’re not contending, you probably already know it. Sitting at anything less than four wins likely means you’re not making the playoffs and every win you accrue is only hurting your future draft pick. This does not mean you should be tanking, but there are some strategic and honest ways you can improve your draft position in a lost season. Even if your record is poor, don’t forget to consider your total points scored. It is not unusual for some of the highest-scoring teams in a league to have a sub-.500 record, thanks to the randomness of a head-to-head schedule. If your league awards one or more playoff spots to high scoring teams, you may not be out of contention.
Buyer or Seller?
Once you’ve assessed your team and made the difficult decision to either go for the title or plan for the future, you’ve also essentially decided if your team should be a buyer or a seller. This year is unlike most in that there are a multitude of options, especially at the running back position, that are perfect short term “buys.” These are players who could help a contender win a title, yet have relatively little long-term value. Acquiring these types of players for future rookie picks or disappointing rookies is often a win-win proposition.
If you are a contender and need a boost at a certain position, now is the time to approach these teams at the bottom of the standings. Some players I would be focusing on, depending on your specific area of need include Carson Palmer, James Starks, Chris Johnson, Danny Woodhead, Darren McFadden, DeAngelo Williams, Antonio Gates and Ben Watson. All of these players have questionable long-term value, in most cases due to their age. This means non-contending teams should be looking to ship these players off for assets (either rookie draft picks or young players) that can gain value in the future.
If these are the players that could have an impact on a championship run, who are some players the “sellers” should be targeting? When I am in this position (and with 20-plus dynasty teams, I always find myself in this position), I target young players who may have disappointed, but I still believe in their talent. This includes players like Teddy Bridgewater, Jaelen Strong, DeVante Parker, Nelson Agholor, Austin Seferian-Jenkins and countless others. Essentially, if you really liked a player when they came out in the past couple of draft classes, don’t be afraid to go buy them now.
When trying to rebuild through future drafts, the obvious first move is to target first-round picks. This can often be difficult though as teams are reluctant to trade future first-rounders due to their implied value. I find it much easier to target second and third-round picks, as owners are often willing to toss them in to get a deal done. Those mid-round pick can return some excellent value, however, and can be stacked together to move up during a draft when targeting a specific player.
Risers and Fallers
At Dynasty League Football, I am heavily involved in all things having to do with player value. One aspect of this is manning the monthly dynasty mock drafts, which results in average draft position data. This ADP data changes often, especially once we see how these players perform on the field, for better or worse. Depending how you value these players, you might want to add them to your buy or sell list.
Among the top risers are Travis Benjamin, Allen Hurns, Rishard Matthews, Stefon Diggs, Ronnie Hillman and Tavon Austin. It stands out to me that many of these are young wide receivers, which meshes well with the trend over the past few years to build around young pass catchers. If a receiver under 26 years old can play well for a stretch of several games and show some upside, they have instant dynasty value.
On the other hand, some players are losing dynasty value and could be difficult to trade away, but are easy to acquire. Some players in this category are Mike Wallace, Charles Johnson, Shane Vereen, CJ Anderson and Torrey Smith.
So, regardless if you are a contender or pretender, a buyer or a seller, make sure you are staying active and making moves that will help your dynasty team, either now or for years to come.