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Dynasty Strategy: Before the NFL Draft

Dany in blue with dragonA Song of Yardage and Tackles: Issue 2 – A Clash of Rookies

1-12 is a record no fantasy owner should experience, but it was my fate in the first year of my IDP dynasty league, Game of Touchdowns, and my Miami-Dade Dragons dropped almost every game. While my squad in this 14-team league loosely themed to HBO’s “Game of Thrones” was left looking purpler in the face than Joffery at his wedding, quitting is not an option. It’s time to re-build!

First, you’ll need to view the following info to see how I ended-up 1-12: Start-up Draft, My Current Roster.

Draft Planning

This year is a very tricky year for ranking rookies before the draft. Yeah, most people will take Sammy Watkins pretty early and he’s unlikely to get past the top 3 in any dynasty rookie draft. Mike Evans is in the shadow of Watkins in the same way Sandor “The Hound” Clegane is in the shadow of his brother “The Mountain,” but seems like a promising talent. “Johnny Football” is also a tempting pick due to his playmaking ability. The fact is, you really can’t rate these guys until they are on an NFL team. You will not start to get an idea on the value of the incoming rookies until the actual NFL draft is in the books.

After my 1.1 trade with Zhan, I got 1.8 and that sounds great, but what am I likely to get there? Watkins and Evans will be gone. Most expect the Titans, Browns and Falcons to take a RB in rounds 2 or 3. When that happens, they will become “must-have” rookies and go quick. I don’t think any of them will slide to the 1.8 pick. Maybe I could take stud TE Eric Ebron, but TE is one of few areas where I am in good shape with Jason Witten, Martellus Bennett and Dennis Pitta. With only Russell Wilson and Carson Palmer, I am tempted to take a QB, but there could still be some QB talent left in rounds two and three.

It could go down like this…

1.1 – Sammy Watkins
1.2 – Dre Mason
1.3 – Mike Evans
1.4 – Carlos Hyde
1.5 – Johnny Manziel
1.6 – Ka’Deem Carey
1.7 – Odell Beckham Jr.
1.8 – Me stuck without an elite player to draft

There are so many unanswered questions before an NFL draft that the smart thing to do is to wait until names are called at Radio City Music Hall and then game plan. Who gets Watkins? Who is the first RB picked? What will happen to Tyrion at his trial?

Even if the best move is to wait, I love to trade and tend to get board during the “offseason.”

I recently made the following huge trade:

  • I got: Julio Jones, Knowshon Moreno, pick 2.14 and pick 3.14
  • I gave-up: Doug Martin, Julian Edelman and 1.8

Why?

Game of Thrones Team NamesI think Julio Jones can be a top 3 WR for the next few years and maybe even beyond that. He has a good QB, plays in a dome and faces some fairly weak secondary defenses in the NFC South. Last year, Jones was fantasy football’s #1 WR before going down with an injury.

Trading Doug Martin hurt. His potential is very high and he could easily be a clear-cut RB1 in 2014, like he was in his rookie season. However, I did get back a pretty good RB in Moreno. I am under no delusions that he’ll do as well in Miami as he did in Denver and no… I did not want him because he’s now a Dolphin! He will not be a top 5 RB again in 2014, but he could still put up nice numbers and maybe have 1,000 yards and 6 touchdowns, or something like that. With Eddie Lacy, Maurice Jones-Drew, Pierre Thomas, Bernard Pierce, Marcus Lattimore and others, I can afford to gamble on Moreno to get Julio.

Edelman has a bright future and I would have liked to have kept him. Maybe it’s not the smartest thing to do, but I like to hedge my bets. Last season (and even at the end of 2012), I went after Edelman and got him in almost all of my leagues. With Edelman on so many of my rosters, I was willing to part with him in this deal to get Julio.

Julio can be extremely expensive in dynasty leagues and I really think I got a great value in this deal with Ryan. In another league, an owner wanted my 1.9 pick, Alfred Morris, my R1 for the next two years and T.Y. Hilton for Julio! I had to push a little, but I got 2.14 and 3.14 included in the deal. With the uncertainly of this draft class, I think sitting back and waiting with later picks is wise. At least, that’s what I think Barristan Selmy would do.

Draft Pick Positioning

While right now you don’t know who will have what value in the draft, the numbers are simple. You want to avoid big gaps in your picks when possible. Since I finished in last, I am in the #1 slot and since he won the GoT crown in 2013, former Gridiron Experts writer Ryan Miller has the #14 slot. It’s good to be friendly with the people picking next to you. When I got 3.14, I already had 4.1 and now I have back-to-back picks which is great. So much for needing to worry if you picked the right guy when you are between two, just take both!

In the league’s 2013 start-up draft, I traded my 2014 R3 pick to league member Shawn Luskey. I recently called Shawn and worked out the following deal to get it back: My 2015 Round 3 and 4 picks and 5.1… for… 3.1, Kenny Stills and Justin Smith.

So once again I trade away future picks. I know I’ll regret it next year, but I live in the now and still have my 2015 R1. Next year I hope to have enough talent to where I can trade for an R2 and R3 pick. I also am pretty high on Kenny Stills with Darren Sproles in New Orleans and Lance Moore in Pittsburgh.

My current picks:

2.14 (28th overall)
3.1 (29th overall)
3.14 (42nd overall)
4.1 (43rd overall)
6.1 (71st overall)
7.1 (85th overall)

Trading is much like single-combat… Maybe the other guy pisses on the ground in front of you and charges on horseback, but it’s your job to take out his horse and slit his throat. Do that and you can piss on the ground in front of his friends and gain the affections of the hot “Mother of Dragons” standing next to you! (Okay… maybe that’s not the best analogy for trade strategy, but that scene was awesome)

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