Dynasty Football: Rolling Rebuild

April 6, 2021

The ultimate goal in fantasy sports is to be holding the trophy at the end of the season.

The ultimate goal in dynasty fantasy leagues is to be the one who builds a dynasty, winning a trophy in consecutive seasons or two of three seasons.

It isn’t easy to be that team and it generally requires years of bad seasons and high draft picks. Striking it rich with Saquon Barkley, AJ Brown or Jonathan Taylor in the last three seasons. Or getting lucky on the waiver wire with players like James Robinson.

But building mostly through the draft usually leaves you with that one missing piece that keeps you from being a mainstay at the top of the standings.

Playing for “this year” or “next year” can leave you in limbo with seasons where your team is filled with aging veterans with declining trade value.

While this isn’t a blueprint for everyone and it won’t work in every league, there are ways to avoid these situations. To put your self on top of the standings and stay there, long enough to win two or three titles in a five-year span. More, if you’re lucky.

This is something I call “The Rolling Rebuild.”

While there is always an argument to be made to completely tear down your roster, this is my preferred way to rebuild. Because it never hurts to win more titles and win more money.

Get There

Obviously, the first step to building a dynasty, is getting to the top. 

This step usually starts with a startup draft, but sometimes can come when a few pieces come together at the right time. 

Usually, this starts with a mixture of aging guys and young guys who could be mainstays throughout your dynasty process. 

Often I feel people look for youth to win down the road in startup drafts. Take advantage of that, someone has to win in the first season.

Don’t Be Afraid To Cut Bait

The biggest issue we all run into in fantasy football is falling in love with our players, especially in dynasty. 

It’s not hard to fall in love with guys like A.J. Green and Julio Jones after owning them for years. But, sometimes, you have to cut bait with your aging superstars and attempt to turn those into up-and-coming superstars. 

My dynasty rebuild started a few seasons ago with a swap of AJ Green and a second-round pick for Devante Adams. 

Never be afraid to add something to a trade that could make you better in the future. 

Aces And Spaces or Studs and Duds

It’s always nice to be four or five players deep at running back or wide receiver.

But, there’s two times having depth on your roster does you no good. Right now, in the offseason and during the playoffs.

Dump your depth when your league allows trading and at the trade deadline, if your league has one.

If you have depth, someone else is looking for it. Trade it for top-end guys at the deadline. While you need it to get you through bye weeks and injuries, your WR4 or RB5 is likely not going to help you win a title.

If you feel like you can start them in any given week, so does someone else.

Justin Jefferson and Nick Chubb are more valuable than your third through sixth running back and wide receiver if you’re trying to hoist the title.

Being top heavy can help you win titles.

Trade For Future Assets

While you shouldn’t be afraid to throw something in to get your guys, you also shouldn’t be afraid to ask for a little more on the end. 

Sometimes that can be a third-round pick, which can be valuable. Even in weak drafts, there’s always someone to be found in the third round. Whether that’s by you or a league mate, who may pay a future second for that third-round pick. 

With luck, you can turn that second into another player to help you get through the season or as another piece to get a top guy. 

Another valuable trade target during a rolling rebuild is expiring contracts. It’s not just a way for professional sports teams to shed payroll, it’s your way to get a possible bellcow running back under the radar. 

Not everyone looks at contracts when making trades. Take a look at guys with expiring deals and guys who give their team a massive cap hit. A lot of players gain value during free agency.

Be Aggressive in the Trade Market

If a highly sought-after guy hits the market and you have the assets (depth you may not need) to get him. Go after him. You may not need him. But you may be able to answer the price tag and may be interested in what other teams had to offer for that same player. 

Acquire top-end talent should always be on your radar.

It takes some serious scheming at times, but sometimes you find yourself in a situation where in benefits you to do a swap. 

At times, with two trades, you can turn a guy like Julio Jones into DeAndre Hopkins by getting pieces that will buy another player. 

It never hurts to inquire about a player you can’t afford at the time, because sometimes assets can be moved to acquire that player down the road. 

Additionally, the best times to make trades in dynasty leagues are in the offseason. 

Most leagues, if hosted on MFL, wait until the rollover to open up trading again, if there’s a deadline. That’s a great time to trade. To me, owners are most likely to deal with you in the period between the Super Bowl and the draft. Especially if there are question marks surrounding a player’s situation. 

Keep Notes

It’s been mentioned a ton of times in a ton of different places in this industry. 

Keep notes of player’s price tags, keep notes of owners’ tendencies, sometimes that means favorite players or favorite teams. 

This doesn’t only has to be physical notes, but mental notes. You can find out a lot about your league mates by paying attention to trades and league message boards. 

What’s Next?

Unlike a complete tear down and rebuild, the rolling rebuild doesn’t quite have an endgame. 

In a rebuild, a championship is the end game. In a rolling rebuild, the end game is a dynasty. A few championships in a short span of time to assert yourself at the top of your league. 

Continue to evaluate your team each season to see where you can get younger or where you can improve the top end of your roster.