In Part 1 of this series, I outlined how I love a challenge in dynasty football and nothing is more of a challenge than taking over a complete dumpster fire of a team, selling off the pieces and turning it into a contender over time. To recap, the league is SuperFlex and TE Premium and the roster I inherited is as follows:
QB: Derek Carr, Carson Wentz and Jared Goff
RB: Le’veon Bell, Kalen Ballage, Gio Bernard, Tarik Cohen, Kenyon Drake, Dion Lewis, Boston Scott, Isaiah Crowell
WR: Tyreek Hill, Michael Thomas, Sammy Watkins, Jakeem Grant, Rashard Higgins, Cordarelle Patterson, Breshad Perriman, Michael Crabtree
TE: Tyler Higbee, Jack Doyle, Zach Ertz, Lee Smith, Jason Witten
The team also had the following picks in the upcoming rookie draft: 1.2, 2.2, 3.2 and 4.2. Here are the moves I documented in Part 1 that I already made:
1) Cutting Crabtree, Witten and Crowell
2) Picked up Mariota off waivers
3) Traded Tyreek Hill for Mike Evans, David Montgomery and 2.6.
4) Traded Zach Ertz for Dalton Schultz and 4.10.
5) Traded 3.2 for Van Jefferson
Now let’s get into the new moves I’ve made in my quest to turn this neglected dynasty football team around. I kept conversation alive with the owner I acquired Van Jefferson from. I knew he wanted Wentz but he wasn’t going to overpay. He wanted fair market value and who can be mad at that? Around this same time, I was getting some really BAD offers for Wentz so I knew who my potential trade partner here was going to be. The minute Wentz became a Colt, the serious negotiations began.
Move 6) Traded Carson Wentz for Courtland Sutton, Jonnu Smith & Miles Gaskin
I really wanted to get a first out of Wentz but the opportunity to get Sutton, a young WR who can be a part of my team for years to come, was really enticing. Sure, there’s QB issues to be worked out in Denver, but Sutton has the skills and age on his side. Smith and Gaskin were both question marks. Miami seemed destined to replace Gaskin at RB1 in the draft but Gaskin had a really strong showing in 2020 (as it turns out, Miami wouldn’t draft an RB until late in the draft). And with Smith, he’s going to be fighting for targets with Hunter Henry also joining the team but Bill Belichick has shown in the past that he can run an offense that has 2 stud TE’s. Will lightning strike twice? I don’t know, but as an additional piece in this deal, I was happy to take the risk.
This league has everyone cut to 20 prior to the draft and the trade market really started to dry up for a bit. I cut Lee Smith, Dion Lewis, Kallen Ballage, Jakeem Grant and C-Patterson with no hesitation. There was no way I was going to be able to trade any of those guys. I needed one more cut though and this one hurt. Le’veon Bell had been the top RB in fantasy football just a few short seasons ago. I tried to package him with a 4th to move up to the 3rd, I tried to trade him for a 2022 third and then even a fourth, but the league made it clear: Nobody wanted to give me anything for Bell. So, he became my final cut on my dynasty football team.
As the NFL Draft concluded, excitement in this league picked up again. I made it known again that I would flip any player or pick for the right cost. 1.2 became my prime bargaining chip and I really wanted to trade back. Someone would surely want to overpay for Harris or a QB not named TLaw, right? That became my prime focus, moving back, so I could take BPA from whatever spot I landed in and could pick up some extra players or picks along the way. But then, something else came along…
In a Superflex league, when rebuilding, there’s a handful of QBs you want to build your team around and one of them is Trevor Lawrence. I sent out some feelers to the owner with 1.1 and he seemed willing to move the pick. He was also rebuilding but made it known that he was not opposed to flipping 1.1 for 1.2 and that he had his eye on Michael Thomas. This I could work with. Thomas was on my list to sell this off-season. He’s 28, entering a QB change and coming off an injury-packed year. With news of him being healthy circulating, his stock was back on the rise and I was ready to cash out.
I gave up 1.2, Michael Thomas and Myles Gaskin for 1.1, Tua Tagovailoa and a 2022 1st. This was a big trade and is one that warrants some analysis. I’m getting TLaw, placing a bet on Tua taking big steps forward and what should be a top 6 1st round pick next year. I’m giving up an RB that I don’t think will finish the year as a starter, a WR1 I wanted to cash out on and 1.2. Best case scenario, I have my 2 young QBs I’m building around and a lottery pick next year. If Tua busts, then I definitely will have lost this deal, but will also still have my QB1 for the next 10 years and what should be a top pick next year. Heading into the rookie draft, I’m feeling pretty good.
This league woke up on Draft Day. It was really cool to see. I know a lot of leagues were down last year because of COVID and that’s totally understandable. But the excitement was back and teams were making deals left and right on Draft Day. With no last-minute offers coming in for 1.1, I ran to the proverbial podium and took Trevor Lawrence, my franchise quarterback, first overall and felt damn good about it. Adding a centerpiece like this makes a rebuild feel like it’s going somewhere.
I kept working the phones during the first round and when the QB run left the owner at 1.6 empty-handed, I sent him Goff for his 2022 2nd. I don’t see Goff’s value improving and honestly, he might not even be the starter in Detroit for more than a year. This rebuild is going to take more than a year so getting a Top 20 pick in what should be a really good draft class seemed like great value.
Before my next pick at 2.2, I pulled off one more smaller trade. I packaged Sammy Watkins and 4.10 for a 2022 3rd, which now put me at two picks in each of the first three rounds in 2022. Watkins was a guy I sent out numerous offers for prior and nobody bit. I don’t see his production ever picking up and this was a way to get something out of him, instead of having to cut him later. Not a big move by any means, but it helped me load up more for next years draft and got something out of a player I didn’t want to roster. These small moves add up in the long run.
I was back on the clock at 2.2 and selected Elijah Moore, who is now a Jet. Tons of upside here, even if the production isn’t immediate. This is someone who had first-round talent, in my opinion, and while his success largely depends on his rookie QB, all of the tools are there and this felt like a great kick.
My second round wasn’t done, however, and I was back up at 2.6, a pick received in the deal for Tyreek Hill. I had my eyes on “Baby Gronk”, Pat Freiermuth, here and my guy fell to me. With this being a TE Premium league, a prospect like Freiermuth, who will likely produce modest numbers in Year 1, but has all the tools and size to boot to be an absolute monster at the TE position long term, was a great get. His rookie year will likely see him learning from veteran Eric Ebron but my team is in no rush for production. We’re in this for the long haul.
I didn’t have a pick in the third round and my eyes were on Dez Fitzpatrick heading into the fourth. A big WR going into a high powered offense in Tennessee, Fitzpatrick is exactly the kind of gamble I want to take heading into the fourth and final round of our draft. An offer came in though, offering me a 2022 fourth to move back from 4.2 to 4.6. Feeling confident that my guy would still be there, I accepted the deal, picking up an extra fourth next year (giving me one extra pick in each round of the 2022 draft) and guess what? My guy was still there at 4.6. Win/win.
I took over this team the week after the Super Bowl, and now we’ve passed the NFL Draft and the dynasty rookie draft. I’ve made a lot of moves, but have they been steps in the right direction? Now’s time for the hardest part of all: the honest self-assessment.
QB: I started off with Wentz, Goff and Carr. Now, I have Trevor Lawrence, Tua Tagovailoa, Carr and his backup, Marcus Mariota.
I call this an upgrade: TLaw and Tua over Wentz and Goff. Some may disagree but I feel like I have a dynamic duo that could be leading my team for years to come. A lot of that depends on Tua, but I’m still a believer.
RB: I started off with Le’veon Bell, Kalen Ballage, Gio Bernard, Tarik Cohen, Kenyon Drake, Dion Lewis, Boston Scott, Isaiah Crowell. Bell, Lewis and Crowell are all gone, replaced by David Montgomery.
Easy upgrade here. Still have some dead weight, but an undeniable upgrade.
WR: I started off with Tyreek Hill, Michael Thomas, Sammy Watkins, Jakeem Grant, Rashard Higgins, Cordarelle Patterson, Breshad Perriman, Michael Crabtree. All of them except Perriman and Higgins are gone now. They’ve been replaced by Mike Evans, Courtland Sutton, Van Jefferson, Dez Fitzpatrick and Elijah Moore.
So this is the one area where a position has downgraded, but moving my studs in Hill and Thomas enabled me to get TLaw, Evans, Montgomery, Tua and more. So a downgrade at the position, yes, but Sutton is a solid piece and ultimately, the moves made paid off elsewhere.
TE: I started off with Tyler Higbee, Jack Doyle, Zach Ertz, Lee Smith and Jason Witten. Ertz, Smith and Witten are now gone, replaced by Jonnu Smith, Dalton Schultz and Pat Freiermuth.
This was another big positional upgrade in my position, especially if the Patriots use both TE’s like they did Gronk and Hernandez and Freiermuth pays off. I may not have a Top 4 TE, but I am excited about this group in a league that prioritizes the position.
Additional assets: One extra pick in each of the four rounds of the 2022 rookie draft. Projecting the picks in Rounds 1,2 and 4 to be early to mid-round and the third to be mid to late round.
Will my team contend this year? Likely not. This isn’t going to be a one year rebuild but most aren’t. Rebuilds require patience, perseverance and persistence. Pulling off a successful rebuild in dynasty football is a long game. With this team, I still have work to do. There are a few veterans on this team I will explore flipping this year, and hitting the 2022 draft class hard is going to be of the utmost importance. The goal is to deconstruct and rebuild a team to win for many, many years and well, I’m not there yet but I took some major steps forward towards that goal. Let me know what you think in the comments!