10 Tips For Rebuilding An Orphaned Dynasty Team

By Sean Darr, DFW Writer

Listen, we’ve all been there before. Your friend has a league where some jerk (like my friend Doug, yeah, I’m looking at you Doug) didn’t like losing and abandoned his ghastly dynasty team. Your desperate friend reaches out to you, strokes your ego, and begs you to use your immense and unique fantasy intelligence to take over the team, and save it from the deep wretches of hell, Phil Jackson style.

You agree, because let’s face it, your girlfriend left you, and Everybody Love’s Raymond reruns aren’t quite filling the void. Besides, won’t your friends look like fools when you turn this garbage team into an immediate contender? Seems fun right?

Well before you get too carried away, here are 10 tips to help you rebuild your orphaned dynasty team.

Tip #1 – Admit you can’t contend for 2-3 years
Go to the bathroom, look into the mirror and repeat after me. “I can’t win this year. I can’t win next year.” Look directly into your soul and say it over and over again until you truly believe it. Surprised by Tip #1? Yeah, well cool your jets. You can’t win this year, and you probably won’t win next year.

There are many steps in the rebuilding process, the first of course, is denial. You probably look at the roster and think: “Ok, I’ve got Russell Wilson, Jordy Nelson, Adrian Peterson, Cordarelle Patterson, and Josh Gordon. I mean, if Gordon comes back, and Patterson finally gets it together, I could have a shot. I’m just one piece away. No reason to gut this team.”

Tip #2 – Gut the team
Yeah, just stop with your “I’m one piece away” thoughts. You aren’t. You have Jordy Nelson, Adrian Peterson, and a guy who isn’t currently in the league. It’s time to round-up anyone who has value and trade them for picks or young players. At this point we are trying to acquire as many picks and young assets as possible. Worry about filling out a roster or starting lineup later, for now we just want as much as possible.

Build around Russell Wilson and forget the rest. Cut all the Joseph Randles and Steven Jacksons on your team. Sure, Jordy may have 3 years left in him, but you won’t be ready until 3 years from now, and he definitely won’t be in his prime anymore. It’s time to reach the acceptance stage, and get younger.

Tip #3 – Try To Hold on To Your Picks and Build Around Young Players
Part of you will be tempted to take your high picks and what young guys you have left, and throw them all in an offer to get a stud like Dez Bryant or Sammy Watkins. Everyone else has a stud, so why not you?

This is a bad idea.

If your team really stinks, you could have the first pick overall in the next rookie draft. This year that is Ezekiel Elliot, and have you seen how much people want for him? It is BANANAS!

Hold on to your picks for dear life! If you trade Jordy, a 2017 first and a 2018 first for Dez Bryant, you are only getting ONE PLAYER! 

You need as many lottery tickets as possible to fill out your roster.

Now let me say, if someone makes you an offer for a young player or a pick of yours that is tilted in your favor, go for it. But let’s say someone offers you a first round pick for TJ Yeldon or Mark Ingram. It’s fair on paper, and the picks are tempting, but why trade a young productive guy for the chance to draft a young and productive guy? You just end up going in circles.

The only reason you would be trading a young stud, is to rebuild depth. If someone offers you TY Hilton, Gio Bernard, and the 1.04 for Dez Bryant, you should take it. But you shouldn’t be doing the opposite.

Tip #4 – Value WR over RB

When I first took over an orphan team, I made the mistake of trying to trade for enough players to field a starting lineup. Why do I care about a starting lineup? My team is terrible, and you should want it to be terrible for now so you get a high pick. I ended up trading one of my WR, a TE, and a pick, for 3 running backs.

This is a mistake!

Running backs don’t live as long (in fantasy, they do fine in real life) as wide receivers, and don’t have as much upside. Right now you should be collecting as many young WRs as I can, and stream RBs later.

You want assets, not a starting lineup, you aren’t competing yet.

Same thing when you hit the draft. Don’t draft for need, draft best player available and slowly watch your roster come together.


Tip #5 – Wait Until The Season Starts To Make Certain Trades
You are eager to trade and rebuild, I know. Summer is boring, and all there is to watch is soccer (ugh… soccer, the games end in 0-0 sometimes, what is the point?)

I know you miss football and you get addicted to trading and improving the team, but sometimes it’s best to wait. People may be down on guys like Jamaal Charles or Jordy Nelson, and will send you low ball offers. But once they get back on the field and start to tear (poor word choice, sorry guys) it up again, people will pay the right price for them.

The other thing that happens mid-season is… GUYS GET INJURED. Jamaal Charles goes down, Dez goes down, Le’veon Bell goes down, etc. When an injury hits a contending team they get CRAZY desperate to replace them, and they will give you way too much for any warm body to fill their roster with. Especially future picks.

Tip #6 – Steal People’s Future Picks

Contending teams look at future picks like a credit card. “You mean I give you nothing and i get something now?”. It seems like a great deal for them in the short- term, but you are an advanced player now, you know it isn’t. You put your big boy pants on and look to the future now. How silly will they feel when next year hits and you have 6 Second round picks? My friend Dave employed this strategy last year, and he was able to get David Johnson, Tyler Lockett, Devin Funchess, Ameer Abdullah, and Dorial Green-Beckham. Steal. Future. Picks.


Tip #7 – Sometimes You’ll Have To Take 99c On The Dollar
You are the league’s new whipping boy and people are going to low ball you left  and right. They will try to convince you all your players are too old and no good, and for the most part you should wait like I stated above.

BUT, sometimes it’s better to get SOMETHING rather than NOTHING, because you can’t afford nothing. Good teams can hold out for better offers, you cannot. You are not good. You are nothing.

You may be thinking, “Sean you just told me to wait and get the right price” and It’s true, I did say that, but some players are risky and you should take what you can get if it’s somewhat fair.

Josh Gordon may never come back, and if he does, he may be terrible. Same with Jimmy Graham. Whereas the risk of guys like Jamaal Charles or Jordy Nelson’s value going any further down is low, it’s possible with Gordon or Graham or DeSean Jackson etc. So if the trade is even slightly fair, you might want to take it.


Tip #8 Ask Everyone you Trade With To Throw In A 3rd Round Pick

Another silly thing contenders do, is they don’t value 3rd round rookie picks. You can pretty much ask anyone you trade with to tack on or “sweeten” the deal, and they will do it, thinking it’s worthless. Suddenly you have SIX 3rd round picks, and someone is bound to come out of that. Studs either fall into the third round on accident, or guys come out of nowhere and become unexpected studs.

Here are some players that went in the third round of my rookie drafts in recent years: Jarvis Landry, Austin Sefarian-Jenkins, Blake Bortles, Jordan Reed, Buck Allen, Duke Johnson, Matt Jones, Jeremy Langford.


Tip #9 – Work Harder Than The Other Teams
No one is going to help you rebuild your team, because they don’t want you to. Everyone likes having a dud team in the league to beat up on, so you will have to be pro-active.

YOU have to send out the trade offers, don’t be scared, send out as many as you can, someone will always bite. YOU have to do the draft research, and draft well.

YOU have to work the waiver wire. People sometimes think the only way to build is in trades and drafts, but SO MUCH can come from the waiver wire if you pay close attention. People who think their team is perfect rarely check waivers, so if you are vigilant, every week you can find 2-3 solid players.

I made the mistake of dropping Keenan Allen as a rookie to pick up a defense in a dynasty league once, because I thought my team was fine. He was quickly picked up.

Always work the waiver wire!


Tip #10 – Have Patience
Listen, we live in a society where everything is almost instant. Bank transfers, election results, food, and I get that it seems annoying to pay for a league you have no chance of winning. It’s also a constant inner struggle to resist the urge to compete, but if you play it smart, in 2-3 years you could end up with the best team in the league.

If you get enough picks from people and choose wisely, you could be one of the rare teams out there with Dez Bryant, Keenan Allen, Mike Evans, Sammy Watkins, Lamar Miller, Mark Ingram, Gio Bernard, and Travis Kelce. (I’m bragging about my awesome dynasty team, I have such sick receivers!).

Aristotle once said “patience is bitter, but it’s fruit is sweet”. I’m a writer so I know stuff like that.

Happy Hunting!