There comes a time in every Dynasty Football League where your team enters “rebuild-mode”, and its clear to you that your team has no real chance of competing for a championship. Maybe you sold out to make a run last year, maybe you just didn’t hit on those prospects, or maybe you made a couple bad trades. Maybe you did all of the above. It happens, and it happens to us all at some point. The important part is to realize it immediately, and know what to do rather than lingering in mediocrity for another year or two.
Rebuilding is inevitable. Rebuilding is challenging. Most importantly though, rebuilding is FUN! You haven’t had the true Dynasty League experience until you have rebuilt a team from a cellar-dweller to a league champion. The reason people love Dynasty Leagues is because you get a true feeling of what it is like to be a GM of an NFL team, both good and bad. We are here to talk about the “BAD”. In this article we’re going to talk about the strategy involved with rebuilding your team, but lets start with a general attitude towards rebuilding.
ATTITUDE- Nobody ultimately “likes” to rebuild, but that doesn’t mean it’s not fun. When you join a Dynasty League you are joining for the long haul. Well, the long haul can get pretty long if you don’t fully understand a Dynasty League. There is no redraft next year. There is no start over. If your team stinks, it could stink for a long time, unless YOU do something about it. The first thing you need to do when preparing for a rebuild is MAKE IT A CHALLENGE!! So you’re not going to win the championship this year…. but maybe you can be competitive and position yourself to compete next year. I have seen rebuilds happen during the course of one year and seen that team win enough to make the playoffs, complete the rebuild, and go on to win the championship. It can happen that fast in a Dynasty League.
WHERE TO START- Once you have made your decision and taken the challenge upon yourself, you need to figure out where to start. Simply stated, you need to assess your team and find your assets. Your assets can be anything from 1 stud running back like Ray Rice to a high draft pick in the up coming rookie draft. These assets are going to be your trading chips to bring in more “pieces” . If you are in rebuild mode you do not need “A” player, you need player”s”. Once you have identified your assets, you have to form a strategy.
STRATEGY- There are multiple strategies for a rebuild, but your main challenge is shifting your mind frame from a “win-now” mode to “lets win next year” mode. This basic shift in mentality will allow you to start focusing on the future and not the present. When you start to focus on the future, you will start to notice that there are really good deals to be had if you know where to look. Here are a few areas to focus on:
- Win “NOW” teams- Teams that are ready to win now are looking for those one/two players to put them over the top. They will often times sacrifice depth, prospects, and picks to acquire the one guy that will make them the favorite. You have to identify these teams, and determine if you have that one player they need. Lets use Ray Rice again as an example. It might hurt to potentially give up that stud, but ultimately it will be a necessity. Just make them pay. Don’t settle for “fair” offers. For this deal to go down, they will need to overpay, and they know it. You will have to decide what that price might be, but it should involve a couple starters and some prospects. You will want to focus on youth a little more staying away from aging veterans who might only have a year or two left. Typically if you feel a player has 3 good years left, they are worth considering since there will still be time for them to produce and trade before you get stuck with them. On the flip side it will also be important to not ENTIRELY focus on youth and ignore production. Be careful not to overcompensate as it may take a couple of years for your prospects to develop.
- Injuries- Injured players are no good to us now, and therefore cheap. Lucky for us, we are in rebuild mode and we need these players for NEXT year. Shop the injured reserve list for high-end talent that has been recently injured. The worse the injury, the cheaper the price. Kenny Britt is a great example of a potential top 5 wide receiver that you could have gotten for cheap early last year, but you have to strike early. Injured players lose their value right away and gain it back as they get closer to their recovery. Kenny Britt is a very expensive buy right now as the new season approaches.
- The stock market- Understanding how the value of a player rises and falls is crucial for ALL teams in a Dynasty League, but it is even more crucial to a rebuilding team. You have to be ready to buy or sell players at anytime. If you are not 100% certain that a player is going to be on your roster for a long time, then you have to be ready to move them. Players are undervalued and overvalued ALL THE TIME. Players get hot and cold and their value fluctuates base on their performance. It is now your #1 job to buy the undervalued and sell the overvalued. Example, Denarius Moore (rookie WR, Oakland) was getting a lot of early hype as a play maker. People were just waiting for him to explode. Well in week 10 Moore went for 123 yds and 2 TDs, and a lot of people were convinced he had arrived. SELL, SELL, SELL. That’s not to say they might be right, but you are going to get maximum value for that player at that moment.
Everyone has their ups and downs in a Dynasty Leagues. It’s not whether you have them or not, it’s how long you stay there that matters. Make sure that you understand the importance of the commitment you are making to a Dynasty League and know that there will come a time where you are going to have to enter “rebuild-mode”. If you recognize it right away, make a firm decision, approach it with the right attitude and strategy, you will have your storied franchisee back to its original glory in no time.