One of the biggest issues that face fantasy football dynasty leagues is how to handle the departure of teams. Some owners get over their heads with the type of leagues they join, others mismanage themselves past the point of a recovery that they feel is fixable, and fantasy players can over commit their time and/or money into too many leagues. Leagues need to create ways to survive these hiccups or else the fantasy squad you are building for future seasons will never see the light of day. Clearly create rules for the departure of teams. The best example of this is to have a ROD aka a replacement owner draft. This is when you remove all the players on teams that are getting replaced, their former rookie draft picks, and add any available free agents into the draft pool.
This creates a group of players available to be drafted onto the new owners teams. It is very important for new owners to have a sense of control with acquiring and building a team to their liking. This builds commitment with the new owners and their teams. Many times there will not be enough talent to make a contending team right away, so award compensatory picks in the rookie draft. Sure this seems like it is taking a bit away from the current owners, but it is investing in the league’s future. Constant owner turnover can be the sign of poor choices in ownership selection, leadership issues, or an unbalanced league.
There are things to watch out for when joining a league. Does one team seem to dominate championships? Does there seem to be one or two super teams that are always in the playoffs with almost unbeatable rosters? Are the rules skewed towards one or two particular teams? How does the league handle the trading of future picks? Is there a deposit required? Does every owner try to win every trade so it is a dog eat dog world? Is there superior talent available in the player pool or all just average talent? I ask these questions because no one wants to join a league to donate for years and years, at least I don’t.
I took over several teams over my twenty plus years playing dynasty fantasy football. Am I willing to gamble sometimes on a question or two, sure. If there is enough talent to carve out a good contending squad, I might overlook a warning sign or two. How the commissioner answers your questions goes a long way. It’s also wise to give your refurbished team about three years to get to the championship. Now I’m not saying that the playoffs aren’t your year one goal, but be realistic.
The latest league I joined had its replacement owner draft close to the NFL Draft. There were three owners involved and a random number generator got used to decide how we would choose our draft order. The draft snaked around with the teams on the ends getting wrap-around picks after round one. I ended up with the third pick which wrapped around to the fourth pick and so on..
One of the most important things to do is find the premier players that are in your replacement draft and the starting league requirements. The talent pool had three upper tier rushers: LeSean McCoy, Doug Martin, and Matt Forte, so I had to grab one of them early. There were only four NFL starting quarterbacks available: Drew Brees, Russell Wilson, Andy Dalton, and Alex Smith. Because Brees has a limited shelf life due to his age, Andy Dalton disappointed and might get replaced earlier than later, I decided Wilson was a priority. This strategy of grabbing a runner and quarterback at the turn had its drawbacks.
The minimum amount of wide receivers an owner can start is three (maximum of five) and with a roster of 60, most teams not involved in this replacement draft were quite deep at the position. The top receivers on the board were Vincent Jackson, Percy Harvin, TY Hilton, Golden Tate, and Kenny Stills. The IDP players were very limited with a young superstar defensive end, Robert Quinn, and a few higher tier young linebackers in Bobby Wagner and Von Miller. Rookie draft picks could also be selected (nothing was available before 2.04) and my strategy with those picks was don’t be the first to go there as I was more concerned with immediate starters, especially with the IDPs.
I chose Martin and Wilson at the turn (McCoy went first), and came back with TY Hilton and Robert Quinn in rounds three and four. Difference makers are more important than depth at the beginning of a dynasty draft. I made sure I got the best available player, regardless of position, other than kicker and defensive backs. Sure it can get a little tight looking for a kicker in a 14 teamer, but there were only a few teams that rostered more than one. Both of my fellow replacement owners started to look at IDPs after I had Quinn, DE Cam Jordan, Wagner, and Miller already on my roster. In the later rounds, I secured depth at wide receiver picking up the likes of Jericho Cotchery, Ted Ginn, Harry Douglas, and Eddie Royal. Any of those guys can start in a pinch because I only had Hilton, Kenny Stills, and Stedmen Bailey (before his announced suspension) as my young receiving core.
Older linebackers AJ Hawk and Daryl Smith were important depth, so I could draft younger linebackers with those guys filling in for a year or two. Overall I was happy with my choices, but I made a few trades to improve my depth after the NFL Draft. I moved Doug Martin and a couple of rookie drafts picks for Demarco Murray, a highly targeted Packer corner, and moved up a few spots in the rookie draft with the picks I got back. Tampa offensive coordinator Tedford isn’t known for scheming passes to his backs, but new Dallas offensive coordinator Linehan uses a lot of quick passes to his backs. Since I already drafted Murray’s backup Lance Dunbar, I felt good about the trade especially so I would not have to reach to pick the Bucs new toy, Charlie Sims, in the rookie draft. To increase my depth at linebacker, I traded Wagner for two possible linebacker starters in Kevin Minter and Daniel Ellerbe (depending on how the Dolphins linebacker depth chart goes, this could have been a mistake) with a few more rookie draft bumps closer to the talent. I am happy with my dynasty team and feel that I can contend this season. Tomorrow I will write about the rookie draft that followed..
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