It’s June. You are sitting back, enjoying some warm weather, and thinking you are all set with your dynasty team. A great draft or some solid trades are behind you. Your team looks like you have a competitive squad that will fight for a title this year.
However, every season in the NFL has a plethora of injuries or surprise suspensions. One minute you can look like you are top of the league. The next minute you are fighting for a playoff spot. Keeping ahead of the curve is one of the most important aspects to staying ahead of your league-mates.
Dynasty never sleeps. There is always a bit of NFL news, a rumor, or a shift in perception in the community that changes player values. If you are watching for these signs, you can give yourself a leg up in your leagues.
Here’s what you should be doing in your leagues to help you compete for a championship this season.
Kick Some Tires
No one wants to be the annoying guy who repeatedly sends out bad trade offers in your leagues. But this is dynasty fantasy football. We play all year. That is what everyone signs up for when joining a dynasty league.
If there’s a guy you have a hunch on or is getting undervalued, you should be kicking the tires. Send out trade offers to owners to try to acquire these guys. Some owners may not respond. Some owners may not be interested in making a deal three months before the NFL season. But sometimes, you stumble upon an owner who is a bit down on the same guy you are interested in.
In these scenarios, being active and reaching out is giving your team an opportunity to get ahead. If you think a player is being undervalued, the owner who has that player may be undervaluing them as well. Throw out an offer. Make it fair to keep interest, but offer something you know you’d be willing to pay to acquire them.
Sometimes It Pays Off Just to Offer
I am in a league where an owner was slightly lower on Tee Higgins. I had no idea he was. He was concerned that Ja’Marr Chase would be hogging target share and production. He wanted to try to move Higgins for some picks and start a rebuild on his team.
Interested in Higgins this offseason, I threw out some feelers in all my leagues. I wanted to acquire the soon-to-be third-year WR. And wouldn’t you know it, one of my offers was accepted. Higgins for picks 12 and 14 in the 2022 rookie draft.
I was thrilled with the deal. Many other league members messaged me to tell me it was a steal. They asked me how I convinced him to do the deal. I didn’t convince anyone. All I did was send out an offer. I stayed active. And it paid off.
Keep an eye on ADP values in startup drafts. Pay attention to different resources like Discord, Twitter, and Reddit, where fantasy communities discuss players. See if there is a dip in perceived value in a player you like. Keeping an eye out for dips in value gives you the best opportunity to capitalize on a great deal for your team.
This is something you should be active in throughout the entire year. There are always players available on the waiver wire that you should keep an eye on. Fit them on your team if you have room available. With the number of injuries and players that end up not suiting up on Sunday every year, you must always be looking where you can improve every slot on your roster.
Here is an example of why that is so important. Below is a list of the top 25 running backs in weeks 15-17 last season. These are the players that finished as an RB1 or RB2 in the playoff and championship weeks in standard scoring:
Only ten of these 25 players were an RB1 or RB2 in the year prior to Week 15. In fact, twelve of these backs weren’t in the top 40 running backs on the year in Weeks 1 to 14. But they scored when it mattered. And if you stayed active on the waiver wire, you could have acquired several of these players.
In your playoff matchups, you could have been up against Antonio Gibson, Dalvin Cook, Javonte Williams, Saquon Barkley, Melvin Gordon, Cordarrelle Patterson, D’Andre Swift, and James Conner and still gotten more out of your RB totals with a roster of Rashaad Penny, Justin Jackson, D’Onta Foreman, and Duke Johnson. None of these backs on your team were even a top sixty back on the year before the playoffs. But an opportunity came at the exact right time.
When Playing the Wire Works
Now, obviously, the scenario where you started all the right guys that happened to break out in the playoff weeks is near impossible. It would be ridiculous to expect anyone to do this. But the point of this exercise is to show that you should never quit making moves on the waiver wire.
In one of my personal leagues, I picked up Rashaad Penny on December 15 last season for $3 FAAB ($150 budget). This was after his first big game in week 14 against Houston when he scored 26.3 fantasy points in 0.5 PPR. I was not the top seed, and the top seed team actually had more FAAB than I did. He could have outbid me relatively easily.
Two weeks later, that top seed team lost in the semi-finals by 9.8 points. He had to start Tyler Lockett in one of his FLEX spots, who scored 4.5 points. Penny scored 19.5 that week. Not picking up Penny cost him a chance at a championship.
Meanwhile, Penny’s 19.5 points in week 16 helped me reach the championship game. And his 31.5 in week 17 helped me grab a ring. I would have started Barkley over Penny, who scored 21.3 points less in week 17.
At the start of the year, owners would have unanimously picked Barkley over Penny as the guy to start in a championship game. But things change. Players get hurt, play hurt, or just struggle. Meanwhile, others get opportunities and thrive. If you are not ready to pounce on every single advantage you can get on your roster at all times, you are doing each of your teams a disservice.
Invest in Elite Potential
This time of year, rookies are still all the craze. Veteran players are a bit forgotten. What’s more, most owners are filling their roster with handcuffs and guys that have a clearer path to finding playing time.
However, handcuffs and guys that have a path to playing time should some injuries occur are rarely players that have elite talent and traits. These players may help you in a pinch if an injury or suspension hurts your team, but they aren’t making significant differences to your roster.
That’s why I like to invest in players with elite potential now. There is still a lot of time before the start of the year. I want to grab as many guys that could be difference-makers now and will worry about dropping them later should their scenario not pan out.
For example, Antonio Brown. Yes, I know. Brown is not a guy you can trust to be on the field or stay on the field and not run to the locker room mid-game, for that matter. He is currently not rostered on an NFL team, and his career could be over.
However, he is also the same guy that was averaging the sixth highest points per week amongst WRs in the first six weeks of 2021 before missing time with injury. He was also WR4 from weeks 14-17 in 2020 (those all-important playoff weeks) after establishing himself in the Tampa offense after joining mid-season.
Yes, Brown may be the waste of a roster spot. His entire career may be over. But I just picked him up for $1 FAAB in a league. I will spend $1 and a roster spot for a few months every day of the week to have the potential of a guy like Brown on my team. If he finds himself on an NFL roster and stays on the field, it is an extraordinarily cheap payment for elite talent.
Other names to consider for a cheap price now that could give elite output later: DeAndre Hopkins, Adam Thielen, Julio Jones, Mark Ingram, and A.J. Green. Each of these players has a different price to acquire, but all of them are names that have elite potential and could be on your team for meager prices compared to what their output could be. All of them could not pan out, but I want to take a stab at a real difference-maker this time of the year.
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