Every rookie can recount a “welcome to the NFL” moment. It could be a de-cleating tackle. A cut that breaks their ankles. Or just being run over by a bigger, faster, stronger opponent the likes of which they hadn’t faced previously. Take a look at this video to get a sense of what a few of them will remember assuming CTE hasn’t set in yet.
In that vein, here are a few great “welcome to dynasty” trade ideas to take advantage of those new to dynasty in our leagues. This will not apply to the seasoned veterans around here but should be helpful to those playing in home leagues.
FAAB For Picks
We must understand when and how our league-mates will likely use FAAB dollars. We typically see that most of the FAAB in dynasty will be used on rookies to fill up the taxi squad. It may also be used to fill out deeper ends of our bench early in the year. This will occur predominantly during the offseason as roles change or players emerge. It’s less likely that we see an un-rostered player out of nowhere make a large impact during the season.
As such, I will typically look to trade all of my FAAB for a second-round rookie pick or 33%+ of my FAAB on a third-round rookie pick. This will be league dependent as deeper leagues will have less room for lineup impactful FAAB acquisitions. FAAB can first be applied to rookies that went undrafted. It can be followed by players making noise in the offseason. It may be wise to sell for picks if you are not in a contending window.
I would also caveat that FAAB dollars will be more critical if we have a rookie draft before the NFL Draft. We will likely see undrafted rookies get drafted or undrafted rookies find better landing spots than anticipated. In these cases, FAAB dollars become more valuable at this time. In either case, FAAB should be much less valuable by the start of the season.
Understanding Pick Value
Just as it’s imperative to understand the value of each player, we should understand the importance of each pick. We want to equate each pick to a player to understand what that pick is worth. As we move closer to the rookie draft, we will want to identify who that rookie pick would likely be if we drafted him. For example, we will want to get a sense of the difference in value between 1.01 vs. 1.12. I believe the value can be as much as 3X higher for the first than the last pick in the round. See my article on the valuation of rookie picks for my thoughts on the condensed and random nature of non-first-round rookie picks. By taking advantage of this, we can fleece a league-mate by a wide margin in a player for pick trade.
Understanding Draft Classes
We should always keep an eye on the future. While we may not play Devy, the Devy community can be an excellent resource for upcoming draft classes. As was recently the case, 2023 draft picks were valued more heavily than 2022 picks. All managers in our leagues may not have known this as early as it should have been. Trading into stronger draft classes before others realize it can add some potential value. The caveat here is that scenarios will change. There are significant changes if we look at the top rookies a year out vs. after the combine. With unforeseen events like Covid, players may stay a year longer than expected, drastically impacting rookie classes. While there may be an edge, some risk and overhype can come along with this strategy.
Understanding Each Team’s Rookie Pick Outlook
If we can get a decent idea of how a team will finish each year, we can determine their likely pick range. To do this, we will want to understand which teams will likely be competitive. Their picks will be worth considerably less than those on the tanking side. We should look to gain an early edge using redraft data to determine likely seasonal outcomes. Look at my prior article on How to Value Players, which describes how I track each team in my league to gain an edge on the value of future picks.
Look for teams that are going all in now and have mortgaged their future by trading away all their draft picks for players who only have a year or two of high-level play remaining in their careers. It will be wise to trade for their future picks further out. We can follow those trades up with offering on their new future picks as they become available each year. These managers believe their dynasty will last indefinitely and will not value their future picks as early picks.
Determining Tendencies for Incorrect Valuing
It will take some time, but we can get a sense of each manager’s value of assets. Some managers may misvalue rookie picks in comparison to players. They may misvalue rookie picks by round, over or undervaluing a first compared to a third. These managers may mistakenly anticipate a pick range based on the strength of the owner’s team, only to realize the non-competitive team turned out to be very competitive. They may misvalue based on position. If we play in TE premium leagues, those who aren’t familiar may heavily misvalue positionally. They may misvalue based on age bias. They may misvalue starter vs. depth players. Look at your league settings to understand how values differ from other leagues.
Mispricing can be true due to natural bias or not fully understanding league scoring and settings. Remember that trade calculators are based on the consensus league, but not all leagues are formatted similarly. Therefore, creating a customized value system in dollars or points is important and not just relying on ranks.
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