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Midseason Moves: Are you a contender or a pretender?

Whether you are at the top or the bottom of the standings, @Culture_Coach takes you through the moves he is making.

Sometimes you know how the season is going to go early. Other times, it may take a few weeks. We are in Week 9 and if you can not equivocally say you are in the hunt for the title, well, then you are probably not. That doesn’t mean you can’t make some moves to get there. But, you need to act quick, before the season gets away from you. Let’s take a look at a few of my teams. Some are fading fast, while others are on the rise. I’ll show you the moves I made for the title runs and for the rebuilds.

The Tear Downs

We X Streams

League specs: 16 team, Superflex, start 10, tiered ppr (RB .5/WR .75/TE 1), .1 per carry

(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

This team has one of the worst trades that I have ever made in its history. On April 28th I received an offer- I send Daniel Jones, 2x 2021 firsts, and a 22 first for Patrick Mahomes. I know what you’re thinking. “Dennis, that’s good value for Mahomes in a Superflex league.” Well, not having any shares of Mahomes across 20 dynasty teams, I jumped at the offer.

Here is that part that makes it a bad trade- my team wasn’t a QB away from being a serious contender. I actually had a pretty lousy team. My key players were Carson Wentz, Joe Mixon, Jeff Wilson, Mike Williams, Corey Davis, Logan Thomas, and of course Mahomes in a start 10 lineup. For the record the 2021 firsts were 1.05 Kyle Pitts and 1.15 Trey Sermon.

The answer

Coming to my senses, I realized I needed to change course and rebuild. I set out to find a trade partner and get a decent return for Mahomes. Feeling like I could afford to wait a season, I sent Mahomes, Mike Williams and a 23 second for Deshaun Watson, 22 and 23 first round picks. I appreciate Mahomes struggling a bit so I don’t feel as bad about Mike Williams big season.

My next move? On August 4th I send Mixon and Wilson away for Amon-Ra St. Brown, 22 first and second, and 23 first and second. As it sits right now I have 5 firsts and 3 seconds over the next two drafts.

Much of the success of this rebuild will depend on how Deshaun Watson’s legal case works out. I also have a couple of guys, Landry/C Davis/J Wilson, I’m still looking to flip into picks or youth. All in all, the rebuild is off to a good start.

Ultimate Destination

League specs: 12 team Superflex, start 12, tiered ppr (RB .5/WR .75/TE 1), .25 per carry, .25 per 1st down

I’m sure you heard it said on the Dynasty Nerds podcast before, ‘You want to be top three or bottom three. You never want to be in the middle.” Well, last season I was the fifth seed and knocked out in the second round of the playoffs. I was eighth in points for. Nothing says ‘the middle’ like that. I made the decision in the offseason to undertake a rebuild.

The first deal was a great deal for a rebuild. NFL draft I sent DK Metcalf for two 22 firsts, a 22 second, and a 23 first. As of this writing, the 21 firsts are 1.01 and 1.07.

Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

Next on the move was RB Josh Jacobs. Opening week of the season I moved Josh Jacobs for a 22 first and a 24 fourth round pick. So far, so good, and the season is just getting started.

My approach to the season was to bide my time and see how the standings shake out. I have time on my side and there is no rush to sell at a discount. As we approach Week 9 three teams have 2 or fewer losses and six teams have 4 or 5 losses. Time to make some more moves.

Today was a good day

As we gear up for Thursday Night Football I hit the group chat.

It didn’t take long to get a bite. A top three team sent an offer for a group of the players. It included Derrick Henry, Elijah Moore, Bryan Edwards, Dyami Brown and a 1st. There were a few thirds and a second as well. In return I would send Henderson, Gordon, Allen, and Johnson. Not a terrible offer. A couple of concerns on my end for a rebuild. First, I know Henry is built different, but foot issues on big guys are no joke. I am nervous. Second, I have been a big fan of Edwards but he just doesn’t seem to be developing as I hoped. Moore and Brown have promise. The draft picks just weren’t what I was looking for in a rebuild package so I declined.

I was of the opinion that I could get better value if I didn’t package all of the players together. After some back and forth with the manager that made the original offer, we settled on Darrell Henderson for Elijah Moore and a 23 second.

The next move

The next deal was very clean. I went to another of the top three and offered Keenan Allen for Calvin Ridley. I swapped an older receiver who is still very productive, but on on the back side of his best production for a young WR who has stepped away to take care of himself. There is some risk, but I believe Ridley will be back. If not this season, in 2022.

I have sent a couple of offers and received a couple I am considering. Right now I am just trying to maximize the return for the rebuild.

I currently have 4 2022 firsts, including the 1.01, and two 2022 firsts. The building blocks for this team are Justin Herbert, JK Dobbins, and Ridley.

The Title Runs


League spec: 12 team, Superflex, ppr, tight end premium, .15 per carry, start 11

This is my home league. It consists of a group fantasy analysts in and around central Ohio.

We are in season three. I have been top three every year, but never a champ. I want it bad. Heading into Week 9, I am sitting in fourth place. I have a had a couple breaks go against me but I am still fighting.

The catch in this league is that you only need to start one at RB and WR instead of the usual 2 or 3. The anchors of my team are Brady/Stafford, Jones/Mixon, Kupp/Lamb. To make a real run, I felt I needed to consolidate up. Tight end is where I started the consolidation.

I had a couple of players who performed well in 2020, so at our rookie draft in June I shipped James Robinson, Hunter Henry, and the 2.04 for Darren Waller. I felt great about that move in Week 1. Waller is TE8 and Henry TE9, but Waller has played two fewer games.

I mentioned earlier that we only need to start one at each position. After David Montgomery was injured I was able to move Khalil Herbert for 22 second rounder. Trying to look ahead and win a title.

Sometimes one move is not enough

(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

My QB situation is great with my two starters – Brady and Stafford. I hoped Andy Dalton would hold on to his job long enough to get me through the bye weeks of 2021, but alas no. Time to go to work on a third QB.

I just needed to cover bye weeks. I sent Tyler Boyd, Alan Lazard, 22 first/third and received Jameis Winston, Jarvis Landry, and Zach Ertz. My QBs were covered for bye weeks. With the trade of Ertz to the Cardinals I also had a TE upgrade for Wallers’s bye. Well it might not be my year again. Jameis Winston went down with a torn ACL in Week 8.

Back to the drawing board and a new trade offer sent out. I offered a second round pick for Jimmy Garoppolo. I was countered with Garoppolo for a slightly earlier second round pick. Accept. Quarterback issue solved for now.

Superflexing in the Mirror

League specs: 12 team, you guessed it- Superflex, tight end premium

This is a pretty straight forward scoring league with just an extra half point per reception for the tight end. This team is currently built around Dak Prescott, Joe Burrow, Joe Mixon, Saqoun Barkley, Deebo Samuel, Adam Thielen, and Mark Andrews. Let’s look at how I got there.

This team started 2020 with a couple of good pieces, Rodgers/A Jones/M Thomas/Andrews. It was not a team that would make a title run. My plan was to bide my time and look to gain value as the season progressed. It wasn’t long before opportunity started to present itself.

Opportunity knocks

In Week 5 of 2020 Dak Prescott went down for the season with an ankle injury. The Prescott team had already lost Saquon Barkley, but still had hopes of competing. I sent Aaron Jones, Jared Goff, and Jonnu Smith and received Prescott, Barkley, and Deebo Samuel. My eyes clearly on 2021.

Three games later and a new opportunity. After the Week 9 games and I see a contender who needs a running back. I moved Chris Carson and a 4th for Gabe Davis, Zach Ertz, and a 2nd. For a rebuilding team, getting a two round pick upgrade and a rising young WR was a win.

We are approaching the last week of the 2020 season. One of the top teams in the league has lost Carson Wentz to the bench and Joe Burrow to injury. I send future league MVP Aaron Rodgers and a 2nd round pick for Joe Burrow. Going into 2021 I am looking at a QB duo of Dak Prescott and Joe Burrow. A pretty good foundation for a Superflex team.

I finished the 2020 season 4-9 and with the second pick in the rookie draft.

Rookie draft time

Through the playoffs and leading up to the rookie draft it was pretty quiet for me. I had the 1.02 and the 3.01. My preference was to move back from the 1.02. Several attempts failed to yield a deal I was happy with. I also shared that I was willing to move Burrow or Prescott. There were some offers, but again, nothing that I felt improved more than keeping the quarterbacks. I came away from the draft with Justin Fields (1.02) and Kenneth Gainwell (3.01).

2021 season

Credit: USA Today

It is a long season. I started by losing three of my first five games. I followed that up winning three straight.

Heading into Week 8, I was going to be down Mark Andrews (bye week) and Dak Prescott (calf). At the start of the season I had Ryan Fitzpatrick as my QB3. Losing Fitzmagic left me with rookie Justin Fields as my bye week QB. My bye week TE options was Ertz so I was good there after the trade to AZ. It was time to take a look at the rebuilders and see where I could make a move to keep the winning streak going.

Having been without Saquon most of the season I was looking to add a running back as well. I approached the last place team. The deal we settled on- I get Joe Mixon/Jimmy Garoppolo and I give Justin Fields/2022 1st & 2nd. Garoppolo put up 27 points with Dak out. San Francisco looks competitive so he should be under center for Burrow’s bye week. Mixon checks in at RB9 after 8 games.

I am currently 5-3 and the 5th seed. My team is anchored by Dak, Burrow, Mixon, Barkley, Thielen, Deebo, and Andrews. I like my chances to make a run.

Thank you

I hope you enjoyed reading about my approach to some different teams and the stage they are in. Whether you are rebuilding or title chasing there are moves to be made. To get a deal done you need to take the needs of both teams into consideration.

If I’m rebuilding- bottom 3- I’m looking at those teams in the 4-7 range first. Those are the teams that should be looking to make a move to improve their teams. I look to target early picks over the next two seasons, pre-breakout players, or stars who are injured and expected to make a full recovery.

If I am in the top five, I’m taking a look at the bottom three or four teams. What veterans do they have performing at a high level and will shore up a position for me. The question I ask myself – would I rather win a title or make a first-round draft pick. I think we all know the answer.

Now, go out there and make a deal and win that Trophy Smack Championship Belt.

The fantasy season is in full swing. How are you going to reward the league champ? I’ll tell you – go to Trophy SmackΒ and get that Championship hardware. Use promo code NERDS for a free ring when you order a trophy or belt.

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