How to Rebuild – The Beginning

As we are getting closer to the season, it’s time for dynasty managers to decide what direction they are taking their team in 2022. The goal for everyone should be to compete for a championship most seasons. However, like a real NFL team a dynasty team can begin to show signs of decline as well. As a dynasty manager you will have to decide if you want to continue down the same path, or begin a rebuilding process. If this isn’t done properly, your team could be out of the running for years to come. This is why it is important to come into a rebuild with a clear plan, and follow a basic set of guidelines. These steps include identifying your foundational assets, trading, in season maneuvers, and a final evaluation. Using these strategies has not only helped me build value during rebuilding years, but also gets me back into contention quickly.

Build Blocks and Trading Pieces

The first step for a rebuilding dynasty team is deciding which players are staying on your roster, and which assets you’re looking to move on from. Rather than trying to acquire specific players, it’s best to focus on players you want to sell. The key is moving players who are going to decrease in value in the near future. This could be an aging player, someone you see having a poor season, or just about any Running Back after their first few years in the league. When I’m rebuilding a dynasty team, I choose to look at my aging players first. With Quarterbacks this is less important, but with other positions it’s a key factor. Running Backs 26 or older, and Wide Receivers 28 and up are players I’m looking to move from in these situations. This is important because these are historical drop off points for fantasy relevant players. Certainly don’t sell for below a player’s value, however explore their market.

Players who you don’t see living up to their pre-season expectations are also great players to move on from. Obviously these players are likely to decline in value, and you should take advantage of their current price point. They can be acquired later on for a lower cost, and you still continue to build the value of your dynasty team. Running backs are also great assets to trade in a rebuild as their value can be very volatile. Most backs are only short term contributors because it’s a brutal position that is very replaceable. Even elite Running Backs have a very short window of production. Steep decline in recent years has been seen at age 27 in most dynasty RB1s.

Therefore getting stuck with these players in a rebuild can be detrimental as you likely acquired this player at a high price. If they tank in value your team not only lost significant dynasty capital, but the player likely won’t be there to contribute when you are ready to compete. It’s not uncommon for me to trade every Running Back on my team with significant trade value. The only ones I’m looking to keep are ones in their first two seasons in the league, as their value is more insulated. Running Backs are the riskiest position to own in fantasy, and it’s best not to be significantly invested in a rebuild.

Since you’re not competing this season, the goal is to accumulate value. Aging veterans can be acquired for less later when you’re actually competing. Treat your dynasty team like your bank account or stock portfolio in these situations. Instead of trying to win, we’re trying to grow value. We want players or “stocks” that are going to increase in value, or at the very least maintain it. This is important because we want to accumulate as much capital as possible, which can later be used to acquire the players you need to win.

Although no one should be considered untradable, you should also identify which players you intend to keep through your rebuild. These should be younger, talented players, who are likely to ascend in value in the coming years. Wide Receivers and Quarterbacks (super flex formats) are safer assets than Running Backs and Tight Ends in general. The top tier Tight Ends are an exception, but I tend to look to move my lower TE1s with shorter production windows. Quarterbacks and Wide Receivers in general have longer careers, and are less likely to drop in value dramatically. You want to be securing players that will be starters for you when you’re done rebuilding. Acquiring your starting Wide Receivers, flex spots, and Quarterbacks in Superflex leagues is the best strategy. When you’re done rebuilding you can draft or trade for Running Backs/Tight Ends to complete your lineup.

Lastly, it’s important to not put yourself into to big of a rebuild. Going all out on first year players can be fun, but what you don’t want to do is end up in a two to three year rebuild. Particularly in paid leagues, it doesn’t make sense to hand over 2-3 years of league dues without competing. If players can still help you for a 3 year window and are productive, I would prefer to hold onto them rather than exchange them for an unknown asset. It’s a common mistake many dynasty managers make getting enamored with constantly building toward the future.

That’s it for the first article of this four part series. If you enjoyed this content follow me on Twitter @dynasty_analyst. Look for the second part of this series on the 5 Yard Rush website shortly. Thanks for reading and we’ll see you next time.

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