Tanking With Style| A Blueprint to Dynasty Leagues for Losers

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Alex Kurpeski

Does your dynasty team make you want to die? Well you’ve come to the right place, as we here at 3cosports are here to present you with the perfect guide to navigating the underbelly of your multi-year leagues, only to emerge on the shores of the 2020 season with a powerhouse squad.

I would consider myself to be a far more invested fantasy owner when dealing with my dynasty teams. However, even the most invested dynasty owners can get stuck behind the 8-ball at the beginning of the season. If you’re like me and you started 0-4, then that panic button is looking really good about now. 

It’s always tough to be a loser, especially in fantasy football. You’re ridiculed by friends and family for bad losses and bold predictions that have backfired on you. Thankfully, Dynasty Leagues are the one format that truly possess a silver lining for the losers. The promise of high-end draft picks, particularly in this upcoming draft class (absolutely stacked beyond belief, we’ll talk about this more later) should be motivating you to keep going with your teams, as hope is not yet lost for that elusive fantasy title. From one dynasty loser to another, here is a guide to tanking with style.

Who should I trade?

My philosophy on team building in dynasty is pretty simple. I like having guys that have yet to reach their ceiling. Potential is everything, especially when you find yourself on the outside looking in when it comes to the playoff race. If I’m intent on tanking, why should I roster guys like T.Y Hilton, Julian Edelman, and A.J Green. Outside of Julio Jones and Travis Kelce, there are no guys over the age of 30 that I want on my team past this season. If you’ve got one of these older studs, sell them now before they go down the path of 2018 Demaryius Thomas and Dez Bryant, who both sputtered and died as fantasy assets mere months after being rated as top 20 players at their position. Truthfully, anyone over the age of 27 should be moveable for the right price in this scenario, as we have seen numerous players fall directly off of the proverbial cliff, around the age of 28 or 29. The only position where it might be a good idea to have a few vets would be QB, as those guys tend to last forever in today’s NFL. Here’s some examples of trades that I would do as a tanking team in dynasty. 

Hilton is a depreciating asset in dynasty formats

WR T.Y Hilton for a young WR (Courtland Sutton  for example) and a 1st round pick

This trade would be a great haul for a player like Hilton, a vertical threat who is about to turn 30, who plays on an offense with a very safe quarterback and a strong commitment to the run game. Acquiring a player like Sutton, who profiles as the WR1 of the future in Denver’s offense with the impending free agency of Emmanuel Sanders and currently finds himself as the WR15 in PPR, in conjunction with a first round pick makes this deal incredibly worthwhile, as Sutton will likely usurp Hilton as a fantasy asset in the near future while the first round pick could net you another potential star if you research properly. 

RB Devonta Freeman and WR A.J Green for a package of young players and picks ex:(WR Deebo Samuel, RB Ronald Jones,  RB Devin Singletary, a 2nd round pick, and a third round pick)

Freeman and Green have already lost value this year based on play alone, so the last thing we want to see from them is to get traded or outright cut in the off-season after investing so much in them. At this stage in the season, name-value is still very important, and some owner desperate to make a playoff push will likely be scavenging for as many familiar “studs” as possible before the trade deadline. Green has yet to play this year and will be reentering a brand new offense in Cincinnati while Freeman has averaged just 3.3 yards per carry this season with zero rushing touchdowns to speak of. Acquiring, a package similar to this one, which consists almost exclusively of players in their first or second seasons would be an excellent haul, given the steep downward trends for Freeman and Green. Samuel profiles as the potential WR1 in a San Francisco offense that loves to throw the ball. With no certified “studs” outside of George Kittle on the roster, there’s no reason why Deebo cannot become a 75/5/1000 guy in the NFL, which would put him firmly in WR2 territory. Likewise, the inclusion of Singletary and RoJo would make for an intriguing RB duo, as they are both lead backs despite their limitations. Should either of these two remain entrenched as starters in 2020, this deal will be an easy win. 

Aug 29, 2019; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman (11) warms up before a game against the New York Giants at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

WR Julian Edelman for a pair of young receivers and a pick ex:(WR Trey Quinn, WR Miles Boykin, and a 2nd round pick)

It’s always hard to part with consistent contributors like Edelman but his ceiling will always be limited by the lack of big play ability in the checkdown oriented Patriots offense. As he gets older, the team’s reliance on Edelman should slowly fade away, so trading him while he’s still a certified WR2 would be a smart move. Boykin and Quinn have both showed flashes that suggest they could be very good NFL receivers. It helps that they find themselves on two of the leagues least impressive WR depth charts. The inclusion of a second round pick only sweetens the pot, as there are several intriguing players to be found in that range of rookie drafts. 

Who should I keep?

Like I said before, potential is everything in dynasty leagues, so don’t sell anyone who you believe will improve their stock significantly in the next few years. Simple enough right? Guys like Josh Jacobs, D.J Moore, George Kittle, Christian Kirk, Mark Andrews, JuJu Smith-Schuster, and Saquon Barkley should all be held onto, as they are firmly entrenched as top options on their teams’ offenses for the next 4 to 5 years. So keep them unless you’re getting offered something absurd. In general I would suggest keeping all of your rookies and second-year players out of trade negotiations unless you’re really confident in the haul you would be receiving (or really not-confident in the player you’re trading away). Stocking up on the highest upside players possible would be the optimal strategy when it comes to young player-for-young player trades, and it will really be determined by the long term outlook for the player in question. Here are some examples of what I mean. 

Trade for Goedert while he’s still cheap

WR Anthony Miller and RB Kalen Ballage for TE Dallas Goedert and RB Darrell Henderson

This a deal that would have been more realistic at the beginning of the season, when both Ballage and Miller were heavily hyped pickups, but we will use it regardless. While Miller and Ballage represent the more immediate upside investment in the short term (Miller is a pretty frequently used receiver in the Bears offense while Ballage is technically a co-starter in Miami), Goedert and Henderson’s long term appeal would win out in this trade. Miller is always going to be limited in Chicago thanks to the presence of Mitchell Trubisky, while Ballage is a lame duck starter in Miami while the team rebuilds its roster from the ground. Meanwhile, Goedert is an incredibly talented tight end who could very well push Zach Ertz out of town in the near future, while Henderson is waiting in the wings to take over the starting running back role for the Rams (when Todd Gurley’s knee finally fails him). Upside is everything in dynasty.

Sep 8, 2019; Glendale, AZ, USA; Detroit Lions tight end T.J. Hockenson (88) catches a touchdown pass in the fourth quarter against the Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

TE Darren Waller and WR Tyrell Williams for TE T.J Hockenson, WR J.J Arcega-Whiteside, WR N’Keal Harry, and RB Ty Johnson

Sell these late bloomer pass-catchers on the Raiders while they’re still hot guys. This is a deal that I would do ten times out of ten, as the 27 year old Waller and Williams are currently playing at levels well beyond their respective pedigrees. Williams checks in as the WR18 in PPR while Waller finds himself as the TE5. Knowing Derek Carr and the Raiders, this offense cannot possibly sustain both players, so trading them now would be wise. In this deal, the package of Hockenson, JAW, N’Keal Harry, and Johnson is about as upside filled as one can ask for. While Johnson was not highly touted during the off-season, he finds himself as the primary handcuff in Detroit to Kerryon Johnson, which leaves him one injury away from being a super interesting fantasy asset. As for the remaining three players, they were all considered first-round picks in rookie drafts for a good reason. Their teams invested a lot of draft capital to take them, so the expectations are extremely high for them down the line. Hockenson in particular has proven already to be a dynamic playmaker at tight end for the Lions, and he should be a future top-10 fantasy tight end. Harry and Arcega-Whiteside are the long-cons in this deal, as their rookie seasons have been almost nonexistent to this point, but their upside is as high as any receiver once their rosters get thinned out a bit more in the offseason. Once again, potential and upside win out. 

RB Philip Lindsey for RB Miles Sanders, TE Dawson Knox, 2nd round pick

How is Philip Lindsey already 25? Some owner in your league will almost certainly be looking to add the former pro bowler, despite the fact that his snap shares are slowly being absorbed by Royce Freeman. Trading the small but steady Lindsey for a higher upside back like Sanders and a couple of sweeteners like Knox and a pick could be a small move that really makes your 2020 squad a special one. While Lindsey is trending downward, Sanders has shown explosive playmaking ability in limited opportunities. In a backfield full of uncertainty, his explosiveness will allow him to get every chance to take over as the lead back in Philly. The addition of Knox is simply icing on the cake, as the third round pick has shown dynamic receiving ability at the tight end position, leaving him as one of the few high upside pass catchers on a rather unspectacular roster in Buffalo. Upside. Upside. Upside. 

So what else can I do?

To build from the ground up, you must turn over a lot of rocks. Stay active on the waiver wire, picking up as many high upside guys as you can, just be sure not to lose some guys that could help you in the future. Stop worrying about defenses and kickers if you have one of each that you feel generally confident in. Stay active on the trade market, check in on players you like with their owners, and be in on as many guys as possible to drive up their market price. If you can find a way to add an extra first, do it so long as you’re not giving up too much. Lastly, keep an eye on what the experts have to say about rookie drafts, as you’re gonna have to win in that arena if you want this plan to work out at all. 

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