Author Archives: Mike MacGregor

Checking In On My Dynasty Experts League Roster

I owned the 1.01 rookie pick last year and drafted Buffalo Bills WR Sammy Watkins. Is Watkins a potentially great NFL player? Yes. Does his shoddy QB situation taint his fantasy value? Unfortunately, yes.

I owned the 1.01 rookie pick last year in the Dynasty Experts League and drafted Buffalo Bills WR Sammy Watkins. Is Watkins a potentially great NFL player? Yes. Does the shoddy QB situation in Buffalo taint his fantasy value? Unfortunately, yes.

Earlier this week I talked about joining an ongoing contract dynasty league. Quick update: I put restricted free agent tags on Shane Vereen and Roddy White. Barring a trade I plan to franchise Marques Colston. Three to four years ago these might appear to be excellent tag candidates. In 2015, uh… less so.

One thing I distinguished in my last article was what I called a “true dynasty” and a hybrid. The contract league is less hybrid than I would have thought from reviewing the rules. There are a lot of veteran players under contract. Good thing I’ve got Odell Beckham Jr. and Melvin Gordon for the long haul.

True Dynasty With Deep Rosters

The league I’m going to discuss this time is my definition of a true dynasty – no dollar or contract cap, every player carries over on the roster every year, with only an annual rookie and very limited veteran free agent pool draft to acquire new talent outside of trading and playing the thin waiver wire.

You want to talk deep rosters? This is a 12-team league with 40-man rosters. It includes individual defensive players (IDP), but only 7 IDP starters. I think we should increase to 9 or 10 IDP starters, but in the current setup most teams carry less than 15 defensive players each, meaning 24 QB, RB, WR and TE per team are accounted for, plus a kicker.

This is another dynasty league that already had some history when I joined, so I didn’t take part in the initial draft, but rather inherited an abandoned team. When I took over the team I was so-so about its immediate prospects. It didn’t help I was in a division with what was clearly the top team equivalent of Bill Walsh’s San Francisco 49ers.

I finished second in record, third in points in the league that season (2012), but second in the division to the powerhouse and a wild-card playoff spot. Three division winners and one wild-card team make the playoffs. I think I managed the team well that first year, but it overachieved to a degree too.

In 2013, another second place finish in the division but no wild-card as the team started to show its true colours having some depth and overall talent deficiencies. Last season, a 5-9 record, third from the bottom after “winning” a tie-breaker (third instead of fourth). It is time to turn things around!

Competing Dynasty Philosophies

When playing in fantasy football dynasty leagues such as this one, there are generally two main, competing philosophies. One, sell all short-term assets for long-term assets, be patient and reap the rewards of those one-time top rookie picks and prospects coming into their own and becoming fantasy studs to form a team similar to Mr. Powerhouse mentioned above.

The second philosophy takes a less patient approach, more or less trying to “go for it” most seasons. Proponents of this philosophy feel rookie picks are risky and overvalued, while reliable but unexciting veterans are undervalued, and therefore the fantasy owners tries to take advantage of that.

There are new surprise players every year in fantasy football, even if they only get hot for a month of so, that carry teams to and through the playoffs. Maybe you need to do a little retooling once in a while, but hey, you just need to get into the big dance to have a chance, am I right?

I definitely lean more to the second approach. While I can appreciate the success of pulling off the, “burn it to the ground and start from nothing” philosophy number one, I think it succeeds less than many are willing to admit. When it goes on and on and a team is seemingly spinning its wheels, I call that the perpetual rebuild.

This is fantasy football. I’m in this to win games, and I don’t have enough patience to wait on multiple first round rookie picks to pan out. More importantly, I feel the risk does outweigh the reward most of the time.

It probably doesn’t help I’ve never been big on trading, either. Wheeling and dealing is probably my least favourite aspect of fantasy football. Some people are extremely diligent and good at it, but it is not my cup of tea, so the haggling involved acquiring those multiple first round picks through a total rebuild approach is outside my comfort zone.

Looking Back, Looking Ahead

In analyzing my current roster and what steps to plan out heading into this season, I thought it would be interesting to look at how my roster transformed since I acquired this team, and over the three years I’ve been in the league.

Team Acquired
Beck, J. WAS QB
Freeman, J. TBB QB
Newton, C. CAR QB
Blount, L. TBB RB
Booker, L. MIN RB
Hester, J. SDC RB
Jones, F. DAL RB
Leshoure, M. DET RB
Smith, A. ARI RB
Thomas, D. MIA RB
Baldwin, J. KCC WR
Hester, D. CHI WR
Johnson, S. BUF WR
Massaquoi, M. CLE WR
Moore, D. OAK WR
Obomanu, B. SEA WR
Smith, T. BAL WR
Graham, J. NOS TE
Pettigrew, B. DET TE
Winslow, K. TBB TE
Bailey, D. DAL PK
Janikowski, S. OAK PK
Seymour, R. OAK DT
Bennett, M. TBB DE
Jordan, C. NOS DE
Keisel, B. PIT DE
Quinn, R. STL DE
Boley, M. NYG LB
Foster, M. TBB LB
Hawthorne, D. SEA LB
Lofton, C. ATL LB
McCarthy, C. TEN LB
Wilson, M. NOS LB
Woodley, L. PIT LB
Griffin, C. MIN CB
Babineaux, J. TEN S
Jarrett, J. PHI S
Jones, S. TBB S
Peprah, C. GBP S
Thomas, E. SEA S
Post-2012 Season
Freeman, J. TBB QB
McElroy, G. NYJ QB
Newton, C. CAR QB (P)
Tebow, T. NYJ QB
Yates, T. HOU QB
Battle, J. SDC RB
Blount, L. TBB RB
Brown, A. NYG RB (P)
Jones, F. DAL RB
Martin, D. TBB RB
Rainey, B. BAL RB
Thomas, D. MIA RB (Q)
Baldwin, D. SEA WR
Baldwin, J. KCC WR
Graham, T. BUF WR
Johnson, S. BUF WR
Jones, J. BAL WR
Moore, D. OAK WR
Randle, R. NYG WR
Smith, T. BAL WR (P)
Williams, M. TBB WR
Graham, J. NOS TE (P)
Green, V. DEN TE
Pettigrew, B. DET TE
Janikowski, S. OAK PK
Prater, M. DEN PK
Bennett, M. TBB DE
Jordan, C. NOS DE
Quinn, R. STL DE
Wake, C. MIA DE
Boley, M. NYG LB
Foster, M. TBB LB
Kuechly, L. CAR LB
Lofton, C. NOS LB
Mayo, J. NEP LB
Spencer, A. DAL LB
Finnegan, C. STL CB
Babineaux, J. TEN S
Barron, M. TBB S
Thomas, E. SEA S
Post-2013 Season
Cousins, K. WAS QB
Freeman, J. MIN QB
Hoyer, B. CLE QB (Q)
Newton, C. CAR QB
Schaub, M. HOU QB
Ballard, V. IND RB (P)
Blount, L. NEP RB
Brown, A. NYG RB
Gillislee, M. MIA RB (R)
James, M. TBB RB (R) (I)
Martin, D. TBB RB (P)
Morris, A. WAS RB
Williams, D. CAR RB
Avery, D. KCC WR
Bailey, S. STL WR (R)
Goodwin, M. BUF WR (R)
Hemingway, J. KCC WR
Johnson, S. BUF WR
Moore, D. OAK WR
Randle, R. NYG WR
Smith, T. BAL WR
Williams, M. TBB WR (I)
Graham, J. NOS TE
Toilolo, L. ATL TE (R)
Novak, N. SDC PK
Prater, M. DEN PK (P)
Clayborn, A. TBB DE
Jordan, C. NOS DE
Quinn, R. STL DE
Wake, C. MIA DE
Foster, M. TBB LB
Hayes, G. JAC LB (P)
Kuechly, L. CAR LB
Lofton, C. NOS LB
Mayo, J. NEP LB (P)
Minter, K. ARI LB (R)
Moore, S. OAK LB (R)
Barron, M. TBB S (P)
Byrd, J. BUF S (P)
Mathieu, T. ARI S (R) (Q)
Post-2014 Season
Hoyer, B. CLE QB (P)
Locker, J. TEN QB (I)
Mallett, R. HOU QB (I)
Nassib, R. NYG QB
Savage, T. HOU QB (R) (Q)
Tannehill, R. MIA QB
Blount, L. NEP RB
Freeman, D. ATL RB (R)
Martin, D. TBB RB
Morris, A. WAS RB
Oliver, B. SDC RB (R)
Woodhead, D. SDC RB (I)
Bailey, S. STL WR
Campanaro, M. BAL WR (R)
Goodwin, M. BUF WR
Johnson, S. SFO WR (P)
Latimer, C. DEN WR (R)
Randle, R. NYG WR
Smith, T. BAL WR
Watkins, S. BUF WR (R)
Wheaton, M. PIT WR
Gillmore, C. BAL TE (R)
Graham, J. NOS TE (P)
Pitta, D. BAL TE (Q)
Sims, D. MIA TE
Toilolo, L. ATL TE
Sturgis, C. MIA PK
Jordan, C. NOS DE
Quinn, R. STL DE
Wake, C. MIA DE
Foster, M. TBB LB
Houston, J. KCC LB
Kuechly, L. CAR LB
Lofton, C. NOS LB
Mayo, J. NEP LB (I)
Moore, S. OAK LB (I)
Abdullah, H. KCC S
Barron, M. STL S
Ihedigbo, J. DET S
Mathieu, T. ARI S

You can see from the end of the 2013 to the end of the 2014 seasons, I acquired an early first round pick to draft Sammy Watkins. In fact, it was pick 1.01. In doing so I traded away Cam Newton, who I was never that keen on from a fantasy perspective, but in another deal acquired Ryan Tannehill at QB which worked out decently.

Given the ongoing presence of the powerhouse team in my division, I’m sure I had a sense of, “I don’t have a great feeling about the upcoming year”, and therefore acquired a key rookie pick, used my own and overall sat on some prospects to see what would happen with them.

The problem is, Watkins was less effective than Mike Evans and both were completely overshadowed by Beckham. Watkins’ future is clouded by a shoddy QB situation in Buffalo. I used my own first round pick on Cody Latimer, and his value has certainly gone down. Okay, lets call a spade a spade – that looks like the worst pick of the first round last year at this point in time.

I knew I should have traded Rueben Randle a year ago as other experts were certainly more keen on him than I was, but I held on (again, not much of a trader). Markus Wheaton came over in the rookie 1.01 for Newton deal, but didn’t impress as much as I would have liked.

I still think Doug Martin can be an extremely good RB if he gets on a team that will use him the right way. He definitely should not have as much workload as under Greg Schiano, but deserves a lot more respect for his skills than the Tampa Bay Buccaneers coaches gave him last year. Devonta Freeman could have done much better with his opportunity a year ago.

Yeah, it wasn’t a great season last season. But, where the original roster had difficulty filling six combined RB, WR and TE spots with acceptable starters a lot of weeks, I think I’ve got the makings of some decent depth and weekly choices to help be competitive.

Now it will be a matter of perhaps combining a pair of mid-tier players (Torrey Smith + Randle? Freeman + stud DL or LB) for a higher-tier offensive player. Easier said than done, as everyone prefers the “1” in a “2-for-1″ deal. Plus that means I’m throwing on my trading hat again.

Most of these players are still pretty young, so I think strategy-wise I’m not considering wholesale changes. Play a little more of the patience game. I’ve got my own first round pick this year – 3rd overall – which needs to be a good pick that works outs. It will be a big turning point for this team’s future success.

I could acquire some veterans via trade that represent value but I don’t want to go too heavy in that direction, knowing what I have to give up, and because I don’t feel the team is going to be exceptionally competitive in the short-term. If the veteran still has a 3-4 year career trajectory of decent fantasy performance, sure, but a 1-2 year window I’ll have to be cautious.

In terms of soliciting advice, I’m all for that. Take a look at the current rosters and feel free to comment with some suggested trades, or just general strategy thoughts for managing this team. Are you a proponent of the, “burn it to the ground” approach, or more of a stay competitive, get in the playoff dance philosophy? You know where I stand.

Getting Acclimated Joining an Existing Contract Dynasty Fantasy Football League

Given the opportunity to acquire this guy - New York Giants WR Odell Beckham, Jr. - in an ongoing contract dynasty league I recently joined, I took it.

Given the opportunity to acquire this guy – New York Giants WR Odell Beckham, Jr. – in an ongoing contract dynasty league I recently joined, I took it, even at a hefty price.

A month ago I noticed tweets from Ryan McDowell (@RyanMc23) and Jarrett Behar (@EyeoftheGator), each of Dynasty League Football (DLF) fame who I have known (via the Internet) for some time, looking for owners for an existing dynasty league.

Do I have room to add another fantasy football league to my stable? That is a recurring question every season due to concern taking on too many teams to manage. I’ve done well the past few seasons keeping things under control. Five to six leagues is a good number for me (down from over a dozen in my heyday, B.K. – before kids).

I was certainly intrigued by the prospects of playing in a private league against guys who write for and frequent DLF. This would be a league of strong, keen owners. Okay, I’m in.

The league welcomed three new owners this season, myself included, so instead of each newbie taking an existing team as-is, we participated in a dispersal auction draft. Cool.

League Overview

Let me back up a second and give an overview of the league. It is a contract dynasty league. In my opinion, when teams keep every player year over year and the league holds a rookie draft or rookie plus very limited free agent pool draft once a year, I consider that a, “true dynasty”.

Contract leagues, where players are held for a certain number of years, whether salaried under a cap or not, I think of as more of a hybrid dynasty-keeper league. The contracts run out and, even with the inclusion of franchise and restricted free agent tags, there is a relatively deep veteran free agent pool each off-season.

This league is the latter, the hybrid. There is an annual auction for veteran free agents, but post-auction the dollar amounts are not relevant. Players can be signed to one-year or multi-year contracts (maximum 4 years) and each owner must keep the total contract years of their roster within a range, otherwise suffering penalties for failing to meet those guidelines. This is a 12-team league with 24 roster spots, and the total contract years assigned to those 24 players must be between 35 and 52 years.

Players are also acquired via a rookie draft, which is a rather unique auction format in that teams are assigned available dollars based on their rookie picks. The league also has a 1-round development player draft to acquire a player in college. There is a restricted free agent draft, as each team has two RFA tags they can use.

There is a lot to keep track of in this league, but all very interesting and unique rules which further attracted me to join. In terms of basic rules, the starters are 1 QB, 2 RB, 3 WR, 1 TE, 1 Flex RB/WR/TE and 1 DEF. Performance scoring, 4 points per passing TD and +1 points-per-reception except TE receive 1.5 PPR, so TE is particularly valuable.

Dispersal Auction Draft

On to the dispersal draft. There were certainly some impressive assets available from the three abandoned teams to form the dispersal. Here are the highlights:

WR Odell Beckham Jr. – 3 year contract
WR A.J. Green – 1 year
WR Martavis Bryant – 3 years
WR Jarvis Landry – 2 years
WR Marqise Lee – 3 years
WR Terrance Williams – 2 years
WR Emmanuel Sanders – 0 years (eligible to franchise or RFA)
RB DeMarco Murray – 1 year
TE Zach Ertz – 2 years
TE Eric Ebron – 3 years

RB Melvin Gordon – development player; can be signed for up to 4 years in 2015
RB T.J. Yeldon – same as Gordon
1.01 development draft pick
1.03 development draft pick
1.04 development draft pick
1.04 rookie draft pick
1.06 rookie draft pick

In recent years I’ve had good results in auction drafts following a general strategy of being aggressive early, securing top available players, and then being patient (forced patience, due to early spending spree) and picking spots later. This works much better for me than being passive early and watching too many top performers go to other teams, settling for perhaps better “value” players but ones inevitably with some warts.

An auction involving only three teams is a little strange to guess what to expect, but it still only takes two owners keen for the same player to drive the price up. Maybe the other two owners ultimately had little interest in Odell Beckham Jr. if it meant paying what was surely going to be the highest winning bid in the entire auction. Regardless, premium players deserve a premium price, so even at 50% of my budget (he went for $499 of $1,000), I was willing to take the plunge.

Similarly, I was keen to acquire Melvin Gordon – another $211. When DeMarco Murray was just a shade over $100, I thought that was a bargain price and won him at $103.

As you can guess, having spent $813 or 81% of my cap on those three players did not allow me to get too many other quality players. Heck, from the above list, those are the only three I own.

My roster depth is questionable, as I filled out my running backs with Charles Sims (1 year) and Shane Vereen (free agent, requiring a tag to keep) and the WR position with Kenny Britt (1 year), Percy Harvin (1), Charles Johnson (1), Riley Cooper (2) and free agents Marques Colston and Roddy White. At the important TE position I acquired Charles Clay and at QB, Matthew Stafford, each on 1-year deals.

No doubt the development picks, and to a lesser degree the available rookie draft picks have some value, but I didn’t put a lot of emphasis on acquiring those. I am in another fantasy football league involving development players and it really is a bit of a crapshoot acquiring college players a year or more out from their NFL eligibility to hope they pan out as a valuable fantasy player.

Plus, the presence of development players still detracts from the value of rookie draft picks, since it is a smaller than normal rookie pool. I was happy to see the other two owners compete aggressively for these picks which shot the prices up on those assets.

As with any auction, it is easy to step away with hindsight and wish you had placed higher bids on certain players (Eli Manning, Eric Ebron, Emmanuel Sanders for example) and wish you hadn’t been so trigger happy on others (Harvin). Overall though, I am fairly happy with the results because I know I have the most valuable asset amongst the three teams in Beckham, and arguably the second most valuable in Gordon. We’ll see where he lands at the end of this month.

This is my full roster post-dispersal draft:

Player 2014 Pts Bye Salary Year
3.06, Rookie Pick FA QB (R) - - $33.00 1
Stafford, Matthew DET QB 310.0 9 $18.00 1
Gordon, Melvin FA RB - - $211.00 0
Dunbar, Lance DAL RB 50.0 11 $1.00 3
Murray, DeMarco PHI RB 356.1 7 $103.00 1
Sims, Charles TBB RB 62.0 7 $27.00 1
Vereen, Shane NYG RB 165.8 8 $2.00 0
Beckham, Odell NYG WR (P) 296.2 8 $499.00 3
Britt, Kenny STL WR 142.2 4 $1.00 1
Colston, Marques NOS WR 178.2 6 $1.00 0
Cooper, Riley PHI WR 129.7 7 $1.00 2
Hartline, Brian CLE WR 98.4 4 $1.00 1
Harvin, Percy BUF WR 130.6 9 $30.00 1
Johnson, Charles MIN WR 92.5 10 $27.00 1
White, Roddy ATL WR 213.1 9 $1.00 0
Clay, Charles BUF TE 165.5 9 $11.00 1
Pitta, Dennis BAL TE (Q) 36.5 11 $1.00 -1
Seahawks, Seattle SEA Def 183.0 4 $1.00 0
18 Total Players
Total Salary: $969.00 16

Next Steps

I still have opportunity to acquire players via the RFA and free agent auctions. The next thing I need to do for this league is figure out who I am going to franchise tag and RFA, plus assess what players will be available through free agency. Oh, and I still need a decent team name. Can’t forget that!

There is still plenty of time to alter this roster prior to the start of the season so it is ready to compete Week 1. I look forward to competing against all of these guys in what is surely going to be a challenging league.

Still Drafting? Final 2015 Fantasy Baseball Projections Update for Draft Buddy and Last Player Picked

Still drafting? Yeah, I know some of you are, even with the MLB season five days old.

I kind of forget about this nuance with fantasy baseball compared to fantasy football each year, which rarely drafts after NFL Week 1, but it makes sense for baseball. Its a long season. Why not wait and get a small glimpse of the first few real games before drafting your squad, if that is how your fellow owners prefer to do it.

A few members emailed me saying they are drafting this weekend, and a number of people are still downloading Draft Buddy, so I figured, why not do another update? Plus, it kind of bugged me Craig Kimbrel continued to show as an Atlanta Brave in Draft Buddy, Last Player Picked and on our cheatsheet rankings. He was traded to the San Diego Padres after the season started, but man, missed it by one day? The fact people are still drafting gave me a great excuse to update for the latest transactions and depth chart moves.

So, whether you are drafting, or even if you simply want to update Draft Buddy for the latest changes, open it up, go to the action tab, and click Update Projections. I updated the Steamer-Fangraphs projections, the Zeile projections from FantasyPros, and depth charts for all 30 teams. I didn’t update the Average Draft Position, as that hasn’t changed from our available sources. The latest player news, found to the far right on the hitters data and pitchers data tabs, continues to update automatically and I will leave that on through this weekend.

For those who have stuck with us since the season started—thank you—we do have updated player stats every day. You can view the stats by game from the scoreboard on the front page, such as Toronto Blue Jays-New York Yankees game last night, and also by day, season, and further filtered by any or all positions and by team.

The plan is to keep updating the depth charts and baseball stats, and expanding on the stat features (did you notice the FanDuel salary amounts in those prior links?) plus more baseball content as we are able. We will start rolling out some football content in the near future, too.