At one time, I loathed this team. Right from the beginning the team seemed cursed when I traded Hakeem Nicks after the startup draft for Marques Colston. From there, things seemed only to get worse until…they got better. MUCH better.
Rewinding a bit, here is a synopsis of where this team has been:
Startup Draft: I put together what I thought was a team that would compete in Year 1 (in my estimation, a top 3 team actually) but hedged a bit by acquiring a total of 4 1st rounders (which is counterproductive when also trying to win, but I am really glad I did that in retrospect).
Year 1: Sidney Rice never played in Year 1, MJD had knee ailments early on, and my team floundered badly as a result, going 0-3 to start the season. I pushed the panic button early and blew up the team (in hindsight, I probably would have made the playoffs had I kept the team together) for an all out youth movement. One of the worst trades I made that year (and ever) included trading Greg Jennings (then in his prime) for what ended up being the 1.8 and Eddie Royal.
Year 2: With the rookie picks I had, I proceeded to foolishly pass on AJ Green and Julio Jones and traded all of my rookie picks to pick up then-superstar vets like Jamaal Charles and Brandon Marshall in order to “win now”. When Charles went down with the knee, I proceeded to trade Kenny Britt for Jahvid Best to pick up the slack. That was a disaster (still is). I then traded Charles and a guaranteed top 3 future 1st for Darren McFadden to again pick up the slack. McFadden proceeded to Lis Franc his way onto the bench the rest of the way and was the nail in the coffin for 2011. I eventually blew the team up again in favor of youth and picks. Fortunately, one of those moves landed me Julio Jones (Sproles + Marshall for Julio and a 2012 1st ). I ended the season with 5 1st round picks including the 1.1, 1.2, 1.4, 1.5 and 1.8.
Year 3 (Offseason): Over the offseason, I made a number of moves and traded (again) all of my rookie picks except for the 1.1 to pick up vets, this time with less emphasis on winning and more emphasis on picking up the dynasty talent I liked best including, most notably, Matt Ryan, Cam Newton and AJ Green. In a gamble of a move which could really bite me in the end, I traded Trent Richardson for Rob Gronkowski (I needed help at TE).
Today, I have the following:
QB: Cam Newton, Josh Freeman
RB: Darren McFadden, Demarco Murray, CJ Spiller, Jahvid Best, LaMichael James, Jon Dwyer, Felix Jones
WR: Julio Jones, AJ Green, Demaryius Thomas, Torrey Smith, Greg Little,
TE: Rob Gronkowski, Marcedes Lewis
Not quite as good at WR as my $750 #4 team, but still VERY good and better at TE and QB. RB is a wash for redraft with a slight advantage to the $750 #4 team for dynasty.
While I would like to win with this team in 2012, that is not my overriding goal. My #1 priority with this team and the $750 #4 team is to keep the two teams loaded with the dreaded “p” word – POTENTIAL.