I’ll be writing from time to time about a number of my Year 2 fantasy football dynasty leagues (some good situations, some not so good) to see how certain startup strategies played out. Here, I am taking a closer look at my team in the Presidential Suite II Dynasty League, a $150 entry fee dynasty league which was started in 2009 by commish “Kremenull” (as he is known on the FBG forums).
The Presidential Suite II Dynasty League is a developmental dynasty league (i.e., a league that permits the drafting of a limited number of college players) with a few twists. ANY college player is eligible to be drafted, not just those that are eligible for the NFL draft the following year (subject to a maximum cap of 18 college players rostered league-wide at any given time). So owners have the option of really planning ahead by taking college freshmen, some of which are among the best prospects in all of college football (e.g., AJ Green and Julio Jones from last year, Trent Richardson and Dion Lewis from this year). College freshmen in this format are fairly affordable to draft in a startup league (well, at least they were last year – this year, players like Trent Richardson have been taken extremely high in some startups).
Another feature that sets this league apart from other developmental leagues is that there is no separate developmental draft in future years. College players can be drafted right alongside rookies in each year’s rookie/free agent draft, making draft picks in these leagues quite valuable (despite missing a number of top end players each year that are already rostered – such as Dez Bryant, Jahvid Best and CJ Spiller from last year). I love developmental leagues and especially like the format in this particular league.
Basic scoring rules and lineups in this league are as follows: QB (1pt per 25 yards, 6 pts per TD), PPR (with TE at 1.5PPR) and lineups of QB, 1RB, 2WR, 1TE, 3 flex (WR/TE/RB). So it is possible to start 1 RB and 5 WR, which to me dictated that this would be a WR league (and I would draft accordingly). The 2009 Startup Draft:
I think the best strategy going into a developmental league is to draft to maximize your chances in Year 2, often at the expense of Year 1. I have often used this strategy in non-developmental dynasty leagues as well (see for example, the FFPC $1250 Dynasty League articles), but I particularly like the strategy where you can mix in some undervalued college players as well.
With that in mind, my plan last year was to load up on WR and draft one or both of AJ Green and Julio Jones at or around the 8th round of the startup draft. To aid in this effort, before the start of the draft, I ended up trading my 2010 1st rounder AND my 12th round startup pick for an 8th round startup pick with the intent of taking one of the freshman WRs at that slot. I wouldn’t normally make this type of trade in most leagues, but here, the trade made sense from a value standpoint (assuming I could land one of those two WRs).
Here’s how my startup draft played out:
1.09 Roddy White
2.04 Brandon Marshall
3.03 Rookie Pick 1.01
5.10 Rookie Pick 1.03
7.09 CJ Spiller (College Senior)
7.10 Julio Jones (College Freshman)
8.02 AJ Green (College Freshman)
9.02 Zach Miller
10.04 Hines Ward
10.11 Rookie Pick 1.10
11.03 Thomas Jones
13.09 Lendale White
14.04 David Garrard
15.09 Rookie Pick 2.05
16.04 Derrick Mason
17.09 Chad Pennington
18.04 Ravens Defense
19.09 Rookie Pick 2.11
20.04 Danny Ware
21.09 Jake Delhomme
22.04 Isaac Bruce
Not the perfect draft by any means, especially after the 11th round, but what strikes me are those top 10 or so picks which in hindsight were quite good – especially CJ Spiller, Julio Jones, AJ Green, Zach Miller – all from the 7th round and later.
During the draft, I traded the 5.03, 5.09, 8.04 and my 2010 2nd rounder for Reggie Wayne, 7.03, 9.02 and a 2010 1st rounder, forming a nice nucleus of WRs in Roddy, Marshall and Wayne.
I mixed in some veteran WRs like Hines Ward and Derrick Mason later in the draft to give myself a shot in 2009.
So my lineup post draft:
QB: David Garrard
RB: Thomas Jones
WR: Roddy, Marshall, Wayne, Ward, Mason
TE: Z Miller
Rookie Picks: 2009 1.01, 1.03 (traded 1.01 for Steve Slaton – ouch, and drafted Chris Wells at 1.03 and then turned around and traded Wells for McFadden – double ouch). Later in the year, I also traded CJ Spiller for Arrelious Benn
This team could have been incredible without a couple of these really bad trades. I was able to mitigate the damage somewhat by trading Slaton (after his value drop but while he still had some value) for Reggie Bush, Kenny Britt and a 2010 1st rounder (ended up being Dion Lewis I believe), so I guess it wasn’t a total loss - but still.
Future Rookie picks: I acquired two 2010 first rounders during the startup draft and one additional 2010 first rounder in the Slaton trade. One became the 1.02 (which I ended up trading along with McFadden for Deangelo Williams). The other two were 1.10 and 1.11 (still prime picks in this format since I was able to land Jon Baldwin and Dion Lewis). I picked up yet another first rounder during the draft (1.7) and ended up drafting Ryan Williams there. Since we can only hold four college players at any one time, and since I already had AJ Green and Julio Jones, I had to trade Ryan Williams for Jay Cutler in order to be able to roster Dion Lewis. Key waiver wire pickups:
I won Kevin Kolb early in the season for $45 out of a $150 BBID budget. 2010 Highlights:
Despite the holes in the team left from drafting three college players in the early rounds and a number of rookies, this team managed to make the playoffs (was one VP away from securing a bye – lost in a tiebreaker by only a few points iirc) and took 4th place (mainly on the strength of the WRs).
Rising Value of College Players: Julio Jones and AJ Green carried very little trade value during the year last year (no better than 8th round values at least) being so far off from the NFL. This year, their value has risen substantially being just one year closer to the NFL. As a result, I was recently able to acquire Shonn Greene for AJ Green and a 2011 second rounder (I subsequently flipped Greene for Celek and a little something). This goes to show that college freshman can generate real value within just one year making them potentially great value targets during the startup draft. Year 2:
Here is the team now as we prepare to start the 2010 season (projected starters in bold):
, Kolb, Garrard, Smith
RB (start 1-4): Deangelo, Turner
, T.Jones, Dion Lewis (College)
WR (start 2-5): Marshall, Roddy, Wayne, Ward
, Mason, T Owens, Holmes, DHB, Bennett, J. Baldwin (College), Julio Jones (College)
TE (start 1-4): Celek
, Z. Miller (Oak)
Overall Assessment: I believe this to be a very strong team, stronger than any 2010 startup win-now team that I could have assembled if we were to start over today. This team may be the top contender for the title this year (and based on my rough projections, I believe it is). Even more encouraging is that this team should only keep getting better into Year 3 with the top notch college players still on the roster.
One thing I take away from this experience is that good things can happen if you are willing to take your lumps in year 1 (by picking rookies and top notch college studs and acquiring multiple future 1st rounders). I was willing to do that in this league and still got lucky enough to make the playoffs and win my entry fee back (and leaving the real possibility that I could have won more).
What’s more, seeing how this team progressed further instills the growing concern I have these days that if I don’t build a team in Year 1 that is designed to get a lot better in Year 2, someone else might, and THEY would have this team while my “win-now” team struggles to stay relevant.A Look At The Competition:
Year 2 in this league should be an interesting one in that there are several REALLY good teams. I’ll take a sneak peak at a few of them here but there are several other very good teams I don’t cover.
First off, here is the current squad for the champ from Year 1 (Steel Card):
QB: Roethlisberger, McNabb
RB: C Johnson, Grant
, Moreno, Westbrook, R Jennings, B Scott
WR: S.Smith (NYG)
, Sid Rice, Bowe
, Wallace, Floyd, G. Tate, Breaston, D Butler
TE: D Clark, B Watson
This team took a fairly “win now” approach in the 2009 startup draft that could have ended up in disaster as the team basically struck out with its first 4 picks going Dwayne Bowe at 1.12, Turner at 2.01, Slaton at 3.12 and Westbrook at 4.01. The team then began its recovery with Dallas Clark at 5.12, Ryan Grant at 7.12, Sidney Rice at 10.01, Austin Miles at 12.01 and Steve Smith (NYG) at 14.01. WOW!!! This team led from wire to wire, taking the total points and high victory point accolades and bonuses as well.
This team then made a HUGE trade this offseason sending Michael Turner, Miles Austin and Matthew Stafford to another team for Chris Johnson, Mike Wallace, Matt Leinart and James Casey and is poised to make another run at the title. With other teams (like my own) designed to improve in Year 2 and with Rice being out half the year, this team is no longer the clear favorite to win it all (although still top 4). This team lacks any college players and multiple 1st rounders, so the future holds a re-build at some point. Still, this team is a good example of a team built to win now in Year 1 that remains competitive in Year 2.
Here is a team I’ve been monitoring very closely due to the owner’s very adept trading, and that is DK8.
, Henne, Palmer
WR: AJ, Jennings, Maclin
, M Williams, Burleson, L Robinson, Douglas, M Thomas
, Carlson, Scheffler
Future Picks: Three (3) 2011 1st rounders
This is an up and coming team that also took the route of drafting a team designed to improve after Year 1. Things didn’t look so hot at first (after taking AJ at 1.05, his next pick was Roy Williams at 4.03, Peyton Manning at 4.04 and Arrelious Benn at 4.06 with the rest of the draft just average for the most part) and this team ended up finishing dead last in 2009. However, the owner really turned this team around through the accumulation of 2010 rookie picks and making some excellent trades (including turning those 2010 picks for stud vets through trade). Now the team is a contender for 2010 (although depth and TE are issues that may hold this team back this year) with still some future upside from the 2011 1st rounders.
Finally, check out this amazing drafting performance by a team that went as or more extreme than I did in Year 1 in accumulating rookies and college players (JohnnyU):
4.05 Dez Bryant
6.05 P Thomas
8.05 Rookie pick 1.06
8.11 Jahvid Best (college)
9.05 Rookie pick 1.08
9.08 Rookie pick 1.09
10.05 Matt Cassel
10.12 Bryce Brown (illegal highschool player pick)
12.04 Vernon Davis
14.06 Ahmad Bradshaw
That was one helluva draft! Despite being loaded with college players and rookies, this team went all the way to the championship game and took down 2nd place in 2009. Here is the team today:
QB: Rodgers, Freeman, Clausen
RB: Mathews, Best, Mendenhall
WR: Crabtree, Dez Bryant, Boldin, Nicks, AJ Green (college), Michael Floyd (college), Reuben Randle (college freshman)
TE: V Davis, J Graham
This team lacks a 2011 1st rounder, but thats a nice dynasty team and quite possibly the best long term dynasty team in the league. This team has a decent chance to compete in 2010 and an even better chance to compete in 2011 and beyond (with the possibility of becoming dominant by 2011).