2017 Top 25s: WRs and TEs

Updated: July 16th 2017

Since RSO has rolled over to 2017, now’s the perfect time to revisit your rosters and start planning for the next season!

Do you have any players on your team that warrant a franchise tag?  Is it time to shop a player who’s 2016 didn’t meet your expectations and now burdens you with a high salary contract?  My “way too early” PPR rankings, known as my 2017 Top 25s, are here to help with those decisions!

If you missed part 1, I explored quarterbacks and running backs.

In part 2 of my 2017 Top 25s, I’ll finish by examining the wide receiver and tight end positions:

 

Top 25 WRs for 2017

While several of the top WRs didn’t pan out in 2016, I wouldn’t shy away from a WR-heavy strategy in 2017. The top 7 in my rankings have shown year-over-year consistency, which should ease the minds of those recently burned by Hopkins and Robinson. In 12 team leagues, I’d want to leave the auction with at least 3 WRs from this list. since the depth from 13 to 25 is much stronger at WR than it is at RB.

 

Top 25 TEs for 2017

In 2017, I plan to target Gronkowski, Kelce, and Reed with AAV (average annual values) over $10 million per season. If I strike out on the three of them, I’m likely to wait and select 1-2 TEs from the 9-18 range of my rankings and hope that one can turn into someone I’m comfortable starting on weekly basis.

My Recommendation

Take an hour this weekend and send out personal emails to all of your fellow owners. Get the trade conversations started because they likely won’t come knocking down your door to acquire one of these players you’re looking to vanquish from your roster. Explain what you’re looking to accomplish, who interests you on their team, and provide an idea of how a potential deal could be reached. If you’re in an active league, you’ll be surprised at the quality of responses you receive.

I followed this recommendation last year, revamped one of my teams almost from scratch, and ended up winning the league.  Have a few minutes?  Read my article on Pressing the Reset Button to find out more about how this strategy can work for you.


Bio: An avid fan of all things NFL, Dave has been playing fantasy football since 1999.  Though Dave participates in all types of fantasy football including redraft and daily, he prefers keeper and dynasty leagues as talent evaluation and scouting are integral components of each.  Follow him on Twitter @DaveSanders_RSO

Week 1: React to Overreact

Updated: September 14th 2016

What an exciting first week of football! There were a lot of surprises, both good and bad, in the fantasy community that have owners either patting themselves on the back or pulling out their hair. Tuesday after week 1 is one of the largest scrambles for the waiver wire in the year so I wanted to go over a collection of players that I felt needed to be talked about. Note that this is just the first week of the season and you shouldn’t be basing all your hard offseason work off of 60 minutes worth of football. Instead, evaluate your own team and its performance and be prepared to throw around some serious dollars. Let us begin.

Keenan Allen, WR, San Diego Chargers

Keenan AllenWhat a buzzkill this was. After an entire offseason that led many to believe Allen would return healthy and back to his WR1 form his knee gives out. Ending his season before the second half of game one, Allen owners are now left holding the bag with a big hole in their fantasy line-ups. It will be tough to say who on a game to game basis will immediately benefit from his absence. Danny Woodhead seems to have held off the doubters based on his performance and, along with Antonio Gates and Travis Benjamin, will have the first opportunities to increase their targets. Undrafted rookie Tyrell Williams looked good in the preseason and had two catches for 71 yards after Allen went out. With the other three likely being owned already Williams would likely be your immediate replace for Allen owners. Just don’t expect to see consistent fantasy results on a week to week basis.

Spencer Ware/Jamaal Charles, RB, Kansas City Chiefs

Talk about feeding off of other’s misery. For Charles owners who were unable to handcuff Ware in the offseason, they were shedding tears at the near 200 total yard performance that he was able to put up in a thrilling come from behind win. Word is spreading that Charles may also be sitting a second week which leaves Ware owners foaming at the mouth. While there’s not much Charles owners can do at this point other than wait and see, it’s not time to panic just yet. Too often coaches ask players to come back before they are ready (i.e. Lynch, Dez, Romo, John Brown.) This just hurts the player’s value more by starting and subsequently leaving games early. Hopefully, Andy Reid is taking it slow with his star running back and he will be 100% healthy soon. When he does return though, it would be a surprise if he took the lion’s share back after Sunday’s performance by Ware.

Sammy Watkins, WR, Buffalo Bills

Sammy WatkinsSpeaking of letting injuries heal, reports are surfacing that Sammy Watkins is still feeling pain in his surgically repaired foot which could be affecting his performance. It was suggested that the team could be shutting him down for a significant amount of time but those reports were quickly shot down and he is said to be ready to play on Thursday night. Still, we have seen what a receiver trying to play through a foot injury looks like, Dez in 2015 and A.J. Green in 2014, with unimpressive results. If Robert Woods isn’t already owned in your league I would definitely be picking him up and stashing him. Either way, it is hard to own Watkins at this point as he could be a major dud due a lackluster passing game and now his lingering injury. If you can move him for any other WR2 or a 2017 1st and a replacement receiver I would be getting out now.

Tevin Coleman/Devonta Freeman, RB, Atlanta Falcons

Tevin ColemanThis was an interesting turn of events with Coleman looking more efficient with his 32 snaps (117 total yards) than Freeman’s (40 yards) on 36 snaps. Dan Quinn has stated that he will continue to use the committee approach making all those who spent big offseason dollars acquiring Freeman very nervous. Even more nerve-racking was how efficient Coleman was in a receiving role (95 yards) which was assumed to Freeman’s role. After being a fantasy beast early last season Freeman’s big knock was his inefficiencies without volume down the stretch. With a healthy Coleman (who remember was handpicked by this coaching staff in last year’s draft) this could be an early candidate for the one year wonder RB.

Los Angeles Rams vs. San Francisco 49ers

Jeff Fisher*Cricket… Cricket…* that’s the sound of the second Monday night game as the Rams looked awful; being shut out by a team that many expected to win less than five games this season. While the Rams may not offer much in terms of startable fantasy players (except Gurley), you would like to see them put up at least something to build off of. Touted as the best prospect since Adrian Peterson, Gurley seems to have the same trajectory of having to play on a bad offense that doesn’t scare the defense from stacking the box unforgivingly. You can’t help but wonder how successfully he would be if he didn’t have Jeff Fisher holding him back.

As for San Francisco call me a doubter but I have seen this narrative play out before; in last year’s opening Monday night game in fact. The 49ers held Peterson and Vikings in check and started the season 1-0 only to win four of their next fifteen games. It was nice to see Hyde play well and score two touchdowns but it will take a few more games before I see anything on this offseason as a consistent fantasy play.

2018 Player Rankings

Updated: August 7th 2016

You’re probably thinking, “Did I read that right? 2018 rankings?”  Yes, yes you did.  In dynasty leagues, we often project a player’s long-term upside by evaluating the perceived ceiling for that player.  But rarely do we give much thought to when that career year may occur.

When participating in a start-up draft or auction, I’ll typically target players that should have at least 3 production left or will enter their prime within the next 3 years  – call it my “Rule of 3”.  For example, I’ll rarely draft or bid on a running back over 30 years old like Adrian Peterson, but likely also won’t target a quarterback like Carson Wentz who may not even start in the NFL during his rookie year.

Having a three year plan in dynasty is as important as planning for the upcoming season. Having your team projected to finish .500 is not where you want to be.  If in contention, I’m always going to seek opportunities to buy.  If I realize by-mid season or before that a championship isn’t probable this year, I’ll reach out to each owner in my league and shop the players least likely to help me in future seasons.  Taking a small step back could result in your team take a huge step forward in the years to come. With all that said, let’s dive into my WAY TOO EARLY rankings for the 2018 season…

Quarterbacks

1) Andrew Luck
2) Russell Wilson
3) Cam Newton
4) Derek Carr
5) Aaron Rodgers
6) Jameis Winston
7) Marcus Mariota
8) Blake Bortles
9) Jared Goff
10) Matthew Stafford

*We’re seeing the dawn of a new era for the elite fantasy quarterbacks.  For plenty of years, we grew familiar with seeing Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers, and Drew Brees occupy the top tier of quarterbacks.  It’s now time for a similarly prolonged stretch for Luck, Wilson, and Newton.  Baring injury, I don’t see anyway these quarterbacks aren’t top 10 in 2018.

Running Backs

1) Ezekiel Elliott
2) Leonard Fournette
3) LeVeon Bell
4) Todd Gurley
5) David Johnson
6) Nick Chubb
7) Derrick Henry
8) Lamar Miller
9) Dalvin Cook
10) TJ Yeldon

*What is there not to like about Ezekiel Elliott?  He’s one of the best running back prospects to enter the league in a long time, plays behind the best offense line in football, and excels as a receiver and in pass blocking.  He should be a true three down back for an offense that will give him as much work as he can handle.  See, DeMarco Murray‘s workload in 2014.  Derrick Henry should take over for DeMarco Murray as the Titans‘ primary ball carrier in 2017, if not sooner.  He should immediately become a top 10 RB once given 250 carries in a season as a potential touchdown machine.  However, Henry won’t be too involved in the passing game and should be lowered slightly in rankings for PPR leagues.

Wide Receivers

1) Odell Beckham Jr.
2) DeAndre Hopkins
3) Amari Cooper
4) Sammy Watkins
5) Allen Robinson
6) Keenan Allen
7) Julio Jones
8) Mike Evans
9) Brandin Cooks
10) Donte Moncrief

*This group of wide receivers is special.  Pay what it takes to acquire any of them…you won’t regret it while they’re filling up the stat sheet for the next 5+ years.

Tight Ends

1) Rob Gronkowski
2) Jordan Reed
3) Tyler Eifert
4) Zach Ertz
5) Ladarius Green
6) Travis Kelce
7) Coby Fleener
8) Clive Walford
9) Hunter Henry
10) Austin Hooper

*It’s Gronk and everybody else.  I’m a huge fan of Jordan Reed who’s basically a 6’2″ wide receiver playing the tight end position, but his injury history scares me.  He could be #1 or #2 on this list or could just as easily fall completely outside of the top 10.

Let me know your thoughts on Twitter @DaveSanders_RSO!  Would love to hear who you think I am too high on or should have included in my Top 10s!

My next article will explore the likelihoods that rookie QBs, RBs, WRs, and TEs put together a top 10 season within their first 3 years in the NFL.  Look for that to drop later this month!

Bio: An avid fan of all things NFL, Dave has been playing fantasy football since 1999.  Though Dave participates in all types of fantasy football including redraft and daily, he prefers keeper and dynasty leagues as talent evaluation and scouting are integral components of each. 

Open the Wallet – Players to Buy

Updated: June 22nd 2016

In dynasty and RSO leagues, I cannot emphasize enough the importance of staying active year round in trade talks.  Player values fluctuate more than ever during this time of year.  If you’re willing to stomach some risk, there’s an opportunity for profit.  When discussing trades, I often hear that owners are afraid making a move and having it backfire in the long term.  My strategy is a bit different as I’m unafraid to make an aggressive move if I believe I’m getting more value at the time of the trade.  If you accept that you will lose in some trades but believe you will win out more than 50% of the time, be as aggressive as possible.  Right or wrong, I do not just consider deals made to be potential wins or losses.  I also think this way about trade talks that were close, but never materialized for whatever reason.  For example, trades I’ve declined have potential to be wins or losses as well though my roster has remained intact.

In this off-season edition of Open the Wallet, I’ll explain which players I’m actively looking to buy before the 2016 season.

Mark Ingram RB NO – I’ll admit, I wasn’t a fan of him early in his NFL career, but his production the last few years cannot be ignored. In fact, Ingram has averaged 4.5 yards per carry over the past 3 seasons, while increasing his utilization in the passing game each year.  In 2015, Ingram caught 50 passes in only 12 games.  With an ADP of 44th overall in Dynasty League Football June startup drafts, Ingram is a value with a few years left in the tank.

 

Ryan Mathews RB PHI / Wendell Smallwood RB PHI – Give me running backs in a Doug Pederson offense.  We saw last year that non-elite talents like Charcandrick West and Spencer Ware could be effective in Pederson’s conservative scheme. In Philadelphia, Pederson should continue running a conservative offense, especially while grooming Carson Wentz. The Eagles off-season moves also indicate that they’ll be heavily focused on running the football. They didn’t add any notable WRs in the draft or free agency, leaving the receiver corps very thin.  Philadelphia also invested heavily on the offensive line and at tight end this off-season. Mathews was very efficient in 2015, especially early in the season. He should be a borderline RB1 for as long as he can stay healthy. That said, Mathews isn’t the only running back on the team with fantasy value. Wendell Smallwood quietly was a do-it-all workhorse at West Virginia. I’d expect for him to open the season as Ryan Mathews backup with the potential to become the feature back if/when Mathews misses time for an injury.

 

Danny Woodhead RB SD – Woodhead finished 5th in PPR scoring among RBs last year. As we all know, Melvin Gordon struggled last season but still managed to eat 217 touches. With Gordon returning from microfracture surgery, Woodhead may have an even larger role this season.  He still has enough in the tank to be a valuable contributor for title contending teams, especially in PPR or .5 PPR formats.

 

Keenan Allen WR SDAccording to DLF ADP, Keenan Allen is currently being selected just ahead of a group of exciting but unproven wide receivers that includes Laquon Treadwell, Kevin White, Donte Moncrief, and DeVante Parker. Allen’s currently going 15th overall, 11th among WRs. He was on pace to put up career numbers in 2015 before lacerating his kidney. Expected to be at full strength for Week 1, Allen is an excellent trade target if you own one of these young and unproven WRs listed above or own an aging wide receiver like Dez Bryant, AJ Green, or Demaryius Thomas and want to cash in while they still have top 20 value. You likely wouldn’t need to toss in more than a second round rookie pick with Treadwell, White, Moncrief, Parker, or Thomas to acquire Allen.

 

Eric Decker WR Jets – Quietly Eric Decker had a monster year in 2015.  Many expected that his productive days would end when he left the Peyton Manning led Denver Broncos, but that hasn’t been the case.  In fact, he’s been very productive with bottom-tier talents Ryan Fitzpatrick and Geno Smith.  While Fitzpatrick’s numbers were solid last year, he was largely aided by his star wide receivers and the Chan Gailey scheme.  Pro Football Focus ranked him as just the 25th best QB in 2015.

 

Tom Brady QB NE – As Matthew Berry coined in 2015, the “Gronk You Tour” may continue into 2016.  He’s the perfect number two QB for a contending team as he’ll likely provide elite production for a majority of the season.  Let’s not forget that Brady was the 2nd best fantasy QB in 2015.  His four-game suspension presents a great buying opportunity as he’s currently 122nd in DLF ADP, 11th among QBs.

 

Carson Palmer QB ARI – Similar to Brady, Palmer was very good in 2015 – ranking 5th among QBs. I’m hoping the memory of his last game, the 4 interception disaster vs. Carolina in the playoffs, remains in the front of his owners’ minds. Optimistic that he has 1-2 good seasons left, I’d be willing to part with a late round rookie pick to acquire Palmer.  That’s likely all it would take as he’s currently being drafted 153rd in DLF ADP, 13th among QBs.

Which of these players are you also targeting in trades? Let me know @DaveSanders_RSO on Twitter!

Hold’em or Fold’em: Part 2

Updated: June 5th 2016

When I wrote my first article here on RealitySportsOnline the goal was to help breakdown whether or not to tear down your team and start the rebuilding process. Now that NFL free agency and the draft have concluded we have a clearer picture of what our roster looks like. We can take a look ahead now at our own drafts and auctions to establish what our goals for 2016 should be. Hopefully you used my guide to evaluate your roster against those of your other league mates. If you haven’t already I’ll give a rundown of how to evaluate your league. Remember that just having a rough outline of whether you are making a run or not this season will give you a direction for preparing for your draft and auction. So let’s go ahead and get started!

Evaluating Your League

Recently I had a conversation with one of our readers about my last article which discussed a formula for valuing players in the auction draft.  He got me thinking about tiering players to create a value for a group of players rather than each one individually. This is where I will start our league-wide comparisons. Using the “base” system that I discussed we can break groups of players up into Elite, Great, Good, and Average. From there assign values to each group (1000, 500, 250, and 100 are nice round numbers to use) and sort the returning players onto each individual team and all expected free agent players into a “free agent” pool. Using an example from one of my leagues, where I adopted a team, you create a chart that resembles something similar below. The numbers within each box represent the number of players that fit within each of the tiers listed before. The totals are these players multiplied by the values given. I also included the free agent chart underneath that lists the number of players in each tier and at each position.

Team Talent 1

Team Talent 2

I have outlined my team in red here so that you can compare it to the others. Our league is pretty even in terms of talent with a couple outliers on either end. This is likely similar to your league where one or two teams clearly have the inside track to a championship, five to eight teams have a shot at making the playoffs and then one to three teams are a step behind the class and are likely to win only a handful of games. When doing your chart if you fall in the bottom third of team value you need to be in rebuild mode. If you are in the middle third you have the option to hold or rebuild now before everyone else in your tier starts their rebuild.

Finding New Building Blocks

Congratulations, you now have an outline for whether you are rebuild in 2016 or holding for another season. For rebuilders the next step is to determine how much of a rebuild your team needs. Your rebuild will be determined based on three factors: returning players, available cap room and auction pool value. For a fast track rebuild if you play in a league that starts fewer players (8-10) and your free agency happens to have a large number of ELITE and GREAT players this offseason you could potentially be a Cinderella team in 2016 just by building through one draft and an aggressive auction. This strategy likely only works however if you have a significant cap space differential from other owners and already have a couple of elite players retained for next season. More likely you will want to give yourself a window of 2-3 years to be a contender.

So if I say that it will take at least two offseasons to rebuild a team what does that mean for the players you currently have? Since RealitySportsOnline is different from other traditional dynasty league sites in that contracts limit the time that an owner can control any player, rebuilders can actually have an advantage. Similar to how other dynasty strategists suggest trading away veterans that are unlikely to be valuable assets when your team “makes the turn”, you can also move younger players on contracts that will be free agents in 2-3 years. Even with young players such as Odell Beckham Jr., Mike Evans or Sammy Watkins, if you’re not going to be contending with them until after their contracts have expired, you might as well strike while the iron’s hot and get value for them. For those of you that only have one or two standout players on their rosters this first step is much more beneficial than sitting on the player’s value for a couple of years.

Rebuilding in Year 1

But Nick, if we’re trading away all our elite talent what are we supposed to build around? Don’t worry you won’t be talent-less forever. Once you have moved your big names you should have a lot of cap space, draft picks and quality ancillary players. Not ideal for a team trying to win games but that’s okay because what we want is to have flexibility in free agency and to hold some good picks in next year’s draft.

Starting with your rookie draft preparation this season your strategy won’t change much from what you were likely already going to do. However, for those that do their draft away from the online draft room, if you are not in love with a player at your selection then consider moving out of the draft from that spot to a similar spot in future drafts. Remember that you’re not likely to compete this year so why not move the contract that you will be giving to a player a year out. Particularly considering how strong and deep the 2017 draft is shaping up to be. If you can trade a first pick this year for a first next year that could be a huge win.

With regards to your auction, the goal year one can be broken down into long and short term contracts. Long term contracts should only be given to low cost, young players (preferably WRs and QBs) that can generate value once your team comes around. Investing low cost 3-4 year contacts in players such as Derek Carr, Blake Bortles, John Brown, or Allen Hurns in the range of $3-5 million/year can offer a nice foundation player to have in the future. For the short term you want to purchase good value one year players that can offer midseason trade value to contenders. The goal is to not go crazy offering/accepting huge long term deals along with other league mates since you want to keep open your cap space in your second offseason of rebuild.

Preparing for 2017 and Beyond

Looking ahead to the 2017 offseason now you’ve likely won four or less games and have a top 3 pick along with several other picks accumulated from trading. All the players that were one year deals and became a bargain you likely traded them to contenders for either draft picks or more long term project players. Now is the year that you can pounce, especially if many of your league mates are locked in with their roster and cap space. You still want to use your long term deals only on players with high floors but you can begin to spend more. For those of you that are getting close to releasing your first class of rookies to free agency this is the perfect time for you to collect several of those players. Players like Kennan Allen, DeAndre Hopkins and Giovanni Bernard were likely allowing owners to benefit from their low rookie contracts and will not be able to afford them at their market value. This is why holding future cap space open is the key.

Now that you are collecting some elite talent and you haven’t lost all your future money you can implement the same strategy in year three. With the 2014 WRs coming available this year or possibly in 2017 depending on 3 or 4 year rookie contract lengths, at this point you should have collected enough elite and good players to compete with others in your league. As well you should hold a couple of players on rookie contracts that are less than market value, assuming you drafted well. From here on the goal to avoid having to go through a total rebuild again is to sell players in their second to last year of their contracts and continue to use long term deals only on high floor or lower cost players. Don’t be afraid of the one year deal on projected elite players as best case scenario the player is awesome and you get all your money back to buy them again the next year. If the player busts you get out from under them rather than having to pay half their salary for another two years.

Happy drafting and as always if you have any questions about draft or trade strategies you can find me @naandrews19 on twitter.

Hold'em or Fold'em: Part 2

Updated: June 5th 2016

When I wrote my first article here on RealitySportsOnline the goal was to help breakdown whether or not to tear down your team and start the rebuilding process. Now that NFL free agency and the draft have concluded we have a clearer picture of what our roster looks like. We can take a look ahead now at our own drafts and auctions to establish what our goals for 2016 should be. Hopefully you used my guide to evaluate your roster against those of your other league mates. If you haven’t already I’ll give a rundown of how to evaluate your league. Remember that just having a rough outline of whether you are making a run or not this season will give you a direction for preparing for your draft and auction. So let’s go ahead and get started!

Evaluating Your League

Recently I had a conversation with one of our readers about my last article which discussed a formula for valuing players in the auction draft.  He got me thinking about tiering players to create a value for a group of players rather than each one individually. This is where I will start our league-wide comparisons. Using the “base” system that I discussed we can break groups of players up into Elite, Great, Good, and Average. From there assign values to each group (1000, 500, 250, and 100 are nice round numbers to use) and sort the returning players onto each individual team and all expected free agent players into a “free agent” pool. Using an example from one of my leagues, where I adopted a team, you create a chart that resembles something similar below. The numbers within each box represent the number of players that fit within each of the tiers listed before. The totals are these players multiplied by the values given. I also included the free agent chart underneath that lists the number of players in each tier and at each position.

Team Talent 1

Team Talent 2

I have outlined my team in red here so that you can compare it to the others. Our league is pretty even in terms of talent with a couple outliers on either end. This is likely similar to your league where one or two teams clearly have the inside track to a championship, five to eight teams have a shot at making the playoffs and then one to three teams are a step behind the class and are likely to win only a handful of games. When doing your chart if you fall in the bottom third of team value you need to be in rebuild mode. If you are in the middle third you have the option to hold or rebuild now before everyone else in your tier starts their rebuild.

Finding New Building Blocks

Congratulations, you now have an outline for whether you are rebuild in 2016 or holding for another season. For rebuilders the next step is to determine how much of a rebuild your team needs. Your rebuild will be determined based on three factors: returning players, available cap room and auction pool value. For a fast track rebuild if you play in a league that starts fewer players (8-10) and your free agency happens to have a large number of ELITE and GREAT players this offseason you could potentially be a Cinderella team in 2016 just by building through one draft and an aggressive auction. This strategy likely only works however if you have a significant cap space differential from other owners and already have a couple of elite players retained for next season. More likely you will want to give yourself a window of 2-3 years to be a contender.

So if I say that it will take at least two offseasons to rebuild a team what does that mean for the players you currently have? Since RealitySportsOnline is different from other traditional dynasty league sites in that contracts limit the time that an owner can control any player, rebuilders can actually have an advantage. Similar to how other dynasty strategists suggest trading away veterans that are unlikely to be valuable assets when your team “makes the turn”, you can also move younger players on contracts that will be free agents in 2-3 years. Even with young players such as Odell Beckham Jr., Mike Evans or Sammy Watkins, if you’re not going to be contending with them until after their contracts have expired, you might as well strike while the iron’s hot and get value for them. For those of you that only have one or two standout players on their rosters this first step is much more beneficial than sitting on the player’s value for a couple of years.

Rebuilding in Year 1

But Nick, if we’re trading away all our elite talent what are we supposed to build around? Don’t worry you won’t be talent-less forever. Once you have moved your big names you should have a lot of cap space, draft picks and quality ancillary players. Not ideal for a team trying to win games but that’s okay because what we want is to have flexibility in free agency and to hold some good picks in next year’s draft.

Starting with your rookie draft preparation this season your strategy won’t change much from what you were likely already going to do. However, for those that do their draft away from the online draft room, if you are not in love with a player at your selection then consider moving out of the draft from that spot to a similar spot in future drafts. Remember that you’re not likely to compete this year so why not move the contract that you will be giving to a player a year out. Particularly considering how strong and deep the 2017 draft is shaping up to be. If you can trade a first pick this year for a first next year that could be a huge win.

With regards to your auction, the goal year one can be broken down into long and short term contracts. Long term contracts should only be given to low cost, young players (preferably WRs and QBs) that can generate value once your team comes around. Investing low cost 3-4 year contacts in players such as Derek Carr, Blake Bortles, John Brown, or Allen Hurns in the range of $3-5 million/year can offer a nice foundation player to have in the future. For the short term you want to purchase good value one year players that can offer midseason trade value to contenders. The goal is to not go crazy offering/accepting huge long term deals along with other league mates since you want to keep open your cap space in your second offseason of rebuild.

Preparing for 2017 and Beyond

Looking ahead to the 2017 offseason now you’ve likely won four or less games and have a top 3 pick along with several other picks accumulated from trading. All the players that were one year deals and became a bargain you likely traded them to contenders for either draft picks or more long term project players. Now is the year that you can pounce, especially if many of your league mates are locked in with their roster and cap space. You still want to use your long term deals only on players with high floors but you can begin to spend more. For those of you that are getting close to releasing your first class of rookies to free agency this is the perfect time for you to collect several of those players. Players like Kennan Allen, DeAndre Hopkins and Giovanni Bernard were likely allowing owners to benefit from their low rookie contracts and will not be able to afford them at their market value. This is why holding future cap space open is the key.

Now that you are collecting some elite talent and you haven’t lost all your future money you can implement the same strategy in year three. With the 2014 WRs coming available this year or possibly in 2017 depending on 3 or 4 year rookie contract lengths, at this point you should have collected enough elite and good players to compete with others in your league. As well you should hold a couple of players on rookie contracts that are less than market value, assuming you drafted well. From here on the goal to avoid having to go through a total rebuild again is to sell players in their second to last year of their contracts and continue to use long term deals only on high floor or lower cost players. Don’t be afraid of the one year deal on projected elite players as best case scenario the player is awesome and you get all your money back to buy them again the next year. If the player busts you get out from under them rather than having to pay half their salary for another two years.

Happy drafting and as always if you have any questions about draft or trade strategies you can find me @naandrews19 on twitter.