When do you decide to rebuild?

This discussion is more about dynasty and keeper leagues than redraft leagues, since rebuilding never comes into play in redraft.

After 5 weeks, some of you dynasty/keeper owners must be thinking, “My team sucks! Should I start rebuilding now? Or do I still have a shot?”

First, we have to look at how long each league’s season is and when is the trade deadline? The NFL season is 18 weeks long, but most leagues will never see that many. Most teams will only see 17 weeks (since the last NFL week is usually a throwaway week for most of the NFL), with their playoffs lasting anywhere from 1-3 weeks. So your ‘season’ will likely end in weeks 13-15, depending on your playoff structure. We have played 5 weeks so far, but many leagues will be hitting their trade deadlines at odd times (I have one league where the trade deadline comes on a Friday AFTER a Thursday night game in week 11, while another league has the trade deadline on December 3rd, a Saturday during week 13, and I have a 3rd league with a week 14 trade deadline). This all comes down to how long you have to make a decision to go for the playoffs or scrap your team. Should you be making trades to add talent, or should you be trading for draft picks and young players?

Regardless of your trade deadline, you have 5 weeks of play under your belt, so you have at least a clue of how good or bad your team may be. IF you need to rebuild, the clock is ticking. Trading for draft picks now is risky, but you can get earlier rounds for your talent now. Those owners who think they have a shot, but are seriously wrong, will more likely trade you good picks for your talent now. By week 11, they may have given up on the season after they have lost the next 6 games, but you could be sitting on their 1st rounder.

On the other hand, you could be giving up too soon. I remember one league where I literally was deep in the hole at 0-5, but I also had scored the second most points of any team, because every week I was always up against the team that scored the most that week. Is your team actually scoring a lot of points, but just having a run of bad luck with the schedule? This is the worst situation in which to be, because even doing as well as you are, you will hit a point later in the season where you are too deep in a win-loss hole to salvage the season, when you could have been planning for next year. But you could also win out and make the playoffs, and possibly a championship. Week 5 is too early for this scenario to throw in the towel, but it is something you have to have in the back of your mind over the next several weeks. If you win the next 3 games, you know you need to keep going. If you lose 2-3, then it’s time to plan for next year.

But you may also have a legitimately bad team. Even at 2-3, your team may have just gotten lucky twice, facing somebody better when they were having a bad week. Obviously, your record is one barometer for your team’s potential, but I have seen teams start 5-0 and then proceed to crash and burn between injuries, bye weeks, and soft benches. A better record gives you more time on the calendar to make your decision, but a bad team will always fall to the bottom.

Ultimately, the key is to be able to look at your team and decide whether it has a legitimate shot at the playoffs. 5 weeks is usually enough time to have an inkling. Just don’t jump out too early.

My own situation is about as muddied as possible: I have 3 dynasty/keeper teams, and two are 2-3 and the third is 3-2 (thanks South Beach!). I’m not worried about the 3-2 team, but the other 2 are money leagues.

I knew going into this season my Sleeper team was a disaster, and it would be a long-term rebuild project. I drafted a ton of talent this year, but most of it has still yet to materialize, hence why I am 2-3. But it wouldn’t kill me to add some draft picks going into next year. This is one of the tougher situations, since it requires me to wait and try to vulture some late 1st round/early 2nd round picks from potential (and desperate) playoff teams.

My other 2-3 team is a Yahoo dynasty SFLX league with 16 teams, 2 divisions, and very deep rosters. It also has two 5-0 teams with stacked rosters. I have all my draft picks going into next year, but adding more is a great idea. This is one where I see an opportunity to add draft picks. But this is also one where the draft is snaked. 1st round picks will be according to this season’s record, but second round picks will be reversed. Trading away 2nd round talent in this league gets you near-1st round players in next year’s draft, if the team is in the playoffs. So I have two opportunities: Trade players away for 1st round picks from mid-range teams, or go for trading lesser but still talented 2nd round-level players with playoff teams.

Hopefully, this mental exercise helps. Feel free to offer your own tips.

I guess this is a lot about personal preferences. I play 2 dynasties and since this year also the South Beach keeper league. My focus always tends to be on the future first, and on the current season second.

In my SFLEX dynasty, I’ve finished 2nd, 3rd and 3rd from 2018-2020, and sometimes wondered if I should have sacrificed some dynasty value for a push on the championship. I never did, though, and finally won the league last year. There was quite a bit of luck involved, as I heavily benefitted from Chase’s stellar 62 point performance in the championship week. On paper, my opponent (the defending champion) should have won the final.

The power rankings did not change for this season - that other team is still firmly at #1, while me and 2 other teams are contending behind him.

Thanks to some profitable trading during the 2021 season, I held the 1.01 pick, despite being the defending champion. Another team was on the playoff bubble and had injury woes on RB. So I sold him Myles Gaskin (while he was still producing) plus a mid-range 2022 2nd (not my own) for his 2022 1st.

At that point, it was a fair deal. Worst case, I would have swapped the 2022 2.03 for the 1.10, while Gaskin kept prodcuing. Alas, Gaskin was benched 2 weeks later, the other team missed the playoffs, but easily won the toilet bowl, which turned their 1st I held into the 1.01. Jackpot.

My RBs going into the season were Austin Ekeler, Josh Jacobs, Damien Harris, Rhamondre Stevenson and Michael Carter. With the 1.01, I added Breece Hall.

I also traded Pat Freiermuth and my 1.12 away for Mark Andrews. So I now had a team that was ready to defend the title.

12 team, half PPR, SFLEX:
QB: P Mahomes, J Herbert
RB: A Ekeler, J Jacobs, D Harris, R Stevenson, B Hall, M Carter
WR: J Chase, D Johnson, G Pickens, G Davis, A Cooper, J Meyers, R Doubs
TE: M Andrews

I was offered Alvin Kamara plus a negotiable add-on for Breece Hall, and could probably have gotten Jaylen Waddle for a 2023 1st. Both trades would have increased my chances at another title. I turned both offers down, though.

Instead, I sold Josh Jacobs for Brian Robinson and a 2023 2nd. I was high on Jacobs this season, repeatedly said (also in this forum) that I think he will play his best season yet. But we don’t know where he will play next year, so this season may be the last chance to get some value in return for him.

I also actively tried to sell Austin Ekeler, for the same reason. Got no offers. But now that he is the #2 RB yet again (I didn’t expect that, to be honest), I am in trade negotiations with the Ken Walker owner, and really hope we can reach a deal still this week. I’m ready to throw a mid 2023 2nd into the mix, if needed.

These moves will not increase the chances of my team being able to defend the title this year. But they make sure that my team retains its dynasty value.

Especially RBs are a commodity I prefer to sell at peak value, as their shelf life is limited. The JT owner asked me for advice during the offseason what to do with him. He was not a contender, and his team needed a rebuild. I urged him to sell JT, and the best offer he got was a mid 2022 1st plus a 2023 1st. He didn’t take the offer. And now, his team is still not a contender, and JT is regressing while he will need at least another year, if not two, to get his team into playoff shape. By then, JT will not be an RB1 anymore.

TL;DR: my focus is always on retaining value. As long as my team carries dynasty value, I will always have enough movable chess pieces to meet every situation. If my team is healthy and doing well, I can trade away some depth pieces to improve my draft situation for next year. Which, in return, helps keeping my team young and valuable.

And if key players get injured, or have a down season, I can trade for replacements to fill some roster holes.

In general, I’m not a fan of “all-in” moves, i.e. trading future talent away for an ageing star, to increase my chances at a title. Chances are you may still run into an opponent who’s starting a 60+ points player in the final. Luck is always a factor in fantasy football.

And if you end up finishing #2 or #3 while still having traded away all your young talent, then you are in a dicey situation. Your team loses value every year, but you still don’t hold any good draft picks to get your hands on top talent.

TL;DR 2 (for real, this time :sweat_smile: ): I prefer to sell players at peak value, and acuire ones whose dynasty value is expected to rise. That allows me to be a contender every year without ever being in the need of a full roster rebuild.

1 Like

I would only abandon ship if I had an aging team who I believed could not come back from a bad start to challenge for a title. If so, look for a sell high opportunity .
Aside from that, I always try to stash one or two very young talents who I believe will develop by playoff run time to trade for late help. For example, a couple years ago it was Herbert and Goedert, last year Etienne and Stevenson and this year maybe Jameson Williams with Burks or Pickens. IR is a good place to watch.

1 Like

League type: Standard, Starting Roster 1QB, 2RB, 3WR, 1TE, 2 Flex. Keeper League 1player from each position and 2 flex plus 1rookie so we keep 7 players.

I’m in the scenario of bad luck with schedule. Through 5 weeks I have the 4th most points in the league and the most points against by 50pts. And I am 1-4. Compared to the guy in 1st who is 4-1, I have 10 less pts for and 160pts more against.

I have a solid team at QB & WR but my RB’s are terrible. Have also been dealing with injury problems. Lost Penny

QB Josh Allen
RB AJ Dillon
RB Cam Akers
RB Chase Edmonds
RB Alex Mattison
RB Mike Boone
RB Deon Jackson (only picked up this week due to Taylor injury)
WR Davante Adams
WR Sutton
WR Pittman
WR Michael Thomas
WR Rashod Bateman
WR Michael Gallup
WR Jameson Williams
TE Pat Friermuth
TE Irv Smith (only picked up due to Muth injury)

I have 2 1st Round and 3 2nd Round Picks I have accumulated with 2 trades so far this year. (Week 1 traded Pollard and Mooney for a 1st & 2nd plus M. Carter then week 5 traded M. Carter for a 2nd and 5th.

Based on my team and bad luck, I am struggling with throwing in the towel and collect draft picks? Or maybe using some of the picks I’ve accumulated to trade for a RB?

In my league 1st and 2nd round picks get some decent players at draft as you only keep 7 players (this year in Round 1 and 2 I drafted Dillon at 5 and Jameson Williams at 8 and Penny at 15 and Pollard at 20.

Do I sell or buy?

1 Like

Agree there. Aside from Dillon and maybe Mattison and Jackson, you have a gaping hole at RB. If you could trade for at least one good starting RB, you might be able to make the playoffs. But if you lose the next 2 games, I’d say time to throw in the towel and accumulate more draft picks.

Whatever you do, don’t give up 1st round picks for whatever you trade for.

Thanks Edmcgon,

Not trading the 1st’s. would likely trade 2 2nd rounders. Tough thing with the league is there are 8 teams at 3-3 and only 1 other team who is 2-4. So will probably have to wait a couple weeks to see where things end up. Either I offload players for picks or see what other teams have bad records and will offload players for picks. Right now this early everyone is till in it with 2/3 of the league at 3-3.

My hope is Akers gets traded to a team that will utilize him and can actually run the ball (unlike the Rams). The Penny injury really hurt my RB’s and Edmonds turning into nothing in Miami.

1 Like