Dynasty Championship Windows
With the help of the ADP data over at MyFantasyLeague.com (redraft and keeper) as well as our own 2013 Projections, I want perform a thought experiment. With the fifth pick in a 10-team PPR league, I will draft three teams. The first will be for a redraft league. The second will be for a dynasty team. The third will also be for a dynasty team, but with the goal of maximizing 2013 points, only.
First, here is my redraft team:
I built this team as I typically would, beginning with a couple of backs and an elite tight end sandwiched between them. With the depth at receiver, it is pretty easy to wait and grab some quality veterans, as I did with Welker and Wayne. I made every selection within a position based on the projected point totals rather than my opinion of their values and safety.
Next, here is my dynasty team:
Although this isn’t the dynasty team I would build for myself, I think it is representative of most players. I did my best to couple youth and upside at the start of the draft with players like Martin, Cobb, and Wilson. I actually drafted Le’Veon Bell with my second-round selection, but with some back-filled veterans, he wouldn’t start for me based on the projected point totals.
Finally, here is my dynasty team built to win in 2013:
Now this is my kind of team. I started with some young backs in Martin and Morris, but there is so much older depth later in dynasty drafts. I snagged White in the fifth, Jackson in the sixth, Brady in the seventh, and Sproles in the eighth, all players in the top-45 in redraft (and who probably should be higher, still). I don’t even have room in my starting lineup for Marques Colston and Reggie Wayne, my ninth and tenth round selections.
Based on our 2013 projections, here is a summary of what each team will give me:
Fantasy players usually enter a dynasty draft with a plan to build a balanced team. I tend to think that is a good idea, but you need to know what you are up against. Even while most players in your league will share a similar strategy, sacrificing some short-term production for an increase in potential over the next few years, someone can easily build a team to win immediately that would be better than the best team in a redraft league.
I do not recommend you play every dynasty league as if 2013 was the only year that mattered—although, 2013 does matter, something many dynasty owners could stand to be reminded of—but you need to build your team with an expectation that you need a team approximately 10 percent better than the team that would win a redraft league with your same format. Similar to a real sports team, you should try to build your fantasy team with a specific championship window in mind.
Of course, you can draft a team similar to my third example and try to win immediately. However, if you want to build a younger team, that works as well, but once you’ve selected players like Cordarelle Patterson, Marcus Lattimore, David Wilson, and Andrew Luck, you need to continue to build you team in a complementary manner. That means you should pass on players like Stevie Johnson and Lance Moore with little or no star potential and draft veterans with an expectation that you will sell them if you fail to hit on many of your late-round sleepers.
More importantly—and more difficult for most owners—you have to be willing to trade away future strengths once you are in your championship window. If you have a team built to win in 2013 and you were also the fortunate owner who traded for Michael Crabtree before Colin Kaepernick took over or who bankrupted his FAAB on Josh Gordon last season, you need to consider moving those players for ones with a better chance to help you this season.
Scott Spratt was named Newcomer of the Year by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association. He also writes for The Hardball Times and contributes to ESPN Insider as a research associate for Baseball Info Solutions. Feel free to ask him questions on Twitter – @PFF_ScottSpratt
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