Dynasty season never sleeps with player news impacting rosters year-round. Startup drafts are happening before the season begins as managers build out their teams. As your Startup draft reaches the later rounds, it can get tough to sort through the players who make up the back end of both NFL and fantasy rosters. In this piece, I cover how to strategize the late rounds of a Dynasty Startup in the three different kinds of roster builds. Sure, there’s also gray area that you may be operating in between these builds, but considering these situations provides helpful guidelines to manage your expectations.
When building a team to win immediately in your Dynasty Startup, you’ll be investing in players who can make an immediate impact. “Win-Now” teams have the luxury of trading away future rookie draft picks in exchange for established players who can contribute year one. As these teams approach the later rounds and focus on building their bench, they possess a starting lineup filled with players who offer immediate production value, like Keenan Allen and Derrick Henry.
The Detroit Lions are bringing back WR Marvin Jones after two years with the Jaguars.
Jones caught 289 balls for 478 yards and 36 TDs during his 5-years in Detroit. pic.twitter.com/5lSrVqmba3
— PlayerProfiler (@rotounderworld) March 29, 2023
With a starting lineup like this, you want your bench to be filled with a combination of players who can produce in the next 1-2 years and rookies who will be immediate contributors or Taxi Squad residents. This way, the bench consists of players to start in case of bye weeks or injury, giving you their peak production immediately. You may also add rookies to the bench who can contribute year one. If they can’t, minimal harm is done because they’re on your bench. They can be dealt for more veterans or kept as one of your few future pieces. Deep dart throws can be placed on a Taxi Squad if your league has one.
Prioritize valuable backups and study which players can give you production for the next 1-2 years. On the PlayerProfiler Dynasty Rankings tool, under the Win Now Strategy, look for prime bench candidates outside the top-150. A few players I like (1QB leagues):
- RB Evan Hull (Ranked No. 169) – a rookie that can contribute immediately in Indy
- RB Jerick McKinnon (No. 176) – veteran who has been productive with KC
- WR Marvin Jones (No. 258) – WR2 in DET with Jameson Williams out
Teams with a “Neutral” build are equipped with a combination of youth and veteran players. These teams may be buyers or sellers in year one of the Startup, depending on how their core players are performing that season. A Neutral team’s starting lineup will consist of younger players on their first or second contracts, but likely not as many rookies. Players like Marquise Brown and D’Andre Swift fit this mold.
When drafting for a bench in the Neutral build, evaluate who has the upside to produce for 2-3 years. Using this parameter, the bench will consist of players with breakout potential. This leaves the team poised to move into Win-Now mode in the second or third year of the Startup or Rebuild mode if things do not go well. The 2–3-year time range means many RBs you take will be rookies. The other positions will skew younger, but don’t necessarily have to be under 30. You may find that your starters skew older, while your bench is younger.
When going for youth, target guys on rookie deals with a short path to a touch increase. When looking at veterans, look for guys in an established role, so it’s easier to project how the player will produce in a couple years. Using the PlayerProfiler Dynasty Rankings tool, under the Neutral Strategy, here are a few prime bench candidates outside the top-150:
- WR Donovan Peoples-Jones (No. 178) – 24 years-old, last year of rookie deal, expect a second contract
- RB Zach Evans (No. 234) – Rookie in backfield without workhorse, Cam Akers in last season of contract
If you have decided to embrace the struggle and build for the future through your Startup, you will have plenty of youth. These are the teams focused on gathering future rookie picks, with year one’s starters skewing young. Rookies will dominate the roster, and that strategy will primarily be the same late in the draft.
In a rebuild, you care less about your week-to-week starting lineup in year one. While a Neutral build calls for production over 2-3 years, a Rebuild bench calls for production in 2-3 years. As the board unfolds, you are going for the young guys that can provide long term production. If you don’t like the board in terms of available talent and value, trading back for future picks is a great option for a Rebuild roster. Worst case, you fall into a veteran player at good value and trade him for young or future assets.
Upside is the name of the game here. Take rookies where possible and stick with guys that have more than a year left on rookie contracts, so you get multiple years of seeing how the player grows. Using the PlayerProfiler Dynasty Rankings tool, under the Rebuild Strategy, here are a few prime bench candidates outside the top-150:
- RB Israel Abanikanda (No. 176) – Athletic rookie buried on Jets depth chart now, opportunity to let talent win out in a couple years
- WR Tyler Scott (No. 206) – Rookie slated for Darnell Mooney‘s role should Mooney leave Chicago after this season
I won’t leave you without a few build-agnostic dynasty stashes. These are guys you can keep at the end of your bench or on your Taxi Squad before they bob back up to hit for you.
- WRs Charlie Jones & Andrei Iosivas – Jones is next man up in the scenario Tyler Boyd leaves in free agency. Tee Higgins is less likely to leave, but Iosivas is next up in that case. Both rookies can be stashed to boom down the road in the Bengals offense.
True or False:
— PlayerProfiler (@rotounderworld) June 13, 2023
- RB Pierre Strong – behind Rhamondre Stevenson for now, but Bill Belicheck historically has not had a workhorse back for long. Strong could split the backfield as early as next season while getting some looks this season.