Fantasy Files: The Layers of Dynasty Fantasy Football, 2014 Edition

About one year ago, I posted about the layers of a dynasty fantasy football team, using my Zealots 34 squad as an example.

It’s impossible to have a single layer of talent on your team. You have players on your dynasty team in different stages of their career, whether it’s a Peyton who may have between one and three years left but could taper off at any moment (I could have mentioned any RB with a pulse there), or a hyped rookie like Sammy Watkins who could be fantasy-relevant for a decade, which is your dream scenario. In short, you need to know the status of every player in your league to know where you should add talent. The default is “a lot of running backs and wide receivers”.

To summarize, here are the layers:

Layer One: Your Starters

Even though it’s late May, you can set your MFL lineup for Week 1 at any time. It’s a fun experiment and lets you know where you feel confident and where you’re going to need some help. Leagues with free agency throughout the summer can help you with those more obvious holes.

Layer Two: Backups

We all hate bye weeks with a passion, probably as much as real NFL players love them. Who’s coming in during those weeks, in your best case scenario, and when you have injuries/poor performance, which is the worst (aka most realistic)?

Layer Three: Future Guys

This depends on your league. I’m in a league with 53-man regular-season rosters that expand to 60 during the offseason. Some leagues offer taxi squads and that’s where you stash your upside guys.

Layer Four: Spackle

You fill some holes as cheaply, and in dynasty, as old-ly as possible. There are certain vets like Jerricho Cotchery who are as fun to be stockholders of in fantasy as it is to drink a Natural Lite. Sometimes you have no other choice, and occasionally you get that 10-TD season out of the blue. On the IDP side, you can get players like this practically for free.

Here’s my 2014 Z34 roster, fresh off a rookie draft, and each player’s designation:

Cam Newton (starter)
Johnny Manziel (future, backup by end of year)
Matt Schaub (backup, borderline spackle)
Jake Locker (backup)
David Fales (futures)

Starters: DeMarco Murray, Zac Stacy, Joique Bell
Backups: Ray Rice, Kendall Hunter, C.J. Anderson, Lance Dunbar
Future: Chris Thompson, James Wilder Jr.
Spackle: Michael Ford, Michael Bush, Bilal Powell, Jacquizz Rodgers

WR (think 15 guys is enough?)
Starters: Victor Cruz, Kendall Wright, Michael Crabtree
Backups: Denarius Moore, Stedman Bailey, Justin Hunter
Future: Mike Evans, Chris Boyd, Charles Johnson, Paul Richardson, Jeff Janis
Spackle: Vincent Brown, Sidney Rice, Mike Brown, Kenbrell Thompkins

Starter: Julius Thomas
Backups: Heath Miller, Taylor Thompson
Future: Austin Seferian-Jenkins

Roster: Greg Zeurlein, Ryan Succop

Starters: Charles Johnson, Mario Williams
Backups: Justin Tuck
Future: Quanterus Smith

LB (11 guys shows that I had issues at this position in 2013)
Starters: Kiko Alonso, Justin Houston, Paul Worrilow
Backups: Donald Butler, Donald Harris, Zach Brown, Colin McCarthy, Nick Roach
Future: Lamin Barrow, Jelani Jenkins, C.J. Mosley

Starters: Mark Barron, Michael Mitchell, Duron Harmon
Future: Brock Vereen

I’m not thrilled with my potential starters at DB, but this is the most volatile position in fantasy so I am fine with guys popping up off waivers as the year progresses. Cam and his amazing almost entirely new WR corps isn’t giving me warm fuzzies. Improvement in WR and LB this year should get my team back in “the hunt”, finishing more like 8-5 than 5-8.

2 Responses to Fantasy Files: The Layers of Dynasty Fantasy Football, 2014 Edition

  1. BigCDub May 28, 2014 at 6:04 am #

    Nice post. I’m trying to soak up as much dynasty strategy as possible heading into my league’s (and my own) inaugural dynasty draft. We are a two conference, 15 team (each conference), PPR, IDP league with 21 starters and 6 points per TD pass. Each conference has separate drafts, and the two conference champs play for the championiship. Defensive scoring is balanced across the board so top IDPs are scoring on par with top RBs and WRs (for instance, Barry Church would have had more points last year than every RB save for the top 3). QBs score much higher than everyone else, so that has me thinking they will be taken first (and at a minimum a very early QB run), but it’s really hard to tell what general approach will be taken. I know I will have to react to what is going on in the draft with each pick, with the view to drafting as many studs at each position as possible, but what would you say is the best set of opening moves when all bets are still open? Lets say I have pick 1.01 – do I draft Luck here, as an obvious QB1 for up to 15 years, or do I stay traditional and pick of AJG? Ideally I’m picking in the middle, so I don’t get snake bitten every other pick, but I have no control over that. Any thoughts/suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    • Zach Law June 2, 2014 at 9:50 am #

      It’s a fascinating league concept. Did you say if it was a start 2 QB league? I’d rather grab a guy like Cam later than take Luck so early. There’s not a lot of data on “scoring equal” leagues like yours. I believe Steve Gallo runs some leagues like that (stevegallonfl on Twitter).

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