In the world of dynasty fantasy football, there is a great variety in the types of leagues. There are some with shallow rosters and some with very deep rosters. There are some which roster developmental (devy) players who are still in college. Some dynasty leagues have contracts. Some utilize IDP (Individual Defensive Players) while most are offense-only. The one thing all types of dynasty leagues have in common is the need for roster management. While this seems simple at first, the top dynasty owners know how to maximize the roster for a balance of upside and needed bench players. It takes a proactive approach. A plan is needed. Below, we identify five ways to maximize your roster in dynasty leagues.
- Never roster a player you would not want to insert into your fantasy lineup under any circumstance. This goes for all positions. Why roster Alex Smith in a start one quarterback league? You do not want to start him unless you desire the 1.01 in next year's rookie draft. The same goes for players like Brian Quick, Robert Woods, Eddie Royal, Brandon Pettigrew, and many, many more players we see rostered who should be on the waiver wire. If you think the player still has value, try to trade him … even for a future late round pick. Use that roster spot on a player who is startable if given the opportunity.
- Other than to cover a weak position in the starting lineup, your bench should not be impacted by the strengths and weaknesses of your starting lineup. Yes, we totally understand rostering a handcuff (e.g., rostering Mark Sanchez and selecting rookie quarterback Paxton Lynch). But, other than those specific situations, rostering Sanchez should be a consideration even if you do not own Lynch. Let's look at it another way. If you own Rob Gronkowski and Greg Olsen, you should resist the temptation to not roster more tight ends. If a player like Zach Miller is available on waivers, you should pick him up regardless of positional strength on your team. Please keep in mind that many of the top tight ends (e.g., Gary Barnidge, Julius Thomas, Delanie Walker, Martellus Bennett, and Jordan Cameron) were all picked up off waivers in many leagues. This rule goes for all positions.
- Consider the age of your bench players. Yes, we are ageist in this regard. It is acceptable to have an aging player like Steve Smith or Matt Forte in your starting lineup, but why use a bench spot on a player who will be out of the league shortly? The bench of your dynasty team is where you take chances on future stars. Why would you roster an aging bench player without upside instead of using that roster spot on a player who could be a star? If you have Smith on your bench, trade him for a prospect or future draft pick. He is not helping you on your bench.
- Roster for upside. Try to only roster bench players whose values are on the upswing, not holding steady or declining. We touched on the topic of age above, but there is little reason to roster a player whose value has no chance of increasing. Sadly, many dynasty owners waste two or three roster spots on these types of players. If you have a bench player who has a declining value but is still worth something, try to trade him for a prospect or future draft pick, even if accepting less than market value. Robert Griffin III is a prime example. Every Griffin owner hopes to never start him, his market value is decreasing, and the lack of receivers in Cleveland means there is little hope for a turnaround. So, why would you roster him? Would you not be better off trading Griffin for a future 4th round pick and using that roster spot on a player like Colin Kaepernick who could be a fantasy starter if he leaves San Francisco? There are plenty of examples like Harry Douglas, Josh Huff, and tight ends like Brent Celek, Ryan Griffin, or any Arizona tight end, all who are taking up space on fantasy rosters. Sadly, this is one area where many dynasty owners fail. They keep players on the roster who should be on the waiver wire and then do not think they have the roster space to make a move to pick up a quality player when available. The end effect is a middling roster without the flexibility to pick up young players with upside from the waiver wire.
- The positional distribution of your bench players should be in relation to the positions your league rules reward. By that, if your league is “tight end premium” then you should have upside tight ends on your bench. In a ten-team league that starts just one quarterback and does not reward the position with extra scoring, why would you ever want to roster more than the minimum at the position? There will be ample supply available on the waiver wire. This is why it is best to know your league's rules and scoring inside and out.
In summary, try to roster players with increasing values at the positions your league scoring rewards. You have a finite number of bench spots in which to take cheap risks on upside players. Each of these players has a small chance of “hitting” individually, but collectively offer you a great opportunity to improve your roster. In order to maximize your odds, you need to “churn” those spots often. We recommend having at least two spots at the bottom of the roster dedicated to taking risks on high upside, high turnover players. You should feel free to turn these spots over regularly. So, even though the odds are not strong that any one of these players becomes a star, systematic churning of the bottom of the roster increases the odds greatly. This is how dynasty owners hit on Tony Romo, Victor Cruz, Delanie Walker, Alfred Morris, Thomas Rawls, Marques Colston, C.J. Anderson, and many, many more.
Please feel free to email me (Tefertiller@Footballguys.com) with any questions or comments. Also, I am on Twitter (www.Twitter.com/JeffTefertiller), LinkedIN, and Google+ so feel free to connect where