The New Reality No.146:Dynasty Roster Churn, Week 1 Preparation

Navigating the ever-changing landscape of dynasty fantasy football

The 2020 NFL season is here! With comes the weekly return of The New Reality, a dynasty feature outlining macro and micro team strategies, player evaluation, and roster optimization.

First, let's set the table with the concept of dynasty roster churn, the uniqueness of 2020, plus all the moving pieces in advance of Week 1:

Dynasty Roster Churn

One of my offseason research projects in 2020 centered around roster churn. Would you believe that barely half of the average dynasty roster will be left even 12 months in the future for a given team? That was the across the board result from my study with minimal oscillation between skill positions in the data. Go out another 12 months and only 30-35% of a dynasty roster will remain the same two years into the future.

What accounts for this churn? The combination of the waiver wire and dynasty trading. The waiver wire lops off the back-end fat at any given time of year. Trading can be anything from lower-level flip players to massive deals involving core-level assets. Roster spots need to be created for the in-flux of annual rookie selections as well.

What's the takeaway strategy? Knowing half of your roster will be different in a given 12 months, give or take a player or two, does two things. First, have an exit plan or spectrum of outcomes for most or all of the back-half of your roster. Second, looking for more sell high and buy low moments for the trading of higher players on your roster over even 1-2 year windows. A bonus takeaway is being a little more agnostic towards age as few of your players will even be on your roster in say three years (maybe 20-25%).

The running back position is the perfect centerpiece for embracing the inevitable back-end-of-the-roster churn. They offer the quick-flip potential to clear the spot if their opportunity expands. Running backs also stand to benefit the most from an injury in front of them on the depth chart with notable additions of backup quarterbacks in premium formats and backup tight ends in 2TE formats. This cascades into the next section...

Unique 2020

The range of rules and rule adjustments for COVID-19 in 2020 are all over the map in dynasty leagues. Some leagues are keeping their roster expansion from the offseason. Others are widely expanding their IR rules and size. Others still are adapting their schedules and/or adding more roster spots to account for potential 2020 season roster hazards.

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