• Chris Miles

How To Tank Properly

The Draft Director / @ChrisMiles1017


Hello dynasty fantasy footballers, today I will be here to talk about my favorite strategy to use in a startup draft. I will be referencing the results of the most recent startup in my #LoDTG league. Let’s just dive right in. First of all, I want to lay out what I consider to be the main strategies in a dynasty startup, these are as follows; The Tank, The Win Now, The 3-4 year Window. Now all of these strategies are very big picture and can be combined with smaller strategies to form an even clearer goal like; trading up for studs, trading down for depth, RB early, WR early, and so on. To form my favorite strategy we will start with an overall tanking strategy and then combine this with a mix of trading down and early WR.

The Theory

Now let’s get into how to think when performing my tank strategy. The goal is to have a dominant roster by the 3rd season of the league. When doing this you need to think about how each position changes over time, both in NFL skill and in fantasy value. Let’s start with QB, QB’s have the longest careers, the longest development time, and are second best at retaining value through a bad start to a career. So QB is a position you’re going to want to get invested in early as on average it takes the most time to have a player develop into a consistent stud. Next RB’s, running backs tend to have the shortest NFL careers but they also have the quickest stud impact for your fantasy roster. Just look at this recent 2020 class, Jonathan Taylor, D’Andre Swift, JK Dobbins, Cam Akers, CEH, James Robinson and Antonio Gibson were all top 24 RB’s in terms of ppg and now they are top 4 round startup picks. You’ll want to get RBs absolutely last with strategy. Now WR’s, this group typically takes 2-3 years to develop that stud impact and they also have much longer careers than RBs. Plus WR’s are good at holding fantasy value through a rough start whereas if an RB has a bad rookie year his value plummets. We are playing the long game so we want to have as much retained value as possible in our first couple of seasons. Lastly TE’s, this position takes a long time to develop as well and will also have a long career, similar to WR’s. The important thing about TE though is finding a stud to give you that positional advantage.

The Draft

This is where you make your money with this strategy, you almost don't even care if you fill your roster. Your main focus in the actual startup is as follows; stack young WRs, get young QBs, get young high upside TE’s late, completely avoid the RB position, trade back a lot, and most importantly collect as many rookie picks as possible. Every transaction I made during the startup can be found at the end of the article. However, during the draft I kept track of every pick I would’ve made without any trades so below I will show what my team would’ve looked like vs what it looks like right now and what assets I own.

So yeah my current roster is pretty underwhelming but let's take a real look at the no-trade roster. Dak, Sutton, Deebo, and Ertz all missed serious time and Marquise and Fournette saw a massive drop in value over the course of the season. So I would have drafted this roster to contend and I would’ve ended up sucking and earning picks 1.03 or 1.04. Now let's look at the team on the right, it may be empty but it has solid pieces in Hurts and Swift and guys that still have potential like Hollywood, Thomas, and Harry. Here’s the best part, with the roster on the left I’d have 2021 1.04, 2.04, 3.04, and so on.

With the team on the right though here are the rookie picks I currently own:

As you can see I have quite a lot of capital to work with and can start to build my dynasty in the upcoming draft. My projected roster post draft will look something like; Trevor Lawrence, Justin Fields, Swift, Javonte Williams, Chuba Hubbard, Rondale Moore, Tylan Wallace, Jalen Waddle, Kyle Pitts, Marquise Brown, Chubba Hubbard. And that’s with seven more 2nds left in 2021, all of my picks in 2022 and 2023 to continue to grow and build my roster. I don’t know about you but I’d much rather have that roster I just listed with six extra firsts, and twelve extra seconds over the next 3 years. Remember I’m not even trying to compete until the 2022 season and I already have a roster full of usable starters.

Closing Remarks

Startup drafts are just dangerous and values can change so quickly for those vets and guys close to ending their rookie deals. Filling a team with young talent is much safer and risk-averse, allowing you to maintain and increase value over the long haul. I plugged the no-trade roster plus its picks into the Dynasty Trade Calculator and then plugged in just the 2021 and 2022 picks with swift and Hurts into the calculator as well. The result favored my current setup in a landslide 384.8 compared to 232.0. If you are currently in any dynasty leagues that have been going on for a few years go back and look at the startup draft. You’ll see how many high end picks just ended up becoming useless in two or even just one year. Trade out of the startup draft and acquire rookie picks. That’s how you build a dynasty.

Here are the trades I made during the startup. Keep in mind that the 2020 picks are startup picks and not rookie picks.