Dynasty Spotlight: Lessons Learned in 2023
Looking Back Before Looking Ahead ...
The core aspects of dynasty always remain the same, but each NFL season presents us with different challenges.
Being able to adapt, grow, and refine your strategy is what makes the difference between a perennial contender and consistently falling short.
Let’s reflect on some of the most valuable lessons from 2023 that can help you become a better dynasty manager.
Never overlook value in your leagues.
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Be Prepared for QB Injuries
We saw seven starting QBs succumb to season-ending injuries this year:
- Joe Burrow
- Anthony Richardson
- Deshaun Watson
- Aaron Rodgers
- Daniel Jones
- Justin Herbert
- Kirk Cousins
That’s not even including guys such as Justin Fields and Geno Smith, who missed multiple games.
Maybe you got bailed out this season by someone such as Josh Dobbs, Jake Browning, or Joe Flacco. But can you count on that every year?
Flacco was Cleveland's third attempt at finding a Watson stand-in and was on the free agent market until December.
Dobbs looked like a Vikings savior one minute, then disappeared from existence after a 4-INT loss to the Bears.
Browning was cool. But the last time Burrow went down, Brandon Allen and Ryan Finley combined for 6 TDs and 6 INTs over the final six games of 2020.
Buy Cheap QB Insurance in Offseason
Don't get stuck the next time your QB goes down.
Don't pray for the next Flacco or Browning. And don't leave yourself overpaying for a fill-in during the season -- or being forced to start a low-level RB in your superflex spot.
Go after mid-tier starting QB options like Baker Mayfield or Derek Carr during the offseason. These are low-cost moves that require no more than a rookie second-round pick per our trade value charts.
You can also check out our early 2024 dynasty superflex rookie rankings to see the top QBs about to hit the league.
Take Calculated Shots at Ambiguous Backfields
With so many teams opting to use a committee backfield, it can be difficult to identify which player(s) will be fantasy-relevant.
But that shouldn’t scare you off of making low-cost bets in unclear situations. Look at the Dolphins.
Veterans Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson Jr. were extremely discounted in DLF’s August ADP (RB58 and RB64, respectively), despite the only other addition being third-round rookie De’Von Achane.
Each vet had a good chance at a meaningful role, but their prices didn’t reflect that at all.
Learn from Kyren Williams
Cam Akers looked like the lead back heading into 2023, but he was far from a sure thing. He finished 2022 strong but also:
- nearly forced his way off the team early in the year
- had an Achilles’ tear behind him
- sported limited career production, including 0.9 receptions per game
That final point, in particular, should have generated more offseason interest in Williams. We even had some indications late in training camp that he at least had a shot at a significant receiving role.
Should you have expected a breakout top-10 season? Of course not. But there was basically no risk to buying Williams at his RB81 August price tag.
Look for Opportunities This Offseason
Right now is a tough time in the dynasty calendar to buy such players, because free agency and the NFL Draft will dramatically alter plenty of situations. But keep an eye on these backfields for potential opportunity:
- Philadelphia Eagles
- Los Angeles Chargers
- Baltimore Ravens
- Houston Texans
- Chicago Bears
None has a clear 2024 leader under contract right now. Watch for the market to overreact to certain additions, though, and don’t be afraid to take a shot on overlooked players.
We wouldn’t target Chicago’s Roschon Johnson too strongly right now, for example. But he’d be an interesting addition for a late-round rookie pick or as a throw-in for a larger deal.
Find more player values in our trade value charts. And use the Trade Navigator to explore RB situations throughout your dynasty league.
We've got the tools to help you optimize your dynasty trades
Buy Aging Veterans Who Are Undervalued
As our dynasty strategy says, you can commonly find value in trading for veteran players. The offseason is a great time to do that, because many of your league mates will be focused on getting their rosters younger.
You might just land someone like Keenan Allen.
Allen entered 2023 as WR32 in DLF’s dynasty ADP. His trade value was equivalent to a mid-second-round rookie pick, per KeepTradeCut.
If you made that move, you got a WR who averaged the third-most PPR points per game before missing the final three weeks of the fantasy season. Allen clearly paid off.
There’s a large window between now and when training camp starts when dynasty managers aren’t thinking about setting lineups and will spend more time harping on how old a guy is rather than what he contributes.
Always think ahead. Take on bargain veterans off-peak.
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