You play to win the game. That’s the truth in sports and it sure as heck is the case in Fantasy Football, but some times it’s the long game you have to win. I don’t take losing lightly and that’s why a team that finised 11 out of 12 the first year of Dynasty League has traded a first round pick the next two years to build a winner. Those ended up in seventh place finishes, first team out two teams in a row.

The first year it was Devonta Freeman and the next it was a big trade for AJ Green and Tevin Coleman, neither trade has worked out. Add in the second overall pick I had for finishing 11th being Kareem Hunt and it starts to get real rough. So 2019 is my year with a solid roster right?

Preseason I was ranked as a top three team in the league and then had a great draft, five off the top 27 rookies, but you’ve got to have luck on your side. The injury bug luck wasn’t on my side. AJ Green, Tyreek Hill, Tevin Coleman, Davind Njoku all hurt, Devonta Freeman and Joe Mixon all underperforming while haning on to Kareem Hunt and Chris Herndon who are suspended.

A 1-2 start isn’t the end of the world with a lot of the league muddled in the middle but with those injuries it’s not likely to get better, especially for a team that has fallen short two straight years. Try and swing another big trade to get in to it? For me it’s on to the art of sucking.

There’s advantage to acting early and so I jumped on it while teams are trying to sort it out and get back in the hunt. Two years ago I traded Theo Riddick and 1st rounder for Freeman and  a 4th. This year I traded him and Frank Gore with a 4th for Curtis Samuel, DaeSean Hamilton and a 1st. I got the same trade I made two years ago with Freeman struggling, but even better I talked Samuel in to the deal.

The key to winning is taking advantage of smaller deals. The first year I trade LeGarrette Blount for Jimmy Graham. The next year it was Marshawn Lynch and Graham for Kenyan Drake and Golden Tate. Then it was Tate and Adrian Peterson for a 2019 2nd round pick and a 3rd and 4th rounder in 2020 and those picks and Drake were key in the Green and Coleman trade.

Coleman was the next man on the move. With more than a fourth of the league looking to sell and try next year it has been a much tougher go than I thought trying to sell. I got a first round pick in my trade for Freeman but no one off is willing to cough them up after continously trying to negotiate. Instead I traded Coleman and a 7th round pick for Darrell Henderson and a 6th round pick. Admittedly, I wasn’t as high on him, and the Rams backfield hasn’t given you a ton of hope early, but he was a first round Dynasty pick.

The trade for Henderson was maybe less of a win for me but RBs are always valuable and being a first round rookie pick I thought worth the risk as I trade for the future. It also helps as I try to pile on the losses to get an impact 1st round pick for myself in the 2020 draft. 

Green was the other big acquisition last year and has been a big disppointment, there’s a theme here for my big swings. He still has value but with his age and injury history, though in a contract year, it has been tough swinging trying to find a trade partner for him. A deal came together, no 1st rounders is the theme, but I got a 2nd and 3rd for this year and a 2nd for next year for a 6th and 7th this year and 8th next year. (Our Dynasty Draft is seven rounds but moves to eight next season)

On top of that Malcolm Brown was the player that came back which made it a big win. He has been productive and gives me him and Henderson with the head scratcher with what’s going on in the Rams’ backfield. I can hang on to Brown while I figure it out but it may also give me a solid back I can flip later for another small trade if it makes sense.

This offseason I traded a 2019 3rd and a 2020 3rd for Emmanuel Sanders and Delanie Walker to shore up my roster. I thought it was a steal after plenty of teams passed on it because the team was trying to move them before he had to make a difficult cut. It was a little risky and there probably wasn’t a huge chance to boost their value but I was in the competiting mindest and they have been solid.

Both have been solid but with me hitting the rebuild button they have posed a bit of challenge to trade with their age. Luckily, with moves happening, I was able to grease the skids on the teams buying and a team sitting near the top of the league was looking for some depth to shore up their roster. I got the same trade I made, a 3rd this year and 3rd next year. No boost in value but with their age, and now rebuilding, I’m happy to not lose any value and get more draft capital.

My team is rebuilding but I’m always looking for ways to improve my team. I had Kalen Ballge as a young back I was waiting on but the Dolphins are a mess. The team that has Sony Michel was down on him so a deal came together pretty fast for a swap. The 1st round pick, which belongs to a team likely to finish in the top four, with Ballage for Michel and a 4th was the swap. I gave up a 1st, and the big swings haven’t worked, but with him in his second year I thought it made the most sense to grab him to retool for next year. 

I have taken some heat from teams in the league for selling but giving up the first, but when it’s going to be pick nine through 12 in the first Michel seemed like the obvious move. Perhaps my bad luck with big buys will come back to bite me again but it felt like a no brainer after Ballage got benched last week, albeit it for the dumpster fire Dolphins. 

These last few weeks I’ve traded Freeman, Gore, Ballage, Coleman, Green, Sanders and Walker for Samuel, Hamilton, Michel, Brown and a 2nd, two 3rds, 6th in 2019 and 2nd and 3rd in 2021. (Also, traded two 7ths, two 6ths in 2020 and a 8th and 7th in 2021) It was all possible by acting early and possibly killing the entire selling market two seasons in a row.

I have a 1st, two 2nds, two 3rds, 4th and 5th for my seven picks for the 2020 draft to go along with Tyreek Hill, Kenny Golladay, DeAndre Hopkins, Joe Mixon, Michel, Njoku, Carson Wentz, Lamar Jackson all five of my top 27 rookies and Hunt. Plenty to feel positive about and plenty of draft capital to target top rookies or make a move for a player that makes sense.

Of course I want to win every season but you have to be honest about your team. Every year I identify players to move and that was Green, Walker and Sanders. I was able to move them and because I went early a lot of the buyers have made their moves and possibly froze out anyone else trying to sell. I may not get the wins this season but I definitely have won the trade market and could set me up for a big season in 2020.