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Dispersal To Throne Part II: How I Won A 24 Team Dynasty League With An Orphan

This is part two of a discussion of the strategy used by 14TeamMocker to win Rich Hribar’s 24-team dynasty league with an oprhan last season. Part one can be found here.

In the first installment, I identified the four key components I used to turn my orphan into a champion:

  1. The dispersal
  2. The rookie draft
  3. Trades
  4. The waiver wire

After discussing the dispersal and rookie draft in part one, this article details trades and the waiver wire.


Of course, the three 2017 firsts (two acquired during the rookie draft and my own that I was still holding) were not staying around for long. My team was now set up to be a major competitor year one, and I wasn’t going to hold assets that valuable which weren’t going to contribute production.

Win now; tomorrow isn’t promised. The only thing certain is death.1

May 26thZach Zenner2017 3rd
May 26thTevin Coleman, 2017 1st, + 2018 2ndRyan Mathews and DeSean Jackson
September 1stJulian Edelman, Chris Hogan, Sammie Coates, + two 2017 1stsAlshon Jeffery
November 16thCameron BrateCarson Palmer

It may seem like I advocate or participate in hyperactive trading, but from the conclusion of the rookie draft through the end of the season, I only made these four trades. None have been omitted, in case the inclusion of Zach Zenner for a third round pick didn’t make that obvious.

Acquiring Ryan Mathews and DeSean Jackson was about buttressing my team with high-end production depth, and the trade was made full well knowing I was getting pretty badly burned. This was the culmination of avoiding lineup or roster construction and focusing on value, ending in having to sacrifice a bit of that accumulated market value for players I thought were being undervalued relative to how much production they were likely to offer. While neither were consistently helpful, both made several appearances in my lineup throughout the season, including Jackson’s WR10 performance in the Week 14 quarterfinals, and WR21 performance in the Week 16 championship.

Health is not the most predictable thing, even in the case of these two walking medical journals. Opportunity, however, can be foreseen, and both Mathews and Jackson had seemingly firm grips on a boatload of it.

Was this trade vital to winning? Maybe yes, probably not. Was giving up Tevin Coleman, a 2017 first, and a 2018 second worth the amount I increased my chances of winning the league by? Maybe…but also probably not. Did this trade strengthen my team, weaken one of 11 opponents, and keep both these players out of the hands of ten other teams? Hell yes it did.

My team could have entered the season as it was after that point, with only waiver moves made.

Trading Julian EdelmanChris Hogan, Sammie Coates, and two 2017 firsts for Alshon Jeffery seemed fairly lateral from a 2016 production standpoint, with the focus on getting Jeffery’s future instead of Edelman’s. Lateral may be generous, as Edelman finished as WR20 and Jeffery as WR51, but the points-per-game were nearly identical at 13.2 and 13.1 through Week 16. Edelman played in four more games, had four games (26.7 percent) under ten fantasy points, and one (6.7 percent) with 20+, while Jeffery had three games (27.3 percent) below ten points, and also one (9.1 percent) with over 20.

Cameron Brate was the overall TE10 through Week 10 (that trade was made prior to Week 11), and was the TE5 from Week 11 through Week 16. Backing up Matthew Stafford after Tony Romo, Brian HoyerCase Keenum, and Ryan Fitzpatrick all busted looks to have been costly, with Brate being worth significantly more than Carson Palmer at this point. With the trade window closing, however, I wasn’t leaving my QB position up to FAAB if something happened to Stafford.


Already given a glimpse with mentions of Hogan and Brate, here is the nuts and bolts:

June 2ndChris Hogan2.9%
June 2ndDarren Sproles1.6%
June 2ndBrian Quick0.7%
Sep 2ndTyrell Williams1.8%
Sep 2ndTyler Gaffney0.2%
Sep 14thLance Dunbar 0.1%
Sep 14thJack DoyleNone
Sep 14thKenjon BarnerNone
Sep 14thMike GillisleeNone
Sep 23rdCameron BrateNone
Sep 28thTim HightowerNone
Oct 5thLance KendricksNone
Oct 8thCase KeenumNone
Oct 12thBrian Hoyer0.2%
Oct 12thRyan Fitzpatrick0.2%
Oct 19thRobby AndersonNone
Oct 26thDamien WilliamsNone
Nov 2ndTim Hightower29.7%
Nov 2ndJosh McCown1.1%
Nov 5thTravaris CadetNone
Nov 10thJosh HillNone

June 2nd was the first time waivers ran, and I had been eyeing Hogan since I first joined the league. Waivers ran again July and August 1st, though very little happens in that window before the preseason begins.

Darren Sproles was a nice complement and insurance to the oft-injured Mathews, as I thought the Wendell Smallwood coronation was intensely premature, and even went on to acquire Kenjon Barner in that same line of thinking.

(I’ve been obsessed with Brian Quick for years, we don’t need to talk about it.)

When I acquired Tyrell Williams on September 2nd, Stevie Johnson had been ruled out for the season, and after Williams had a huge preseason, I shifted my bet on San Diego’s perceived WR3Keenan Allen getting injured Week 1 wasn’t my reasoning, but it certainly accelerated what was beyond even my envisioned best-case scenario.

Brate, Jack Doyle, Lance KendricksJosh Hill, and even Vernon Davis were all part of trying to shore up a TE stable that was led by Dwayne Allen and Kyle Rudolph the entire season. This was a disastrous year for top-tier fantasy TEs, and fortunately Rudolph was reliable in an otherwise difficult-to-trust group.

The plethora of QB moves, coupled with the TEs, were desperate patches on what were either glaring holes, or at the very least, worryingly fragile situations. In a league with smaller rosters (this is a 24-man roster league, which is toward the smaller side for Dynasty), starting-caliber QBs and TEs are easier to find, but I still consider the success of Stafford and Rudolph lucky, even if the busts of Romo and Allen seem rather unlucky.


After detailing my strategy piece by piece, move by move, ultimately my championship was as much skill and foresight as it was hitting really optimistic outcomes for several players and just some pure luck in drafting, matchups, FAAB bids, and a host of other things that I needed to break my way.

Jordan Howard (rookie draft pick 2.02) and Williams were wildly successful and profitable acquisitions at their price points and hugely critical parts of winning. They were also only two out of 52 dispersal picks, rookie picks, trades, or waiver moves, and would have been wildly difficult to peg when they occurred as league-winning decisions, compared to the other 50.

The end result is all the same, though — I sit atop the throne now.

Are you taking over an orphan this year? There’s no reason you can’t sit atop that throne in ten months.

Just embrace the words of the House of my father, and his father before him: We Do Not Punt.

Or, embrace the words of Bill Parcells, describing the NFL playoffs: “Just get to the dance and see what happens.”

  1. Unless Elon Musk gets his way, and then we won’t even have that expression, but I digress.  (back)

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