Step 3 – Executing the plan with pre rookie draft trades, all within a week
Trade #2 – 4/29/2019
Sent: Le’Veon Bell, Tom Brady, Kenny Stills
Received: Aaron Jones, Robby Anderson, Tre’Quan Smith, 2020 1st, 2020 2nd
My second trade in this dynasty orphan rebuild included what I would call my second-largest asset: Le’Veon Bell. Personally, I wasn’t very high on him after missing a whole season and joining a new team, so I was looking to get younger and add some picks if I could. After getting Stafford, Brady became expendable, so I was willing to move them in a package to get Aaron Jones and some youth. At the time, I look at this as a sort of lateral move, but one I still thought helped my team overall.
Here’s my roster after these first two trades:
Trade #3 – 4/30/2019
Sent: Julio Jones, Ito Smith
Received: Marlon Mack, Tyler Eifert, 2019 1.10, 2020 1st
Next up, I felt like seeing what I could get for aging vet Julio Jones. I’m a fan, but I still felt like this team was far from contending and that I should focus on getting younger and planning for a long rebuild. Mack was a solid starter at the time, Eifert was risky, but as a rebuilding team, I didn’t mind taking risks, and getting two firsts helped me get more youth.
One thing I realized at this stage of the rebuild was that since I wasn’t planning on winning in 2019, I didn’t mind playing with fire and adding talent that might not even see the field much. My thinking was that a guy like Eifert might bust, but if he hits at all, I can flip him for more value or rookie picks and keep rebuilding. No risk, no reward, right?
Trade #4 – 5/2/2019
Sent: Doug Baldwin, Marvin Jones, 2020 2nd
Received: Vance McDonald, 2019 2.07, 2019 2.09
If you’ll recall, this was around the time that Doug Baldwin was hinting at retiring but hadn’t made it official yet. He was one of the assets on my team that I assumed would just end up being dropped, but I was lucky enough to find a trade partner instead. Marvin Jones definitely had some value, and the future second was nice, but getting back two second-round picks in the upcoming rookie draft along with a young TE seemed like a great return at the time.
Trade #5 – 5/2/2019
Sent: 2019 1.04, 2019 3.03, 2019 4.03, 2020 1st, 2020 1st
Received: Christian McCaffrey
This was easily the largest trade I have ever pulled off. CMC was being touted as the three-down back for Carolina and primed to get a lot of yards in the upcoming 2019 season, but little did we know just what was in store for him in May of that year. I basically gave up three first-round picks to get him on my team, but for CMC, that felt like a steal.
This was the trade that got me thinking that if I could pull this off, maybe the rebuild I had in mind could get done even faster. Granted, I’d only owned this team for a week and a half, but I felt like it’s always a good idea to stay liquid and keep trying to trade up as much as you can, so why stop here?
Trade #6 – 5/3/2019
Sent: Robby Anderson, Emmanuel Sanders, Cameron Brate, 2019 1.10
Received: Marqise Lee, Evan Engram, 2019 1.06, 2019 3.05
I vividly remember making this trade while in the cab from the airport to my brother’s place in New York City. I sent the offer and it was accepted within a few minutes. At first, I felt that rush of closing a big deal, but then a wave of “oh no, what did I do” swept over me, mainly due to it being accepted so quickly.
I looked at a few calculators and felt like my initial reaction was probably correct. The only asset I lost was 1.10, but I gained both the 1.06 AND Evan Engram back. Granted, I had to move some youth, but it felt entirely worth it and I’m still happy about this one today.
Trade #7 – 5/4/2019
Sent: Aaron Jones, 2019 1.06
Received: Nyheim Hines, John Brown, Amari Cooper, Cameron Meredith
My last trade before the rookie draft was likely the worst one of the entire rebuild. I decided that I needed to get younger at WR, and since adding Mack, Jones became expendable. Looking back, I think I overpaid here, but at least I got a pass-catching RB in return with Hines along with up-and-down player Amari Cooper. I was excited to have him, but I was worried I’d taken a step back in my goals.
Heading into the rookie draft, here was my roster:
Step 4 – The rookie draft and how plans can change
I had a few picks in the 2019 rookie draft, including the 1.03 that I got when I adopted the team initially. My plan for this dynasty orphan rebuild the entire time was to try to trade back and acquire more assets as often as possible, but apparently, the others in the league had similar plans. It felt like no one was willing to trade up. So, with Kyler Murray going 1.01 and N’Keal Harry going 1.02, I was on the clock and staring at a few options.
The other QBs available were Dwayne Haskins and Daniel Jones, D.K. Metcalf, Parris Campbell, Deebo Samuel, and others were available at WR, but RB seemed to have the most value. I decided to select Josh Jacobs, thinking at the very least that would give me a solid RB to pair with CMC and Mack for bye weeks. I wasn’t thrilled about it, but as soon as I picked him, I got an offer to trade him away.
Trade #8 – 5/6/2019
Sent: Josh Jacobs, 2019 3.05
Received: Calvin Ridley, Carlos Hyde, Darrel Williams
Again, looking at my team as a whole, I didn’t quite feel like a contender just yet. I still had a lot of old guys and players without teams on my roster, so when I saw that I could get Calvin Ridley and two backup RBs for Jacobs and a late-round pick, I felt like I couldn’t pass it up.
Looking back, this one kind of hurts, but that’s only because Hyde didn’t do much with his playing time and Williams barely saw the field at all, but there were more trades to come that would again add some value to the team.
Trade #9 – 5/6/2019
Sent: 2019 2.07
Received: 2019 2.12, 2019 3.03
Trade #10 – 5/6/2019
Sent: 2019 3.03
Received: 2019 3.06, 2019 3.11
Trade #11 – 5/7/2019
Sent: 2019 2.09, 2019 3.11
Received: 2019 2.08, 2019 3.12
All three of these were simply to move back or up in the draft to get the guys I felt like would gain value the most. The first two were pure move backs because I didn’t like who was on the board. The third was to trade up a pick to take Andy Isabella with my second overall pick in the draft. I saw Isabella as a potential starter right away on that new Arizona Cardinals offense and loved getting him that late at the time.
At the end of the draft, here were my results:
1.03 Josh Jacobs (traded)
2.08 Andy Isabella
2.12 Devin Singletary
3.06 Diontae Johnson
3.12 Kelvin Harmon
Which made my roster look like this:
Keep in mind, I adopted this team about two weeks before the rookie draft and made a total of 11 trades in that timeframe. I was definitely moving and shaking and felt like my team was stronger than when I got it with a bright future, so win-win. Now we get into the “slow season” for dynasty leagues where trades tend to become fewer and farther apart.
That’s the end of phase 1 of this dynasty orphan rebuild, but stay tuned for phase 2 where I start to re-evaluate my plans based on the trades I’ve made and see if there is a brighter future on the horizon than I initially predicted.
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