Knowing When to Rebuild

You’ve planted your seeds and watched them grow

Roots have grown deep and you reaped what you sow.

The journey draws near it’ll soon be the end

Father Time has arrived with hands that are hard to extend.

It’s part of the ride so please do not fret

Even though at times it may feel like your playing roulette.

Knowing where to turn when you hit the fork in the road

Will make your rebuild a much lighter load.


Rebuilds come in many shapes and forms. Sometimes it’s as clear as a bright summer day. Benchmarks of your team, getting older with production dipping or your league’s keeper rules forcing a rebuild. Other times it comes unexpectedly like a blistering wind in the winter night. Career changing injuries, sudden retirements or substantial drops in production to players in their prime or up and coming prospects.

Before we get any further I would like to reinforce the point that there is a clear distinction between a tear-it-down rebuild and a retooling. Every year you will be retooling your team. Dropping a few players who have not reached their potential or the cost to keep them is too high for your liking. By definition that’s retooling and is a way of life on the dynasty front.

When your roster heading into the offseason is at Defcon level 1 however, rebuilds can be a daunting task taking many twists and turns even for seasoned dynasty players. There are five stages that are paramount to your rebuild. Being able to successfully navigate these stages will make for a more pleasant ride as you traverse down the road.


Knowing it’s time for a rebuild. In the grieving process, acceptance is the final stage. We don’t have the luxury of mourning when it comes to a fantasy rebuild. The quicker one accepts that a rebuild is needed, the quicker you can make the necessary moves to ensure a successful rebuild. Keep in mind that depending on your league size, other teams may also be in a state of rebuild or soon to be. You’re up against the clock and potential trades may be lost if you take too long to realize it.


What are your assets and who to keep, cut, trade? Congratulations! You’ve made it past the first and probably most crucial step. Now we need to take an honest assessment of our players and decide who to keep, who to cut, and who can be placed on the trading block. Part of this assessment is knowing what value your players have in the trade market. Have a RB that cracked the 30-year-old mark? Have a WR coming off a major lower leg injury or has a history of getting injured? What value do they have and who would be willing to take a gamble on a player in that situation? Part of your assets, along with your players, are your draft picks. How many do you have? What picks and rounds are they? 


Seeing the whole board, your team as well as your opponents. It’s one thing to know where you and your team are in a rebuild. It’s another to know and understand where your fellow league members are heading in their offseason whether it’s in a state of rebuilding or retooling. Take some time to look at their roster and understand what players and draft capital they may have.

Do they have aging players that they will need to replace soon or high potential players that may be looking to crack their starting lineup next year? Are they one player away from being a contender next year? Part of your rebuilding process is understanding the landscape of where you are and the rest of your league is on their timeline. Having a clear picture of your opponents needs and assets will prove vital as you gather more information as the offseason progresses. 


Knowing future prospects to put yourself in the best position to win. You’ve done your homework on figuring out your assets and needs, as well as your opponents’ assets and needs. Now take that information and see if you can use it to your advantage, or if it will take some extra maneuvering to put yourself in a position to succeed.

The rookie draft is the lifeblood of a dynasty league, a successful draft can put you in position to be a force for years. An unsuccessful one places you behind the 8-ball and you’re back to square one of your rebuild. Who are the top prospects in your draft? Do they fit a need that you have in your rebuild plan? If the top prospects do not fit your needs or you don’t think they will fall to you in your draft do you reach for a player? Do you try and execute a trade and try to accumulate more draft capital like a squirrel collecting nuts for a harsh winter?


Your league’s rookie draft is the lifeblood of your team. Nailing your rookie draft is paramount to complete your rebuild and set your team on the right track. At this point, a clear understanding of your assets and opponents’ assets and needs to be reached. Along with this year’s rookie class and identifying players who really have a chance to be drafted and develop into starters for your roster. With all this information obtained, find suitable trade partners to add additional draft picks (if the rookie class is deep and there are potential sleepers in later rounds) or push your picks to the middle of the table and try to snag a once in a generation player.

Understanding what the other teams needs and their position in the upcoming year can make this process a lot smoother when you can appeal to their needs also. As mentioned in the “Clarity” section, is a team one player away from being a contender? Trade them the one player they need for draft picks, chances are rookies will not make an impact on their roster as much as an established veteran would. 

Congratulations! You’ve successfully navigated your first rebuild. Although the “five stages of a rebuild” were meant to be a play on the term “seven stages of grief” there is a validity to each of these stages. You can incorporate them in your own rebuild if you do not use them already. Because of the many nuances in each dynasty league when it comes to keeper rules, some of these stages may be more important than others and some may be insignificant. In general, having a clear and honest assessment of your team and seeing the whole board of where your opponents are in terms of their teams’ timelines will play a big role in navigating a rebuild. 

But this is why you’re playing in a dynasty league and not a redraft. This is why you’ve grown up playing Madden football in franchise mode and choosing the worst team. The challenge of completing a rebuild and basking in the glory of going from the bottom to the tip-top. Ascending the ladder takes time, energy, commitment, and let’s face it, a bit of luck. But when your plants have borne fruit and you can reap what you’ve sown, there’s no better feeling in fantasy football.

You can find all my other content in my archive and make sure to follow me on Twitter @MichaelOshita90

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