Using Self Awareness to Assess Your Needs
The definition of “self-awareness” is “conscious knowledge of one’s character, feelings, motives, and desires.”
Every fantasy owner desires for their team to win the championship every year. We prepare intensely all off-season, we add coveted rookie saviors, and we waltz into Week 1 with the intent of destroying whichever one of our friends was so unlucky that they got matched up against us. We rarely even consider a dynasty rebuild prior to the beginning of the NFL Season.
Week 1 arrives, and after a slow first hour, scoring starts to pick up. You can finally justify checking your fantasy score to see how many points Ekeler’s wheel route got you. Next, our brains are overcome with dopamine, and we realize this is only one hour of a 17 week season.
Over the next 4 weeks, we examine our players, the waiver wire, and our overall roster with the confidence that we can still win a championship. Our record may be sitting at 1-3 or 0-4 with only 1 healthy running back, but we still don’t want to give up hope this early in the season. However, this is where the importance of self-awareness comes into play.
In dynasty, we must remember that at times we need to take a step back and look at all of the possible scenarios that could come into play over the next few weeks. Layout your best-case scenario, worst-case scenario, and most likely scenario and see how that affects your thoughts on the current season. Below I will list a few questions that come to my mind when I am trying to self-diagnose my roster’s ability to compete in the current season and beyond.
- Overall starting roster – When I am at my best, do I feel confident in my ability to pick up a win during any given week?
- Overall depth – After setting my lineup each week do I have other reliable starting options at each position?
- Injury concerns – If I were to lose a specific player to injury, could I recover? Typically the running back position is where the majority of teams lose their ability to compete. Am I replacing CMC with a guy who will have a consistent role like Chuba Hubbard or a game script-dependent back like Jeremy McNichols?
When we address our team’s current state, we need to make a decision swiftly. Are we competing this season? If so, what steps need to be taken to address any potential concerns that arose while self-diagnosing? The other option is to give up on the season and start looking at 2022. It’s never easy giving up in Week 4, but if we are aware of our situation, making the decision early on in the year can be beneficial in many ways.
Once I have decided to look towards next season, it’s time to review your roster from a different perspective than we did before. Now we are no longer factoring in anything that has to do with this season. Our only focus is where player value, role, and the situation will be next season. Switching to this mindset can make subtle differences in decision-making that can ultimately put you in a better situation to compete next year. Instead of rostering a guy like Chester Rogers, go grab a younger player off the waiver wire that you like the talent of.
Over the next two days, I will be sharing 18 players that I am actively targeting for my rebuild teams. The list is compiled of players that I believe in the talent of, injured players with value dip, and long-term fliers with inexpensive acquisition costs.
Now that we have used self-awareness to diagnose our roster, let’s jump into the players I would recommend going after for your rebuild.
18. Cam Akers
Cam Akers’ skill set showed a talented NFL running back throughout his rookie season in 2020. Heading into the 2021 season, Akers was being selected as a top 30 dynasty asset. During the preseason, Akers went down with a torn Achilles and will miss, at minimum, the entire 2021 NFL Season. Akers may never return to his old form post-injury, but at his current acquisition cost, adding him to your dynasty rebuild may be worth it.
If Akers can bounce back from this horrid injury, he will be put back into one of the NFL’s best offenses. While 2022 is no sure thing for Akers to be back on the field, when he does attempt to play again, he possesses the skill set of an every-down runner in the NFL.
Trade Ideas: Mike Davis or Tony Pollard straight up. Brandin Cooks or Henry Ruggs for Akers plus.
17. David Njoku
David Njoku has been in the NFL since 2017 when he was selected as a late first-round pick out of the University of Miami. Njoku’s best season was in 2018 when he finished the season with 56 receptions, 639 yards, and 4 touchdowns. Njoku has never reached the potential that his 1st round draft capital suggested he had back in 2017. Njoku may never end up in a situation where he brings any value to your fantasy team’s starting lineup, but Njoku is still a freak athlete and only 25 years old.
Heading into the 2022 NFL season, David Njoku will be an unrestricted free agent for the first time in his young career. While it’s not likely that Njoku lands a large contract next spring, his athleticism will garner him plenty of looks in today’s fast-paced NFL. Just getting out of Cleveland should help Njoku showcase his skillset more frequently. Being stuck on a run-heavy offense like the Browns has done Njoku no favors.
Trade Ideas: A.J. Green, C.J. Uzomah, Kalif Raymond
16. Michael Gallup
You can make a case that Michael Gallup made this list simply because the Las Vegas Raiders are well, The Las Vegas Raiders. When the Raiders selected Henry Ruggs as the first Wide Receiver off the board in the 2020 NFL Draft, it allowed for Ceedee Lamb to fall to the Cowboys at 17. Since being drafted by Dallas in 2018, Michael Gallup has looked exceptional on the field. In his best season as a pro (2019), Gallup played in 14 games and finished with over 1,100 yards. Gallup has shown time and time again that he possesses the skill set of an NFL wide receiver and I expect him to hang around the league for years.
Like previously mentioned David Njoku, Gallup is also an unrestricted free agent in the Spring of 2022. Most players with Gallup’s skill set will test free agency if the situation they are currently in isn’t ideal. I am expecting Gallup’s services to be sought after and a direct correlation with that will be his dynasty value increasing. Gallup is a great buy due to his current price tag, the potential increase in value, and overall skill-set.
Trade Ideas: Tyler Boyd, Odell Beckham Jr., Brandin Cooks straight up. Michael Thomas or Keenan Allen for Gallup plus.
15. Gabriel Davis
Gabriel Davis was a pleasant surprise throughout his rookie season in 2020. The Buffalo Bills 4th round pick saw 62 targets in 2020 and he was able to turn that into 35 receptions, 599 yards, and 7 touchdowns. With a solid wide receiver group that includes Stefon Diggs, Emmanuel Sanders, and Cole Beasley, there isn’t a huge role for Gabriel Davis. But when given the opportunity, Davis has come to play.
With Cole Beasley and Emmanuel Sanders already north of 30 years old, and Sanders on just a one-year deal, there is some hope that Davis can carve out a valuable role in a great offense as early as 2022. Between youth, on-field production, and being attached to one of the league’s best offenses, Davis profiles as the perfect buy candidate for you dynasty rebuild.
Trade Ideas: Leonard Fournette, Antonio Brown, Melvin Gordon
14. Tyler Johnson
Tyler Johnson put together two huge seasons as a Junior and Senior at Minnesota. Johnson has always thrived on using technique as a means to make plays and create space. Johnson has never been thought of as an athletic freak, but his savvy route running and eye for holes in the defense has given him success when opportunities have opened up in Tampa Bay. Because of the football IQ that Johnson possesses, I could see him hanging around the league for years.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have Chris Godwin currently playing on the franchise tag and Antonio Brown will be an unrestricted free agent after this season. Johnson can line up outside and in the slot. If either Brown or Godwin isn’t back in 2022, Johnson will get an opportunity to run in three-wide receiver sets. You can acquire Tyler Johnson for next to nothing right now and I would recommend that he is involved in your dynasty rebuild.
Trade Ideas: T.Y. Hilton straight up. A.J. Green or Emmanuel Sanders for Johnson plus.
13. Pat Freiermuth
Pat Freiermuth was selected 55th overall in the 2021 NFL Draft. Early on in his rookie season, Freiermuth already appears to be the most talented option at tight end in Pittsburgh. It’s unlikely that Freiermuth will bring a lot of added value to starting lineups this season. However, based on his skillset and draft capital, Freiermuth will get his opportunities down the road.
Eric Ebron is an unrestricted free agent following the 2021 NFL season. It’s very common for NFL teams to want additional help at the tight end position, so it will come as no surprise if the Steelers sign a free agent tight end in 2022. Tight ends always take time to acclimate to the NFL game, so don’t be shocked if Freiermuth does as well. I believe in the talent enough that I am adding Freiermuth to my dynasty rebuild teams at a fair price right now.
Trade Ideas: Kenyan Drake, Marvin Jones, Sony Michel
Thank you for reading “18 Players to Buy for Your Dynasty Rebuild: Part 1.” Stay tuned for parts 2 & 3 where I will rank my top 12 players to buy if you’re rebuilding your team.
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