Nah, I'm Good: A Tribute to Jim and His Counterintuitive Approach
Tempted to trade away that rookie who hasn't hit for you yet? Before you do, ask yourself: What would Jim do?
For those of you reading this, 90% of you will continue playing IDP as usual. These are the types of folks who don’t tend to sit on their hands when it comes to fantasy football. If that’s you, continue on your way in the IDP world. I don’t fault you. But, for the readers out there who want to learn about a new approach for dynasty and apply it to their teams, listen up.
This article is a tribute to our league mate Jim, who won our XFFL league in 2019. As many of our listeners know, this league is played on Reality Sports Online, where we draft and sign players to multi-year contracts with the NFL salary cap set for the year we are playing. If you are a true degenerate, like us, an RSO league would become your newest addiction.
But I digress. Let’s talk about Jim. His main attribute as an owner could be seen as inactivity. He rarely trades, very seldom picks up players off of waivers, and just in general could be seen as an owner that doesn’t really care about his team. This assumption would be false, though.
This league is entering its fifth year, which means that the players signed in 2016 to 4-year contracts are due for either a contract extension or about to enter the free agent auction. Let's take a look at some of the players of importance that Jim has signed since the league started.
In 2016, Jim drafted Michael Thomas at the 1.04 in our rookie draft and, with perhaps one of the best depth picks of the draft, selected Jaylon Smith at the 4.10. In 2017, he took Dalvin Cook at 1.04 along with some late round sleepers that filled his team out. In 2018, he hit a home run by grabbing Calvin Ridley at 1.04, Courtland Sutton at 1.12, and Nyheim Hines at 2.4.
The past two years, Jim continued to add nice pieces to his roster through the rookie draft. In 2019, Jim grabbed Nick Bosa at 1.09 and Alexander Mattison at 3.9. This year was arguably his best though, as Jim selected Isaiah Simmons at 1.12 (a painful snipe), Xavier McKinney at 3.08, Eno Benjamin at 4.12, Antoine Winfield Jr. at 5.08, and Kyle Dugger at 5.12.
Of those 13 players i just mentioned, 13 of them are still on Jim’s team! Like I mentioned earlier, some would see this as inactivity, but I see these holds as brilliant. Jim is a man who loves his Madden as much as his college football. I would argue that no person in the league knows college football depth better than Jim. The longer this league goes on, the more I see this as perhaps the number one asset to gaining an edge over your competitors.
The ability to draft a valuable player in a rookie draft, combined with the discipline to let them sit and develop and NOT trade them away, can lead your team to sustained victory. But this means nailing your rookie picks, and more importantly, not trading them away before they reach their full potential. This is hard for me to say, but trading isn’t always the best move.
What does this approach do for your team? A couple things, the first being it lets your team develop. We all know these rookies take time. While I would love for Isaiah Simmons to jump out in week one with 12 tackles, a forced fumble, and an interception, the reality is that 2021 is more likely to be the year for these stat lines, especially since 2020 is going to be weird.
Players take time. Receivers need timing with quarterbacks. Those quarterbacks need time to learn how to read NFL defenses. Running backs sometimes need to ascend a depth chart. Linebackers need to learn how to calibrate to the speed of the NFL.
The point is that players take time, and how are we going to allow these players time when we are constantly drafting them and trading them? I tip my hat to you here, Jim.
Another advantage that this “inactivity” will bring is rising trade value. Nobody in our league is going to steal a player from Jim because he so very rarely trades. In fact, the opposite is usually true: that person is probably going to overpay, and that is if a trade even gets done.
When I’ve approached Jim over the last several years about acquiring Jaylon Smith, my man crush, I already know that if we were to get a deal done (highly unlikely), it would cost me a fortune. Sadly I feel this is the case for my baby Isaiah Simmons as well. So, while Jim’s strategy makes me cry into my pillow every night, it’s helping build his roster value.
Following this strategy, Jim’s team has continued to improve in the XFFL. His regular season win totals since 2016 have been 6, 5, 8, and 10 in 2019, when he won the title.
So, Jim, this method is working and I am taking notes. I’m going to turn on more college football tape then I normally would, focus on nailing rookie draft picks, and when people come calling for players like Patick Queen, I’m going to hit them with a classic Jim line: “Nah, I’m good!”