The Orphan Diaries: @AmazeHayes_DFF (Volume 1)

I was approached by fellow DFF Army member John Schepps (@SlizzDigital) about a new article series idea that would journal my individual experience as a new orphan owner. Being me, I was thrilled with the idea and the challenge of taking over an orphan team and flipping it into a competitor and be able to document and share my experiences.

As some owners know, the challenge of taking over an orphan team is that the team is usually struggling to get on its feet and needs a committed owner to be able to rebuild it. The task is a marathon and can take a few years until you are ready to compete, which means the first couple of years are spent at the bottom of the standings. That is the challenge that scares many owners away, and I understand that because nobody likes losing, but that makes flipping the team into a winner that much more fun and rewarding when you do eventually get there.

Throughout the whole process of rebuild into eventual success, I plan on sharing my strategies and line of thinking on each move and transaction I make, as well as my experiences with the other league members. You may not agree with my methods, but that, I believe, is what makes this is more fun. You can look at a team and have a completely different view on it than I do, and that, in turn, means you can have a completely different way of rebuilding, and that’s ok! The possibilities are endless, and I will be able to share the process with you.

I have been searching far and wide for an orphan to adopt and become mine. John Schepps (@SlizzDigital) and I shared orphan possibilities with each other and searched through forums and on Twitter for the perfect orphan. Finally, John introduced me to an orphan team on MFL in which I immediately saw massive potential.
 The league is named the Fantasy Militia Dynasty League, and it is a pretty standard 12-team PPR dynasty league. Each team consists of 25 players with a 4-man taxi squad. Starting rosters are 1QB, 2–4 RBs, 2–4 WRs, 1–2 TEs, 1 K, 1 D/ST for a maximum of 10 starters. Free agency is also done through blind bidding, with each team receiving $100 in blind bidding bucks (BBB). An added wrinkle in the league is that BBB are also tradable, which is new to me.

The picture above shows the full roster that I am taking over, along with the 1.06, 2.06, 2.11, 3.06, and 4.06 in rookie picks. As you can see, this is an older team and based on getting the 6th overall pick the team is very middle-of-the-pack. There are some decisions to be made here: make a push and try for a championship, or start rebuilding. Looking ahead to next year, my weekly starting lineup would look something like Brady, McCoy, Forte, Stewart, Green, Marshall, Fuller, Gronk, Gostkowski, Patriots D/ST. On paper, that lineup does not look terrible, but behind my starters is an amazing lack of depth.

I began with a good round of cuts, saying goodbye to Knile Davis, Victor Cruz, Jermaine Kearse, Steve Smith, and Dan Carpenter. I am also probably going to start rebuilding and turning over this roster. Everyone on my team will be available, minus AJ Green because I love him. If I can get a nice return on Brady, McCoy, and Brandon Marshall, I believe I can quickly turn this team back around. Since I also have the 1.06, I am looking to move back into the later half of the first and possibly acquire more picks or a decent player. The rookie draft has already started, and I am on the clock staring down Mike Williams as the best player available after Davis, McCaffrey, Mixon, Cook, and Fournette were taken. I am not a huge Williams fan so if I can find somebody who is I should be able to take advantage.

As I am writing this, I received an offer for the 1.06. Taylor Gabriel, Robert Woods and the 1.12 for the 1.06. That’s decent since it would help my depth, but not ideal. After a closer look at his team, I notice that he is last year’s winner and boasts serious QB and RB depth with Russell Wilson, Derek Carr, Dak Prescott, and Kirk Cousins at QB and Le’Veon Bell, Devonta Freeman, and Jordan Howard at RB. I am currently trying to get at least one of his quarterbacks and one of his running backs to get younger without losing value at the position. So, we will see how that goes.

Finally, I am looking over the league for potential trade targets just to start throwing out offers. I am a huge fan of Jarvis Landry and Isaiah Crowell, so I immediately sent offers to their owners. Also, as I am writing this, I just performed a trade including Rob Gronkowski. I found the resident Patriots fan in the league and sent him a nice offer to give myself some depth and weapons that he immediately accepted. Here’s the trade:

As you can see, I managed to ship out Forte in addition to Gronk to add solid depth at the running back and tight end positions. I am a big fan of Theo Riddick as he is an RB2 in PPR leagues and I believe Perkins owns the backfield in New York despite the addition of Gallman. While Gronk is a valuable asset, I believe Rudolph is not too far behind him as a red-zone target, especially given Gronk’s extensive list of injuries. I also believe Ebron is a nice target as a young tight end, even though his name may leave a sour taste in some owners’ mouths. While he hasn’t lived up to his draft pedigree, Ebron has shown consistent improvement over his three-year career, and I believe he is poised for a breakout in 2017. All in all, I think this trade is beneficial to my team as it adds both youth and depth, while not losing much, if any, production from the players I gave up.

It will remain to be seen how my other offers are received and I expect a heavy dose of negotiation occurring over the next few days as the rookie draft continues on. I will continue to update you all as my orphan development progresses!

Originally published at on May 12, 2017.