Unfortunately for dynasty owners, the competitive part of the season has ended. Unless you’re playing in any interesting playoff based leagues, you have likely already begun to look toward the off-season. As I wrote about 2 weeks ago in my post on rookie prospects to scout in this year’s college bowl games, the off-season is a long ride filled with many pit stops and lots to think about. With that in mind, here are 8 things to do this off-season in preparation for the 2018 season.
- Breakdown Your Entire Roster
After a long season it’s always good to take some time for self-reflection on our teams.
- Have we grown attached to certain players?
- Have we squandered our youth for a title push and left the cupboard bare for years to come?
- Did injuries or retirements create a glaring weakness?
All of these things can determine the steps you need to take for the remainder of the off-season. I always preach targeting value rather than positional need, but it’s still important to be aware of your teams strengths and weaknesses for both next year and the years beyond. Some of that may be lost in the competitive rush of the season or may be affected throughout the off-season, so taking some time to really evaluate your roster is always a good first step before you start making changes.
- Breakdown Your Ownership
Similar to above, self-reflection is also needed in regard to whoever happens to be calling the shots. You may already have a good idea of yourself as a dynasty player, but we can always improve. I think it’s extremely important to recognize your strengths and weaknesses as a dynasty player.
- Have you been so enamored with youth and upside that you forgot you still needed production to win games?
- Are you to scared to pull the trigger on blockbuster trades?
- Were you active on the waiver wire or did you conserve to much of your FAAB budget?
Personally, I know I focus more on building my roster than I do on start/sit decisions so next season I plan to dedicate a little extra focus to that area of my management. Fantasy football ultimately can come down to a lot of luck, but we should always be careful to excuse our failings with luck. Even the most experienced players need to take a change of strategy from time to time to adjust to the way the league continues to develop.
- Examine Your League’s Rosters for Strengths and Weaknesses.
The third item on the agenda is yet another evaluation. This time, however, we’ll be looking outwards and around the league at all your competition. Just like yours, their rosters are ever evolving. Seeing those changes early, or before they even do, can be extremely beneficial. For starters, the key to a great trade offer is one that fills a weakness for both you and your counter-party. By studying the teams around your league, we can determine who has both the pieces to fill our needs, and the holes to make them the perfect trade target. Alternatively, you may notice that one of the perennial power houses in the league is beginning to slip. If that owner hasn’t realized his title window is closing, you may be able to scoop up some high upside picks for next year at a discount.
- Send Out Trade Offers to Every Owner
Now that we have examined our league’s rosters for their strengths and weaknesses, it’s finally time to act. I know owners vary in their willingness to get a deal done, but it can’t hurt to send anybody an offer. If you’ve fairly evaluated their rosters, and come to them willing to make a deal that can improve both your rosters they’ll likely be a little more receptive.
As always, keep in mind that rookie picks will only grow in value from here until your rookie draft, so don’t throw them away just for the sake of a deal. You can almost guarantee you’ll see some better offers come draft time. This holds especially true for owners of the rookie 1.01 pick this year – you can likely already receive a king’s ransom for that pick, but don’t rush yourself. The hype will only build throughout the draft process.
On the other hand, if you have any players who you don’t trust to maintain their starting positions after free agency and the draft, now is likely your last chance to move them. I expect low to mid-level running backs to be particularly volatile in value thanks to another talented incoming rookie RB class. If you can turn some of these players into assets you trust to maintain their value, I would do it.
- Scour the Waiver Wire for Gems
Your league rules may vary on whether you can make waiver claims throughout the off-season, but it’s still good to keep an eye on the veterans available. If anybody you see is a pending free agent this off-season, they may be worth a flier on the off-chance a team commits a large deal to them or they stumble into a better situation. Or if a starter on a team is set to be a free agent, his backup may be someone to invest in. Additionally, just because the regular season is over, that doesn’t mean breakout stars can’t emerge. You’ll likely all be watching the playoffs already, so keep an eye out for younger players flashing potential on the big stage.
- Scout the 2018 NFL Draft Prospects
Hopefully, you’ve been checking out a lot of the college bowl games for prospects already, but if you haven’t you still have one game left to scout. Nick Chubb, Sony Michel, Damien Harris, Bo Scarborough, and Calvin Ridley headline the incoming rookies who will be on display during the National Championship Game. On top of that, this year’s Senior Bowl will be held on January 27th for senior draft prospects from around the country. I likely won’t be making a specific post to cover the event, but I’d be sure to check it out and see who appears to be standing out. You may find a hidden gem or see the beginning of a player’s hype train into 1st round status. After that, the combine, pro days, and NFL draft lay ahead. I plan to cover most of that as it happens, but I suggest watching film on players if you can find any (YouTube) or tuning into some draftniks on Twitter to start getting an idea of who you’d like to draft.
- Talk Smack to Your League mates
While this item may not actually improve your team or your skills as an owner, it can positively affect your league. A competitive, and rivalry-filled league is a fun league, and a fun league is an active league. If you can stir the pot just enough, you’ll likely make it a more enjoyable hobby for everyone involved and ensure that your rivals stay active to gain an edge. Even if you don’t talk smack, league communication is always a positive. Be vocal about trade ideas, NFL news, and possible rule changes, or anything else you want to talk about.
- Stay Tuned for More Off-season Content
I know I’ve said it countless times already, but the off-season can be a long stretch with a lot going on. I’ll be sure to keep you all posted on changing player values throughout Free Agency and the entire NFL draft process. I’ll also be working on some positional rankings starting in two weeks. Hopefully those will be beneficial to those in keeper and dynasty leagues during all of your off-season tinkering, so stay tuned and happy trading!
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