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Sun Feb 9th 2020

Offseason To-Do List

What To Do Now That The Super Bowl Is Over

It was a great Super Bowl and a fantastic end to the season.  Congratulations to the Kansas City Chiefs and their fans, and congratulations to you who won fantasy championships this season.  After the real Super Bowl and our fake Super Bowls, dynasty owners do one of two things.  Some dynasty owners want a break and check out until their commissioner reminds them that their rookie draft is next week.  Other owners, Dynasty Freeks, stay engaged throughout the season and make themselves, as owners, and their dynasty teams better in the offseason.  I want to suggest a few ways to make yourself and your teams better now that we've entered the offseason.  These are the very things I do every offseason, specifically things I aim to do before the NFL Combine at the end of February.

Honestly Assess Your Team

  • The offseason begins by looking at your team to determine what your team needs.  Determine what your positions of need are.  Note positions that lack depth.  Note positions that lack youth.  Also, notice positions of strength and players you could trade to build up a position of weakness.  Also, be sure to look at your draft picks to determine if you can address weaknesses in the draft or need to do so by making trades.

Assess Other Teams In Your League

  • After clearly determining your team's needs, look at the other teams in your league, and do something similar with those teams.  In particular, look for other teams' position of strength and weaknesses compared to yours.  This will help you craft possible offseason trades.  Look for older players that had poor seasons last year that you still believe in because they may be willing to sell them in a trade.  Look for rookies that did not perform well or play at all that you still believe in because they may be more willing to sell them in a trade.  Also, be sure to look at your league's draft order so that you can see know which teams may be coveting picks or willing to trade them.

Make Waiver Moves and Create a Scout Team

  • Lose dead weight off your roster by cutting guys and picking up players off waivers.  Contrary to other analysts, I don't cut my kicker or defenses, but many would recommend that you do.  If I have a top 10 kicker from the last year on a team I am sure will be a high-scoring offense next year, I keep them.  I also keep at least two defenses if they were in the top 20 defenses (depending on how a league scores defenses).  Still, there are many other players worth cutting at the end of a season.  I am willing to cut players I picked up at the end of the year due to an injury of the player who started in front of them.  I am also willing to cut rookies or second-year players that appear to be buried on their depth chart or have not made the most of the opportunities they have been given so far.
  • It's important to look over all of the players that remain available for pick up in your leagues and either pick them up now or add them to your scout team.  Most platforms have a "watched list" or "scout team."  This is a perfect time of year to clear out players on your scout team and add other players to your scout team, even if you just dropped them from your team.

Note Which Players Are Free Agents

  • Be sure you're aware of which players are free agents and could change teams.  Often dynasty owners are not aware of the contract status of their players or others.  Player contracts can radically affect the player value or at least put their value in dangerous limbo until we know which team they join.  This year more than most years, there is an incredible amount of free agents, especially at the quarterback position, which affects so many other positional players' value.  Use the free agency status of your team and the teams in your league to change how you assess them.
  • Free agency is risking and creates some interesting buying and selling points in the offseason.  To begin with, many dynasty owners are unaware of their players' free agency status so you can take advantage of their ignorance.  At the same time, it's unsure where any player may land, so buying or selling is very risky.  If there is a free agent whom you believe has the talent to be a starter on any team, try to buy him.  If not, try to trade him away.

Put Together Your Rookie Board

  • I highly recommend putting together your rookie board before the NFL Combine.  I think it's good practice to evaluate players before the Combine and the NFL Draft so that you can look back to what your thought of those players before those two critical value-changers.
  • I'd recommend looking at rookie rankings, such as mine here, and at least watching YouTube highlights to begin to form your own opinion of the upcoming rookie class. In addition to the film, research the players' productivity in college, which can easily be found on this website.  Just enter the players' names in the search bar and see their productivity.  Film and productivity are the primary ways I evaluate players, while break-out age is another helpful tool.

Listen To NFL Draft Analysts

  • I have a full-time job and a part-time job, and I run this website.  That means I cannot watch as much film, nor do I have the experience of many others.  I do my analysis of the rookie class each year, but then I listen to many other draft analysts to inform my opinions.  I listen to podcasts like Stick to Football, Move the Sticks, First Draft, Rotoviz, and Matt Waldman's RSP to get expert analysts of the upcoming prospects.  Over the years, I've developed my metrics and ways to value rookies, but it's always informed after the fact by those whose full-time job is to do so, but I have learned which experts see things most as do, even at each position, and I do let their opinion shape my rookie rankings.

Make Trade Offers

  • I know I am speaking to Dynasty Freeks here so, make trades, people!  The best way to develop your team during the offseason is to make trades.  You have to be active throughout the offseason.  I am aware that some leagues are not Freeks, because I have some, but keep making offers and text or call owners who have let trade offers stand for several days.  I have many dormant leagues during the offseason, but thankful have many superactive leagues too.  No matter the league, keep throwing our trade offers and asking owners to respond and/or counter offer.  Trades are what make dynasty leagues great and make savvy owners' teams great.  Speaking of which, I am going to make some trade offers in my leagues right now!

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