First and foremost, “Always Be Building” should be your slogan as you head towards the bountiful opportunities of the proverbial off-season. In fact, this phrase should be firmly imprinted on your mind as a dutiful and vigilant Dynasty owner if success is to be achieved. Without a doubt, there are differing schools of thought on how to effectively manage your Dynasty teams during the “off-season”, however, one thing is a certainty…if you don’t put in the time and prepare you greatly diminish your chances of success.
For some, the Dynasty experience is a sprint and for others, it’s a marathon. Which type of owner are you? In this article, we will canvass a “middle of the road” approach which is intended to help keep you steered between the buoys while navigating the off-season waters with success.
For this exercise, we will work on a 12 team, Dynasty, Full PPR format baseline with 30 man rosters. This is a somewhat typical format for most Dynasty leaguers and should you participate in a smaller league the formula should still be applicable.
There is no “Team” in “I”. Therefore, as you embark on your journey into the wide unknown of the off-season always remember you alone are the Captain and Commander of your Dynasty ship and no one, especially your league mates will be looking out for your best interests. You can only “hope” there is honor among the many thieves of your league, but in the end, all you should be concerned with is your own team and protecting that of which is yours. The spoils of the off-season can be yours if you prepare properly and effectively execute your plan.
Step 1: Inventory Assessment
The first thing that needs to be done is a complete inventory of what value you currently own. There are several ways owners can go about handling their roster checklist. Personally, I have found that separating each position out and assigning a grade of A-F for each player offers the most simplistic approach. A=Ace, B=Bait, C=Can’t Decide, D=Development, E=Expendable and F=Fodder.
*Aces are your core players from which you ideally want to build from. This would typically encompass the obvious stud production players such as; OBJ, Julio, Zeke, Bell, A. Brown, etc.
*Bait are the players you like but understand you may be able to get a solid return & value for. (Dixon, Henry, Michael Thomas, Shepard, J. Landry, etc.)
*Can’t Decides are players you still aren’t sure about and need to gain more understanding of their current situations before assigning them a solid rating. (T. Hill, D. Parker, B. Perriman, Pryor, Dixon, Lockett, Howard, Montgomery, Duke Johnson, Crowder, Booker, JJ Nelson, etc.)
*Development players are likely younger, less established players i.e. Rookies, but still are players you are intrigued with but who have yet to carve out a meaningful value for themselves. (CJ Pro, Boyd, Perkins, Smelter, McKinnon, M Mitchell, Funchess etc.)
*Expendables are surefire “sweeteners” you can add to any package trade. (Fitz, Sproles, Garcon, J Brown, T West, M Wallace, Stills, Ivory, etc.)
*Fodder are players not even worth the roster spot and who are best dropped to clear roster space. Another term I like to use for these players is “roster cloggers”.
As you can see I did not apply real player names for this exercise due in large part to not obscuring the message. Values will vary from owner to owner and based on your league format. It is up to you to remain a dutiful Dynasty owner and ensure that you are assessing realistic values to your players based solely off your league’s scoring format.
The next step in your Inventory Assessment is to compartmentalize your “A” rated players as untouchable for the time being. Why? Because ideally, they are your core and the hope is you can build around them. Ultimately, this leaves you with a plentiful number of players you can place in your “Trade Bait” and notify your league mates of their availability in a trade.
Step 2: Breaching the Trade Wall
The idea behind making specific players available for trade is two-fold. First, it lets your league mates know of your willingness to make a trade. Secondly, and most importantly it lets your league mates know who is “NOT” on the trade block. This subtle move firmly sets the tone in their minds who you deem untouchable, which in turn creates appeal. We all want what we can’t have right? That’s human nature. Still yet, you hold tight to your plan and keep those prized possessions to yourself for the time being. It will pay-off, in the end, should you ever choose to move them.
Never show your best hand from the get go, but start planting some seeds of intrigue to your league mates on who MIGHT be available that isn’t shown in your Trade Bait.
Now it’s time to shake some trees. The first players you try to “move” are your latecomers to the party. Which means, players who started producing late in the season and who may carry value to other owners who may have missed out on them during Waivers, etc. Most likely they are your C-E rated players and ones you aren’t too concerned with moving. Ultimately, if you can’t move these players they are certain to make solid “sweeteners” in other trades you can make. So, don’t just give them away as they can still hold value in future dealings.
Remember, timing is everything and during the “off-season,” all we have is time. There is no need to short sell or panic sell in January-February. The NFL Draft is in late April so, bide your time and remain patient. The emotional selling will begin in March when the NFL Combine gets underway. Therefore, this will be the optimum time to scout all the talent in the upcoming NFL draft. For your convenience, here is the 2017 NFL Combine schedule. http://www.nflcombine.net/players/schedule/.
I would advise you to NOT make any Rookie Draft Pick oriented trades during this period, rather wait until AFTER the Combine has concluded before moving your picks, especially your 1st and 2nd Round picks. Having said that, it would be advisable to have moved some of your lesser rated players to open roster space in preparation for your upcoming league draft. Note: If you choose to take “fliers” with your open roster spaces during the off-season so be it. They are likely players you can easily dump to make room for your rookie draft selections. So, no harm, no foul, so to speak.
Step 3: Post NFL Combine
The term “fast and furious” comes to mind. This is the ideal time to sell your 1st & 2nd Round picks at a premium. You aren’t trading in the traditional sense at this stage. Make no mistake, this is the time to sell to the emotional buyer or the owner in love with the diaper dandies while you reap the rewards. This is also a ripe time to acquire picks as well. In fact, those players you have rated B-E are prime candidates to move.
A word of caution…always remain aware of how you are building your team. Make sure you don’t leave yourself open to vulnerability at any given position unless you are confident you can find a production replacement either via the draft or via trade. Remember, production insulation is key to success so never sell simply to “sell” and make sure you are getting the proper value in return.
Step 4: Pre-League Draft
Stay true to your plan and give yourself enough time to make some last-minute roster adjustments. Never enter your rookie draft in a rush or in desperation mode needing to fill out a specific position pre-draft. Why? Because it puts you at the disadvantage in negotiations. Be like Cool Hand Luke baby! Nevertheless, now might be a good time to revisit owners with whom you planted pre-NFL Combine seeds with. If the value is there then strike! If not, hold. You are no worse for the wear and not in NEED of anything. This allows you to confidently enjoy your league rookie draft and use the knowledge you gained from the NFL Combine, player reports, etc. to make your selections.
Step 5: During/Post Draft
There are always those owners who like to wheel and deal during the draft. Some leagues have banned trades during the draft since it slows the process. However, if your league allows Draft Day trades then stay alert. Without a doubt, value can be had on your rookie draft day and it’s typically the early bird who gets the worm. You should know your league mates to a “T” and already have a feel for their gunslinger tendencies. This is where you strike first and strike hard! Take no prisoners!!!
When it’s all said and done and if you adhere to your “Plan” you will be successful this off-season and ready to compete for your league championship in 2017! Of course, if you’re in complete rebuild then never mind. There’s always next year. After all, that is exactly why we love Dynasty football.
Good luck to you this off-season and stay tuned to www.dynastyfootballfactory.com as we will be offering a plethora of scouting content, rookie mocks, startup mocks, ADP and rankings for you to educate yourselves on as you prepare for your 2017 Dynasty league rookie drafts.
The time is now to raise the sails and batten down the hatches! There is no rest for the savvy Dynasty Pirate and your journey has only just begun. It’s a Dynasty life for me! And remember…Always Be Building!