As someone who’s been through a few “non-point scoring seasons” in dynasty now, I feel like I can provide some valuable input to those of you who are new to the game. Our own Tommy Garrett went through his own list of offseason tips and tricks, but I wanted to add some more of my own advice to the pile as well. For starters, as you probably already know, there really is no “offseason” in dynasty fantasy football. You draft a team, you play a season, and after that, all you do is draft incoming NFL rookies and make roster moves. In most leagues, you will be able to make moves 24/7/365, meaning you won’t ever have a time when your league goes dark. So what do you do when the Super Bowl is over and fantasy points are no longer scored?
Here are some things to do in the NFL offseason in dynasty fantasy football
Re-evaluate your roster (February)
After each season, it’s a good idea to step back and take a hard look at your roster. If you won the championship, ask yourself what the odds are of repeating. If you came in dead last, ask yourself what players dragged you down the most. If you’re in the middle, now is the time to decide to either push all your chips in and make a push next year or flip everyone for draft picks and start over from scratch. All in all, this is the time of year to start being honest with yourself and your team and see where you are in relation to your league mates.
On top of that, even if you won the title this year and your team is stacked, that doesn’t mean you need to stay put and not make any moves — quite the contrary. In dynasty, trading is one of the most important aspects of the game, and even championship teams can use a boost here and there. Take a look at where your roster has some holes and start trying to repair them. If you have an aging receiver group, try trading one for a younger running back on the rise, and vice versa. These kinds of decisions can really pay off in the long run if you play your cards right, so don’t miss your window now while everyone is still in dynasty mode, but before they’ve done a lot of research for next year.
Trade for picks in the rookie draft, but there’s a catch (February-March)
After you evaluate your roster and look at your realistic chances to go for the title next year, it’s time to focus on the next event in the league calendar: the rookie draft. Most rookie drafts are held shortly after the real NFL draft in April. As players start to declare and rankings come out, the entire fantasy community will start to get more and more excited about the potential landing spots and metrics of each player. I’m sure you’ll start to see mock draft after mock draft, both for the real NFL draft and for dynasty rookie drafts. The more of these you see, the more of them your league mates will see as well. But, before this rookie fever reaches its peak, it’s a great time to start targeting some additional rookie picks if you haven’t done so already.
The general thought is that rookie picks tend to increase in value until the rookie draft itself. This means that the sooner you can acquire them, the more value you will get for them if you decide to trade them away or use the pick itself. As the season goes on, the value grows, but as soon as the fantasy season ends, it hits a plateau. Most fantasy players will hold their picks through the Super Bowl since it’s unlikely that anyone’s value on their own team will move. However, once the big game is over, and the real NFL season finally ends, some players might start getting antsy and be willing to make moves they wouldn’t have a month before. As you edge closer to the draft, see what you can pry out of your league mates, even if it’s the occasional throw in second-round pick here and there.
Once April hits, though, the cost of rookie picks will likely be too close to their peak to truly return much value. This means that you need to know when to say no, and in some leagues, that time might come around in February or March. Essentially, what you’re trying to do is “buy low” on the picks now before the hype reaches its highest point in April, but if your league is paying attention, that time might have already come and gone. Feel it out in your own league and see what’s available. You might be able to make a steal of a deal before people start researching the incoming rookie class.
Always try to trade for value, and don’t worry about starting lineups (March-July)
Outside of the rookie draft, a good rule of thumb for the dynasty fantasy football offseason is to focus more on the overall value of your team rather than the starting lineups themselves. At this point, you’re still months away from having to worry about that, so do everything you can to make your team better in general, and when the next season starts, you can start to trade for positions of need.
This mainly means that you should be focusing more on ascending players than descending ones. Look at your roster and pick three players who you think will be worth less next year than they are now. Try trading those players for younger backups and fliers or even draft picks if possible since it’s more likely that those assets will be on the rise as the offseason goes along. You’re not always going to win out with this policy, and don’t trade away guys for peanuts, but if you keep your eyes on the prize and just worry about growing your team’s value as a whole, you’ll be in a much better place come August.
What will you be focusing on during the NFL offseason in dynasty fantasy football? We’re here to help you win that title, so hit us up on Twitter @PFNDynasty to discuss and let us know what else you like to do to keep your eyes on the prize for next year. Also, continue to visit the Pro Football Network for NFL news and in-depth analysis like the #PFNOSM data while also visiting our Fantasy Football section for more coverage.
Andrew Hall is a writer for PFN covering Fantasy Football. You can follow him on Twitter: @AndrewHallFF