There is something great about the NFL Draft. Optimism is in the air for everyone as it represents a new beginning. This is even more true with your dynasty squad especially if you are coming off a rough season. After the rookie draft, you have new exciting players, but now the draft and perhaps excitement are over. Many owners stop visiting their league site for a while, go on that vacation, perhaps read a few articles here and there, and then log in right before Labor Day. I’m not saying don’t go on vacation for a week or two, just don’t take a summer hiatus from your league(s).
Keep up with the news.
Mario Williams and Jerry Hughes play outside linebacker and not defensive ends in the new Rex Ryan scheme, that could be major news in leagues where owners have to scramble for defensive linemen. Devonta Freeman might be a better fit for the Falcons running game than rookie Tevin Coleman. This is the time to keep track of the little things, because you never know when a little crumb from the local media will pay off big.
Know your waivers.
I’m in seven leagues right now and every week I go thru the available players for every league. On leagues that use the myfantasyleague.com site, there is a feature called the “my draft list” that you get to from the “For Owners” tab. I sort the available players first by position and then by team to be thorough and add all interesting free agents. This list keeps all of the free agents organized at a moments notice. I still go low tech as well with my index cards. When I tell my friends this, they say “why bother”, because I want to know who is available at any time. If you want to make a trade, the knowledge that a replacement level player is available can reduce the risks you take.
Keep track of when waivers process as well. Many leagues have weekly or monthly waivers. After the waivers run, there may be plenty of dropped players. Always review the waiver reports for players you might want on your team. Many times after the initial waiver run, the waivers become first come, first serve for a day or two. This is a great time to make cheap adjustments to improve your team.
Dynasty owners can be very fickle people. Their great love affairs with players can end quite suddenly. You never know when a player is available, someone could mention a great player is available on the league message board. If you aren’t an active owner, how would you know who wants to trade? I try to scan the trade bait section that myfantasyleague.com provides (under “reports” then “franchise”). You can simply list what you are willing to trade and what you are willing to take in return. If you are in a bigger league or don’t know the other owners well, this gives you a great opportunity to let the entire league know your personnel desires. This is quite an improvement, kind of like “speed dating”, where you can field multiple offers and decide which one best fills your team needs.
If you are in a dynasty league together, you might as well get to know something about your fellow owners. Obviously everyone has an interest in football and why not find out more about them. You can find out where someone is from, their favorite team, what college they went to or follow, etc. For example, I live in Maine (while disliking the Patriots), was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan, went to Bowling Green University, played linebacker/offensive guard in high school, and have a Steelers tattoo. How can you use this information? You would summarize that I know a lot of the Pats as I am in their media area. I also may follow the Big Ten and/or Mid-American Conference and I am a Steelers fan. This could make me a candidate for a Julius Edelman or Ben Roethlisberger trade.
These connections can also keep you coming back to the league, year after year. A few years ago, I joined an existing dynasty league with a decent team, built it up, and took that team to the playoffs for at least a third place finish three years in a row. After the third year, I left the league, not because I had a bad team, but because no one traded or talked to each other. Making money every year wasn’t enough. Perhaps this is why I don’t really care for some of the bigger fantasy contests as the social aspect is important to me.
Just because your rookie draft is complete, it doesn’t mean it’s time to take a two-month vacation as an owner. Follow the news to keep up with injuries and contract information, but try to separate the wheat from the chaff when it comes to coach speak. Look at your league calendar to keep track of your waivers and know who is available. Update your trade bait and review everyone else’s. There might be a deal to be made. Finally, have fun and be sociable, otherwise you might as well be playing a computer.