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 the excitement are all but over. Summer is right around the corner. Many owners stop visiting their league sites for a while, go on that vacation, perhaps read a few articles here and there, 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). Here are a few tips to stay connected:
Keep up with the news
The Michael Crabtree Achilles injury recently devastated many building plans. When I got the news from twitter, the first thing I did was check all of my leagues to see which 49ers skill players were available – this is opportunity knocking. In the one league in which I have AJ Jenkins, I immediately let everyone know he was available for trade. Now, I don’t know if I want to trade Jenkins or not as I need to review his college tape again as he did nothing last year. A flyer San Francisco wide receiver like Ricardo Lockette could pan out as well. Point is, if you simply ignore the news, you will miss out on the chance to acquire him or any other free agent of the 49ers at a cheap price.
The news changes all the time and you have to swim through the “coach speak.” I loved hearing about how Trent Cole was looking good playing OLB. Cole excelled, until last year, pinning his ears back and attacking the quarterback from a three-point stance. The idea the 30 year-old will become a good OLB in coverage who will be expected at times to run with tight ends and running backs is just silly to me. If you can find a Philly fan who believes in him, maybe you have a potential trade on your hands, otherwise you get stuck holding onto him.
Know your Waivers
I’m in ten leagues right now and every week I go through 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 the free agents organized at a moment’s notice. I still go low tech as well with my index cards. When I tell my friends this, they say “why bother,” but 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. I already know Ryan’s Hyper/Active leagues have weekly waivers on Friday nights at 10 pm. 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. I own Josh Freeman as my QB2 in “HA5″ and his backup Mike Glennon was available, so I took advantage and now I have the Tampa quarterback for the next few years regardless of what 2013 brings.
Update Your Trade Bait
Dynasty owners can be very fickle people. Their great love affairs with players can end quite suddenly. As my Matt Forte article gave insight, you never know when a player is available. If you aren’t an active owner, how are you going to know if you can acquire someone? I try to scan the trade bait section that myfantasyleague.com provides (under “reports” then “franchise”). You can simply list who 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 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 LaMarr Woodley or Tom Brady 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.
Just because your rookie draft is complete, it doesn’t mean it’s time to take a three month vacation as an owner. Follow the news here on DLF 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.
Follow me on twitter @AndrewMiley