Editor’s note: Happy Holidays, everyone! Please enjoy something a little different from our very own dynasty Ghost.
Last year, I came up with the idea of doing a self-reflective article and felt: what better time to do it than when the calendar year and regular season both end and right at the intersection of the Christmas holiday? This allowed me to perfectly work in the “A Christmas Carol” naming theme as well. It was so much fun to write it last season and was so well received by the community, that I decided to do it again this season.
While last season I looked back at my career in the industry, for the most part, this year I want to do a retrospective of what I’ve learned this season and how it has made me a better fantasy player. I hope to share with you some mistakes I’ve made – and hopefully learned from – as well as some insight I’ve gained this season which may be able to help all of you.
Dear Ghost from last season,
You probably just finished the initial article in this annual series and, if I remember correctly, you are pretty proud of it. Good job! This version of you remembered it so fondly that he decided to a second edition of the article.
To kick things off, a few months after the first edition of this article, you made a promise to yourself to be much more active in your dynasty leagues with regards to the waiver wire. While you’ve obviously dabbled in it over prior seasons, you sought to use this avenue to take your game to another level. True to your word, you did exactly that. Weekly, you approached the waiver wire in each of your leagues with determination and a laser-focus. First off, great job! That said, you need to adjust this process in a way you likely didn’t consider.
You see, you’ll win a lot of the players you’re targeting. You’ll get there before a lot of your league-mates know who they are and why you’re targeting them. Sounds great, right? Well, not so fast! You might be getting there quickly, but you’re also leaving those players behind too quickly as well. Many times, you’ll have players who will end up being above-average producers before they actually produce. You’ll be a bit too quick to “cut bait” on these guys, casting them back into the waiver pool after a week or two without a breakout performance.
You won’t know the names I’m about to say, but you owned Gus Edwards, Robert Foster, Tim Patrick, Chris Herndon, and Blake Jarwin before 99% of your league-mates. Unfortunately, you cut those players as well, allowing them to be picked up by other owners in a huge percentage of your leagues and, ultimately, producing for those owners – sometimes in games against you – making the sting just that much worse.
So, when is a good time to cut these players? Well, that’s still something I’m struggling with honestly. I’d say at least a month, but even that wouldn’t solve some of the issues that arose. In actuality, it seems that at least two months is needed. Obviously, that isn’t always possible either. I’d recommend adding players who are sitting in a situation that is primed to pop longer. Gus Edwards and Robert Foster, for instance, both landed in situations that were great opportunities. Neither blew up right away but that production did come.
Just as you wrote to our earlier self last year about the Dynasty Trade Finder, I’m here to tell you that the tool is still going very strong and is helping a whole lot of people. You’ll think about ways to make it grow in 2018 and beyond so keep hammering away at those ideas.
While the Dynasty Trade Finder has helped a lot of people develop, assess and, ultimately, accept trades, you will continue to find yourself perplexed by the auction format. Let me tell you, despite your misgiving about the format in its current state, there is little to show that the appetite for this type of league is doing anything but increasing, substantially. That said, you will consider ways to improve this format, keeping the fairness in allowing any owner to get any player they want, which people are attracted to, while simultaneously reducing the ways in which owners can make the format downright miserable for others by red-lining players, mirroring the strategies of others and reducing the opportunity for “table talk”.
You will have discussions with two other dynasty writers about starting auction leagues that are the equivalent of silent bid auctions in real life. These leagues will feature waves of blind bid auctions that allow owners to still get the players they want, reduce the opportunity for nonsense from owners looking to make the experience miserable for others, all while doing so in a format that is incredibly familiar to nearly every fantasy owner in blind bidding. The work you’ll be doing in 2018 has the potential to be another instance where what you end up achieving will make the game easier, and more enjoyable, for a great number of players who feel the same way you do. Be proud of that!
Finally, throughout 2018, you will significantly increase your presence, exposure, and interest in devy leagues. Sure, you’ve played in devy leagues from nearly the start. You joined some devy leagues that Scott Fish ran way back at FFOasis and you cross-promoted with Nick Whalen when the Devy Report was brand new. Devy isn’t anything new to you, but it has always been a hobby within a hobby.
In 2018, the format will take a much more prominent role for you and, if I’m being honest, the 2019 version of myself writing next year’s edition of this piece will likely say that even I, from my 20/20 hindsight, haven’t seen anything yet. The changes you will make to your process, how you view the game and how you prioritize information about the game will shift, apparently for the better, and will very likely help expose even more fans to the devy format. Again, this is something to be proud of.
All said, 2018 will be a very exciting year for you! Embrace the change where possible, temper expectations but never stop dreaming big. For my part, I will try to do the same over the next year. The groundwork you are laying in 2018 will help make us a better player, owner, writer and even a better person as well. The work isn’t done, by any means. I will work to continue refining the process and distilling the product and message to its essence for our fans and readers. May you enjoy everything that 2018 has in store for you and I will carry the banner strongly into 2019!