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Winter is Coming: Preparing for the Offseason

Winter is coming. If you live in a part of the country with winters like we get here in Michigan you may be worried and excited about the mountains of snow and winter driving. If you live down south you may be waiting to see if you get a snow day if two flakes fall out of the sky.

But no matter where you live, the MLB offseason is coming – and that means it is (past) time to have a plan for the offseason and how you are going to tackle it this year. This will look differently if you play dynasty/redraft/both, but there are some pieces of your offseason practice that should look the same.

The fantasy baseball season is almost over. Have you considered jumping into fantasy hoops? From joining a public league with our Fantasy Basketball Commissioner to trying one of our Classic Draft Contests, there are plenty of ways to play Fantasy Basketball on Fantrax!

Step 1: Before the Season Ends

If you’re in a redraft league and your season is still going – push as hard as you can to rise as far as you can. Even if you might be out of it – it’s good for the competition of the league to keep trying. On the flip side – if you’re in a dynasty or keeper league – it’s still good to push for the competitive balance of the league, but this is also an important time while add/drops are still open to evaluate your roster and make some moves!

No matter if you are a rebuilding team or if you are contending, as the season draws to a close you need to consider your roster – if anyone on your roster has no or limited value, for your roster now, next year, or in trades this offseason – they have no business being on your roster. This of course has to be evaluated within the context of keepers/contracts (more on that later) and if you’re still contending. But if not, if you have relievers in a saves+hold league or middle relievers or anything like that, cut them. Find a prospect – check out Eric and Chris’ list and see who isn’t rostered. If you remember from the series on Excel earlier this season, you can download your player pool and their lists and see the top players who aren’t rostered. It’s always good to do your own research too, but this is a quick and dirty way to consider some names to add.

This is an important step to make sure have the players you want. For example, in one of my dynasty leagues the team that ended 2nd in the regular season lost in the semis, and so this week he used his adds to drop and then add some prospects, not because he can’t compete next year, but because over this offseason before keepers are selected, those players offer either good prospects to keep or, more likely, to trade to rebuilding teams as he tries to get his team ready to contend again next year.

So – as we have this last week – figure out your rosters and see what you need to do going into next year for years where rosters continue!

Step 2: Breathe

Take a break. No really. Take a break. Yes, we here at Fantrax will have leagues opening up shortly after the MLB regular season ends. Yes, many of your leagues will allow trading to commence in dynasty/keeper leagues immediately. No, you don’t have to do that. An important caveat – don’t miss out on potential trades during that time if players are made available – if that happens, engage. If there are things you need to do for your dynasty or keeper team then you can largely disregard this.

However, if you primarily/only do redraft – take a break – enjoy playoff baseball (or take a break from your redraft/dynasty leagues and do a Fantrax playoff league too if you really want). But, take a break as much as you need. Fantasy baseball should be fun – so if you need a breather, take one. It and we will still be here. You’ll hear some analysts say start doing homework and you should be prepping for 2022 already. If you want to sure – but also breathe. Take a break if you need it. Even if you play fantasy to make money, I hope you also do it for fun – so do what you need to keep it fun!

Step 3: Preperation for 2022

3a: Redraft leagues

If you’re a redraft or best-ball league player, either exclusively or with dynasty/keeper, once you’ve taken whatever break you need, it’s time to prepare. This preparation can take a number of forms. You can look at rankings that various writers, including a number of ours, put out and begin to consider those. However, if you’re looking at ranks or even a collection of ranks – be sure to analyze them, either because your league is different or, more importantly, so you understand what YOUR ranks are, and what your approach to a team build will be as you enter drafts.

Another great way to begin to explore this is with mock drafts. You can find these in a number of places, including on our site, to see how you would like to tackle a draft, how you want to build a roster, and how you draft out of different draft slots. Other people’s draft approaches will change as the year continues but you can use mock drafts to get a sense of the player pool and where you prefer certain players in a draft, what sort of team build you like – when do you take pitchers, closers, and catchers (especially in those God-forsaken two catcher leagues).

So as you begin to look at ranks, read articles, and begin to do mock drafts (or real ones) study the various tools for different styles of drafts, and dive in, these are all great ways to explore and prepare for the 2022 season.

Finally – the last redraft tool I want to make sure I mention is podcasts. There are a lot of great pods out there and they can be very helpful and good ways to prepare – especially if you have time while commuting, working out, etc.,  to listen to a podcast and might not be able to read as much as you’d like. While of course, our SP Streamer and Toolshed podcasts are a must listen to, or my Commissioner’s Office, there are a lot of other great ones out there. Beyond some fantasy podcasts, it’s also helpful to listen to podcasts like Effectively Wild or other podcasts that cover MLB but not necessarily fantasy as you learn about the players and teams since that can be wildly helpful for fantasy. There are so many good ones out there that I would just suggest taking a look at @Baseballpods and his brackets to see many of the ones that he suggests.

Step 3b: Dynasty/Keepers

As we noted before, your dynasty or keeper leagues may have some different roles/timelines/etc. For example, in my leagues, your IL’ed players don’t count towards your roster max during the season, but we have a deadline in the offseason where you have to make your roster total the roster max, regardless of IL, so everyone has the same number of players in the offseason.

So – if you have those sorts of deadlines – keep track. If you have a contract league and have to make decisions, start considering those. In all of those – you need to keep your eye carefully on trade value. If you’re going to have to make drops/cuts for keepers or any other reason, make sure every player on your roster with whatever cuts you have to make have the most value for you if being kept, and for potential trades, if they are not likely to be kept on your team.

Next – depending on when your league’s trades open up – get busy trading – or at minimum stay attuned to if other teams are trading players and are open to moving anyone. No matter where your team is in terms of contention, be active trading. Get players who can help your team now, in the future or both.  As you begin to dig into your redraft ranks and also look at dynasty and keeper ranks, either your own or the various great lists out there from analysts, this might also be a great time to acquire a player who had a rough 2021, at either the major or minor league level, who you think can bounce back.

Other managers may be over-reacting to the season/an injury/etc… take advantage of that – do your homework and make some trades! It’s also often during the offseason that you find people really really valuing draft picks so you can sometimes get more value for those during this time.

Within the realm of all of this is also paying attention to trading in terms of how many players you keep, what the salary cap is, and those dynamics. If you have a good team and can’t keep all the players you’d like to, try to make some trades where you send more players to the other manager than you get back (also a place to get draft picks). Or, if you don’t have a ton of quality keepers, then try to be on the other side of that trade too.  This consolidation helps you go into your FYPD draft with the best possible core if you have keepers/contracts. If you’re a pure dynasty and keep everyone – then just improve your roster.

And – again – check out some podcasts! There are a ton of great ones to listen to with Toolshed. And, for both Dynasty and redraft, I would of course love if you listen to the Commissioner’s Office. Beyond that, as with Redraft – check out the bracket and other podcasts that @BaseballPods suggests since that’s his thing!

Step 4: Join new leagues and draft!

If you’re a redraft-only player you’re of course going to add some new leagues. If you’re dynasty only you may not – but it’s always fun to do a new draft– be that redraft, dynasty, or a best-ball league! If you’re looking for that just keep an eye on my Twitter account and website as I’ve already got some new leagues planned with plenty more to come!

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