We’re in the middle of fantasy basketball playoffs which is an exciting and sometimes enraging time. This is great for those of you in, but for everyone left out, there’s a hole left behind where your fantasy basketball love/obsession once resided. I get it. We’ve all been through this before and it’s a pretty anti-climactic end to what was once a super hopeful plan to win it all. But what if I told you it didn’t have to go down like this? That regardless of how your season went, you could still generate hope and continue your obsessive consumption of information, granted, in a different way.
But what if I told you it didn’t have to go down like this? That regardless of how your season went, you could still generate hope and continue your obsessive consumption of information, granted, in a different way.
Enter dynasty leagues. Many of you may already know the joys of slowly building a powerhouse, taking advantage of a strong win-now approach, or playing the #process game. Either way, you’ve been in it and get it. For those that haven’t had a chance to try this format out, there’s really nothing better in fantasy. Much like the real-life NBA, you can get some variation of your fantasy fix throughout most of the calendar year. Because you are maintaining all or some of your core team from season to season, there is a lot of work that can be done in order to improve your squad, based on your current roster construction and approach. Instead of feeling bummed about the end of your season, you can engage in many other fantasy-related efforts. As I detail below, there’s a lot to do.
Analyze Your Current Roster
This can be an exercise in depression and regret. But know that there can always be a light at the end of the tunnel. Regardless of previous mistakes, one of the great aspects of dynasty leagues is that you have a chance at redemption. The first step should be an honest evaluation of your roster.
- Does it have a chance of making the playoffs next season? If so, you can go the retooling route.
- Say you just hit a bad luck streak with your team dealing with inopportune injuries, or you ran into a red hot buzzsaw team, maybe you don’t need to do much at all.
- But if you need a reset, it’s time to take stock of the valuable players that won’t fit your long term timeline. You can plan to move them to
contendingteams in exchange for young upside and future draft picks.
Regardless, it’s important to perform this analysis, because as a fantasy GM, there’s a ton of value to having a specific direction for your team with actionable moves that you can start exploring. It all begins with this assessment. The worst place to be is in the middle with little room to grow. Make sure you’re not one of those teams. Go ahead and do it now if you haven’t already. Know that depending on your first season outcome, you could be doing this next year. Hopefully, you make the playoffs, but if not, here is your go-to first step.
The worst place to be is in the middle with little room to grow. Make sure you’re not one of those teams.
Scout Rookie Prospects
The incoming rookies tend to bring a ton of hype in real life and fantasy. This can lead to
It’s also worth noting that we’re just about to hit tournament time, which can lead to some quality scouting time, where you can see how these young college players step up in big games, showcasing their potential to transition to the professional ranks. There’s usually at least one player that makes a huge jump in mock drafts due to an incredible NCAA tournament performance. Watch it as it happens and make your own assessments.
You can scan mock NBA drafts or dive deep into our own Prospect Rankings to give you an excellent starting point. While it’s important to consider team fit and focusing on categories that you need help in, it’s generally best practice to take the best player possible, regardless of fit and NBA situation, at least early on in the draft. You only get so many shots at a potential superstar. As you pass the top guys, then you can at least consider the fit. This is a super fun component to dynasty leagues, and often is the only draft that occurs after the initial season. So soak it up, put on your serious GM hat, and get your scout on.
Analyze Other Teams
Ok, so you took a long hard look at your roster. Now it’s time to get serious and start looking at the other rosters in your league. You can begin to categorize teams and predict their approach. You already know that your win now teams will be more likely to scoop up your aging, but still productive vet for young players that won’t provide much help now. They’re also the teams that are more likely to move their draft picks.
Conversely, those younger teams that are rebuilding will be chomping at the bit for draft picks and young players. Make those moves to secure your place in the postseason and set yourself up to make that championship run.
Explore Future Trades
By this point, you’ve identified some potential trade partners. These teams will usually be trying to buy what you’re selling and vice versa. These can be clearly mutually beneficial trades. One of you will be working towards winning now, while the other will be building towards the future. Now obviously that’s an extremely simplistic view of potential trades. There’s a lot of potential subtleties, nuances, differences in perceived potential, mindsets, etc. But at its core, these are the types of trades you should consider first.
The rules can vary quite a bit from league to league, so it’s important to be knowledgeable on what is ok and what isn’t, as well as when you can actually make trades. Most dynasty leagues prohibit trades at this point of the season, but that shouldn’t stop you from opening up conversations and gauging interest levels. That way you can hit the ground running with potential trades already unofficially agreed upon, or else a head
Make Roster Moves
Roster flexibility can be a powerful tool in dynasty leagues during this “down” period. While you don’t have to drop anyone from your roster, its good to note who would be the first 2 or 3 to go as you head into your rookie drafts. That way you have a plan and can operate in a fluid way, decisively making moves that will benefit your team.
For those teams that are rebuilding, now is also the time to scour deep into the player pool and look for diamonds in the rough. In 30 team dynasty leagues, I’ve seen young guys like Anfernee Simons, Gary Trent Jr., Luke Kornet, Abdel Nader, Georges Niang, Guershon Yabusele, and Isaac Bonga. I understand these are super deep fliers, but the key is their youth and potential. None of these guys will become stars, though someone like Simons has a shot at major growth in a few years, they all have some sort of potential. Consider them cheap lotto tickets that could suddenly pan out with a huge Summer League, or turn into a trade sweetener, or an option for grabbing an extra 2nd round pick.
If you’re still in the mix for the playoffs next season, it would be useful to target some helpful vets that could provide sneaky, low-end assistance. These will tend to be boring older players that have proven that they can still be effective. Once again scanning some of my 30 team dynasty leagues, I see players like Wilson Chandler, Ian Clark and Alec Burks floating around waivers. Another thing to look for are injured vets that can return next season, with JJ Barea and Omri Casspi coming to mind. Either way, take advantage of everyone looking for the next big thing and look for
Have Fun and Do Your Homework
Obviously, none of this is a requirement for dynasty leagues, so I don’t want to scare anyone off that has yet to try. It’s just an aspect that feeds into my obsession and allows me to continue the fantasy basketball fun through the season, into the summer, and straight into the next season. This also doesn’t mean that there aren’t breaks, because there are, and we should all take breaks. But knowing that it’s there and I can be active in my team whenever I want is a nice feeling. And if you don’t feel like doing any more than the bare requirements, that’s fine too. Come talk to me and we can work out a trade. Try it out, skip the future fantasy lull, and enjoy an amazing, year-round fantasy experience.