Keeper leagues are my favorite fantasy league to be a part of. There is always a reason to check your team, do research, and dream of your team taking home multiple titles. As a whole, I find that keeper leagues keep people’s attention which creates an environment favorable for trading. I have used this time of year to make trades that have pushed my teams to titles and also to build for the future. Just last year I found myself in no mans land in the rankings. I had a limited chance to make a run to just get in the money. I decided it would do me better to build for the future. It was time to have the great sell off. The thing you want to make sure of in your sell off is that you have a plan for the future.
How do you build that fantasy dynasty? First rule is to always build with position players. The amount of injuries that pitchers have along with the fact that there are very few pitchers who year in year out are great. The ones that are constantly good are already priced at a level that lessons their keeper value. Hitters have a much more steady track record. You still have the ups and downs with some(Jason Heyward), but there are many more hitters than pitchers sustaining a certain level of production.
Now that we are focused on hitters, lets look at your current keepers? Where are you strong, and where do you have holes? The last thing you want to do is handcuff yourself with 3 first basemen. Do not limit your roster flexibility, even though they may all be values. Find the positions you need to fill and then start looking for players that have good keeper value at that position. Hopefully, you will find one on a team in or near contention. Putting that team in the WIN NOW mode.
Next, you need to KNOW the team and the owner of the player you covet. No not who they are, but how they run their team, what type of players they like, what they think they need to win, and how much do they like the player you want. If this is a keeper league, you probably have been playing more than this year. If so, I always look back and try to see how that owner builds their rosters. Who they bid on. What kind of players they bid an extra $1 on. This will give you an idea of what type of player to offer them. Also, look at what trades they have made in the past. Have they given up young talent in the past to try to win now? Have they traded a star player for a closer before? Do they have a log jam at a position? Do they have a significant lead in a category? Is there a category where they are close to or bunched up with other teams. Last, is to find out how much they like the player you want and if there are any guys you have that they want. Its great when you get a chance to talk to the guys in your league about baseball. There is always information to be gleaned from these conversations. They want to tell you how this guy they drafted is amazing, or how they are not sure what to do with the three first basemen they have. People want to tell you their thoughts on their team. Let Them!!!
This seems like a lot of research, right? Well, yes it is. However, if you want to build that dynasty, you need to take the time to find a player with keeper value. One that will turn a profit for years. You then need to move players that are not going to have keeper value to you. Remember, for every team that is trying to rebuild there is one trying to WIN NOW. That guy does not care if he has to dump a bunch of players at the season’s end. His goal is to get that trophy, yahoo bath, bragging rights, or cold hard cash NOW. Help him win today, let him help you win next year, and the next year, and …
It is not easy to decide to rebuild. I had to make that choice last year in my Home league. It was time to rebuild after finishing in the money two out of the last three seasons and a near miss in the other. My team had some cap issues and contract issues. I had been that WIN NOW guy. Which is what you should be almost every year. I hate giving up. Even worse is looking at the standings for the last month and seeing my team drop to dead last. I ended with one of the leagues lowest point totals ever. It is worth it now as I have just moved into first place in that league. Amazing that one year ago I chose to rebuild and ended the season in dead last. I feel good about my team, and think I am set up for the next few years. However, I will be working those trading lines from the other side this year. Back in my WIN NOW mode!!!!