5 things for the to-do list
Posted Jan. 25 at 10:17 PM
The fantasy season is over, but hey, a new one is sort of right around the corner. Sure, it's eight months away, but you've got the combine, the start of the free agent period, the draft, minicamps, training camp, then exhibitions -- really, it'll fly by. In that time you've got to get ready for next year. Here are five things to do to get you started.
1. Review your own teams. We all know which of our teams did well or did poorly, and which players were key to our success or lack thereof. But go back a little further. What draft strategy worked best in the long run? Did taking a quarterback early or waiting until later pan out for you? Was an early draft slot or later one best for you? (As a for instance, my best team drafted 14th in a 14-team league.) Did your trades work out? Should have you made more trades, or fewer? Sometimes it's obvious what worked and what didn't, but really looking at each team sometimes provides hidden tips about what to do (or not) next season.
2. Know the new coaches. Turnover among NFL head coaches was epic -- including in-season changes, a third of the league's teams have new head coaches, which is amazing. In some cases (Jets, Colts) the offenses won't change much at all; in others (Bucs, 49ers) they could change dramatically. With Mike Martz gone, San Francisco's pass-run emphasis will no doubt change. The Broncos, with Josh McDaniels now replacing Mike Shanahan, could also be dramatically different. There's plenty of time to get a handle on how things will change for these teams, but it makes sense to get a quick overview of which teams will switch from a pass-first mentality to a run-first one, and vice-versa; given the success of the Ravens, Steelers, and Titans, get ready for a few more teams emphasizing defense over offense next season, as well.
3. Predict offseason moves. Where's Matt Cassel going -- is he going anywhere? Will Brett Favre come back? Will the 49ers make a run at another quarterback? Is Derek Anderson the 2007 player, or the 2008 one? Is Edgerrin James all done in Arizona, or will a Super Bowl appearance heal all wounds? Nobody really knows what's going to happen, but it's fun to speculate, and if you guess right, maybe those of you in dynasty leagues will be the first to swing a trade for a player who could be huge next season, based on your current estimation of what that player's future now. Now might be the time to acquire a guy like Cassel or Brady Quinn or somebody cheaply, based on the uncertainty of their 2009 roles.
4. Watch youtube highlights. If you don't watch much college football, you may not know much about the incoming rookies beyond where Mel Kiper ranks them. Highlights packages on youtube may be like reading the Cliff's Notes for Moby Dick, but they're a whole lot better than just reading what someone else has to say. I hadn't seen much of Chris Johnson in college, but I knew I wanted to find out more about the guy after watching him zip through defenders like they were standing still on his youtube highlights. You may think you know who Knowshon Moreno is, but do you really know Knowshon? Highlights can help. It's one thing to read about somebody having "breakaway speed"; it's far better to actually see it.
5. Watch the Super Bowl. Everybody watches it, of course, but there's ample reason to keep an eye on some stuff in this year's game while thinking about next season. Cardinals' offensive coordinator Todd Haley appears ticketed for Kansas City's head coaching job; watching his game plan might help determine what to expect from players like Larry Johnson and Dwayne Bowe next season. Does the fact that he has no experience working with a functional tight end augur poorly for Tony Gonzalez? How will the Steelers use Willie Parker and Mewelde Moore when matched up with their first non-stellar run defense in a while? Stuff like that.
Next season is a long way off, but that's no reason not to make the most of your time until then.
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