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Basic Training Part 9 - Improving Your Roster After the Draft

Now that the draft is over, and your post draft analysis is complete, it is time to fill in any gaps that you have. Depending on when your league holds the draft, you should have at least a week or two before the regular season starts. That's plenty of time to make a couple of last minute additions to your roster and hit the ground running in week 1.

Working out a Trade

Trading players is a bit harder once the draft is over, because you have lost the ability to throw in draft picks to sweeten the pot. Even worse: most teams are reluctant to trade before the season starts, for fear of trading away someone who will catch fire and become a superstar. However, trades can happen if you go about it the right way.

When looking for a trading partner, you need to focus on teams who are weak in an area that you are strong, or strong in an area that you are weak. When you find a team that fits one of those two categories, you need to create your initial offer. Open your discussion with a specific offer in mind, and don't be afraid to put it out there. Tell the other team that you're looking to improve your roster, and would like to work out a deal for player X. Tell them you are willing to offer player Y in return and you would like to see if they have any interest. Keep it short and sweet. If they are willing to deal, they will either accept or counter your offer with something that they are more willing to accept. This can go back and forth a few times. Work it out until the deal is done. There is no 'perfect' trade; but a trade where both sides get something they want is the deal that is most likely to get done.

Above all else, don't be afraid to say no and walk away. Some guys believe that the only 'good' trade is one that helps their team, and costs them nothing. These guys will counter your offer by asking for your best player and offering garbage in return. Don't feel you have to accept ANY offer that you are uncomfortable with. The whole reason you wanted to trade in the first place was to fill a need. Don't create another need in the process.

Here are a couple of additional ideas for trading partners:

  1. If someone has a starter, and you have the backup, use the backup player to clinch a deal. Fantasy Players like to 'handcuff' their starters, and they may be willing to give up a little more to do so.
  2. If someone has a player who is in a training camp battle with one of your players, approach them with the idea of having both players. Regardless of who wins the camp battle, they will have the winner on their roster. (Note, you can turn this around and acquire the other player for your team. This gives you a solid starter once the training camp battle ends and a starter is named.)

Preseason Free Agency

Free Agency will be discussed in greater detail in Section X. However, in the preseason, it should be approached a little differently. When trying to fill a preseason gap, there are a couple of things that you need to focus on.

Teams with training camp battles should be your main focus. If the rookie has a chance to beat out the veteran starter by the end of camp, you need to keep an eye on the situation to see if someone emerges as the clear favorite. Grab them BEFORE they are named the starter. This way you stay ahead of the pack. Focus on your area of need, but don't be afraid to increase an area of strength as well. If you can add another quality player to your squad, you can leverage this depth in the future to trade with a weaker team.

If a team loses a starter to injury; even a short-term one, you need to be ready to pounce. Grabbing a short-term backup can help you trade with the team that holds the starter, or give you a quality starter for a good part of your season. Taking advantage of a player's injury may seem like a dark approach to the game, but injuries happen all the time in the NFL. It is something that every team owner needs to deal with throughout the season.

Above all else, remember why you drafted these guys in the first place. If you really think a particular player is going to be someone special, don't cut or trade them unless you really have to. A lot of things can happen during the early part of the season, and it may be better for you to ride the bumps and see what happens in the long run.

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