StrategyApril 18, 2004

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Upgrading Your IDP Roster I

By Greg Yelderman

Did you find yourself in the basement of your keeper league last season? Do you know how you ended up there? Well, this series of articles is going to help you figure out the factors that led to your team’s poor showing.

I’m Greg Yelderman, and I’ll be your guide as Fantasy Football Cafe grows and ventures further into individual defensive player (IDP) news and insight. My goal here is to give you the best and most involved fantasy advice on both sides of the football available on the internet.

In order to do that we will be looking at some things a bit differently. To name just one example, one key aspect to pay attention to is the “trench.” Blocking at the line of scrimmage is crucial to your offensive players’ production. Think about it. Passing plays take time to develop and the running game relies on solid blocking and openings up front. Yet all too often, fantasy owners ignore or are not offered enough information on this crucial part of the game. I aim to correct this and other fantasy mistakes, and help you bring your team back to respectability.

Some of the other things we’ll be looking at during the offseason, step by step and in detail, include:

What to look for when evaluating each position
Initial rebuild plan
Determining which positions to address first
Building a draft plan
Pre-draft trading
Post-draft trading and waivers (including information for “blind bidding” formats)
Weekly roster submission/Matchups
And, of course, the oh so necessary player profiles

In most cases, cellar-dwelling teams need not only roster upgrades, but a major shift in philosophy as well. After all, it’s your philosophy that dictates your player evaluations and selections. In other words, your approach to the game determines your personnel and sometimes needs to be re-evaluated.

In my opinion, the best way to begin a rebuilding job is to address your foundation, focusing on depth and youth. This will almost always mean that you will have to endure at least one more year of mediocrity. However, if you’re the kind of dedicated owner who is up to the challenge of resurrecting a fallen squad, then this series is aimed at you, and you’ll be happy with the results and possibly even find yourself in contention for a playoff slot.

The best way to build depth is to look for consistency first. What you want is to fill your roster with players who aren’t injury-prone and perform on the same level week in and week out. It’s the Joe Gibbs school of thought, and it works well. If one of your players goes down to injury, you’ll already have someone of roughly equal talent you can rely on to fill in well. This will also expand your matchup options when you’re submitting your lineups during the regular season.

To show that this type of rebuilding plan really works, we’re going to follow the rebuilding of a team that is dead last in its league in both starter and bench quality for this whole season, from start to finish. Not only that, but we’re going to take this little project a step further and use it to train a complete fantasy football rookie in an advanced scoring system with some serious competition. The rookie will be taking control of the roster once the regular season begins. We’ll review both his and the team’s performance each week.

The proof is in the pudding and we’ll be keeping a very close eye on the results.

Next: The team, and the first homework assignment

Until then, stay safe!

Greg Yelderman dedicates this series to all the owners who never give up on their team, and keep coming back year after year for more.

Have you ever faced the challenge of rebuilding a losing squad? How would you go about turning a team’s fortunes around? Share your experiences with the Cafe!

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