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Mise en place, part 1: Planning the 2021 season

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Dynasty draft season is nearly over. What do you do now?


You’ve spent the last five months researching rookies and their landing spots. You found “your guys,” and the guys there is no way you will draft. You’ve had your draft and are hopefully feeling good about your team, post-draft. What do you do now? Now is the time to plan your path through the season.


An Unbiased Look

The first — and most important — step is assessing your team, which is also the hardest step. Our teams are usually filled with the players we like, and because our teams have the players we like, we often see our teams as better than they are.

If you want an unbiased view of your team, you have to look at more than just the players on it. Your roster doesn’t tell the whole story of your team. To get a better understanding of your team, you need to look at it from all aspects. Begin by looking at your end-of-season record, which will tell a more complete story about your team.

Your Record

It is important to understand where your team finished. Not just your team’s record, but where — in relation to the rest of the league — did your team finish.  Time to evaluate your record. Are you 7-6 or 9-4?  Maybe your team was 3-10, because you lost two of your top three picks, like Saquon and Sutton. Knowing your record, and why your record is what it is, can help you determine if your team is competitive, or if it needs to be rebuilt.

Next, look at the league as a whole. Are there a lot of teams with similar records, or are there one or two teams that dominated last year? If your league all finished within a couple of games of each other, you may not need a complete rebuild. You could likely be a single player or two away from a championship. The leagues that have a dominant team or two will require a different strategy than leagues with equal competition.

Why is your record what it is?

The next step in assessing your team is to understand why you finished where you did. To do this, there are a few different things to evaluate. Did you finish poorly because you always went against the team whose players blew up? Did you lose a lot of close games, and you just needed a boom player to get you a win?

Maybe you were the victim of the injury bug. It is also possible that your team isn’t as good as it looked last year. For instance, maybe you got lucky with Aaron Jones week two and Tyler Lockett week three.

It can also be beneficial to look at points for and points against. While not the most telling stat, it can help you understand the general strength of your team. If you have one of the higher Points For (PF), it can indicate one of two things. Either your team is generally strong, or you made the right sit start call more often than not.

If you have one of the higher Points Against (PA), it can indicate that your team went against the best the competition had to offer. The PA can give you a good idea of how other teams did against you. If your PF and PA are very close, this could again indicate that you are only one or two players away from a much better record.

Once you understand why your team finished where it did, it is important to establish a goal for your team. Make sure your goal is realistic. If you finished 4-9 without major injuries last year, setting a goal of winning the championship is unlikely. However, acquiring a few foundational pieces that could hit their career peak when you plan to have a competitive team is more realistic. If your team was in the playoffs last year, a goal of winning the championship or reaching the next round could be realistic.

In Part Two, I will discuss various plans and steps you can take to achieve those goals this season and beyond.

In my day job, I’m a chef, and I’m always looking for ways to work culinary terms and ideas in my articles, if you’ve googled “mise en place,” then you already know it’s a culinary term. If you haven’t, now you know. “Mise en place” is a French term that simply means “having everything in its place and ready.”

Thank you for investing some time in my articles. If you liked it or to find more follow me on Twitter at @FF_Skinnychef. If there is something you would like to see written, DM me. May the waivers be forever in your favor.

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