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Planning for 2023 as a Contending Team

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KANSAS CITY, MO - JANUARY 16: Pittsburgh Steelers running back Najee Harris (22) with the ball before an AFC wild card playoff game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Kansas City Chiefs on Jan 16, 2022 at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, MO. (Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire)

Congratulations on a mildly-successful 2023 dynasty fantasy football season – if you are reading this article, you likely oversaw a contending team that made the playoffs. However, if you did not win your league championship this year, there is still progress to be made. Let’s look forward to the 2023 season.

You obviously have a good plan for your team, seeing as how you assembled a postseason-bound roster for this year, but what is next? What else do you need to do to get over that final speed bump and take home the gold?

Focusing on the upcoming draft class is all fine and dandy, but there is so much more to your roster’s development moving forward, which is where this article comes into play.

Self Scout

Like the first step in the previous 2023 planning piece (for a rebuilding team), you must go through your current roster with a fine-tooth comb and look at the strengths and weaknesses.

Is your contending team on the younger side but has the right young pieces in the right spots? If not, capitalizing on their value now and selling high is the right path. Players that fit this group include Dameon Pierce, Zonovan Knight, Brock Purdy, and Romeo Doubs – these players can help you recoup some future value while unclogging some pieces you are still unsure about.

Another aspect of self-scouting is understanding which areas of your roster you are light at, both in talent and warm bodies – nothing groundbreaking here. However, it is still important to understand roster construction and address it early in the offseason.

Lottery Tickets

As someone in your league with one of the more established rosters, you have the luxury of taking on a lottery ticket or two due to the core you already have. By looking at players with high ceilings that have failed to reach them so far, you can capitalize on decreased value for your roster, both now and in the future.

Players that you should inquire about include Calvin Ridley, Wan’Dale Robinson, Zamir White, Daniel Bellinger, Alexander Mattison, Najee Harris, Cam Akers, and others – these players all either are on teams that have yet to unlock their full potential, look to have expanded roles upcoming in ’23, are free agents this offseason and could earn a starting role elsewhere, or are too young to give up on.

On the flip side, don’t be afraid to make some moves to move some fringe roster pieces to clear some space – if you are out on players like D’Onta Foreman, Kenneth Gainwell, Noah Fant, Rondale Moore, Michael Thomas, Brandin Cooks, let your league mates know that you’re open to moving them and see what you can get.

Eye to the Future

One of the most underappreciated elements about having a contending dynasty roster is that you can afford to look to the future, concerning both rookies and current NFL players.

Focusing exclusively on rookies here, you likely will be situated near the end of each round of your rookie drafts so that you will miss out on the Bijan Robinson, Bryce Young, and Jaxson Smith-Njiba options. But there is a ton of late-round value that can fall right into your lap, setting you up perfectly to capitalize.

Michael Mayer, Sean Tucker, Hendon Hooker, and others likely will be near the ends of some of the first few rounds of your rookie draft, falling right to you. But keeping an eye on the future means not just for 2023 but for 2024 and beyond. If a rebuilding team wants to move up in the draft, taking on some draft capital for ’24 can be an easy way to help keep your team in postseason contention for many years to come.

There is no one right way to assemble a championship-winning dynasty fantasy football roster, and by the looks of things, it seems you already have a pretty good handle on it. But by focusing your offseason priorities in some semblance of these three buckets, you can ensure your contending team will continue getting closer to earning that coveted championship trophy.

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