What You Can Do Now to Win Your Fantasy Football League in 2013

Craig RondinoneCorrespondent IDecember 24, 2012

Figuring out now if you're keeping a guy like Alfred Morris can help you win in 2013.
Figuring out now if you're keeping a guy like Alfred Morris can help you win in 2013.USA TODAY Sports

Most fantasy football owners who did not reach their league’s Super Bowl this year are asking themselves the same questions: Why did I not draft a rookie quarterback or Adrian Peterson, and what can I do to win my fantasy league in 2013?

The great thing is you do not have to wait until next August to plan your strategy for 2013. You can start working on winning next season RIGHT NOW.

While the also-rans in your league who do not take fantasy football overly seriously will focus their attention on life, family, work and fantasy basketball and baseball leagues, you can prepare for the 2013 campaign.

I am in three leagues—made three playoffs, lost twice in the semifinals but was lucky enough to win one championship. But after a day or two of celebrating my title and wondering if Josh Freeman deserves a ring or not after his back-to-back four-INT performances almost cost me hundreds of dollars, I will begin focusing on 2013.    

Here is what you can do now to win your fantasy football league in 2013: 

Figure Out Your Keeper Situation

If you are in a year-to-year league where you start fresh every season and do not hold over any players, feel free to skip over to the next section. But if you are in a keeper league where you protect a couple players or in a dynasty league where you can carry your entire roster over to 2013, keep reading. 

Your keeper/protected list might not be due for months, but that does not mean you cannot devise a plan for the offseason immediately. Narrow down the list of players you want to have on your squad next year. See if you are lacking at quarterback or running back and check over other teams’ rosters in your league to spot a possible offseason trading partner. 

On my title team, I can protect three guys for next year, and I currently have four guys in mind battling for those places—Robert Griffin III, A.J. Green, Chris Johnson and Maurice Jones-Drew.

RG3 is a lock. That leaves me with two decisions. The first is do I keep two RBs or one RB and one WR. And if I lean toward the latter, then the second decision is which RB gets kept. The wheels are already spinning in my mind. This is not something I will put on a back burner and not think about until I am miniature golfing in August. I might have my mind made up by next weekend, and that will allow me to jump start my transaction plan after the New Year.         

This last week could help make the future of your fantasy team appear clearer. Maybe a possible keeper candidate has a huge game that sways your thinking. Or maybe another possible keeper tears an ACL and causes you to have to rethink everything.  Whatever the case, your fantasy team is built around your superstar keepers, so they should be high on your priority list.  

Work on Your Weaknesses

No fantasy owner is perfect. If they were they would win their leagues every year and go undefeated like the 1972 Miami Dolphins. So you have to look in the mirror, be honest about your shortcomings and make resolutions to improve in 2013. 

You learn something new every year in fantasy football, and you have to be truthful about your strengths and weaknesses as an owner. Maybe you are not a great talent evaluator. If you drafted Miles Austin when you could have had Calvin Johnson, shied away from Tom Brady because you thought he was old, or drafted three kickers but only two running backs, your general manager skills could use some work.

If that is the case, doing some offseason mock drafts for 2013 could be beneficial. Many different websites offer them for people who want to have their hands in some sort of fantasy football-related fun throughout the year.

Maybe your problem is that other owners will not trade with you because you have been tagged as someone who is hard to deal with either because your lopsided offers are insulting or because you have a cold demeanor like Bill Belichick. Ask owners in your league about your reputation over a hot coffee or a cold beer. You may find out personality traits you have to change that could indirectly help your fantasy team next season. 


Start Filling Out Your 2013 Cheat Sheet

Once you figure out which 2012 players are staying on your 2013 roster, you can start filling out a draft list/cheat sheet for next season.

It is never too early to do this and you can always edit it throughout the offseason. Trades, free agency and the NFL draft will continually wreak havoc on your rankings, so make sure to not write them out in pen.

During a quiet shift at work or a boring family function, rate the top 20 players at each major fantasy position. Then once a week look at your list and make changes depending upon news you hear regarding players and teams. Filling out a cheat sheet now and transforming it over the offseason will have you better prepared for your draft than if you just whip up a list the day before your draft or just rip a list out of a magazine. 

Hopefully these tips can help you feel better about what could happen to you and your fantasy team in 2013. In a nutshell, evaluate your team’s talent, evaluate your personal talent as a GM and lineup maker and evaluate the talent at each position in the NFL fantasy-wise. It could all lead to you hoisting a fantasy trophy in 2013.