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FFL: Offseason Survival

Originally Published: May 10, 2006
By Scott Engel | ESPN Fantasy Games
For many of us dedicated fantasy football owners, the season really never ends. Once the fantasy playoffs are over, we enjoy the NFL postseason. The time period after the Super Bowl and before the beginning of training camp is often permeated with many thoughts of a new season. Events such as the NFL draft make us hungry for the new season to begin and get us talking about the 2006 campaign months before it starts.

The offseason can be a challenging time for any fantasy owner who has a great passion for the game. Many of us simply can't wait until draft day, and need to fill the void left by lack of trade talks, transactions and weekly injury reports. But it is easy to survive and you can also learn a lot during this "quiet period." As you wait desperately for John Clayton's next appearance on ESPNews, there are a lot of other important things you can do to get ready for the new season. You can load up on information and find other football-related sources of joy. Here's the Top 10 things you can do during the offseason to survive now and thrive later.

1. Stay updated on everything: Sure, we all know Nate Burleson signed in Seattle and Javon Walker was traded to Denver. But you'll gain an extra advantage over other owners if you stay aware of changes that involve lesser offensive players, offensive linemen and defensive players. It's good to know that TE Jeb Putzier could become an integral part of a possibly improved offense in Houston, or Josh Reed will get the opportunity to start in Buffalo with possibly the last chance to salvage a disappointing career. Cleveland improved its offensive line by adding C LeCharles Bentley and T Kevin Shaffer, and the Browns could be better on both sides of the ball next season. Adding LB Willie McGinest and DT Ted Washington could make Cleveland's defense a much better fantasy unit in 2006. Miami addressed concerns in its secondary and also could perform better defensively this upcoming season. You can't simply base your evaluations of players based on past performances. You must consider their new roles on new teams. Defensive personnel changes greatly could affect the performances of many units. Check out ESPN.com's complete free agency movement list right here. Stay fully updated on players from all teams, every day, at ESPN Local. Don't limit your research to skill position players. Learning about other positions will give you an edge when you consider matchups and draft defensive units.

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