When a new fantasy football season starts of course it’s easy to reset your mind to go for the championship. However, while it’s obvious, only one team can win each season. That doesn’t mean just one person is competing for a championship but it is unlikely that all eight, ten, twelve or more teams is realistically competing for the trophy and that’s where you have to be honest with where you’re at.

In three dynasty seasons I’ve finished eleventh and seventh twice. I’ve made some win now moves but each season I’ve also identified some older players to move from while there’s still value. In a long term league winning isn’t just finishing on top at season’s end. If you aren’t going to be one of those final four teams or better you have to win the trade deadline.

I’ve seen a team trade off JuJu Smith-Schuster early in his rookie year to try and get a vet to go for the playoffs. It’s really easy to grade that rade as a failure because the vet didn’t pan out and Shuyster exploded on to the team, but even at the time it was an extremely short sighted move. That team would have been better off if they had just ridden it out with JuJu.

After that team had a high draft pick this year they hang on to Josh Gordon and Carlos Hyde to see if they could bounce back, that’s the right approach. Unfortunately, that team owner decided to stick it out and push for the playoffs once again. It was another short sighted move that doomed the team once again.

Yeah it would have been nice if Hyde and Gordon would have continued but some logical thought would have said with Nick Chubb and Gordon’s issues that it was a high rish proposition. Instead those hot starts could have been flipped for some future assets that put the team in a better position for the future. It’s a risk to sell early but if you weren’t going to win the championship then build for the future find better, safer players.

Each season I identify older players that are short term assets to move on from as I continue to build my team. The first year it was LeGarette Blount, then Marshawn Lynch and Jimmy Graham and last season it was Adrian Peterson and Golden Tate. Because I was honest about my team I was able to be aggressive early and control the trade deadline each season. Each of those trades got my lounger term players and draft picks.

I’m not saying you should tank but fantasy football is more like the rebuilding teams for baseball. You find some valuable pieces and are always looking to gather draft picks and young assets. The benefit of course is is getting a better draft pick because you take yourself out of it, but the worst spot to be is somewhere in the middle, competing but not really a threat for a championship.

In a long term league there are more than one way to win. The obvious is being number one at the end of the season but if you can’t get there you can win the trade deadline. Make the best big trade and take control of the seller’s market. It may be tough that early to take yourself out of it but you can lose the battle that season to win the war in the future.