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Fantasy Tips: Moving from Present to Future
Written by Michael Naclerio   

As NBA teams were entering the end of the regular season this past month, those whose playoffs hopes had already been crushed began to contemplate the year ahead: the Lottery, the offseason, and the steps needed to build into a title contender for the 2012-13 season.

Fantasy writers might not find themselves in as big of a dilemma at the end of a given sports season but making the decision as to when to stop writing about the present and begin writing about the future (next season) is a dilemma, nonetheless.

After a grueling season of day to day or week to week writing there comes a time when a writer must opt to include projecting out the next season into their content – not just projecting out the next season but also assessing the present season in a cumulative manner.

There's a certain way to implement all of these aspects into your content effectively and specific ways to go about writing these columns.

First, a content schedule becomes integral. It is an absolute must that you continue to publish the same content you were writing in the beginning of the season otherwise you lose touch with a readership that’s focused on a heated finish or a head-to-head playoff scenario.

Second, you need to start including a little bit of extra content in to the calendar that you had working effectively all season long.

What types of columns these are is up to your discretion, but there are plenty of avenues that you can take to assess the current season and project the next.

The first move will be to take a look at the entirety of the present season’s statistics. This means sitting down with league-wide statistics and figuring out some of the outlying numbers. See who over-performed and who under-performed. You can then simply use these statistics to identify the deeper reasoning that a player may have struggled or bust onto the scene.

This will allow you to project who will most likely be in line to take a step back in production or breakout next season and calculate their according value.

FanGraphs writer Carson Cistulli explains: "I like to use projections, certainly. ZiPS for hitters. ZiPS and Steamer for pitchers. I'll use that and project fantasy value for every player based on it."

Allan Harrison at The Fantasy Fix does much of the same. "The data compiled is typically compared to the player’s historical data and scouting reports to guide our projections for the following year. And although September call-ups are just a quick glimpse, we take advantage of the opportunity to observe the prospects each team has on their 40-man roster, to further aid our projections for the upcoming season."

The general theme is to project, project and then project some more, player by player. Project out the entire next season player by player. One great way to present this to your readers is through a ranking, either by position or overall.

But don't take it too far. This is a very preliminary look at next season through the statistics that are seemingly quite fresh in everybody's mind. Advises Cistulli: "That said, I don't calculate hard dollar values for auctions or drafts."

There's no sense in projecting out individual values at that point when so much information will be on the horizon in terms of injuries and playing time come training camp, preseason or spring training.

But as Jake Allin Ciely of RotoExperts explains you must take into account which sport you’re writing about. "Was Jose Reyes going to be any different in Miami than he was in New York? No. The most difficult part with Reyes was projecting if he could stay healthy. If Justin Verlander left Detroit for Cincinnati, would we see him any differently? Nope."

Clearly some sports are just more readily assessed at such an early stage in comparison to others.

Just remember not to neglect your preexisting content calendar and to implement your projection content slowly. You never want to cut off a fantasy owner in the playoffs cold turkey when they need your advice most.