Home Columns Sunshine on the Sideline: Priorities, Speedrunning & Roster Management

Sunshine on the Sideline: Priorities, Speedrunning & Roster Management

by Tom Cuda

Video games have been part of my life since I was old enough to hold a controller. They’ve provided me with countless hours of entertainment, helped me through some of the worst times in my life and even exposed me to how deep of an art form it can be. 

I was never the most athletically inclined kid — I was a bit of a klutz, and I frequently injured myself. So, video games provided me with an outlet for my competitive nature. They gave me tasks to master and ways to compete that were much more intuitive for me. Pair that competitive side with an addictive personality, and it’s not a long road to travel before I started putting video games ahead of other priorities that simply need to come first. 

As a kid, it wasn’t such a big deal if I turned in a half-hearted assignment to get a few more matches of League of Legends (LoL) in. As I got older, though, that started to change pretty quickly, and once my real-life responsibilities came head-to-head with my primary source of enjoyment, I was forced to make decisions. 

I was immature, broke, depressed and rocking LoL about six hours every day to hide from it all. It was a bad combination, and things only got worse. One day, it all came to a head. I had a breakdown and knew it was time to make some changes in my life. I needed to get my priorities straightened out. 

So, I got help for my depression. I took a promotion at work and got control of my spending, and I stopped video games cold turkey. The last part may have seemed unnecessary, but for me, it was needed. I was flunking my college classes, and I needed to get focused before I got myself kicked out of school. I knew one day I’d come back, but that would only happen when I knew I would be more responsible. I did, however, leave myself one way to enjoy some slice of the gaming world in the form of Games Done Quick(GDQ). 

Games Done Quick has raised over $22.3 million for charities since it began in 2010.

If you’ve never heard of GDQ, it’s a video game marathon done biannually for charity. It features players speedrunning a wide variety of games over the course of one week. They primarily raise money for Doctors Without Borders and the Prevent Cancer Foundation, though when COVID-19 hit, they did a charity event to raise money to help those in need. So far, these events have raised over $22.3 million, and the GDQ events are the largest global fundraising events for both Doctors Without Borders and the Prevent Cancer Foundation. The work they do is absolutely incredible, and some of the most entertaining gaming content out there. If you haven’t heard about them before, I’d urge you to please consider helping them continue their fight to help those in need and rid the world of cancer. 

Fast forward to the present, and I have learned how to prioritize my time much more efficiently. I’m doing well in school, I’m a model employee and I even recently started working gaming back into my life in a much more responsible way. It took a lot of hard work to learn how to manage my time and I’m always learning more. But, it has given me a skill that I can use in a more lighthearted way to aid us in this little game we call fantasy football. 

The time management aspect of dynasty can be split into two pieces: time and roster management. 

Time Management

Dynasty can feel overwhelming because of the amount of knowledge required to play it well. Teams are deep, and you need to know a considerable amount more about the player pool in the NFL, and even down into college, to keep an eye on the future. Finding time to research and learn all that you can isn’t as bad as it may seem to be on the surface, and you’ll be amazed at how just a few minutes every couple of days can add up to a substantial base of knowledge in no time. Let’s break down the main strategies. 


Got a commute? Do you have to mow the lawn or do other mindless chores? Are you stuck in a waiting room? Then you have the perfect opportunity to get into a podcast and learn about fantasy football. And, wouldn’t you know it, we have one right here at In-Between Media for you to enjoy. In all seriousness though, podcasts are an incredible way to turn mundane tasks into hobby time. 

Video Content

I largely mean YouTube here, but any kind of videos are good. Most of us don’t have time to watch hundreds of hours of film on a player, but most of us do have 15 minutes to watch a video from a trusted expert that condenses all of that information into an easily consumed medium. It allows you to get the maximum amount of knowledge out of the limited time available. My personal favorite YouTube channel for this type of content is Brett Kollman. Believe me, part of me doesn’t want to share this information, but his content is too good not to. 


Ironic, I know, but it’s true. Articles from experts you trust are also a great way to get a lot of stats condensed on your behalf and given to you in a time-friendly and easy manner. You can find articles on just about any topic or any player, and if you can’t, drop me, or anyone else at In-Between Media, a line on Twitter and we’ll see if we can’t get that research done for you. 

Roster Management

This is a crucial part of the success of any dynasty team and it differs in some major ways from redraft management.


In redraft, if a player is injured for an extended amount of time, it may just be easier to drop them and pick someone else up on the waiver because you have games to win and no time to waste. 

Well, in dynasty that calculation is a bit different. Everything is permanent, and dropping a player means quite a bit more. Those players injured in a more long-term way are often worth keeping rostered, even if your IR slots are full. Sometimes it may stink to essentially have a spot on your roster useless for a bit, but ask yourself how much you’ll kick yourself all of the next season when you give them away for free and they’re running up the score on someone else’s team. 

Take, for instance, Blake Jarwin. He just tore his ACL and he won’t play the rest of the year. In my redraft league, I’d drop him ASAP and get a replacement in. But, in my dynasty league, he’s staying put. He’s on a good contract, on a team he’ll get work, and I want those benefits for next season. Sometimes I even go as far as trying to buy at a discount if other managers need the roster spaces. If you’re confident in the player going forward it really can be a good time to buy low. 


Rookies are tough, it’s hard to know when they’ll get more work and what kind of role they’ll end up with. In redraft, it’s a bit easier, because they are usually ranked a bit lower ADP wise and it’s a bit more expected that they might not see work immediately. 

Rookie running back J.K. Dobbins scored two rushing touchdowns in his NFL Debut.

In dynasty though, rookie values are much higher and even though they may not see work right away, you need to do your best to take a look into the future and try to figure out what they may develop into. 

This season that player for me was J.K. Dobbins. My favorite running back coming into the NFL this year. He landed in Baltimore, and once Mark Ingram is gone, he should take over as the lead back and have a productive career. But, how soon? Now that Week 1 is over, it seems sooner than even I had thought, but nothing is sure for him yet. He could see a few more weeks of low production and in redraft, I might consider getting rid of him depending on my team needs. But, in dynasty, that’s not an option.

Taxi Squad

A bit of a subcategory to rookies. Some leagues utilize taxi squads to hold rookies while they develop. I very much prefer this method, but it essentially amounts to some number of players being placed on a separate roster where they are yours but not eligible to be put in your starting line up to score points. To move someone from the taxi squad to your bench, you have to drop a player, and once a player leaves, they usually can’t go back again. This makes taking a gamble on a rookie much more appealing and can give you huge payoffs for your efforts. My advice here is to give your rookies time to develop and not rush them to your roster. A rookie may be granted a temporary role to fill in for an injury, and sometimes that can tempt you into putting them on your roster too soon. 

In-Season Management

I know that keeping tabs on upwards of 20+ players may seem like it will take up too much of your time, but I find that it is usually fairly easy to get a lot of work done on that front quickly. I like to choose sometime on Tuesday to perform my waiver studying and roster studying in one sitting. That way everything overlaps a bit and I don’t have to worry so much about trying to keep up with it daily if life is too crazy at the moment. 

It can also be hard to keep up with updates in real-time, so I usually work it into my nightly routine during the season to peruse Twitter, ESPN and other sports news sources to ensure I didn’t miss anything important. 

My last piece of advice is to keep a measured and calm approach to your transactions in-season. When a championship is on the line, it can be easy to get frustrated with losses, and it can be tempting to try and dump or trade away underperforming players. Stop and think through those ramifications on a multi-year scale. Michael Thomas has a high ankle injury right now, and we’ve seen these injuries hobble players for weeks, keeping their production low for large chunks of the season. Are you really going to want to trade away Thomas for someone performing slightly better this year, when you could have the best WR in the NFL for the next three or four seasons?

Find me on Twitter @ThomasCuda and check out my other columns here on In-Between Media.

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