Fantasy baseball has no such thing as an "offseason."
The 2016 regular season is scheduled to conclude Sunday, Oct. 2, or 11 days from now (plus any potential tiebreakers to decide playoff spots), and the playoffs 31 days later (if the World Series extends to seven games), but once the games are in the books -- and often sooner -- fantasy baseball owners begin analyzing next year.
Well, championship-caliber fantasy owners do, at least. You can be sure that some of your competition is, and those are the owners who will have an advantage once spring training begins next February.
Here's a good place to start: What follows below is my tri-annual Dynasty 250 rankings. They serve as a "price guide" of sorts for dynasty or keeper leagues, whether yours exists already or plans to start from scratch in 2017.
The rankings formula
The Dynasty 250 uses the following player valuation formula:
2017 performance: 20 percent
2018 performance: 20 percent
2019 performance: 20 percent
2020 performance: 20 percent
2021 performance and beyond: 20 percent
The rationale for these weights is to provide a long-term projection of player values, in order to help fantasy owners in dynasty/keeper leagues who might be required to make critical roster decisions before the offseason arrives. For those in re-draft/single-year leagues, I'll have preliminary rankings for the 2017 season alone beginning next week, then updated regularly throughout the offseason. In addition, I -- and ESPN Fantasy as a whole -- will publish plenty of 2017 rankings, projections and profiles in the coming months to help you in your title quest next season. This page, however, is aimed at those fantasy owners who need to speculate further into the future.
Remember that other factors influence these values, beyond simply your league's scoring system. The list below is a starting point, but you need to do your own manual adjustments to account for the following:
Number of keepers: How many players can you keep, and must every team keep the same number of players?
Player pricing: Is your league draft or auction format, and do you keep players in the round they are picked, for the auction price paid, or are players simply kept without prices attached?
Contract factors: Are there limits on the number of years you can keep a player and/or are there guaranteed contracts, and is there price inflation?
Farm teams: Does your league include minor leaguers and how are these players factored into the keeper system?
Team competitiveness: Are you a contender, rebuilder or something in between? At midseason a firm answer to this is much more crucial.
The Dynasty 250
Note: Position eligibility ("Elig. Pos.") is projected for 2017 based on 2016 data through Sept. 20, and is determined based upon a minimum of 20 games or the position the player appeared at most often in 2016. Players' projected future positions -- 2018 and beyond -- are considered in the ranking. Players' listed ages are as of April 1, 2017.
Players' 2016 midseason ("Mid 2016") and peak rankings in past keeper lists ("Prv. Peak") are also provided: These lists have been published semiannually since 2010 and triannually since 2014, with preseason ("Pre-"), midseason ("Mid") and end-of-season ("End") designated to differentiate the different times of the years in question. For example, Johnny Cueto is listed with a peak of 55 in "End 14," meaning that his best all-time rank was 55th, in the 2014 end-of-season list. A "--" means that the player has never before made the top 250 cut.