VIII. Play for the Championship, NOT the Regular Season
This sounds fairly common-sense but this is something many fantasy players lose sight of. Before the draft there is but one goal, winning the championship. Somewhere along the way we can lose sight of that and begin to build a team full of great players vs. a team ready for the playoffs. Let me explain what I mean: just because there are a bunch of great players on a team doesn’t promise anything, strength of schedule (SOS) and many other factors can influence player’s scores every week. Here are a few things to keep in mind that will help for the playoffs: drafting/adding suspended players in FA may win big in the playoffs, adding injured or suspended players weeks before they return to the field, trading for players with a stronger 2nd half outlook by unloading players currently over-performing, and evaluating SOS for the playoffs.
- Drafting suspended players is a risk, there is no doubt about it, but it is one that needs to be considered. Thinking about a recent example, Le’Veon Bell was suspended for three games in 2016 and his draft value reflected that. Owners who were willing to bite the proverbial bullet and draft him won big on their risk. Bell was one of the best, if not the best, fantasy RB last year from week four on. The value of a suspended player is not zero points while they are gone, instead, their actual value is what they score for you during the season and what their substitute scores while they are out. Take that into account when deciding if a suspended player is providing value at the current pick or not.
- Adding injured/suspended players weeks before they are available could single-handedly win a team the championship. I just mentioned suspended players being drafted (not all are worth it since they may not have much value regardless) but injured players can be worth the risk as well. Depending on the league, players with lengthy injuries may have to be dropped for a period of time. If this is the case, and there is room on the roster, pick them up multiple weeks before they are scheduled to return. They will not likely be available only one to two weeks before their expected return so be sure to pounce on them before the competition does.
- Making trades is one of the quickest, yet most difficult ways to improve a team during the season. Trades are always problematic in fantasy football because everyone wants to make their team better while also making the other team worse. Any trade that benefits a team is worth doing; don’t avoid making one simply because it benefits the other team. In addition to that, don’t look to try and abuse another team by bullying them into a trade either. Stay within the confines of the league rules regarding trades. If there are owners who don’t really know what they are doing then try and help them out a bit regarding the trade, it’s not enjoyable winning a league with a stacked team when the team is acquired unfairly. This will also keep members in the league for the long term, no one wants to return to a league where they are taken advantage of.
- Finally, look to target players in trades who may be currently under-performing but could soon be expected to breakout, or that have a great schedule in the playoffs. Having the second and third best WRs on a team going against the best defenses in the league is not ideal, having similar players matched up against the easier defenses in the league are. Don’t go crazy with this, but the better the schedule players have the more comfortable an owner can be in their play.
* This is block 8 of an 11-part series that will be posted over the course of the next week. It will then be posted in its entirety at the conclusion of the series. Thank you for reading and be sure to come back tomorrow to the Overtime Network for the next blocks!