Every week of the fantasy football season is important. Many years we look back and find that we missed the playoffs because we fell one-win short. Losses in the first couple of weeks are no different than in the latter weeks. If we won last week, there is no cause to let up and take this week for granted. When we lose in Week 1 it is not the end of the world. Very, very few of us are going to go undefeated anyway.
We need to establish a weekly pattern to follow in keeping us on track, week after week. For those who missed this a couple weeks ago, here is an 8-step plan to serve as a guideline for you to use. I do not normally repeat something, but this is a critical part of winning.
- Review the outcome of week just ended. What went right or wrong? What was your efficiency rating—how many points did you leave on the bench?
- Did your team have any injuries? If so, determine how your players’ future performance will likely be affected. Make any necessary IR moves.
- Carefully evaluate your roster early in the week. Are there any players who are being outperformed by players on the waiver wire? Here you have to be careful. Even your studs will have a bad week every once in a while, or maybe even a couple mediocre games in a row. I would seldom consider cutting them. A player like TE Delanie Walker was on the injury report most of last year and many may have released him early on, but he played and still performed pretty well every week.
- After your roster evaluation is done, plan your waiver strategy. Most leagues have two tiered waivers—based on standings and first-come, first-served. Know how many moves you can make each week and do not be afraid to upgrade your roster. Do not fall in love with your initial roster. Anyone other than your top players are replaceable.
- Trade evaluation—if you have excess strength at one position and are weak at another, look at your opponents’ rosters. If you find a possible trade that will equally help you, as well as your opponent, make an offer and negotiate to get a deal done. In trading, making one-sided offers all the time will make it highly unlikely that any other owners will ever trade with you.
- You must study injury reports on a daily basis. This is one of the biggest obstacles we face in setting lineups. Players who have a questionable designation are difficult to evaluate. When key players are injured it takes being a bit of a gambler to play them. All you can do is make the best judgment you can and then live with it.
- By Thursday night you must submit an initial lineup, including any players active in the first game of the week. We recently covered lineup building in another article. Follow the link below if you missed it.
- Now, you must finalize your lineup before Sunday. The key here has to wait until about an hour before game time. It is imperative to check to see who is inactive this week. With that information at hand, complete your lineup and let fate determine the results. I suggest keeping a firm hand in doing this. I have learned the hard way that playing last minute hunches is usually a foolish option to take
With the heavy injury toll we have seen already, we must be able to use the waiver wire to make our teams stronger. Look for opportunities and act to make them a reality. This week we see Leonard Fournette hurting—get T.J. Yelden as a handcuff. Delanie Walker went on IR—pick up Will Dissly. Several RBs got hurt to some extent—grab Phillip Lindsey. Davante Adams is hurting so pick up Geronimo Allison. And the list goes on and on.
You must learn to connect the dots. Yes, this is just like the game we learned to play as youngsters. Every injury, benching, etc. means that someone else is getting an opportunity to play. Who is Will Dissly? Who cares? He had a 3-105-1 stat line and is now the #1 TE on the Seahawks roster. Never forget—opportunity + talent = success. Every season we see players emerge that nobody had heard of when we drafted. The one constant that I have seen in my 34 years of playing this game is that we should always expect the unexpected.
Having the ability to link events with opportunities is something all the great fantasy owners have in their bag of trips. Rather than seeing something happen and just griping about it, look deeper and find an opportunity for yourself. An injury can have many impacts:
- Waiver wise, someone may very well be available as a free agent that can help you.
- Maybe you suddenly can trade someone to another team to fill an injury caused void and pick up a good player yourself.
- Perhaps you can work a deal where you can make an earlier waiver pick for another owner with a worse waiver opportunity. Then in-turn, you can make an opportunistic trade.
Unfortunately, like so many things in our lives, these weekly skills are developed over a period of time. They are not simply acquired. Depending on how you approach this, you develop an approach to the game that is instinctive. Your goal should be to have an instant response to events happening in the game: if this, then that. Strategies and analysis become something you do without consciously trying. As Nike says “just do it.”
I repeated the 8-steps above for a reason today. I believe you absolutely must have some sort of organization as to how you approach each week’s game. Few of us are disciplined enough to do it ourselves. Thus, I have given you another opportunity setup a weekly scheme that works for you.
By now you have figured out that the approach to fantasy football that I both take and teach, is intense. The harder you work, the better the results. That is why I limit myself to about five active leagues and a couple of best-ball teams. That way I cans pend the necessary time on each one. Last your three of my five teams made the playoffs. One missed by a game and the other, my dynasty team, made great strides that should reap dividends this year. Last week, four of those teams won. My one loss was a 170-158 heartbreaker in my dynasty league, the highest combined score in 34 seasons. For an 8-players lineup, those scores were both extraordinary.
Unfortunately, I added a last minute, sixth team. In drafting, I made a stupid mistake. While I was trying to make an early pick, I got confused. The system reset and before I knew it, I had Le’Veon Bell at 2.01. After that my whole draft was off by about one round and I did not react well. By the time I was done, I had a poor team and will be really challenged to do anything with it. Oh well, that is what waivers are for. LOL
This week we have to put what happened last week behind us. We have to develop a personal discipline and plan to ensure that we have thoroughly considered all the alternatives—trading, waivers and lineup submission. If we believe we have done our best, we have to accept the outcome. Win or lose, we will continue to put past games behind us and move on to the next game for the rest of the season. Our goal should not be to make the playoffs. Our goal must be to win the championship.
King's Classic Expert League--Week 1 Results
Follow my friend and colleague, Bob Lung, as he competes in these two leagues against the "big boys" in the fantasy football world.
Ask the Experts
When my friend Andy Richardson invited me to provide material for his weekly Fantasy Index Thursday morning "Ask the Experts" column, I was thrilled and honored. Here is the September 13 article from our friends at Fantasy Index. Check out all our comments this week as we answer the question: “Which Week 1 performance will turn out to be the biggest mirage—not likely to be repeated the rest of the way?”
While Week 2 games are happening, make notes about players that you may want to acquire next week. In that way you maintain an edge against your opponents. It is a long journey to win our fantasy bowls, but working together, we have begun the trek.
The season has finally started. All of us at Big Guy Fantasy Sports are intent on helping you become the champions you want to be. With our poignant articles and being the home base for the consistency theory, a sound, mathematically-based alternative to ADP, we will be with you for the 2018 season in its entirety. What happens then? That my friends, is easy. We start over and do it all again in 2019!
Good luck! Have fun!