Fantasy 101: Preparing for Playoffs

It’s that time of year, the temperature is getting colder, the days are getting shorter, and most importantly, it’s almost Fantasy Football Playoffs time.  At this point, you should know if you are in the running to make playoffs, and I have a few pointers from lessons learned that are important to remember as you prepare your army for battle.

 

#1: Don’t Get Cute

Every year I see people try to out-think the playoffs, and it hurts them in the end.  You need to Start your Studs, and rely on their talent.  Do not over-weigh the match-ups.  Here is a prime example.  I have Tom Brady as my starting Quarterback.  I do not love his match-up against Pittsburgh in the playoffs, but there is no chance that I am sitting the greatest quarterback of all time to dodge that match up.  I will be enraged if I lose because of a streaming Quarterback such as Ryan Fitzpatrick, Jay Cutler, or Tyrod Taylor (I actually think Tyrod is a great streaming option, but he is not a better QB than Tom Brady).  If I’m going to lose, I’m going to do it with my best players.

 

#2:  Have a Plan

You at this point should know who is reliable, who you want to ride through the playoffs, and who is the next man up.  Depth of people who are mediocre as long term investments or name value only are no longer valuable.  Play your studs and handcuff them where you can.

There is a caveat to this, and that is if you have been streaming options week to week.  As an example, I have not had a consistent and reliable second running back all year, every week I piece together the best option I can.  This is not an ideal situation, but is sometimes what you must do to give yourself the best chance to win any week.  If this is the case, it is even more important have a rough-plan for the playoff weeks so you don’t get stuck in a bad situation during the most important weeks!

 

#3: Cheer Loud

Fantasy is a hard thing to win every week, so if you are running in the playoffs, congratulations!  This means that you have a team that can win in any given week, and that’s all you need in the playoffs, a few wins.  At this point, you’ve set up your team as best as you can, now you just need a little luck.

 

Fantasy playoffs are an exciting precursor to the actual NFL playoffs.  If you are in the playoffs, Don’t Get Cute, Have a Plan, Cheer Loud, and good luck!

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Fantasy 101: Winning Your Trades

     I don’t remember much from my Economics degree in school, and I use even less in any given day.  But one thing I do remember: timing is everything.  If you want to sell something at a high price, you need to do it when demand is high and supply is low.  Conversely, to buy a player for great value you should strike when demand is low and supply is high.

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Trading, at least in most leagues I am in, is a seemingly impossible thing to do. Everyone wants the big win.  At the beginning of this year someone offered me a soon-to-be suspended Zeke for Tom Brady and OBJ.  Luckily, down the road of offensive offers and selfishness, I do believe there is a light at the end of the tunnel.  

People, far too often, think about trades on a player by player basis; as opposed to addressing them situationally.  Often I hear people saying “I need to get rid of x” or “Y had a really good game, I want to target him”, but all that’s doing is chasing points.  Instead, you should address the situation as a whole, and manipulate good timing to your advantage.  Here are a few examples I went through this year.

I was an OBJ owner, if you are grieving as well I understand your pain.  As soon as he went down, I had to upgrade my WR core.  I did not chase a particular player, instead I looked at my situation.  What I did have, was Duke Johnson Jr., who had scored three touchdowns in the last three weeks, before that he only has scored three in his previous two years.  Looking at what is most likely to happen next, I traded Duke for Doug Baldwin, a historic slow starter and potential top 10 WR every week.  Here are their outputs before and since the week 5 trade:

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These don’t always work out.  Similarly, I was struggling at RB, so I looked for more depth.  I traded for C.J Anderson in week seven only giving up Sammy Watkins.  He had a few bad games, but so did the offense as a whole, and I think he is the best running back on Denver.  It has not served me well thus far, but I think the trade was the right move at the time, and am more optimistic about C.J. becoming fantasy relevant again before Sammy Watkins.

I’ll give one more example.  Zeke got ‘suspended’ in week 9, supposedly keeping him out until the last two weeks of the fantasy playoffs.  There is one team in our league that has a dominant roster, and plenty of skill to spare.  He traded Doug Martin, his fourth best running back on his roster, for Zeke straight up.  A trade like this would only be possible with this timing, because he traded a starter now for a league winner later.

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Rarely, in competent leagues, can you outright rob someone in your trades.  The best way to upgrade the strength of your team is to trade based on situations, not players.