5 Steps to Turn Around Your Sinking Fantasy Football Team

Gary DavenportNFL AnalystOctober 9, 2013

5 Steps to Turn Around Your Sinking Fantasy Football Team

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    Every fantasy owner begins the season with dreams of a championship. For some, that dream quickly becomes a nightmare.

    Whether due to a poor draft, injuries or just plain bad luck, there are plenty of fantasy squads that have seen their season start off poorly.

    You know, like every team that drafted New York Giants running back David Wilson. Those fantasy owners now sit at 1-4 or 0-5, ready to write 2013 off as a "lost" season.

    Not so fast!

    It ain't over til it's over, and by following the steps listed here, you just might be able to right the ship and get your team back in the playoff hunt.

Know When to Cut Bait

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    When a player (such as the aforementioned Wilson) falls flat on his face out of the gate, it's understandable that fantasy owners are often reluctant to cut the cord.

    No one wants to admit they goofed by drafting a bust, so they keep waiting for that player to break out of his funk.

    "As soon as I trade/drop him he'll go off!" they say.

    Oh well. Get over it and move on.

    You're in must-win mode. You don't have time to wait for a guy who has shown zero signs of life to maybe put it together three weeks from now.

    If Wilson ends up a fantasy stud (HA!) in Week 12, so be it. Fat lot of good it will do your 3-9 team.

    Trade the bums you can. Drop the bums you can't. Get players who can help you now. No time to worry about the future when the present is circling the drain.

Get Aggressive with Trades

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    There's a school of thought that when trading in fantasy football, the "winner" is the team that gets the best player in the deal.

    If you keep that philosophy while your team piles up the losses, guess what?

    You're going to have one stud player and a fat pile of stink.

    If your fantasy squad is littered with holes and Kansas City Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles is your one steady producer, then it's time to shop Jamaal Charles. If you trade a 25-point-per-game tailback for a 15-point-per-game tailback and a 12-point-per-game receiver, then you're coming out ahead.

    The downgrade at one spot can be worth the upgrade at another if you're in a bind.

    Granted, the other guy will grin at you, and you may want to strangle him a little.

    Resist that urge and take the deal. Desperate times call for desperate measures, and in some situations quantity beats quality.

Hit the Waiver Wire HARD!

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    I get this question a lot:

    "I'm 1-3. Should I use my No. 1 waiver priority on...?"

    Which player you're talking about isn't important, because the answer is YES!

    Sure, in many fantasy leagues the waiver wire order doesn't reset weekly, so if you use that top priority on San Diego Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen this week, you may miss out on the "pickup of the year" later on.

    The thing is, odds are you got the top waiver pick because your team isn't good. If you pass on a chance to help that team now because someone better might come along in three weeks, then your team is going to keep right on losing.

    That "pickup of the year" could be sweet, though. Difference between 1-12 and 2-11 even.

    Woo-hoo!

    Hit the waiver wire as hard as you can. Matchup plays. Upside guys. You name it. If a player isn't helping your team, switch him out for someone who might.

    Your fortunes aren't going to change unless you change them.

     

Gamble with Your Weekly Lineup

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    There's another school of thought in fantasy football that proclaims you should "always start your studs."

    Okay, enough school. Like I said, desperate times call for desperate measures.

    When every week becomes a one-game, do-or-die season within a season, then it's time for conventional wisdom to go out the window.

    Sure, it may seem kooky to start Oakland Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor on the road at Kansas City over Matthew Stafford of the Detroit Lions against the Cleveland Browns. 

    Unless, that is, you think a combination of Pryor's legs and garbage-time numbers will propel him to a better fantasy day than Stafford with a banged-up Calvin Johnson against the Browns.

    That's just an example, but the point is this: Don't be afraid to take risks with your lineup when looking for an upset. The worst that happens is you lose again, and you can't sink a boat that's already at the bottom of the lake.

    However, should it pay off, you're one small step closer to getting back in the game.

Re-Name Your Team

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    This one really doesn't do anything to help your chances of winning, unless you believe in "juju."

    It can, however, do wonders for your mental health.

    I drafted a team this year that looked like a real contender on paper. Then the season started, and so did the losing. By the time that team hit 0-4, I couldn't look at the roster without getting angry.

    So I changed the name of the team to the very apt "The Suckville Sucknados."

    If nothing else, that bit of silliness gave me a moment to relax and let the frustration pass. Then I started hitting the waiver wire in an effort to get better.

    That squad got their first win last week.

    Of course, tight end Owen Daniels of the Houston Texans (my starter) broke his leg, but hey...

    You can't win 'em all.

     

    Good Luck this Week!