How To Dominate After Draft Day

Justin HulseyCorrespondent ISeptember 7, 2009

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So you spend all of the offseason preparing for your draft. Then it is draft day, and you nail it. You get all the guys you were hoping for and then some. It’s a huge success. You get home that night, set your lineup, and you love it. Unfortunately, you’ve only won half the battle.

Sometimes a good draft falls in your lap. A good season does not just fall in your lap. You may have a stacked roster, but you’re going to need much more than that. Here’s my advice to dominating AFTER the draft. 

1 ) Pay attention to all settings
You should already know them like the back of your hand, but if you don’t, check in to it. Some of your players’ value could be seriously altered depending on the settings. Some of the current free agents could be gold due to the settings. You must know this stuff. Also, some settings have limits as to how many trades or FA pickups you may have. Trust me when I say this: You do NOT want to find out halfway through the season that you can no longer acquire new players. 

2 ) Be honest with yourself
Don’t bullshit. Take a look at your roster and find out your strengths and weaknesses. If you honestly think you are balanced enough to not worry about it, great. But all teams have flaws. My team’s flaw would be at running back. I took Drew Brees with the 11th pick and had to wait until the third to snag my second running back. So just take some time to figure out what you need to improve on. Then, in my case, check out other teams rosters and look for teams with an abundance of running backs. Don’t come on too strong, but maybe throw out the idea of a trade and see what happens. 

3 ) Think ahead
Know what is going to happen before it happens. One of the most interesting factors in fantasy football is the bye week. Some could care less about it. Some focus their draft around it. My thoughts? I don’t pay a ton of attention to the bye weeks DURING the draft. Why take a lesser talented player just because he interferes with your quarterback’s bye week? Say you took Randy Moss in the second. Now you are in the fifth and in need of another wideout. You want Chad Ochocinco, but he has the same bye week as Moss. Instead of taking the BETTER receiver, the guy that you want, you take Derrick Mason. Doesn’t make sense to me. However, during the season, you may want to think about bye weeks when picking up free agents, trading for players, etc. If you do have a week where several players are out, don’t sweat it. Don’t do anything stupid…just take a week off.

4 ) Think twice before making a move
This used to be a huge problem with me. I panicked. If my team was struggling, I tended to totally revamp my roster. Take my word for it, that is not a good idea. Never give up on a player too early. As a rule of thumb, don’t trade anybody (unless it’s obvious) until after week three. Take Drew Brees in 2007 for an example. He straight up sucked in the early portions of the year. In week one, he went 28-for-41 for 192 yards and threw two interceptions. That was how it was for the first couple weeks, and I ended up trading him. In week eight, Brees went 31-for-38 for 336 yards and four touchdowns. He ended up throwing for over 4,000 yards and 28 touchdowns. A player on your team will disappoint you in week one. Do not give up on him. 

5 ) Avoid RB vs Ravens, Steelers, Vikings
Now that you have all the mental stuff, how about some actual decision making? Unless you are dealing with a super-stud running back, you must take this into consideration. In 2008, the Baltimore Ravens only allowed four rushing touchdowns. Minnesota and Pittsburgh yielded an NFL-best 3.3 yards per game. You do the math. If your running back is going up against the Steelers or Vikings and has 25 carries, he won’t break the 85-yard mark. 

6 ) Always play QB, RB, WR vs Broncos, Chiefs, Lions, Seahawks
Okay, maybe not ALWAYS. But more often than not, put these guys in the lineup! Unless you are just stacked, start those playing these sub-par teams. Last season, Denver intercepted an AFC-low six passes, Kansas City had a league-low ten sacks, Detroit allowed an unreal 405 yards per game (in a bad-offense division), and Seattle allowed an NFL-worst 4,149 total passing yards. 

7 ) Always go with the hot-hand
If you’re sitting at the computer Sunday morning unsure of who to start, always go with the hot hitter. You don’t want to over think things in fantasy sports. Sometimes it’s best to simply go back to basics. So if you are debating whether to start Santonio Holmes or Lee Evans, think it through. 

8 ) There are a few FA studs – find them
There is a Le’Ron McClain, Steve Slaton, and Pierre Thomas in every season. They are out there. In fact, there are probably several players on your leagues free agent list that will end up being stars this year. Somebody is going to pick them up. Why not you? It’s your job to find them. It’s what I call a super-sleeper. A regular sleeper is drafted, but much lower than he should be. A super-sleeper is not drafted… but is simply waiting for the lucky owner to pick him up. Not only will they provide depth, they will provide trade assets. Say Kurt Warner goes down and you pick up Matt Leinart. The former Trojan starts to light things up. Your buddy just happens to need a QB. You see what I’m getting at? 

9 ) When it’s time to trade, DO IT
Like I said before, you gotta be smart (and careful) with this. You can make or break a season with one trade. You have to know the difference between players who are just off to a slow start between players who are just having a bust season. It’s is very difficult, and I’m not going to sit here and tell you I know the difference. I’m just warning you. Also, you want to be the guy offering the trade. If you feel any signs of desperation, pump the brakes. That is what owners are trying to do. They want you to bite. Finally, don’t hesitate to sacrifice some of your bench. Those guys are only there for bye weeks and injuries. In the playoffs, you do not need four good running backs. Trade for something of value.

Until next time, take it easy.

- Jay -