If You're Out of Fantasy Football Playoff Contention...

Michael WhooleySenior Writer INovember 13, 2009

SEATTLE - NOVEMBER 08:  Calvin Johnson #81 of the Detroit Lions walks on the field before the game against the Seattle Seahawks on November 8, 2009 at Qwest Field in Seattle, Washington. The Seahawks defeated the Lions 32-20. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

Last week’s column was directed at teams that have basically locked up a fantasy football playoff spot. This week’s column is focused on teams who are out of playoff contention. I see fantasy owners make embarrassing mistakes each year when their season has tanked. After reading this, hopefully you won’t be THAT owner this season.

1. Do NOT start a firesale.

If you’re out of playoff contention, don’t trade or release your stud players for nothing. Not only does it make you look childish and immature, but you will also cause problems for the rest of the league by creating an imbalance of talent on some rosters.

2. Do NOT whine or complain.

Nobody in your league really cares that your 2-7 team is the third highest scoring team in the league. That may be bad luck, but it happens. Like NFL teams, your fantasy football team is only as good as your record. Complaining or whining about your bad luck is petulant.

3. Continue to field the best team you can for the rest of the season.

When things get bad, this can be tough to do. It is, however, imperative that you do so. Not doing so is reflective of your character in a very negative way. Basically, it shows that you’re a quitter when the chips are down. Does anyone really want that kind of reputation?

4. Playing the role of a spoiler is fun.

I know this sounds like a consolation prize, but the opportunity to be a spoiler for another team’s season can be deviously gratifying. This is even more so if you have the opportunity to beat a division rival in the final weeks of the season to cost that owner a playoff spot. They may have the better record, but they’ll be watching the league playoffs just like you. There’s satisfaction and pride to be taken in that…

5. Don’t question or criticize league rules once you’re out of contention.

The time to question, criticize, or debate league rules is at your draft/auction or before Week 1. Disparaging league rules when your team is 1-8 looks like you’re making excuses to the rest of the league. That may not be the case, but it will be the perception. For most people, perception is reality.

If you’re out of contention in your fantasy football league, these are just a few things you can do to make sure you’re respected by your league competitors and invited back to the league the next season. 

Matt’s Mailbag

Hi Matt ,

I’d like to preface this with: I work nights and weekends, so any of the Live Q&A sessions I tend to miss. So if this email comes off as inappropriate or another one of the mass emails you probably receive crying “what do I do with my team,” I apologize.

I enjoyed your fantasy playoffs preparation article immensely. Been a constant follower of Bruno Boys for a while now, always quality.

I’m an avid preparer, and really I feel I can hold my own in fantasy football circles, as I consistently field good teams in high money high competition leagues with coworkers and friends. I really just need outside perspective on my situation from someone who is both well informed, and not competing against me.

I’m currently facing a dilemma in my main money league. It’s a 12 person league, PPR, standard ESPN scoring otherwise.  I’ve managed to rack myself up into a comfortable spot in second place at 7-2. I’m trying to baby-step my team to be more secure but I’ve hit a wall.

Starting positions are: QB, RB, RB/WR, WR, WR, TE, K, Team DEF. 6 Bench Slots + 1 IR Slot.

Roster is:

QB: Ryan/Hasselbeck

RB : MJD/Ray Rice/Jonathan Stewart/Reggie Bush

WR: R. White /Calvin Johnson/Mike Sims-Walker/Dwayne Bowe

TE: Rotating on a weekly basis based off of matchup. Zach Miller this week. I drafted Z. Miller, but he busted most of the season thanks to JaMarcus Russell so I’ve been rotating out.

K: Lawrence Tynes (Robbie Gould filling in for the bye week)

DEF: Rotating on a weekly basis based off of matchup. Titans this week. 

Overall it’s a pretty stout lineup, but I feel my weaknesses are glaring. My QBs are both shaky plays, with Hasselbeck having good matchups upcoming, but nothing solid. My TE situation is atrocious but due to a lack of player movement in my league I’ve had a hard time snagging a decent starter.

I think there is a very real chance I can package Matt Ryan /Ray Rice together and come down with Tom Brady /Larry Fitzgerald . Should this be a trade I should push for? Larry Fitz and Tom both have extremely good week 14-16 matchups, as you pointed out. I technically have a first round BYE, but I have no illusions about holding onto it.

Ray Rice’s schedule for the same weeks is good but not stellar. Would this kind of shake up trade be something worth doing? Should I not shop Rice / MJD around? 

Also, I have a chance of packaging Calvin Johnson and Reggie Bush for Kellen Winslow /Percy Harvin . Any thoughts on this as well?

I’ve had to pull teeth to figure out any trades that are good trades in general. My bench makes it difficult because they’re seem to be good/upside to trade away for cheap (Johnson/Bowe/Stewart) but not good enough to trade for solid players. It doesn’t help the waiver wires have been picked clean. I need to grab Willis McGahee off the waivers but I don’t know who is worth ditching to grab him. 

I’m sorry for the long email, thanks for any advice you give. Feel free to respond at your leisure (or hell, not at all if you’re busy), I’m not the easily offended type.


Justin in Hartford

Hi Justin ,

Thanks for the excellent write up and question. This is a perfect example of what I’m looking for in mailbag submissions.

First of all, let me just say that I like the way you’re thinking about things. It’s obvious you took a lot from last week’s column and this sort of high level thinking wins a ton of fantasy football leagues each year.

From a pure matchup standpoint, trading Matt Ryan /Ray Rice for Tom Brady /Larry Fitzgerald seems to be a great move. In your particular case, given your league scoring system, this would be a great deal for you. You only have to start one RB, which means either Maurice Jones-Drew or Jonathan Stewart after you deal Rice.

Now, if you were required to start two RBs, I would actually advise you against this deal because of the imbalance it would create on your team. You would have a plethora of talent at WR (three top five guys), but you would be fairly weak at RB if you had to start two every week. Being able to upgrade at QB with Brady and add another elite WR you can start with two other studs is a situation you can’t pass up.

I would recommend against trading Calvin Johnson /Reggie Bush for Kellen Winslow /Percy Harvin .

If you can make the deal for Brady and Fitzgerald, do it. It’s the kind of make or break move that turns a fantasy football team from mere contender to champion.

Thanks again for the excellent question, Justin.

Bruno Boys Matt

Well, that’s it for this week. Since everyone always asks, I’ll just tell you that my team is now 8-0-1 in the Bruno Boys Staff League . Huge matchup this week against Bruno Boys Cavigs who seems hell-bent on putting a one in my loss column. If you have any questions or want to make a mailbag submission, feel free to email me at mkamke@brunoboys.net . Best of luck this week.