Full disclosure: I’m not guaranteeing anything. If you’re sitting pretty at the top of your fantasy league and want to just keep doing what has gotten you to the top, by all means, be my guest. This is more directed to those of us that are at the cusp of the playoff rankings, and with six weeks left to play, need some wins.
Tip No. 1 – Try the Committee Approach
You’ve heard of teams using a running back by committee approach. Why not use that theory in fantasy? You want to put the best player out there given their strengths in a given situation. Mike Tolbert gets the goal-line work for San Diego because he’s a big guy and can push his way through blocks to gain a couple of yards and a touchdown. You’d be shocked to see him making a Jamaal Charles-esque 30-yard run.
Use the Committee Approach on your team. Play a different defense each week. If you want to go with the “Whoever is playing Chicago (or Washington, or Arizona)” approach to get the inevitable sack points, go for it. If you think San Diego’s special teams can’t block to save their season, take the team playing San Diego, if available. Use a little logic, do a little research and switch it up.
The Committee Approach works well on kickers as well. As a rule of thumb, kickers playing in a dome will succeed more often than kickers playing outside (see: Kansas City/Buffalo game). Pick the kicker in the dome whose team you think will win the game. That’s it.
Kickers and defenses you can usually grab without even using a waiver claim. If you try to play tight end by committee (also possible), you may end up using a waiver claim. If you have unlimited claims though, it might be worth it.
Tip No. 2 – Know the Team
No, not the team you’re playing against. That doesn’t matter (with one exception, and that is if you have a choice at quarterback and your rival has a star wide receiver, start the quarterback of the WR’s team to negate points, but you knew that already, right?).
Know the team that your players are playing for and against. While this isn’t going to stop you from starting Chris Johnson or Hakeem Nicks, it is good to keep in mind when you’re debating between players or debating about a flex player.
For example, Indianapolis is in the top ten defenses against the pass, but in the bottom five of defenses against the rush. Atlanta, on the other hand, is in the top ten defenses against the rush, but in the bottom five of defenses against the pass.
Watch the defensive players and see who is out that may affect your decision. Nnamdi Asomugha will likely be out this week. If out, this makes Dwayne Bowe a more attractive option than if he was playing. These are the things to watch.
Tip No. 3 – Don’t Be Afraid To Gamble
This advice may be the most controversial, but hear me out. If you are in need of a win, and your team has only gotten you to 4-4 thus far, why not take a risk? Pick up someone who may pull a LeGarrette Blount-type week last week and get you the win. The risk? They may put up a James Jones donut.
No one truly knows who is going to perform well from week to week. If you can get lucky and pull one guy off the waiver wire that will win you the week, go for it. Maybe it’s Mike Hart this week. Darren Sproles? Kevin Smith (Detroit)? Steve Breaston? Maybe THIS is Jonathan Stewart’s week?
Tip No. 4 – Get Rid of the Dead Weight
This one is self-explanatory. You drafted some guys that you knew may not be starters, but would fill in during the bye week. Maybe you played them randomly one week anyway. Maybe you capitalized on a good week, maybe you got a goose egg. Now it’s time to cut ties.
The TV show The League says there’s no love in the League. Well, there is also no loyalty. If you haven’t started the guy yet, drop him. If you keep hoping that maybe this will be the week, but it hasn’t been the week yet, drop him. If he had one good week (five weeks ago) and has done nothing since, get rid of him.
Some examples clogging up your bench: Michael Crabtree Roy Williams, Brett Favre, Tim Hightower, Chester Taylor, Bernard Berrian, Heath Miller, Marion Barber.
Tip No. 5 – Offer Up a Trade
In my leagues, there has been very little trading, if at all, to this point. With the trade deadline approaching in most leagues, this may be your last shot. Especially if you’re in a keeper league, a team without a shot at the playoffs may take your potential players (and draft picks) in return for giving up an established player.
A team at the top is not likely going to trade you, unless they have a deficiency somewhere that can’t be fixed with the waiver wire. Watch your opposition’s rosters and what does it hurt to offer a trade? Just know that you need to give something up in order to get something, and both parties need to feel that it is beneficial.
And at the end of the day, use whatever lucky ritual you believe in. Because at the end of the day, no matter how well you drafted, how much you researched and how prepared you are, you need luck. Good weeks, injuries and bad calls happen to the best of us.
Good luck all!