Fantasy football can be a frustrating yet completely satisfying part of the NFL season, but it may take a risky move on your part, like trading for Roddy White of the Atlanta Falcons to mount a run at a championship.
Every season, there are waiver wire acquisitions that help a team make a playoff run.
On the other end of the spectrum, there are high draft picks that can kill an hopes of a fantasy championship.
No matter what the situation, you are not out of it this season unless mathematics tells you different.
Here are 10 steps to mounting a run at your fantasy football championship game.
Every fantasy owner has a different story, whether it is the midseason rage that Chris Johnson brings or the excitement that Willis McGahee has brought to the table.
The first step to making a run at your fantasy league's championship is analyzing what chapter of your story you are currently in.
Does your team need a big trade?
Are you satisfied with your current record and lineup?
The first step is to take a step back and decide which direction you want to take your team in.
Todd Haley's Kansas City Chiefs have had a roller-coaster season in 2011, but that doesn't mean it's time to make a major change.
They are tied for the lead in the AFC West.
If you feel that your team is struggling, make sure you check out how the rest of the league is doing.
If you are 4-5, but one game out of the playoffs, it may not be the time to make a big move.
It may be time to let things play out.
Vincent Jackson of the San Diego Chargers has ruined a lot of fantasy owners' weeks this season.
At the same time, he has helped fantasy owners win unexpectedly with two phenomenal three-touchdown performances as well.
So, in your head, you may be considering trading him because of the frustration he has brought you in 2011.
In reality, you might want to hang on to him.
Take a reality check and see how each player on your team has performed this year.
Is it what you expected?
Do you think things will change?
If your starting lineup includes Cam Newton, Arian Foster, Michael Turner, Calvin Johnson, Mike Wallace and Jason Witten, standing pat is likely your best option.
Obviously, this doesn't apply to most owners out there.
Nonetheless, I have seen too many great teams get ruined by a trade.
If your roster is solid as is, don't get drawn into trade offers.
If you are starting Chris Ogbonnaya of the Cleveland Browns and Jackie Battle of the Kansas City Chiefs at running back, it might be time to look for some new options.
Obviously, anyone can tell you this.
Be careful not to act too quickly.
Make sure there aren't viable options on the free-agent market already.
Players like Roy Helu could turn out to be an instant help for struggling team.
In many cases, however, you will have to look for help via trade.
If you think Roddy White of the Atlanta Falcons will break out in the second half of the season and his trading value is low, you should attempt to get him.
It is important to find a player that fits your personal beliefs as a fantasy owner.
If you believe in trading for a player when his value is low, find someone like White and confidently make a move.
However, if you simply like a player and you have the tools to get him in a fair deal, make the move.
At this point, if a trade is important if you aren't comfortable with your situation. The only thing that is more important is making a move based on everything you believe in as a fantasy football owner.
Maurice Jones-Drew has easy opponents in the Indianapolis Colts and Cleveland Browns in the next two weeks.
If you are looking for a quick burst at a good price, he might be your answer.
At the same time, if you are making a trade, make sure to check who the incoming player goes up against in your playoff weeks.
The key to gaining an advantage when the playoffs roll around is having the easier schedule.
Do your best to plan ahead and make this happen.
You might be trying to snag Michael Bush of the Oakland Raiders for a cheap price because the reports say that Darren McFadden will be out for quite some time.
Make sure those "reports" are correct. Do your homework before making a trade and make sure that everything you read is as close to the truth as possible.
This step also includes thinking about your personal bias.
Did Roddy White carry you last year? That doesn't necessarily mean he will do so this year.
Are you a diehard Seattle Seahawks fan? That doesn't mean acquiring Marshawn Lynch will change your fantasy season.
Consider outside influences before making your move.
Yes, the Carson Palmer trade has not worked out quite yet for the Oakland Raiders, but their aggressiveness in making the move should be admired.
In fact, it should be mimicked if your fantasy team is struggling.
Even if you have to give up what is more than enough to the average person to get someone you are very high on, make it happen.
If you don't, there will be a "what if" that will bother you as you watch the finals weeks of the season with no fantasy implications and lint in your pockets.
When in doubt, do whatever it takes to make a deal happen that might turn your season around.
In most cases, it won't hurt your chances in making a run at a championship, and if you're lucky, it might be the difference that gets you there.
Each step in this process for making a run at your fantasy football championship doesn't apply to every owner.
This one does.
Whether you are comfortable with your team or making a potentially dangerous trade, the final results are out of control.
All that you can do is trust yourself in the direction you go and cheer your butt off.
After all, that's the great thing about fantasy football. Nobody knows what's going to happen, but we can act like we do.
At least until we're mathematically eliminated from playoffs.