As we head into the stretch run of the fantasy football season, a lot of critical thinking will be necessary for you to make the playoffs and make a run at the title.
Have you made the right decisions that place you at the top of your league’s standings? Or have injuries and bad luck ruined your mojo with you taking up residence at the bottom of the cellar?
In any event, don’t get too high or too low. That’s not to say that you can’t do better if you follow some certain strategies and avoid some pitfalls.
With that said, here are seven strategies to avoid when it comes to fantasy football.
It may sound blasphemous, but riding the hot hand and not reputation could spell ultimate doom.
Now, some will look to Chris Johnson and say reputation means squat. True, Johnson has been a colossal bust, but he is more the exception and not the rule.
Look at the slow start Frank Gore got off to this year, only rushing for 148 yards in his first three games. Since then, Gore has been a beast, rushing for 634 yards and four touchdowns. So if you started some other stiff who may have gotten off to a hot start (think Tim Hightower before his injury) instead of Gore in Week 4, then it could have done you in.
In other words, trust your studs.
People in my leagues do it all the time.
Someone will always fall in love with a receiver who just had a great breakthrough game and immediately go to the waiver wire and scoop him up.
The caveat here is this really doesn’t apply to rookies. They are a precocious bunch who can either go boom or bust (a la A.J. Green and Julio Jones). So, if a rookie breaks out, there is a decent chance they can keep it up, especially if they were a high draft choice in the NFL draft.
No, I am talking about the vet who has been in the league for a few years who just had that breakout game. Here is a list of receivers who have had 100-plus-yards in a game this year but have yet to sustain their success:
The key is to grab receivers who have been in the league three years or less and are now getting new opportunities to succeed (i.e. Victor Cruz, Darrius Heyward-Bey, Michael Crabtree, Antonio Brown and Eric Decker).
The message here is be patient.
Look at the success of guys like Arian Foster, LeGarrette Blount, Marques Colston, Brandon Lloyd, Julio Jones and Antonio Gates this year. All of the above have missed two-plus games and yet are very important members of countless fantasy squads.
Consider the severity of the injury and assess what can be had back if you drop said player. Say, even if Gates misses something like five games, his production in the other 7-11 (for fantasy schedules) games will be more than what a player of his replacement (a la a Jared Cook) would give you in the time he misses.
Call this the Tim Tebow rule.
While Tebow is mostly viewed as a dreadful NFL quarterback, the guy makes plays. He does enough with his legs to matter in fantasy. No one cares about completion percentages when he scores 20-plus points.
This also goes for running backs who get the majority of touches. While Jackie Battle and Marshawn Lynch are not elite talents, they still touch the ball on numerous plays. Just look at Lynch’s production this week (23 carries for 135 yards and a touchdown) for proof.
This is a tried and true mantra that holds true in any sort of fantasy league.
A player will go cold at times. It happens to everyone. Don’t get sucked into think you have damaged goods at all times.
Yes, there are busts (Mike Williams and of course Chris Johnson), but predicting who will be mediocre for the whole year can be a tricky proposition.
As I mentioned before, as long as a running back is touching the ball and getting carries, he’ll have fantasy relevance.
So, if you have the roster space, a second-string running back is not such a bad commodity to have. All it takes is a major injury to make someone like a Ricky Williams or a CJ Spiller impactful. We have already seen it with DeMarco Murray, Willis McGahee and Jackie Battle stepping up after starting the year low on the depth chart.
While kickers are a dime a dozen, that doesn’t mean they can’t serve a purpose.
If you can find the right kicker in the right situation, they can score in bunches. The key is getting a kicker who has the opportunity to put points on the board due to the fact they play behind high-scoring offenses.
Even better is getting a kicker whose team can put up points on the board while also kicking indoors. That’s what makes guys like John Kasay, Matt Bryant and Jason Hanson valuable.