It’s Week 14 now, which most likely means it’s the playoffs for the majority of fantasy football diehards.
Are you basking in the afterglow of making the playoffs? If so, it's is no time to celebrate—there is still work to be done.
You still have to study the free agent market, dissect matchups and coordinate for the stretch run. But in a panic to make the right decisions, allow me to attempt to steer you towards making the right—albeit risky—moves for the final weeks of the season.
Nothing ventured, nothing gained, eh?
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I think this goes without saying, but always play the matchups and don’t be afraid to take a gamble on a sleeper with a great matchup.
If you think a guy like Maurice Morris can shred up the Raider’s soft run defense (when they play in Week 15), then go for it.
Just think how comfortable Matt Forte owners would be if they had the good sense to handcuff him to Marion Barber.
Of course, you would obviously skip a beat going from Forte to Barber, but you’ll always have a runner who will get a majority of touches going forward for the same team. If you don’t handcuff your major studs, you run the risk of losing his backup to someone else on the waiver wire.
So if you own Ray Rice, Arian Foster or a Frank Gore, it’s invaluable to grab Ricky Williams, Ben Tate and Kendall Hunter, respectively, as insurance for the stretch run.
And in some instances, it’s not a bad idea to back up your stud QB. If you own someone like Aaron Rodgers, it may not be too silly in suggesting picking up Matt Flynn.
This advice goes hand-in-hand with the first rule I pointed out by playing the matchups.
So, you had the luxury of having Beanie Wells fall into your lap on draft day. Don’t be afraid to sit him if the matchup calls for it, though.
For example, Wells has to go up against the stingy 49ers rush defense this week. This week would be an ideal time to sit him. Same goes for a guy like Dwayne Bowe, who has to matchup this week against Darrelle Revis and the Jets.
So while you drafted some studs with the intention of them carrying you to a title, matchups still dictate everything when it comes to fantasy football.
Now that we have hit December, the temperature will start to drop and it could cause major havoc on some of your regulars. Mother Nature can be a major buzz kill to your squad sometimes.
Cold and windy conditions can adversely affect quarterbacks and subsequently their wide receivers, which makes running the ball more important in the final month.
In no way am I suggesting sitting the likes of Aaron Rodgers because he plays in the frigid throes of Lambeau Field, but rather think about the weather when deciding to start a marginal/toss-up player.
If, say, you have a choice between Mark Sanchez at Philadelphia or Josh Freeman at home in Tampa (Week 15 scenario), go here with the quarterback playing in warmer weather.
If you made the playoffs, there is no need to hoard players with upside or ones with good track records if they are not producing.
If you cut them now, chances are they won’t get scooped up. If they stunk for you, chances are they’ll stink for another owner.
Live in the moment.
If you have been burned by the likes of say Joseph Addai, Brandon Jacobs, Reggie Wayne, Miles Austin, Joe Flacco etc., don’t be afraid to drop them for the hot names at the moment—like Roy Helu, C.J. Spiller, Laurent Robinson, Johnny Knox and Michael Crabtree.