How To Not Lose Your Fantasy Football League: Simple Advice
I can't tell you how to win your fantasy football league. Even the "experts" who project the week's hottest FLEX plays are selling you lies. All I can do is outline the staggering hurdles that could trip you up and ruin your season on a weekly basis.
I'm not here to sell you my certain tincture or snake oil to solve all of your fantasy problems. If you drafted a kicker in the sixth round or decided to auto-draft, there's no saving you anyway. If you're like the rest of us who fall victim to injuries, bench players making you pay for sitting them, and tantalizing trade proposals from your so-called-friends...I might be able to help.
Playing fantasy football for a long time teaches you a few things. Mostly, you learn things to never do again. Sometimes, you win. Typically, the winner of each league is the guy who either got lucky or did his due diligence. I just want to make sure you have a shot, or hell, just not get made fun of in a group text every week.
There's only a few ways to win, but there's tons of ways to lose. Let's all just try not to lose together.
DON'T Doubt Your Studs
After reading eighteen articles and projections, and listening to four different podcasts, and watching three different pregame shows with fantasy advice...it's easy to question even the most simple of decisions.
Believe in your draft. If you already feel terrible about your crew two weeks in, try to keep some rationality.
If you drafted Peyton Manning, play Peyton Manning. If Calvin Johnson is banged up and playing Denver, don't bench him just because Doug Baldwin is in Cleveland. Finally, for the love of all things holy, never bench your bell-cow running back. Ever. I don't care what scenario you're cooking up. Put that gun down before you shoot yourself in the foot.
It's fine to get advice from other sources and look at your matchups, but sometimes you just have to get out of your own head.
If things are really bleak, then you might have to resort to a trade. This is a dangerous endeavor, laced with distrust and deception. Proceed with care.
DON'T Trade With Roster Predators
There's one in every league, maybe more. You know this person already.
It's not the person who bombards you with insane trade proposals every three hours ("Cecil Shorts and Jay Cutler for Aaron Rogers? Two for one, buddy. What do you think?") or openly tries to deal you a lemon. They're not brazen about stealing your best player, and you often don't realize you've been bamboozled untill all the bamboo is oozled.
The trade proposal will usually come from a viable competitor. Remember, your enemies aren't trying to help your team, so the best you can hope for is a mutually beneficial agreement.
If they immediately act like this is a bargain, step away. Step away immediately, and throw the message into the trashcan before it explodes and kills your entire roster.
Here are some red flags: if the deal involves you getting somebody who just had a monster week, you're probably getting fleeced. Vice versa, if they're trying to trade for one of your players who just registered a stinker, try to think two or three times about what they might be see that you're overlooking. Lastly, never go all in on a player that is boom or bust. Always trade for consistency. You can find boom or bust on the waiver wire.
If you have too many receivers and no running backs, clearly you need to make a deal more than a commissioned appliance salesmen. Trade away your positions of depth to add major pieces of need.
Remember, these people are not your friends. They might be your friends in real life, but they want your fantasy team to burn and suffer the worst and most public of despairs. The last thing you want to do is give them any advantage.
DON'T Be Lazy On The Waiver Wire
Champions are made every year through waiver wire acquisitions. It's your fault if you decide to neglect one of the most important parts of the fantasy world. You never know what hidden diamonds are lurking in that free agency pool.
First rule, don't wait. If you think a guy is worth taking a flier on, do it quickly before somebody else snatches him. Chances are, if you're waiting to see him prove something, it's probably too late. In most competitive leagues, you have to use a little bit of intuition.
Second rule, don't get attached to your bench players. If you haven't played them in a few weeks, how much are they really doing for your squad? Might as well shake things up and see if another guy breaks out.
Third and final rule, don't put a player into the waiver wire that other people in the league will make you pay for. Nothing hurts more than losing to a team that is using one of the players you dropped. This rule makes you think twice when proceeding through the waiver wire process. If you're going to add somebody, make sure you're not making a hasty decision.
It's always a good idea to stash somebody on the IR - designated to return too (if your league allows it), so always keep your eyes out for injured players that could come back late in the season and help push you into or through the playoffs. Oddly, sometimes the most obvious players sit there for the longest because nobody thinks to look for them in free agency.
WRAP-UP: Fantasy Football Is Hard, And We're All Probably Doomed
Chances are, you either think I'm the dumbest person to ever write an advice blog or you're frantically scribbling down notes. The reigning champion of your league doesn't need this advice, and they're probably the ones who think I'm an idiot for pointing out the obvious.
I just think there needs to be a fantasy football column that honestly tries to improve your chances of winning. By the time you've read some article outlining sleeper picks, the dudes in your league probably already snatched them up. Instead of trying to give you the scoop each week, I'll just be over here trying to prevent you from blowing your team up on a regular basis.
It's easy to play fantasy football, but it's even easier to be terrible at it. Let's all just try to not be terrible every week.