Michael Nease brings you his insights each week for the world of Fantasy Football. Follow him on Twitter @mikeinsights
Now that your draft is on the books you can just sit back, relax and play. Five minutes a week should be enough to do your lineup and you can just sit back and count all those wins coming your way, right. Pardon me while I try to control my laughter.
As veterans of our game clearly know, the work to win a championship is in reality just beginning. You will literally need to maybe even work up a bit of a sweat and experience some anxiety each to win games. You have to manage your roster with the skills of an experienced GM. You do not to wind up with a team like the Cleveland Browns of the last few years.
It all started with the draft. By now though you may have seriously injured players who are out for an extended time, or had second thoughts about the wisdom of some of your pickups. In this time between now and the big Thursday night game September 7th between the Chiefs and the Patriots at Foxboro, you need to do some serious roster evaluation.
Do you have decent depth at all your key positions? You can always pick up a one week DST or PK, but at this point in most leagues you will see a scarcity of quality QBs, RBs, WRs and TEs available. The owners in your league that manage roster moves shrewdly have a big advantage over the others.
Make sure you understand the waivers rules inside and out. In a standings based waiver process, the better free agents usually go to the weaker teams. Some will not even bother to make claims though and that gives you an opportunity to successfully get some desired players in this way.
The best opportunity to get some free agent gems comes during the first-come, first served waiver period. Know precisely what time that starts. Know exactly what the weekly and seasonal (if any) selection limitations are.
Make plans to be ready with whatever device you use to perform waivers right when they start. Have you shopping list of who you want and who they will replace in hand as the waiver period opens. Get in there and grab who you want before the other owners even know what happened.
One year, when starting RBs were scarce, I monopolized the RB free agents and had my roster heavily weighted with starting RBs. Oddly enough, I won the championship with that team. Stopping opponents from getting spare players for their teams and crippling them is not nice, but it wins \games and certainly is not against the rules.
Obviously I did not grow up with a participation ribbon type of attitude. My grandmother stopped playing canasta with me when I was nine. I was too mean. Translated that means I could beat the old gal and she could not tolerate that. I kind of progressed from there…
Every week a player or two will emerge and you want to be able to accumulate as many of them as possible. Remember, you always want to be in position to score enough points to win each and every game you play. Conversely, by hoarding free agents, you make it more difficult for your opponents to achieve their own scoring goals.
Another team building method is through trading. I am talking strictly ab tout a re-drafter situation here, as dynasty leagues are a lot different. In dynasty league you have a lot of prospects who you believe will perform in subsequent years, as well as future draft picks to trade. Trades are a more integral happening in that playing format.
In a re-drafter environment, you are limited to trading players of like value for each other with no future draft considerations involved at all. Nevertheless, anyone having a surplus at one position and need somebody at another, may on occasion find a willing trade partner. It never hurts to try.
One thing to remember is that trading is a two-way street. The trade needs to help both owners. Making ridiculously one-sided, self-serving trade proposals will give you a bad reputation in your league and will limit your ability to improve your team when you may have no other way.
With your roster as strong as possible, now it is time to start your lineup selection. Here is where you have decisions to make. What combination of players will yield the most points? An important stat that few even think about is the % of actual points scored to most points possible.
If you use MyfantasyLleague.com, the best league management system out there, they have a power rating chart where you can track that. If your best lineup would score 150 points in a given week, by playing the right players you can get a high % of that. On the other hand, leaving high scoring players on the bench usually results in mediocrity.
And of course MFL and other league sites give you player and team projected points. I recommend ignoring them and using your own judgement. Like a baseball pitcher, do your best, but do not get too out of sorts if you make a mistake. It takes a long time to hone your lineup skills and there will be some turbulence on that journey to improving decision making. Look at matchups and strengths versus weakness. Knowledge of your player’s abilities, health and probability of success or failure against a particular team can give you an edge in your weekly games.
As we can see, winning requires a sense of commitment. As in most aspects of our lives, the key is to have a plan and to be ready to follow it. Also, use your personal judgement to make decisions. Take complete personal responsibility for your team’s success or failure.
Good luck! Have fun!