Michael Nease brings you his insights each week for the world of Fantasy Football. Follow him on Twitter @mikeinsights
Well, here we are. In a season that has been absolutely grueling, we have reached Week 13. A couple of weeks ago a league commissioner told me that he had recorded more injured reserve moves already than in any other season. He has been doing this for over 30 years. We have seen unexpected results with some players scoring much better than expected and of course there have been many underperforming as well.
Since most leagues have 13 game regular seasons, after this week your season can go in only one of two directions. Losers of course go home. After months of analysis and rationalization, hand wringing, crying and beating yourselves up, Cheer up, it will soon be time for doing the same thing again next year. With some hard work, and more than a smattering of good luck, 2018 can yield better results.
Ok, so much for the sad part. If there is still even a slight chance of making the cut for the playoffs, then do what you have to do to win this week. From here on until the end of the season your hands have become somewhat tied. Trading deadlines have come and gone. Waiver wires have been picked to the bone. Yet we still have opportunities to improve our chances of winning with some shrewd team management.
Looking at that waiver wire makes you glum and a feeling of helplessness sets in. How am I going to find a WR here? Suddenly the puzzle pieces that were not going together start to rapidly snap into place.
The Michael Crabtree suspension didn’t seem like a big deal Monday. He’s not on your roster. But now Amari Cooper is injured and his status is questionable. How about Seth Roberts? He is a great candidate to get targets and some points. Four catches for 60 yards gets you 10 points. Not bad for a flex option.
So scan each and every name on that waiver wire with an eye on changing situations and potential scoring possibilities. Each player is like a piece of a puzzle with changing edges. Last week is done. Everything is dynamic and changes this week and will do so again next week. Complementary player statuses, matchups, weather and recent results change the values of players on a continuous basis.
All season long I have been preparing you for Week 13 and beyond. You are sooooo close! Clinch your playoff status this week. Earn the key to open the magic door and then open that door wide. You will be one of the teams battling it out for that ultimate prize for fantasy aficionados—Fantasy Bowl Champion.
Whoa! Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Week 13 is for getting that key and also for determining playoff slots. In a 6-team playoff, being one of the Top 2 teams gives you a bye/ Skipping Week 14 scoots you right along to the final four in Week 15. That gives you two games to win instead of three. Your players that are hurting get an extra week to recover.
Be extra careful this week on analyzing your waiver moves. You are looking for golden chips among the rubble. By the way, has anyone thought and the Raiders defense vs, Geno Smith and the Giants, playing at Oakland? That certainly stands out on the opportunities list this week. Kudos to Bob Lung for pointing this move out as well as the Seth Roberts pickup.
As for those who aren’t too concerned about a “handful of points, “let me just say that I have lost three games in one league by about 1, 2 and 4 points. My other four teams are either in the playoffs or in strong contention going into Week 13. I won a game in one league on the last play of the game with garbage KC defensive TD. One play can make a season. I see it all the time.
One other thing to think about this week is lineup selection. One fantasy standard that I have railed against all season are league management systems’ projected scoring algorithms. Tell me. Do you think Jordy Nelson is slated to score about 13 points this week? That is just about his output for the last three week’s combined. If you look at the “lineup helper” that I did and believe it as a valid source, you do not deserve to be in the playoffs. When I look at Nelson’s collapse there is no way I can start him. Repeating mistakes over and over and expecting different results is stupid.
After waiver moves, do your own lineup analysis. We have been building up for this all year. Studying waiver management has been a major emphasis in my articles. Now is the time to put that growing expertise into play. Way back when I was in school, you could either read a great novel, or buy the literary synopsis of that book in a relatively brief CliffsNotes version. The serious students actually read the books.
In a twelve-team league 11 (91.7%) owners wind up being losers and only one (8.3%) wins the championship. With some luck and a big dose of hard work, you can be that one winner. Getting into the playoffs gets you a ticket. Earn your seat on the Fantasy Bowl train this week. For those that qualify, it is the end of the beginning and the real competition starts now. For the losers it is simply the end.
Good luck! Have fun!