For the last few months, we have been working together to prepare for Week 1. We have studied hard and have either drafted already to fill our rosters, or we will shortly. By now we all have a solid comprehensive knowledge of the 2018 fantasy football player pool.
Yet, as we all know all too well, within just a few weeks we will start seeing names available on the waiver wire that we have not paid any attention to so far. In fact, there will be a few that we have not even heard of. That is part of the reason our game is so enjoyable.
Team management on a week-to-week basis is a critical part of winning a championship. Never forget, not even for a moment, that only one team will win the championship and the others who lose are just that, losers. In 12-team leagues, 11-teams lose. That amounts to about 92% of those playing. You have to work hard and have lots of luck on your side to be that one person who ultimately wins. Be in that 8% that get a trophy.
Every week in the 13-14 game regular season leading up to the playoffs is critical. You cannot just throw together a lineup and expect to win. Now is the time to setup a weekly plan that will help guide you throughout the season.
Follow these 8-steps to build upon a winning 2018 season:
- Review the outcome of week just ended. What went right or wrong? What was your efficiency rating—how many points did you leave on the bench?
- Did your team have any injuries? If so, determine how your players’ future performance will likely be affected. Make any necessary IR moves.
- Carefully evaluate your roster early in the week. Are there any players who are being outperformed by players on the waiver wire? Here you have to be careful. Even your studs will have a bad week every once in a while, or maybe even a couple mediocre games in a row. I would seldom consider cutting them. A player like TE Delanie Walker was on the injury report most of last year and many may have released him early on, but he played and still performed pretty well every week.
- After your roster evaluation is done, plan your waiver strategy. Most leagues have two tiered waivers—based on standings and first-come, first-served. Know how many moves you can make each week and do not be afraid to upgrade your roster. Do not fall in love with your initial roster. Anyone other than your top players are replaceable.
- Trade evaluation—if you have excess strength at one position and are weak at another, look at your opponents’ rosters. If you find a possible trade that will equally help you, as well as your opponent, make an offer and negotiate to get a deal done. In trading, making one-sided offers all the time will make it highly unlikely that any other owners will ever trade with you.
- You must study injury reports on a daily basis. This is one of the biggest obstacles we face in setting lineups. Players who have a questionable designation are difficult to evaluate. When key players are injured it takes being a bit of a gambler to play them. All you can do is make the best judgment you can and then live with it.
- By Thursday night you must submit an initial lineup, including any players active in the first game of the week. We recently covered lineup building in another article. Here it is if you missed it.
- Now, you must finalize your lineup before Sunday. The key here has to wait until about an hour before game time. It is imperative to check to see who is inactive this week. With that information at hand, complete your lineup and let fate determine the results. I suggest keeping a firm hand in doing this. In playing for 33 seasons, I have learned the hard way that playing last minute hunches is usually a foolish option to take.
One other suggestion—you can usually make decisions on lineup changes and you may want to do that, if you can before the later games on Sunday and the Monday night game.
All that is left now is to stock your favorite snacks, maybe a sandwich or pizza and of course your beverage of choice. Settle down for a breathtaking 12-hours of watching football games and monitoring your teams’ live fantasy scoring. Then, after watching the Monday night game, you start this eight-step process all over again.
This seems like a lot of work, but believe me, it is more fun winning and this seemingly arduous task will actually be enjoyable. At the end of the season, basking in the glow that comes with winning the championship, you will embrace this winning formula, repeating it year after year, for as long as you shall play the game. You may not always win the trophy, but you will enjoy the experience a lot more, having an appreciation how hard you worked to chase your dream.
Just a little over one week to go! Yes, we are almost there indeed. Buckle up for the season-long journey. My colleagues and I at Big Guy Fantasy Sports are intent on helping you become the champions you want to be. With our poignant articles and being the home base for the consistency theory, a sound, mathematically-based alternative to ADP, we will be with you for the 2018 season in its entirety. What happens then? That my friends, is easy. We start over and do it all again in 2019!
Good luck! Have fun!