As most of Gridiron Experts members are on auto-pilot at this point in the season with strong playoff-bound records, I wanted to offer a little fantasy advice to keep your mind in the game as we approach the post season.
One of my greatest strengths, without sounding like an a total arrogant jerk, is the ability to take a step back out of the fantasy mindset and view the league in it’s original form. It may sound funny, but hardcore fantasy owners now watch football in a different light. They can only see and think about their players on the the field and are constantly looking for waiver wire potentials even if they don’t need them. It’s hard for the fantasy fan to remember what football was like before fantasy, but the truth of the matter is, NFL teams don’t care about fantasy football, they care about wins. An NFL team in a playoff race is a lot more competitive than a team that has a long shot to make the post-season. For example, when was the last time you viewed the NFL standings? You’re likely a fan of one particular team but have you really looked at the whole leagues playoff race? Are you aware just how close some of these division battles are?
Take the AFC North, there is a fist-fight battle going on for the division. I can’t remember the last time a division was so tight this late into the season. Fantasy owners know the big names but are overlooking potential big performances coming due to the fact these teams are in a do-or-die situation. I’m expect game changers like Steve Smith to fire up soon. Not because of his “recent performances” or a “spike in targets” but because he is a gamer, and flat out wants to win. Joe Flacco and Big Ben will also likely move up my rankings board soon with the intensity of a playoff race mounting, your best players need and will up their game.
|AFC North Team||W||L||T||PF||PA|
Waiver Wire guys like RB Isaiah Crowell also peeks my interest now that the running back rotation is a two man time share. The Browns are alive in the standings yet fantasy owners care about nothing except the return of Josh Gordon, that and maybe the chance Johnny Football gets on the field. I understand the hype and fully expect flash Gordon to take off and return to his league leading form, but think about how the defensive coverage’s are about to change for the Browns now that they have an elite deep threat coming back.With safety help over the top trying to prevent the big play, Draw plays and the short passing game will have more room the breath. Not to mention the running game will face honest defensive coverage for the first time all season.
The X’s and O’s of the game matter in fantasy football and I suggest breaking your weekly routine and start paying more attention to things like NFL Pick Predictions or what Las Vegas sportsbooks think. Some might say that weather should be added to the checklist of things to watch for, but I only worry about heavy rain, or wind. Unless it’s a monsoon, I don’t fret. Moving forward you can expect teams on the cusp of the post-season to kick it up a notch, while bottom dwellers will drag their feet unless they have an opportunity to ruin a division rival opponents season. Which leads me to my next point: Start thinking about the “overlook” or “trap game” each week. I actually picked the Raiders to win last night and even had a little more on it. Why? Mainly because the Chiefs were so focused on their week 13 match-up against the Broncos on Sunday Night football, that they overlooked the Raiders completely. Prime time homefield advantage is still a powerful weapon and should not be taken for granted.