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Fantasy Football Advice: The “Self-Evaluation”

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What is one of the first things out of your mouth in response to someone asking you about how your fantasy is doing team?

Easy: Your record.

A fantasy owner will always refer to wins and losses when starting a conversation. “I’m 3-3” or “I’m 2-4” etc.

It is, of course, the most obvious and natural response to the question, as wins are all we care about. But in the grand scheme of things, is a fantasy team with a struggling record, really struggling?

Every day Gridiron Experts members are sending us concerned emails about their squad. They bounce trade proposals off me, talk strategy, and flat-out ask us our opinion on certain personnel or their fantasy roster long term. I do my best to give honest advice, but truthfully, I usually tell a lot of people that they’re over-thinking things and don’t need to panic, especially after a close loss.

For example, in one of my leagues, I’m currently 2-4, and I just lost a heartbreaker this past weekend. I put up the second-highest point total of the week yet lost to the all-time highest score in league for the year. My total Points For (thus far) in this particular fantasy league are in the top 4. Due to all these positives, I have not even considered making a trade. I have only made minor pickups on the waiver wire and have total confidence in making the playoffs and possibly winning the league championship. Some may call this arrogance, but I call it patience, and experience.

The Fantasy Football The “Self-Evaluation.”

Enough time has now passed for you to know where your strengths and weaknesses are. You know who your go-to fantasy starters are, and have a weekly trusted core of guys. If you haven’t reached this point, you are either not learning from your mistakes or are very indecisive in nature.

Step One: You vs. the League

Look at your fantasy league standings, and evaluate where you stand in Total Points For and Points Against. Now go back over each week and look at where you made your mistakes. Look at the possible fantasy points that you left out of your lineup –realistically I’m talking here, don’t beat yourself up over players you were not considering.

Now re-tally your total Points For and reflect on your weekly output in comparison to other teams in your league.

Step Two: Look Ahead

When are your bye weeks? Do you play anyone who has bye week trouble?

Some people stress too much over bye week problems, and even trade players to fill in gaps. This is a terrible strategy; ruining your team over one bye week problem will not help you win a championship. The first goal is always to make the playoffs, but also to bring with you the best players you can get your hands on.

Fantasy Lineup Tip

alex-smithOften Fantasy owners will think that Quarterbacks against terrible defenses like the Browns or Raiders is a recipe for fantasy greatness, but I can honestly tell you that’s not always the case.

Last week a lot of Fantasy owners benched quality QB starters for Alex Smith vs. the Raiders defense. The Chiefs won 26-10, coming off their bye week and leaned heavily on the run game. Smith didn’t throw for a TD and didn’t crack 225 passing yards. Once KC got the lead, they drained the clock and went home.

The Chiefs pride themselves on their stout defense. They rank 19th in passing and 21st in points per game.

The point is, starting Fantasy players on high-powered offenses will usually perform better than below-average offensive teams versus bad defenses. – just a tip

Step Three: Review Playoff Rules and Deadlines

Some leagues have fantasy playoffs that include only the top 6 teams; others include the top 4. Some leagues have special division expectations. Does your league include or skip week 17? These are all important questions that you should research now and prepare for. You need to map out your playoff chances.

Evaluate Your Status

Based on your current fantasy football production, your upcoming match-ups, and potential to be included in the playoffs, you should approach the remaining games correctly. Here are some scenarios:

  1. Poor Record with High Points For: This is a common and a very frustrating position to be in. If you’re the guy who loses each week while putting up respectable fantasy points, you should try to remain calm. The fantasy gods are not on your side just yet, but disrupting the high production you do have by making stupid; irrational trades will just make things worse. Keep calm and carry on
  2. Inflated Record with Poor Points For: You should be thankful for your situation, but not cocky. Getting wins by beating some of the worst teams in the league is just setting you up for heartbreak. Take advantage of your record and trade for players that will help you in games that matter -in the playoffs of course.
  3. Average Record with Lots of Bye Weeks Coming- Like I mentioned above, trading to fill bye-week gaps may not improve the overall picture. The goal is not to win every game; it’s to win in the playoffs. If you have your entire team on a bye one week, don’t panic. Pick up the best waiver wire players you can get, and hope for the best. You’re unlikely to win, but the important part is that once that week is over, your team will be full-strength moving forward. If you trade for a player to fill a bye week, only to have to deal with this new players bye week a month later… you’re just spinning your wheels. Think about the big picture.
  4. Terrible Roster with Easy Schedule Coming up– About to quit?…Never say die. Go against the grain and get aggressive on the waiver wire, you need wins! If you have nothing to lose and the odds are stacked against you, I wouldn’t blame you for trying to fix the mojo on your team by getting a little crazy. Keeper league owners should maybe think about next year and trade for players on IR or gain draft picks, but if you have a chance, take it and enjoy the rest of the fantasy season.

Random Fantasy Football Tips

  • When looking at a trade offer, always look at the bye weeks. Has the player you’re considering had their bye? are you giving away a player that has already had their bye week? If you get the better half of a trade but are down a starter due to a bye week you may be hurting your overall chances.
  • Troll the Transaction Wire: Everyone looks at who’s available on the waiver wire, but often ignore who was dropped. fantasy owners often make bad decisions by dropping quality starters to fill a need. Be there to pick up them up.
  • Start your injured “Game-time decision” players in your flex spot. Allow yourself options by starting questionable players in your flex in case you have to pull them out and replace them with a player who plays a different position.
  • Don’t stress projections or matchups. Start your studs and hope for the best.

 

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About the author

Mike Rigz

Mike is the founding member at Gridiron Experts with over 1000+ articles credited to his name. With over 20 years of fantasy experience, Mike has a very unique style when picking sleepers and gems. He has always had a outside the box look on the NFL and rarely gets sucked into the hype over players or buzzing offenses. Mike looks at the game as a whole and doesn't focus solely on individual stats. Football is not Baseball, and you need to factor in more when researching players to draft. Mike has two kids and lives on the West Coast. He's happily married to a beautiful woman who also loves sports. Sundays are spent with friends and family watching games from opening kickoff to well into the evenings.

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