Week 12 is now three games old and most trade deadlines have come and gone, so this week’s Smash Back will be short and sweet. Just because your league no longer allows trades this season, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t continue improving your team. With that in mind, let’s quickly run through a couple of ideas about maximizing your roster and setting the optimal lineup for these critical late regular season and playoff weeks…then you can get back to stuffing your face with Thanksgiving leftovers.
Keeper Roster Efficiency: Keeper and dynasty leagues have extra layers of complexity, which is why they are so enjoyable…at least when you’re winning. As the season winds down and your awesome team plows its way into the playoffs, or slowly wanders into the offseason, make sure you get the most out of your team. This time of year is no place for roster “fat,” so get out your scissors and start trimming. If a player on your roster does not have the potential to start for your team for the remainder of the year, or have keeper potential, cut them loose. Matt Schaub isn’t coming back, Lee Evans is nearly dead, and for the love of all things sacred, please don’t blow a roster spot on Hines Ward…he will be 106 years old next year.
Try this: Take a quick inventory of the end of your bench, and drop any dead weight for players who may potentially have keeper value next season. Contracts and injuries change the NFL offseason drastically, so try to get your hands on some younger players or players who may come into larger roles. Players like Titus Young and Leonard Hankerson (injured, but talented) are both young and rising wide outs who may be hanging around on your wire and would look much better on your bench than Donald Driver. A player like Bernard Scott is another lottery ticket that is worth a try, as Cedric Benson will be a free agent after the conclusion of this season. Entering the offseason with an efficiently constructed roster could mean extra keeper possibilities heading into 2012.
Start/Sit Dilemmas: Each week, every fantasy team owner faces difficult decisions on which players to start. I had a tough one this week myself, as I benched Jermichael Finley for Antonio Brown in my flex spot (naturally, this led me to root against Finley on Thanksgiving). These decisions seem even more critical as the fantasy season moves into playoff mode, but luckily there are tons of ways to get feedback on your dilemmas. It’s what you do with the information that is very important…
Try this: Get as many opinions as possible when faced with an impossible playoff start/sit debate…ask your friends, ask Razzball writers in the comments or on Twitter, and read as much fantasy information as you can gather each week. After this is completed, and you have debated the decision so much that a cage match between Jonathan Stewart and Willis McGahee is the only conceivable way to find a solution, sit down and make the decision on your own. Yes, on your own. The folks that write at Razzball have TONS of experience and some unique perspectives/stats for your decision making process, but ultimately the choice is yours. If your gut is telling you McGahee, and nobody has convinced you otherwise, go ahead and start him. Your team is your team, and you will have to live with the lineup that is submitted. Use your available resources (I am partial to the information here at Razzball, duh!) and make sure you are starting YOUR best possible lineup each and every week.
Now get out there and get a “W” in week 12 to lock up that playoff spot, or at least prevent someone else in your league from doing so. As always, all comments and questions are welcome below.