Week 13 is a big one, folks. The margin for error with lineups at this point in the season is minuscule. Early in the season, it wasn’t a critical risk to give a young wide receiver a shot in your starting lineup (for your sake, I hope it was Victor Cruz), but with playoff berths and first round byes on the line, every decision made could determine your fantasy future. Every roster spot from defense to tight end, and even kicker, need to be thoroughly thought out prior to submitting your lineup. With trade deadlines gone, and the waiver wire as our only ally, it doesn’t hurt to consider making a few drastic moves to improve your playoff chances. As Kevin Dyson and the Titans will tell you, every yard counts when your season is on the line. Below are two playoff strategies that I look to use when my team is facing elimination…
Sleeping Bear: This strategy is aimed at week 13 matchups. Nothing is worse than needing another team in your league to lose, and noticing that the team they play in week 13 is starting Jay Cutler, Tim Hightower, and Kenny Britt. That example may be a bit extreme, but at this point in the season, bottom dwelling teams lose interest and aren’t very concerned with how their lineup submission could impact their league’s playoff landscape. If you are faced with this scenario, it’s time to wake up that old grizzly bear and let it know that hibernation time is over…it’s time to submit a lineup.
Try this: This seems a bit shady, but is not considered collusion in my book…and I think that is the book everyone is using, no? Start with an email and escalate as needed. Just give that team owner a simple reminder that Matt Schaub is out, and the “league” would appreciate it if they would sub-in another quarterback. No bribes or threats, just a friendly reminder that they have an inactive player in their starting lineup. Most owners would be more than happy to take a few minutes to replace Fred Jackson with CJ Spiller, and keep the league competitive.
Block Party: This is a tactic that becomes easier and more important as the playoff weeks progress. As your playoff foe is determined, take a long look at their positions of strength and weakness, and especially their positions with injury concerns. If your opponent has a player that is in ANY danger of missing their game, bust out your Washington Bullets Manute Bol jersey and be prepared to block their waiver claim. For example, if your opponent has a quarterback that is dinged up (i.e. Josh Freeman this week) and in questionable to play, hop on the waiver wire and pick up the best available quarterback for that week. Even the pros use this move, as we occasionally see NFL teams put in waiver claims to block other teams (Dallas and Orton, for example).
Try this: If your playoff opponent, or any team in your league that you need to lose in week 13, has a positional issue, start the “block party.” Get on the wire and snag the best available player to give yourself an advantage. It may seem small, but the difference between your playoff opponent playing the best vs. the second best waiver wire quarterback could decide your season. Leave nothing to chance.
Good luck in week 13. I’ll see you back here next week to talk about a few more strategies that will improve your odds of playoff success.