Drafting will come to a close by the time Thursday rolls around and then the real fun begins! The draft is only half of the battle of winning a fantasy football championship. Maybe even less. We’ll call it like 34.956% of winning a championship or something like that. By the time you look at your roster in week 13 before the fantasy playoffs, it’s going to look a lot different.
Your goal coming into the season should be to make the fantasy playoffs. Why not a championship? Because there are a lot of variables in fantasy football and if you make the playoffs with a strong roster, then you can start worrying about the title. In the playoffs, you are hoping that the dominoes fall in your favor. Time and time again I’ve seen some legendary rosters that grab the number one seed go down in the semi-finals over some stuff that was out of their control. So it’s all about putting yourself in position to get there by intelligently managing your roster in season along with hitting some value in the draft.
You want to be active on the waiver wire, but you don’t want to be so active that you burn yourself. Let’s say that you drafted Miles Sanders or Darwin Thompson and they aren’t getting a heavy workload right away. Be patient! Don’t drop a difference maker in September for someone who had a big week but doesn’t have the same potential. Find somebody else to drop like that extra tight end that you drafted. Speaking of, there is no reason to carry an extra tight end after week 2. I understand drafting two tight ends if you drafted a Jordan Reed or Trey Burton in the later rounds as a TE1. I’m also a late tight end drafter, but I’m going to make my decision pretty quickly who I am going to roll with. In 10-12 team leagues you can stream a tight end during your starter’s bye week with relative ease so I’d use that extra roster spot for a RB/WR stash.
A lot of analysts will tell you that it’s not necessary to carry two quarterbacks on your roster in 10-12 team leagues and you can stream a quarterback during your QB1’s bye week. I draft quarterbacks in the 7th round or later so I tend to carry two quarterbacks and play the match ups. Of course, if you end up with the next Pat Mahomes in the 11th round, you can drop your extra quarterback during the season for a different roster need, but the chances of that happening aren’t that high. This system varies from league to league depending on bench size but playing the match ups at quarterback is very beneficial once we find out who the stronger defenses are. This can change later on in the season depending on your quarterbacks schedule. Sometimes your quarterback can have six straight decent match ups to end the season and carrying two won’t be necessary. You also want to be actively streaming high upside match ups in your D/st slot. A good way to do this is to find teams that have consecutive games against sub-par offenses that way you are not battling for a good match up on the waiver wire each week. It helps at every position to be thinking a week ahead of your opponents.
Handcuffs And Injuries
Picking up your running back’s handcuff is only necessary when your running back receives the vast majority of the snaps in the backfield. It is a good idea to carry Alex Mattison on your roster if you are a Dalvin Cook owner or Chase Edmonds if you drafted David Johnson. The days of the bell cow back are murkier than ever and it’s also difficult to project who a direct back up to a running back is. In some situations, like the two that I listed above, it is clear, but that can be few and far between. You also don’t have to handcuff at all if you so choose. In fact, I recommend not handcuffing at all and making high upside choices during the later rounds of drafts and on the waiver wire.
If your league doesn’t provide an IR spot, be careful about what injured players you are letting hang around on your roster, especially in shallow leagues. For example, if Jamison Crowder or Anthony Miller endure a 4-6 week injury, don’t hold onto them in shallow leagues in your bench spots are limited. High upside guys pop up on the waiver wire on a regular basis and if an injured player didn’t cost you a lot of draft capital, don’t hesitate to let go. You are going to face a lot of difficult roster decisions during the season so don’t over-complicate things that don’t need over-complicated.
Trading is one of the most enjoyable and also stressful parts of fantasy football. Nobody likes to be the idiot three weeks down the road when a trade result favors the other party. Don’t be afraid of losing a trade. Hindsight is 20/20, all you can do is make what you feel is the best decision at the time.
I’ve found that the best way to make trades in fantasy football is to start a dialogue with your league mates as opposed to throwing out random trade offers and seeing if another owner will bite. In one sense, you are building favorable relationships with your league mates and perhaps making it easier to get a deal done. If you start a dialogue, you are not insulting your potential trade partners who might see a randomly sent trade offer, shake their head and be weary of your intentions. A good way to approach this dialogue is honesty about what your needs are and expressing to them how your offer or potential offer can benefit both parties. “Hey, I saw _______ went down, that sucks. I see that you have some running back depth and I could use a running back and I’m willing to let go of _______ or ________, do you want to make a deal?”
A great way to check whether you are getting a good bargain or a fair deal is using Rudy Gamble’s trade analyzer. The trade analyzer is very simple to use and provides analysis based on dollar value to make it simple to understand. I use the trade analyzer all of the time. I don’t just use it because it’s a Razzball tool, I use it because it’s the best trade analyzer in the industry and values are obsessively updated.
If you are a veteran to the fantasy football world, you might not have gotten a lot out of this post, but I hope everyone got something out of it. There are so many different league types and theories out there that certain advice isn’t applicable to all situations. These are just some tidbits that have helped me find success. I’m very excited and energized about this upcoming season and I can’t wait to help you manage your rosters in the comment sections this season. If you’d like you can also follow me on twitter. I answer all fantasy football questions on there.