Stay (or become) competitive in Fantasy Football

Taken From: developer.espn.com

Taken From: developer.espn.com

It’s Week 6 of the NFL season and while some fantasy football team owners already face what is being considered a must win matchup by some, others (like myself) smile every time they even think about fantasy football. Sitting atop or near the top of their respective leagues owners on the other end of the spectrum are already preparing for the playoffs where anything can happen.

But neither type of fantasy owner should get too far ahead of themselves. Its only Week 6. While it seems like it was just yesterday we all had our fantasy drafts.. well that’s because it pretty much was yesterday. Don’t get me wrong this week is a big week for everyone and that is why I give my keys to being or hopefully staying competitive below.

But whatever you do don’t go making trades just to shake things up and make a trade. Give the guys you drafted 1-2 more weeks and stick to your guns. Players like Michael Floyd and Larry Fitzgerald have had three different guys throwing them the ball through five games. This is just one of many examples of players and situations where you should not give up on players who will probably finish the season in the top 25 at their position.

Here are three other things to watch as the 2014 fantasy football season continues to fly by:

1. Watch your team’s bye weeks, and plan accordingly: 

Everyone faces that one week where it seems like your entire team is on a bye, so look ahead and plan for that! Sign a player now at running back or wide out that is playing the week you will need your bench to step up. Also watch the match-ups for that week. If you know you will need your back up running back Week 9, for example, make sure whoever your back up is isn’t facing a team that has been good at stopping the run (fantasy sports decisions can usually be guided by common sense people). This planning ahead leads into point number two…

2. Watch who others are dropping because of bye weeks:

Your team’s success can be directly related to the other people in your league’s stupidity. As the majority of the league’s bye weeks start to kick in you should be glued to the recent activity going on in your league. If you catch someone else’s mistake first you can usually capitalize before anyone else even realizes what the heck happened.

There was a perfect example of this in one league I am in this year. Two players (I am not giving away my next two pickups) were dropped this past week that I think can be legit players off the bench because other owners were picking up a backup defense or kicker because their starter was on a bye. First, a defense or kicker is rarely worth keeping on your bench when they have a bye. Just drop the kicker or defense that has a bye and go week to week based on match-ups instead of dropping a quality bench player. Small things like this can keep your bench and its depth intact and make you better down the road.

3. Trade two players for one better one, then pick up quality free agents still available:

I know I said do not make trades just to shake things up, and that is not what I’m saying here (don’t worry, I am not tripping over my flip flops just yet). I just made a trade yesterday where I moved Pierre Garcon and Michael Floyd for Justin Forsett because I needed a running back and my tight end (Kelce) is on bye this week. Instead of dropping either Garcon or Floyd to pick up a back up tight end I will only use for one week, I made a trade that benefited me in two ways: it freed up the roster spot I needed to pick up a tight end while also improving my largest weakness which was running back depth.

4. Put players with the earliest (or latest) starting time in a specific spot:

Very important to make sure you get this right. So if you have a player playing on Thursday night, you want that player in a regular position spot and NOT the flex. If the latest time you have a player starting a game is  Sunday night, you want to put that player in your flex spot if possible. Doing this gives you maximum flexibility up until the start of the latest game you have a player playing in.

For example, if your wide receiver playing on Sunday night gets ruled out at 8 p.m. and he is in your flex spot you can now move or pick up a wide receiver OR running back who has not played yet into that spot. Same with a player playing on Thursday; you want your flex changeable as late as possible on Sunday (or Monday). It gives you the most possibilities to find a player to replace your starter in case these things called injuries happen (and they tend to happen a lot in football).

Little things like this can really give you an advantage and help turn your season around as the bye weeks continue to force owners to make some tough decisions. Oh yeah, listening to Fantasy Football Focus with ESPN fantasy football god Matthew Berry is also highly recommended.

Comment below or tweet at me (@JosephZoccoCT) with any fantasy questions or suggestions for other fantasy owners.

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