I hear what you’re saying. It is the middle of the season. Your fantasy football team is on the right track to win your championship. You have studied the Yahoo cheat sheets religiously. Or, you have looked at the ESPN Fantasy Football Rankings until you can’t see straight. Or, on the other hand, maybe your team is headed right for the cellar. Despite your best efforts, you haven’t been able to make your fantasy football team work. You actually showed up for the draft. You bought the Athlon fantasy football guide. You had the best fantasy football draft software. You had every fantasy football cheat sheet and fantasy football rankings sheet. Yet, you couldn’t make it work. Don’t despair. There is still time.
Before you get to the cellar, I ask that you take a minute to read this article, read a few mid-season fantasy football tips, and perhaps, you can get your fantasy football team on the right track to success. However, if you are the guy who is operating the fantasy football team that is on the right track, you just might benefit from a few tips also that will make the rest of your season a success. Trust me; these tips are better than digesting more fantasy football rankings.
Here are my five mid-season fantasy football tips to getting your fantasy football team ready for the fantasy football playoffs:
1. Check your fantasy football team. Now, I know this sounds common sense and completely ridiculous. You have been checking your fantasy football team the entire season, right? Well, if you have been checking your fantasy football team and making changes, hopefully, you’re on the right track. But, if you are not, realize that at this point in the season many fantasy football owners have thrown in the towel. They are tired of adjusting their line-ups and reading fantasy football rankings. This will enable you to be able to capitalize on their late-season laziness. Simply checking your fantasy football team and making the appropriate changes (e.g., benching players who are injured, etc.) will enable you to possibly pick up one or two wins that you otherwise might not get late in the season.
2. Look ahead at the NFL schedule and get play-off bound players out of your fantasy football team line-up. Every single year, I see a great team in one of my leagues get destroyed due to a lack of planning. And, for a serious fantasy football player, a lack of preparation is tragic and inexcusable. Many fantasy football owners think that they can simply operate with Yahoo fantasy football rankings, ESPN fantasy football rankings, CBS SportsLine fantasy football rankings, Athlon fantasy football rankings, or the fantasy football rankings from another publication. But, at this point in the season, you have to start looking at the schedule. This season, it is fairly clear that the Colts will win the AFC South, for example. You need to be looking at your fantasy football schedule-at week’s 14, 15, 16, and 17. You need to look at your fantasy football playoff schedule and compare it to the NFL schedule. Examine who you have at running back. Examine who you have at wide receiver. Are these players on teams that are absolute shoe-ins for the playoffs? I will give you an example to illustrate my point. A few years ago, when the Philadelphia Eagles locked up their home field advantage early on and Donovan McNabb was having such an outstanding fantasy football season, a friend of mine in a league that I’m in had his fantasy football team implode because the Eagles benched McNabb. You do not want this to happen to you. Look at the NFL standings, see who will be benched, and plan ahead to get them out of your fantasy football team’s lineup.
3. This goes along live Tip Number Two. Look ahead at the NFL schedule and find backups to place in your lineup. When you see that certain teams are locking up home-field advantage or getting to the playoffs (and they don’t have a hope for home-field advantage), capitalize! If you know the starting running back will be on the bench late in the season, grab his backup. If you know the starting wide receiver who has been your go-to guy all season will be benched because his team is going to the playoffs, grab his backup if you are in need of depth at that position. Even if you are not in need of depth at the particular position, it may be advantageous for you to grab that player anyway to prevent your fantasy football competition from doing so.
4. Analyze your competition. This is what separates great fantasy football owners from average fantasy football owners. Most fantasy football owners do not plan ahead. Sure, they read fantasy football rankings every week. They do not think beyond next week. As you get close to championship weeks (weeks 14, 15, 16, and 17), you should look ahead at your potential field of competitors. Figure out what their weaknesses are. If a particular wide receiver owned by a potential play-off competitor of yours is playoff bound and you know that the player may get benched during the playoffs, go ahead and grab his backup. Prevent your fantasy football competition from being able to fill that niche.
5. Know your league’s deadlines. One of the leagues that I am in has a trade deadline that has already passed. You may need to make a big trade late in the season. But after the deadline has passed, you are stuck with your team. Know what your league’s deadlines are, and make the deals at the appropriate time.
Although it is helpful, reading fantasy football rankings, cheat sheets, and benching injured players is just not enough. You have to be pro-active and strategic. Fantasy football is a chess match. And, you have to think like a chess player. Analyze your opponents and block them from moving. Follow these guidelines and you will be equipped to combat your late-season competition and excel in the playoffs.