As you enter the new fantasy football season, you would be well-advised to take a gander at your competition. It would be helpful for you to understand those who seek the league title that you sure covet. Of course, those of you playing in casual free league might not feel compelled to go overboard with your analysis, but playing against managers with high levels of success warrants your attention. By taking the time to assess your situation, you will better understand the effort it is going to take to claim the title or at least some level of respectability. For you money league managers, this is an imperative.
Rules for Managing to Win
For the inexperienced and novice managers out there, these simple rules are designed to enlighten you to things the experienced players have already learned. For those of you who believe you have it all under control, let this information serve as a friendly reminder.
Rule # 1 – Manage Your Team – Year after year and league after league, the managers who consistently make the playoffs have one thing in common; They take the time to manage their team on a weekly basis. They always seem to have the best players on their active roster and they never miss a chance to raid the waiver wire for the up-and-comers. Awareness is they key because a player listed as doubtful after sustaining an injury on Friday has tripped up more playoff hopes than you can imagine when the manager missed the opportunity to adjust their roster.
Rule # 2 – Stats are King – Have you ever wondered why your opponent was astute enough to sit his number one quarterback in favor of number two? The answer is he probably took the time to find out his number one playing against against the best passing defense in the league. If that same team's offense has a great running game to boot, old number one is not going to get the number of opportunities needed to maximize score. All that astute manager did was use facts to make a decision that more times than not, works out to their benefit. If you play in money leagues, you are competing against opponents who use all the tricks. Review your stats and match-ups and do not select your players based on emotion or loyalty.
Rule # 3 – The Waiver Wire in a Sanctuary for Winners – By week four if not sooner, the injuries will start piling up and the underachievers will be exposed. For every issue, there is a possible solution on the waiver wire that might end up being a diamond in the rough. You should keep a particular eye on # 2 and # 3 running backs on every roster. The casualty rate for RBs in the NFL sits at about 35% -40% every year. Remember, every opportunity you miss is one you opponent may claim.
Rule # 4 – Set Aside Personal Biases – You might be fiercely loyal to a particular team or certain players. That said, fantasy football is not personal, it's a game. Do not get in the habit of loading your team with players you love if the facts do not support your action. Also, you have to be prepared to bench under-performers who stand to put you at a disadvantage every week you include them on your roster. This may come as a shock, but no one except the managers in your league will know you benched your favorite player.
Rule # 5 – Get Help When Appropriate – There is plenty of free advice related to fantasy football on the Internet. Much of this advice comes from guys who do the statistical work and do not mind sharing their efforts with strangers in need. If you are playing in a serious money league, it may even be worth the investment to pay a small fee for weekly advice. You do not have to know everything. You will improve your management skills if you learn from the advice you get free or otherwise.
Rule # 6 – Always Play to Win – Everyone has been done in leagues where managers wave the white flag and stop managing their teams once they feel they are out of the play race. Do not be one of those guys. You be the guy who finished last, but cost someone a playoff spot the last week of the season by beating someone, not by letting someone beat you. It's called losing with dignity.
Hopefully, this advice will set you free to become the best fantasy football manager you can be. Experience is a great teacher and the one thing you must learn now is fantasy football is a game and it should be played for enjoyment, even in money leagues.