Team in Transition

NFL: New Orleans Saints at Dallas CowboysWith all the talk about building and maintaining a fantasy team, I think one of the biggest things most owners usually don’t focus too much on is the maintenance portion. It’s great to have a good draft, but there are factors beyond your control that can help you tweak your team after it. And if you’ve had a poor draft, there are ways you can make it better for yourself. It doesn’t have to be a time to give up just because your “perfect” draft team or your “sorry” draft team isn’t performing as well as you’d like. Even if you’re 2-3 or 1-4 right now, there’s still enough fantasy season left to get back on the horse, so to speak. The one thing you can’t do, though, is sit still. There are reasons your team is underperforming. Figure those out and you can fix it enough to make the playoffs.

In one of my leagues I am in that exact position, sitting at 2-3 and on the outside looking in right now. My team hasn’t scored well, and the victories I have were both close, while the losses were of the larger margin variety. First, I’ll tell you about my draft in this keeper league. The biggest thing you need to know is that I was allowed to have one keeper from last year’s team, and I went with C.J. Spiller. Yeah, you know how his season has gone so far, so you can see where my troubles started.

Round 1 (Keeper): C.J. Spiller
Round 2: A.J. Green
Round 3: Dez Bryant
Round 4: David Wilson
Round 5: Rob Gronkowski

I’m going to stop there for a moment. It’s become obvious to you now why my team isn’t performing well, I’m sure. I received minimal support from my keeper, A.J. Green has been inconsistent after his explosion in week one, Dez Bryant totally disappeared in week one, David Wilson got me -1 points in the first week, and not much since, and Gronk has been nonexistent through the first five (six?) games. Now, I knew going in that Gronk would be out at least the first three or four games, but I had bought into the notion that he would be back by now. Now it looks like he won’t, not this week, and it’s starting to be a problem.

Round 6: Eric Decker
Round 7: Matthew Stafford
Round 8: Daryl Richardson
Round 9: Bryce Brown
Round 10: Chris Givens
Round 11: Broncos D/ST
Round 12: Owen Daniels

And the draft kept going, but it wouldn’t matter where I was concerned. I won that first week, even without help from Dez Bryant and with negative yardage from David Wilson, so I had some false optimism. I came crashing back down to the earth when I lost the next three games in a row by at least two touchdowns in each. I knew, at 1-3, that I would have to do some retooling, starting with my keeper. So I made a trade that was admittedly risky, swapping Spiller, Stafford, and Dez Bryant for Doug Martin, Tom Brady, and Mike Wallace. I knew I was trading down big time from Bryant to Wallace, but I had to figure out a way to get a solid number 1 running back since both my backs were doing poorly by that point and I was losing fantasy games because of them.

Then I got rid of Daryl Richardson and picked up Fred Jackson, which was the gain of the year for my team. And I grabbed Danny Woodhead off the waiver wire for the week 5 matchup. This is what my lineup looked like last week:

QB: Tom Brady
RB1: Fred Jackson
RB2: David Wilson (Martin was on a bye and Wilson had a good matchup. Ha!)
WR1: A.J. Green
WR2: Eric Decker
FLEX: Danny Woodhead
TE: Charles Clay
D/ST: Colts
K: Greg Zeurlein
HC: Colts Coach

Seven points from David Wilson was the most I’d gotten from him all year after he scored that early touchdown against the Eagles, and then the bottom fell out, and he may be lost for the season. Luckily I was able to shore up my running back situation at least for the moment before that happened. Because it’s all about consistency, and I have the top model of that in Fred Jackson. It’s night and day what he’s done compared to his backfield mate, Spiller. My tight end position even got me 11 points as Clay scored last week. Having Eric Decker was a gift, too, as he is Manning’s favorite target near the end zone. That softened the blow of losing Bryant. Sometimes, though, you have to make those tough decisions with the long game in mind.

Now I’m sitting at 2-3 and playing one of the top teams in that league this week. And I’m trusting an even more different configuration to win this one for me. Here is my lineup for week 6:

QB: Tom Brady
RB1: Doug Martin (trusting another RB against Philly)
RB2: Fred Jackson
WR1: A.J. Green
WR2: Eric Decker
FLEX: Alshon Jeffery
TE: Sean McGrath
D/ST: Broncos
K: Ryan Succop
HC: Colts Coach

I’m thinking of making two changes tomorrow before gametime, however, switching out Brady for Flacco (if Gronk still doesn’t play), and moving the Eagles’ coach into the HC slot instead of the Colts. We’ll see how that goes, but if I lose this week, I’m definitely not done tinkering. I think I can still make the playoffs, and I’m going to play like it, not sit back and let things happen to me like the other teams in that league with losing records. We’ll see how it goes.



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