So, you’re sitting at 5-1 in your league and you’re already celebrating making the playoffs with a team that consists of Philip Rivers, Fred Jackson, DeMarco Murray, Kenbrell Thompkins, Pierre Garcon, Jordan Cameron, and the St. Louis defense. You were as surprised as anyone when this team began winning for you from the start. Everyone was actually laughing at you after the draft, thinking you were going to be the laughingstock of the league, and you got the last laugh. But did you?
In most fantasy leagues the regular season goes through week 13 or 14 of the NFL season, and the 5-1 team you assembled? They could easily lose four or five in a row and you could easily end up out of the playoffs, especially if you’re playing in a 12 or 14-team league. The popular adage applies here. Don’t count your chickens before they’re hatched. Football is a fickle sport, and fantasy football is even more fickle. I should know. Something similar to this scenario happened to me four years ago and ever since I have been wary of the “fortunate start.” I learned from it that the most important thing you should do is analyze your team and analyze each win and loss in turn. Analysis can serve you very well in making decisions.
Your bench can be a big asset for you if you know how to use it correctly, the waiver wire can be a huge source of points, but most important of all is knowing when to make moves that could make or break your season. Trading with other team owners is a major part of that, getting value from them that is sustainable while giving away something that may not be. The team I outlined above is not sustainable, and could definitely lead to losing four or five in a row in your league. Let’s break it down.
Philip Rivers was given up for dead when this season began, and yet somehow he has resurrected himself and scored to this point the third most points from a fantasy quarterback in standard scoring leagues. He’s doing it with Keenan Allen and Danny Woodhead, and no real running game. And his stock is sure to rise even higher after this week’s game in Jacksonville. It can only go down from there. The bubble will burst at some point, and you don’t want to be on the ride when it does. Thank him for getting you to this point, but after this week it’s time to figure out who will get you the rest of the way. The key is to find a quarterback with a proven track record who is also playing well this year. Most other players in your league would trade to get Rivers at this point.
Fred Jackson is another interesting case. He is part of a three-headed monster in Buffalo, but somehow he has been able to do the most with his limited field time. That can’t persist, especially when C.J. Spiller gets healthy enough to do what C.J. Spiller can do. Fred Jackson probably wasn’t even on your team at the beginning of the season, and so probably also wasn’t part of your game plan. Now he can be, by trading him at the peak of his powers, which should be after a good game against Miami this week. Just like with Rivers, find another owner who is desperate and who has a number one running back he would be willing to give up for Jackson. I guarantee you he’s out there.
You have a small window, too, because after these players come back down to earth it will be too late to move them to another team and get sustainable value back in return. I mean, DeMarco Murray is already showing you his vulnerability. He’s injury-prone, and don’t think this will be his only injury this season. As soon as he gets back into the lineup and has a good game, get rid of him for someone stable.
And you need to do your homework, too. Look at statistics, and not just for this season, either. Statistics show that a player like Doug Martin, Tom Brady, or Maurice Jones-Drew aren’t playing to their potential, but that they have a good chance to get there judging by their upcoming schedules and their history. And there are many more players like that who you can get easily if you’re paying attention. Just look for the teams that have losing records, or are even on the year. It’s like a goldmine. Just take my advice, and analyze your team. You might just be sorry if you don’t.