We hope you have had a successful season and are in position to not only make the playoffs, but also to win the championship. Even if you are currently sitting at bottom of your NFL fantasy league, there is still a lot of strategy involved to prepare for the end of the season and begin looking forward to next year’s fantasy football draft.
For starters, even if you are at the top of the league, there is still room for improvement. Keep your eyes and ears open to look for I/R notifications. Since November 20th, 13 players have been placed on injured reserve, making them ineligible for the remainder of the season. Most notably being quarterback Andy Dalton, wide receiver Marvin Jones Jr, and tight end O.J. Howard. Generally, once the starting quarterback goes out for the remainder of the season, his fellow teammates suffer in terms of fantasy production.
Outside of Cincinnati, consider picking up TE Cameron Brate from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as Howard’s replacement. Brate managed 8.80 fantasy points with Howard out due to a foot injury earlier this season.
You could also consider Rams receiver Josh Reynolds, who took over for Cooper Kupp, or the Bears’ sensational rookie wide out, Anthony Miller. Both player’s ownership remains below 50% in all leagues. D.J. Moore would be a top selection; however, his 21-point performance against Detroit, followed by a 9-point performance against Seattle has landed him in the 60% ownership department. Grab him if you can, but again look to Miller or Reynolds for potential FLEX positions.
Always be evaluating your players and looking to change out whoever you can, whenever you can. Most owners ignore kickers and their defense, whether it be loyalty to a specific team of sheer laziness. Dump them immediately to look for kickers and defenses who are on a hot streak and have favorable upcoming matchups.
As a long-time fantasy football league owner, I cannot count the number of times a kicker or defense has won a game for me. In fact, this week I was down 9 points with only my kicker Ka’imi Fairbairn left to play. The Hawaiian native pulled through with 12 fantasy points to give me the win.
Whether you are at the top or bottom of the standings, you need to be developing a strategy for next season. If you are lucky enough to be in a keeper league, then this is the time to begin evaluating if, or how many players you plan on keeping for next season.
For those of you who don’t know, keeper leagues (according to NFL.com) allow league managers “to designate how many players each team in their league can keep. This can range from 1 to 10. All owners have until a predetermined date (either the League Draft Date, or any other date that is set by the League Manager) to make their selections. If a team fails to designate the full number of keepers, that team is awarded a draft pick in place of the keeper or the League Manager can set the remaining keepers for the team.”
What this means is if you have a top-five player in fantasy points-per-game, and you think his stock will stay the same next season, you can keep him; however, you will lose draft picks for the following fantasy draft.
Consider the following top five players in fantasy points-per-game (QB’s, RB’s, WR’s):
Images from statroute.com
In keeper leagues, the commissioner can dictate how many keepers you are allowed to have, and will have to review and possibly approve keepers depending on league rules.
Why do it? To avoid the randomness of the draft and keep the best players on your roster for next season. Avoid keepers if your team sucks and you have no hope for any of your players next season.
In the off-season, watch for injuries and contract negations. A majority of keeper leagues will allow an owner to change keepers up until just before the following years draft day. Ensure you pay close attention to your specific league’s rules and regulations.
Now get out there and get ready for the playoff’s and beyond!
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