Playing off your fantasy

It is hard to believe we are into December and the regular Fantasy League season is over. If you have made it into the fantasy post season, very well done and if you are new to Fantasy football I hope you have enjoyed your first season. This season for me was a mixed bag, doing well in one league and not so well in the other. So here I am going to share a few thoughts and suggestions on succeeding in the playoffs so you can win your fantasy Super Bowl! Do not worry, no proper stats will be used for the duration of this broadcast.

This is more my own notes from throughout the season, where I went wrong and where I think I went right. The playoffs are for me a bit more intense, as we are now at knock out stage. Get one too many picks wrong and bam go your chances of winning the consolation games or the Super Bowl.

Which ever league you play in on whatever site, generally there will be a plethora of advice and in some cases gadgetry that claims to aid you. I am always wary of necessarily going with the recommendations some of this applications make. I am also wary of the Start ’em Sit ’em type articles just because they sometimes miss a keypoint: a good player will find a way of getting the ball down the field whoever they play and will generally score well. Yes players will have off weeks and sometimes not score as many points against teams you think they should really score well against. But that will always happen. I still standby the points consistency measure. Just look at the range of points scored and possibly points scored against what you could consider similar opposition. A good player has pretty consistent scores with a few high and low blips. For example, for week 14 there was a recommendation to Sit Andrew Luck against the Bengals. He had had a couple of low scoring weeks against teams he should have probably scored high against. I’m pretty glad I did not heed the advice to play Alex Smith instead.

And that is my point, players will have bad weeks but you cannot predict when those will be. A good player will make plays and score you points even if the team they actually play for lose or generally do not do so well. In a similar vein you cannot necessarily predict when a player will have an outstanding week, but if you have played that player most of the season, you get to know your team. I followed the advice to sit Marque Colston in week 14 and I think it cost me the chance to play in the off season. My initial gut instinct was to play him, as I thought against the Panthers he may do well. Turns out he did. My advice, follow your gut instinct.

You know your players, by now you have a good idea what teams they are likely to do well against. If you feel you do not have a the best then check the waiver wire but keep an eye on the points scored and keep away from anyone with a lower season/past 4 weeks/highly inconsistent scores.

Be careful of predicted scores as well, I always worry these are quite misleading and can lead astray, especially when looking for a flex player or a RB2/WR2 position.

There are two techniques I have used that have sometimes paid off well. The first that has been a bit hit and miss is having two players from teams playing each other. The reasoning being that it is likely that one player will have a better game than the other, but it acts as a kind of guarentee of getting a good score.

The second technique is having a position filled with two players of the same team. This has actually had quite a bit of success, though maybe a bit hard to do this late in the season, but still possible. For example, Da’Rick Rogers would make a nice pairing with TY Hilton (or even Whalen) as Luck is likely to target one of those three most frequently. Probably play Rogers at flex but shows promise and is likely to play in week 15, so if you have Hilton, why not play Rogers as well. You could do the pairing with a WR and TE, such as if you have Graham at TE why not play Colston. Or Cook and Austin.  I could go on but hopefully the point is made. A variation is to play more of one teams players, especially if they have a good number of scoring players. The Bears, Bengals and Broncos are a good example, the Lions and Cowboys another.

Is there evidence such a technique described above works? Well I tried it in both leagues I play in this year. And it worked in both leagues when played in both leagues. The one league I managed to sustain this strategy, I have won in the regular season. In the other league, the League of Gridiron Gentlemen… well I did not do so well, but the double up technique did work when I could play it but really works when there is one star player and another more likely at a flex position. In the League of Gridiron Gentlemen, yeah I failed to make the post season, but I had many QB issues and really it is at QB week in week out most fantasy issues arise.

Ah the QB, meant to be the rock the team is built on, and there has been a carousel of QB throughout the season. This week seems no different, with many people having played McCown recently now find themselves in a bit of a pickle with Cutler coming back. If Flacco, Dalton, Tannehill, Alex Smith or even McGloin are available they may be worth picking up. Otherwise look to your other players to save the day.

What I have found is that you can afford up to two key players to have a bad day and still win. This can be your QB + WR1/RB1 or WR1 + RB1 e.t.c. Honestly I haven’t found that if my TE does not do well that I am stuffed. However if all three considered lead players do badly, then the probability of winning does appear to decrease markedly. TE and Flex for me have often been a bit of a bonus. My kicker has often saved the day and more and more I have come to think of the D/ST as a solid aiding foundation. A good D/ST plus K combination gives one hope (combined they can get you over 30pts on a good day or often it seems between 10 to 18 pts). On the plus side these two positions have the highest turnover so you are likely to still be able to get one that is good, especially a good kicker (mainly because so many people just don’t give kickers that much credit). Let us face it many teams this season have relied on their kicker, and unsurprisingly some top kickers are available still, such as Phil Dawson, top scoring kicker of the last two weeks, and Caleb Sturgis who has had a pretty solid season for the Dolphins. In the playoffs, every point counts, these are the best teams of the league afterall.

There is one strategy that has in a way let me down, a degree of sentimentality. I am a Colts fan. I like to have at least one Colts player in my matchup each week. This has backfired quite a few times, especially playing Trent Richardson, or playing Luck when I knew better. I know I am not the only one, one of the other Gentlemen always picks Cutler for either main QB or backup QB. It is almost a rule that nobody is allowed Cutler other than this anonymous Gent.  Playing someone from your own team is admirable though admittedly a bit foolish sometimes.

So my strategy for Week 15, the semi final? Same as I have done all season, though admittedly I think anybody who has Reggie Bush or Adrian Peterson is struggling to decide whether to bench them or not. Though you could possibly still pick up Jermaine Cotchery as a flex  WR and play a weaker RB so relying more on a WR corp. A strategy that could actually work quite well if you do not have another top RB available. (If you have Pierre Thomas, this makes for an agonising decision whether to play him or not as he is the 21st top fantasy RB for the season so far).

In summary, if you have got to the Superbowl or consolation playoffs, you have been doing something right all season. Stick with your plan and gut instincts, if you feel something is not right change as much as you can until it does feel right. If you are within 10pts of your opponent, it is likely to be a close game.

If you have any questions, hit us up at our Facebook page or on Twitter @GridironGents @cpt_liceboy for your Fantasy questions.

Good luck everyone and tally ho!