Fantasy Football Strategy: Weekly Management, Part 3 – Did Calvin Johnson or Adrian Peterson ruin your season?

You’re not alone: many fantasy footballers this year have had their season derailed by Adrian Peterson, or more recently, Calvin Johnson. Megatron has been upsetting owners with his injury-riddled dud in Week 5. LeSean McCoy and Jamaal Charles are barely inside the top 100 and Montee Ball isn’t living up to the hype, for now. We’re five weeks into the seasons and emotions are running high for managers everywhere.

"What do I do now?"

“What do I do now?”

“What do I do now?” is the most frequent question I’m getting right now from friends and readers. Whether you are 0-5 or 5-0, you probably have questions about what to do with your team. Some are in a panic, picking up every player on the waiver wire hoping that one guy breaks out and saves their season. Undefeated teams typically take one of two routes: my team is perfect and I’m not touching it or I need to switch something up because this can’t work forever. I’m going to detail strategies going forward based on your record, but let’s first self-analyze our teams:

Where do you rank in “Points For”? How does that compare to your league standing? How do you rank in “Points Against”? Does this explain your record at all?

Take a minute to answer these questions then continue reading.

I’m currently 4-1 in my work league with 390 points scored against me. That is a league lowest by 50 points! Although I am averaging 100+ points per game, my opponents are scoring less than 80 allowing me to be 4-1 instead of 3-2 or 2-3. Luck is a part of fantasy. Every manager needs to understand that; love it or hate it. Now that you’ve self-analyzed your team, standing, and outside factors, find the section your team corresponds to and see what I think you should do.

0-5 or 1-4

In most leagues, you have ten more weeks to make the playoffs. For teams that rank in the top 3 of your league in “Points For”, keep doing what you’re doing. It’s likely bad luck that has gotten you to this point. Most managers with these records are in the bottom half of the league in total points. Outside of being the tiebreaker, “Points For” doesn’t matter in head-to-head leagues, so stop sulking and get on your game. Start taking some risks.

Try offering your best player for two solid players that can help you every week. Two-for-ones are great to utilize with the top teams in the league. They are comfortable with their starting lineup and likely have some decent players on their bench. Find the good teams who are looking to ditch a bench guy that would easily start on your team.

If you’re holding onto a pre-season man crush, let him go (I’m looking at you Torrey Smith). What is your team’s weakness? It’s easier said than done, but you need to get rid of the guys who are putting up duds each week and get some sort of constant scoring going.

2-3 or 3-2

You’re sitting there like lukewarm pizza; not great but not bad. You may be one of the highest scoring teams or the lowest. What has gotten you to this point? Was there an injury that costs you a couple losses? Are you swapping out players after they have bad weeks only to see them blow up the following week? Relax. You’re still in a great position to make the playoffs. In my experiences, these teams usually make up the majority of the playoffs teams come weeks 13 & 14.

If you’ve saved your waiver priority, you should be looking for a solid pickup in the next few weeks. Now you’re not Nostradamus, so how do you tell who is going to be worthy of your waiver priority? Read, study, ask questions and use your gut. Find out who’s being hyped up and who’s in a multi-week situation. Branden Oliver was the hype pick of the week but he could be a two week player and fall back into irrelevance. On the flip side, he could be that guy who turns your season around. If you lose this week, consider looking for that diamond in the rough in the week 7 or 8 waivers.

4-1 or 5-0

Confidence is high, shit-talking ability (well, at least the amount) is high, and you more than likely feel invincible. Don’t get complacent here. It’s a long season with plenty of ups and downs. At this point, you need to use your best judgment in how to prepare yourself for the rest of the year. If your self-analysis doesn’t pass the sniff-test, consider selling high on your best players (Kelvin Benjamin and DeMarco Murray come to mind).

Use the value that has gotten you to this point to set yourself up for success in the rest of the season. As I mentioned in Part 1, continue to save your waiver priority – as long as you don’t absolutely need someone. You can wait until the free agent period begins to snag replacements. If you haven’t used it yet you should be near the top of the league. Having the top waiver priority in weeks 11-14 is an extreme advantage around playoff time. It will give you the flexibility to fix holes in your roster due to late-year injuries. Other than that, keep doing what you’re doing, keep shit-talking (your 15 minutes of fame could be gone quickly), and keep throwing your producers in your lineup.

Summary & Final Thoughts

It should be obvious that these suggestions are fairly vague. I don’t know all of the details of your league. The scoring, roster position, number of teams, and more all factor into decisions and strategies. Lucky for you, I am always open, and eager, to help fellow fantasy footballers. Reach out to me through Twitter or Facebook if you have any specific questions about what to do with your team.


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