Don’t draft a kicker
or a defense if you don’t have to
Some providers don’t actually require you to fill your
starting lineup with the draft, so I’m saying take the old adage “don’t draft a
kicker or defense until the last two rounds” a step further by not drafting
either at all (again, only if it’s possible).
This is especially useful if your draft occurs relatively long before
the season starts because you can see how questionable players pan out in those
last weeks leading up to the season.
If you think about it, not many in your league will probably
use this strategy, and most that draft a kicker or defense will almost always
use that kicker or defense in week 1.
Therefore, if there’s a nice matchup you see in week 1 for a kicker or
defense that you know probably won’t get drafted, you can feel pretty safe
about not taking that kicker or defense in the draft. Then, pick
up that kicker or defense closer to the start of the week 1 games.
If you draft a kicker
or defense in the last rounds, analyze the week 1 matchups
This strategy is many times overlooked. If you take a kicker and defense in the last
two rounds, and you plan on playing matchups with these positions throughout
the season, why not do it for week 1 as well?
In other words, don’t draft a middle-of-the-pack defense or kicker if
they don’t have a good week 1 matchup.
Listen to your
I first wrote about this a few weeks back, and you can read
all about it here. I just
can’t stress enough how important it is to pay attention to your provider’s
default list, especially after seeing the dramatic effect it’s had on the
countless mock drafts I’ve done through the many different providers.
Watch your opponent’s
players listed as questionable
It’s very common for a player’s status to be questionable
until about an hour before kickoff. Many
managers with these questionable players will hold off on picking up a
replacement from the free agent pool because they don’t want to drop any of
their bench players (for whatever reason).
Perhaps your opponent has another RB on the bench, but that RB is on bye
that week. Managers with questionable
players should always have another suitable option on their bench ready to go,
but not everyone is as smart as you and I.
Anyway, there are plenty of scenarios where you can take advantage of
this, so listen up.
On Sunday morning, scour the reports of your opponent’s
player(s) in question, and check to see who would be his most viable options
out on the free agent pool if he needed to go there. Once it’s known that the questionable player
is out that game, it might be worth picking up his best options yourself so
that he can’t make use of him (even if you don’t need to use these pickups
yourself). In some cases, it might even
be worth picking up more than one or two of the most viable options, putting
your opponent in a very tough situation.
Of course, you’ll have to make a decision on whether you think it’s
worth dropping any of your bench guys for a guy you won’t end up using, but
it’s quite common that you’ll have a few disposable players on your roster
throughout the season
As in real football, you sometimes have to play fantasy on a
week-to-week basis, especially if its crunch time and you’re fighting to get
into the playoffs. If you’re near the
end of the season, and you’re still holding on to a handcuff for example, it
might be time to let him go if you need the win.
I still remember the days where you could pickup a player,
then immediately send him to waivers by dropping him, and then repeating that
process until your opponent has practically
options. However, those days are long
gone in most leagues. Nowadays, if you
try to do this in the same day, the player you picked up and immediately
dropped won’t go to waivers just to prevent this practice. You can still do this once a day though, so
use it to your advantage if you can.
timing can be crucial
There are many different scenarios that apply here. As an example, if you’re thinking about
dropping a player that you don’t want this week’s opponent to pickup and use
against you (or, if that player has a great matchup and you don’t want
any manager using him that week), use
the waiver period to your advantage by making sure that player will be on
after that week’s games
Take advantage of the
waiver release time
Just about every league implements some kind of waivers, and
many of them also implement Sun-Tues. waivers.
Let’s say you want to pickup a guy on waivers who’s not an obvious
pickup that week (as opposed to an obvious pickup, like a backup to a starting
RB that just got injured). You may or
may not want to put in a waiver request for this non-obvious pickup because if
you’re the only one who puts in the request, you’ve effectively wasted your
waiver priority when you might not have had to.
Of course, other managers might be thinking the same thing about this
non-obvious player, saying to themselves the same thing you are: “I’ll just
pick him up when he clears waivers”. If
the waiver release time is fixed at a specific time and/or at a time most
managers are waiting around for it (especially for Sun.-Tues. waivers), this
strategy is difficult to implement. For
Sun.-Tues. waivers, some leagues have a 1-2 hour timeframe early Tuesday
morning, usually starting anywhere from 3:00 – 4:00 AM, when in a split second,
all unrequested players clear waivers.
The exact moment can vary over different leagues and providers. It’s usually determined randomly by the
system each week in an attempt to prevent what I’m telling you to do right now,
but at least you have a window to work with.
The safest thing to do is stay up all night and throughout the early
morning refreshing the free agent pool until players clear waivers, and if no
one put in a request for they guy you want, you’ll get him. Sometimes you’ll kill yourself doing this
though, since players might not clear waivers until the last possible instant,
and you might have an early meeting for work that morning. If you can’t handle doing this, then just set
your alarm for 3:30 or 4:00 AM (or whatever the waiver release time/window is),
wake up, and check if players have cleared waivers. If not, set your alarm for 4:30 or 5:00 AM,
go back to sleep, and repeat. You might
be sleep deprived the next day, but at least you’ll get the player you want
without wasting your waiver priority, and you’ll probably only do this at most
once a week!
Still, some are probably thinking to themselves that the
effort would be completely wasted if anyone else actually put in a request for
that player.Believe it or not, some
providers have what is called a “processing period” of somewhere around 20
minutes (I can’t remember exactly, maybe because it’s different every time, but
it’s definitely not documented anywhere) during which the system “processes”
the players who have been requested.
During this “processing period”,
those players who’ve been requested will still show up on waivers in the pool,
and all the unrequested players will show up as free agents. So, if you haven’t requested the player you
want and that player is still on waivers when all the rest of the pool turns
into free agents, you’ll know that at least one other manager has requested him. Then, you can make a more informed decision
on whether or not to make a request yourself.
Of course, if he turns into a free agent, grab him with no waiver
penalty! Again, I’m not sure how Sun.-Tues.
waivers works with every provider, but you can figure it out the first Tuesday
morning of the season by using similar methods.
Further, you can extend this strategy to any type of waiver
period. Many times, the waiver release
time for non-Sun.-Tues. waivers works in a similar way, if not the same way as
Know when you can
drop players who’ve played in your starting lineup the previous week
This is somewhat similar to the waivers strategy I just
detailed. In many leagues, there’s a certain period of time after a given
week’s games that you cannot drop a player who was just used in your starting
lineup. This time period usually ends sometime
late Sunday night or early Monday.
Sometimes, this might be around the same time players clear waivers for
that given day. The exact instance is usually
fixed, and you can determine when exactly it is by using methods similar to
those I just described for taking advantage of waivers.
If you want to immediately drop a player Sunday night that
you just started (this can be for a multitude of reasons), you’re at an
advantage if you know the first instant it’s possible.
Know the needs of
your fellow managers and propose trades
Trading can help your chances of success dramatically,
especially when you can pull off a trade that will obviously help you. I’ve always found it easy to trade a 2nd-tier
RB and a 2nd-tier WR for a stud WR, assuming I’ve made an effort to
stock up on RBs (which, granted, isn’t always easy to do). This is of course because starting RBs are
the scarcest position in fantasy football, and there will always be managers in
need of them.
I wrote a separate article dedicated to this, and you can
read it here. However, be
forewarned that while some would call it strategy, others might call it
collusion. I don’t believe it’s a form
of collusion at all. In fact, as I
mention in the article, it doesn’t have much effect on more competitive leagues. As well, some methods of whispering are more
subtle than others. For example, if you
need someone in your league to win a game in order for you to make the playoffs,
and he’s not as skilled as you, it might be worth taking him out for dinner or a
few beers so you can talk it over with him.
But again, whispering doesn’t have much effect in leagues where every
manager already knows his stuff well and keeps up with it.