The famous phrase “hindsight is 20/20” couldn’t be more true than in fantasy football. As you look back at your league’s draft results page, early pickups and drops and waiver adds, it becomes evident that one or two positive or negative moves may have made or broken your season! Let’s discuss several 2018 New Year’s Resolutions that we can all learn from 2017 and use to prepare for next season.
Do not draft a team with too many high risk or injured players
Although Murphy’s Law states that “anything that can go wrong will go wrong” may be a bit radical, it is much too optimistic believing that every high risk or injured players will return to play when they are scheduled and will be at full capacity. It’s inevitable that your team will suffer injuries (see David Johnson, Odell Beckham Jr, Brandon Marshall, Aaron Rodgers, Deshaun Watson, etc) during the season so loading up on high-risk before the season begins may be more of a “doomsday wish” than “rolling the dice”. Andrew Luck was a popular name on fantasy football draft boards as he was falling down the ranks due to his injury status. Some even considered him a “sleeper” as they hoped to draft him late, then use him for the second half of the season and potentially the playoffs. Unfortunately for these hopeful owners, Andrew Luck threw zero passes during the 2017 season. Jordan Reed was another extremely high upside player on a strong offense, but was a major gamble for prospective owners given his injury-ridden track record. Reed only played in six games and was even limited in several of those, which resulted in being labeled as a fantasy bust this season.
Don’t throw in the towel just because of an injury
Many would argue that there were more serious injuries to fantasy football stars in 2017 than in previous seasons. Aaron Rodgers, David Johnson, Odell Beckham Jr, Brandon Marshall, Deshaun Watson, Carson Wentz, Julian Edelman, Dalvin Cook, Andrew Luck, Greg Olsen, and Jordan Reed were just some of the major names that missed all or a large portion of the season. However, players not originally on the fantasy radar became major pickups and difference makers including Alvin Kamara, Case Keenum, Josh McCown, and Dion Lewis. There will always be decent pickups on the waiver wire, but the decision of whom to drop and went to start them is often the biggest conundrum!
Don’t underestimate talent
Both Todd Gurley and DeAndre Hopkins were drafted in the first round in most leagues in 2016 but did not live up to expectation production wise. However, much of the blame could be pointed to the poor offenses of the Los Angeles Rams and Houston Texas. The Los Angeles Rams went from worst in scoring in 2016 to first in 2017, which resulted in Todd Gurley being a top producer and helping his fantasy managers win many of their leagues. Also, DeAndre Hopkins returned to WR1 status by adding more than 400 receiving yards and scored nine more times in 2017, thus rewarding his fantasy managers. Never underestimate talent!
Just because analysts are down on a team doesn’t mean they are right
Before the season, many analysts selected the Oakland Raiders, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, New York Giants, and Washington Redskins to either win their divisions or have a strong chance at securing a playoff berth. These teams ended the year with a combined 21 wins and 43 losses! On the other side of the coin, the Jacksonville Jaguars and Buffalo Bills were projected to land at the bottom of their division and potentially tank near the end of the year. Instead, these teams ended with 19 wins and 13 losses with seasons continuing into the playoffs. In fact, the Buffalo Bills will make their first playoff appearance in 17 seasons! Both the Jaguars and the Bills offered quite a few sleepers to help fantasy managers this season. In fact, Jacksonville was the top defense in fantasy football which is something not many saw coming.