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Keeping Ahead: Your Roster Sucks

Uh oh.

It’s Week 5. How are things going for you?

I ask this sincerely, because it’s time to be honest with yourself. You owe it to your team, to your players, to your league.

Does your roster suck? Change it.

As we pass the quarter-mark in real football, we have enough of a sample size to make sense of what we have, what we need, and what we sorely lack on our rosters.

Let me give you an example.

There is a player in a 16-team points per reception league. Let’s call him … MJ. A week ago, MJ was ready to quit and throw in the towel. I know this because I know the way he thinks. He tends to panic when things aren’t going well. And let’s just say, things were not going well.

Tevin Coleman was (is) hurt.

Alshon Jeffery was (is) hurt.

Doug Martin had struggled.

Jimmy Graham had been inconsistent.

Matt Jones had gone from penthouse to doghouse.

It was rough.

Thankfully, his studs were being studs (Julio Jones) and his high-floor, medium-ceiling stalwarts (Russell Wilson) were at least keeping him competitive.

But a change had to be made. Championships were not going to be won with this roster.

So he set out to change it.

Now, changing your rosters – whether it be via trading or waiver wire acquisitions, is a horrifying prospect for some. It means a couple things:

  • Admittance that things are not as good as they should be;
  • Admittance that your draft did not go quite as planned;
  • Admittance that the player you believed in, rooted for, may, in actuality, not be that great.

Each of these are difficult things to admit to yourself. Trust me, I know. With every increasing shirt size, and buttons struggling to merge, I keep telling myself I am just packing on muscle mass. But c’mon. Those donut holes for breakfast are not packed with vitamins. This is a full-on pizza-fueled fat bump. You have to do the same thing with your roster. Honest assessment.

So here is how to do it:

  • Assess your roster for underachievers: This one is easy. Struggling at running back? It’s probably because you drafted DeMarco Murray and C.J. Anderson. Recognize that this is your weakest position and the area you need to improve the most. Also recognize, though, that these players have next-to-zero value in trade. So, despite how highly they were drafted or the expectations going in, you are most likely going to be stuck with them for now. That’s ok, just be aware.
  • Assess your roster for overachievers: This one is tougher, because in all likelihood, they have been the only bright spot on your roster, so why on earth would you get rid of them or even consider finishing the season without them? It’s difficult, always, to think about these players as expendable, but that’s exactly what they are. One easy way to spot them? Find the player on your roster that has the biggest name in a bad situation. Two weeks ago, I would have argued that player is Jimmy Graham. The Seattle Seahawks don’t pass enough for him to be relevant every week, but his name still carries huge fantasy cache. Last week, he caught a touchdown and looked every bit the player he was with New Orleans. Two nights ago, he looked more like we can expect from a Seattle wideout: minimal catches, minimal involvement. The time to move him for premium has passed for now, but wait for another big game and pounce on an owner who remembers his glory days. Current players overachieving their role/position: Devonta Freeman, Jeremy Maclin, Vincent Jackson, Doug Martin, Keenan Allen.
  • Seek the desperate: However bad you are doing, there is someone doing worse. Highlight their underachievers and see what you can offer them. This is especially relevant as we get into bye weeks. Is someone sick of owning Alshon Jeffery? Or throwing in the towel on Lamar Miller heading into the Week 5 bye? If you can, see what they’d take for them. Chances are, you could land a Top 15 talent for a Top 50 price.
  • Churn that waiver: Yes, we all have been let down by Brandon Coleman, despite the high expectations. Drop him. Drop Charles Johnson. Drop Roddy White. These players are just taking up space. Swallow your pride and your now irrelevant draft plan, and pick up Allen Hurns, Ted Ginn Jr. and Leonard Hankerson. It may feel scummy to do so, but your roster will thank you.

And if all this fails? Then it’s time to move your stud for keepers. Next season isn’t that far away.

And for the record? MJ turned those players into Le’Veon Bell and Jamaal Charles. Just saying.

About MJ Brown

MJ Brown has been an avid fantasy football keeper league enthusiast and player for over a decade. A member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association, MJ delivers weekly content on multiple platforms, bringing a combination of advice, humor, and tips to keep your team at the top of your league.