Football is just about a week and a half away and we still have plenty of drafts left before the first kickoff of the season. In between drafting, you should start looking over your rosters to see how you intend to set your lineups as well as to assess your strengths and weaknesses. Who are you starting at each position and who goes into your flex spot will be key come Week 1. Many owners draft a team and then ignore it until the season starts. That is a mistake you don’t want to make this year.
So, what does that have to do with daily fantasy football? If you learn to prepare for the season like you do a daily fantasy game, then you might go about constructing your rosters differently. For the past two seasons, I have increased my exposure to daily fantasy sports and it has helped me manage my rosters better in my season-long leagues.
For those who have not played daily fantasy football, you construct a new lineup each week. You might construct one lineup or you may put together 20-30 lineups. With daily lineups, you don’t have to worry about injuries or players going up against tough defenses. If Julio Jones is facing the Seahawks defense in Seattle, you can choose not to play him. If the running back you wanted to play looks as if he will miss the next game, you just find a running back to replace him or use his back up. This is not possible in season-long leagues.
If you have Julio Jones, you are more than likely going to start him in hopes that the Seattle defense won’t limit his production. Same goes for the running back on your roster. If he is injured you might have to wait and see if he practiced on Friday and Saturday and even then he might be a game-time decision. You might not have the backup running back on your roster or be able to him up off waivers. Once news breaks that a player is going to miss time, people will be rushing to the waiver wire to add his backup.
So how do you manage your team like a daily fantasy roster? There are several ways you can go about managing your team as you would your daily lineup. The first thing daily players do is look at the salaries and matchups for the week. This is similar to looking at who your players will be facing to see who you want to play at the flex and sometimes which defense to use. The key to winning in daily leagues is to find the value plays to use in a lineup. After all, you can’t just play anyone because you are limited by a salary cap.
So each week there will be players who will make the list of value plays or sneaky value options. These are the players who you want to look for on the waiver wire. So often in the past, people would work the waiver wire to replace an injured player or to cover a bye week rather than to find some value players. Unless a player is a hot player to add due to taking over the starting role or going off the week before, most season-long owners won’t bother with a value-play guy who would be good for one game.
So far I have talked in general terms and will now go deeper into how managing your team the way you would a daily lineup can help. Now keep in mind these moves are more boom-or-bust strategies than you would normally use in a season-long league, but if you find yourself 2-5 on the season or you lost your star quarterback, then it could payoff to be aggressive with your roster from week to week.
Quarterback is one of the most important positions in football. In most fantasy leagues you only start one and the majority of you will likely have just one backup on your roster. Last season, Cam Newton missed the first week of the season suffering from a back injury due to a car accident. Did most fantasy owners grab another quarterback off of waivers? They probably didn’t, as they would use the other quarterback on their roster. Makes sense, since they drafted a second quarterback.
If you had Eli Manning as your backup then you would have ended up with just nine fantasy points that week. Even worse, you could have had Johnny Manziel or Teddy Bridgewater on your bench and neither one started in Week 1. If you approached the situation like a daily lineup, you could have done several things. You could have picked up Derek Anderson, who put up 18 fantasy points, or you could have used one of the value plays such as Carson Palmer, who had 23, or Jack Locker, who had 21. It is just a few points but that 14-point difference between Eli Manning to Carson Palmer could be the difference between winning and losing.
This position is thin as many NFL teams do not have a true feature back. This has led to people drafting more wide receivers earlier in drafts. You still need to fill the running back spots and if you don’t have a stud such as Jamaal Charles or Le’Veon Bell, chances are you will be using some type of rotation with your running backs from week to week depending on the matchup.
This is similar to daily leagues as players will build their lineup around one stud back and then find value for the other spot. This method can work for you as well, as there will be a number of guys who will be in a good position to pick up carries. Like I said earlier regarding waivers, everyone is going to be on the hot guy but you need to dig deeper down into the pool of available players even if you only use him for one week.
For instance, last year it was Week 4 and already I was dealing with bye week issues. Everyone was trying to add Alfred Blue because Arian Foster missed Week 3. I used the daily league rankings to find Matt Asiata, who had a good matchup with Atlanta. He had 20 carries for 78 yards, three rushing touchdowns and added three receptions for 22 yards.