Projections gathered, check. Personal rankings made, check. Team drafted, check. Double-checked injuries, check and line up made, check. With the first week of NFL action behind us now all we have to do is submit our rosters every week, throw back a few beers on Sunday and pray that our team does well, right? Wrong. Just because we used numerous projections to make our own rankings, studied off season moves and came up with a seemingly unstoppable line-up doesn’t mean that our work is done, matter of fact it’s only just begun. So listen up Fantasy Football Grasshoppers cause its time to get mean and nasty, are you ready?
Listen, I know that the majority of us play in leagues where we are friends with or at least know the majority of the other managers. It’s great to have some competitive fun with your friends but when it comes to winning money and winning the league title let me tell you, you’re going to have to put those friendships on the back burner. Now that the season is underway and many of us are feeling the bite of the injury bug (Warner: concussion, Driver: neck injury, Ferguson: ankle and knee) we need to get out there and work the wire (picking up free agents or those recently released) and/or attack our unwitting and less intelligent friends with uneven trade offers. Working the wire has many benefits and is far easier and less expensive then trading but its certainly not as fun.
Working the wire is like finding a diamond in the rough. Whether we are talking about snagging a #3 WR that has just replaced a top notch WR who is out for the season or finding a no name superstar (i.e. Anquan Boldin), the wire can be a great place to find some players that will not only round out your roster but could help your team on a weekly basis. With a little bit of insight, research, and dedication, you can take a good team and make it better by snapping up one or two players from the wire. But picking up full time or back-up players for your roster isn’t the only benefit of the waiver wire. This certain strategy is done far less then one thinks and can be quite effective if done right but it does require trading. Let’s use Anquan Boldin as an example. Your WR corps are solid and you don’t really want to make any changes in that arena but your RB position is a little light. Another owner is in the complete opposite position with strong RB’s but weak WR’s. You don’t want to give up one of your WR’s but you really need to upgrade your rushing attack. What should you do? You got it. Pick up Anquan Boldin and trade him to secure your RB. I have personally used this strategy on a few occasions and it can make a world of difference but remember that this whole thing hinges on whether or not you get to Boldin on the wire first so if your going to do it you better act fast. Remember, surprise one-week wonders or no-name superstars can make excellent trading bait.
Now lets talk trading. Listen, there is nothing more satisfying then suckering another manager into a trade that on paper looks even but in actuality gives you the upper hand. I know that they are your friends but if you want to feel the thrill of victory and get bragging rights your going to have to work every angle, friends or not. Now you may be thinking that it’s too early in the season to make trades but the truth is it’s the perfect time. Look at how poorly some great players did in week one. Miami Defense looked like they couldn’t have stopped a Pop Warner team let alone the Texan’s, Brady actually scored –4 points in ESPN Fantasy, and the number one pick in most drafts, LaDainian Tomlinson, rushed for a whopping 34 yards. These are all examples of great fantasy players that still have great potential but just had a bad week. Now I am not saying that these guys are going to be willing to give up their number one draft choice because of one bad game but it doesn’t hurt to ask right? Plus what if the owner is new to fantasy football? Take advantage of their weaknesses, now is the perfect time to contact those nervous, disappointed, and all together pissed off owners but…you have to have a gentle hand.
Remember, these owners already know that their star player stunk it up on Sunday so there is no real need to point that out to them. Find position areas that they need to fill (are they weak at QB or WR?) or a player that you know they like, this is great for those “Homie” managers. There is always at least one manager in every league that has a “Homie” complex. A “Homie” manager is a guy that thinks so highly of anyone on his favorite team that he may overlook the player’s shortcomings. Next, find out all the positive things about the player(s) that you are willing to trade. Anything from last years stats to the ease of their schedule will do because you need to make these players bigger then life when you talk to the other team manager. Like I said, the other owner already knows that his superstar went flat, so by pumping up a player in a position that they need to fill or that plays on their favorite team you can make them think that they are ones getting the upper hand. When you contact the other owner make sure that you make it feel like you are doing them a favor, especially if it’s a rookie manager, and give them multiple options, making you seem reasonable. You also want to give them the old “if we are going to do this its got to be now” thus planting a fear of “lost opportunity” in them. If they get nervous and back away don’t push, you don’t want to ruin any future trade talks. Remember no means no. But if they do pump up the players and catch the manager at the right moment, by the time they figure out that they got hustled you will be doing a victory dance in the winner’s circle.
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