It is finally here for some of you, your fantasy football championship week. Many months and endless hours of draft preparation have brought you to this point. Unfortunately with big games comes big pressure, and the wrong decision can result in an early exit and an offseason of depression.
Don’t over-analyze - There is a reason you have gotten this far in the fantasy football playoffs. Stick with what got you here. The most common mistake for first-time championship players is to over-think your game. For example, you own Marshawn Lynch and the Seattle Seahawks are playing the Arizona Cardinals top rush defense this week. You start Foster no matter what. Especially this season as no defense has been consistent for fifteen games.
Skip the waiver wire - There is no reason you should even think of playing the waiver wire game. Yes Joseph Randall is tempting, but can you really trust a guy off the wire who will be splitting time at this point? I look at it this way when it comes to playing guys in fantasy football at this point in the season. It comes down to, who do you trust? If there is a gem flying around your waiver wire, I’d grab him only to keep him away from your opponent. But I’d have a hard time resting my championship hopes on someone that has been hanging around for most of the year on the wire.
Go with a running back in your flex position - I have always had a rule which has cost me on some weeks, but has won me more games in the long haul. My rule of thumb is always start a running back in the flex position over a wide receiver. I don’t care if you have three great receivers. One of them has to sit for the running back. Remember what time of year we are in. It is the winter time, and this is the time of the year where most teams will be running over passing in outdoor weather.
Of course this is subject to change if you have no true starting running back to start in the flex while you have a great receiver sitting on your bench. At the same time, you know a running back is going to get his carries. Whether he scores or not, he is going to get double digit carries depending upon the offense. The wide receiver you want to play could be easily shut out. I’d rather take 7 points from a bad running back than 0 from a wide receiver.
Beware of fuzzy fantasy football statistics - This is something that could get you into big trouble if you don’t do your homework. There are a lot of writers and websites that give you fantasy stats such as average points a team gives up to tight ends, quarterbacks, etc. Read the stats closely.
Most of these websites are giving you seasonal stats. My rule of thumb is to look at a team’s last four-five games. For example, the Carolina Panthers and the Giants are ranked as two of the best bets for running backs by most fantasy sites. Those same “experts” will yell and scream to play your running backs against the Panthers and Giants. What they don’t tell you is that over the last four games, neither the Giants nor Panthers have given up one touchdowns to opposing running backs. Furthermore, the Giants have not given up more than 65 yards to running backs in their last three games while the Panthers have only allowed one team to rush for over 100 in their last four. A lot of those fantasy football sites use seasonal stats and while the Panthers may have been shredded a few times, they aren’t the “give me” that most fantasy experts would lead you to believe they are. The same can be said for the Rams, who have greatly improved their defense over the last few weeks. The opposite could be said about the Buffalo Bills who while ranked 8th against RBs have given up four TDs in their last two games. These fantasy websites can be a great guide, but do your own homework. Remember this is the championship game and chances are your opponent is up to his neck in stats. Be prepared and you’ll be fine.
So there they are, a few dos and don’ts for fantasy football championship players. Hopefully you followed some of my advice this season and had some luck in your league (and better luck than I had in some of my others). Good luck in your championship, and welcome to the big dance.