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 David Johnson and the Arizona Cardinals are playing the Seattle Seahawks, who are the number two defense against RBS this week. You start D.J. no matter what. Especially this season as no defense, including the Seahawks who gave up three TDs to the Patriots in Week 10, have been consistent for fifteen games.
The Minnesota Vikings have put one of the best defenses on the field this season. Yes, the Vikings have shutdown most QBs the season and are third against Qbs in fantasy football. Yes the Vikings have not given up more than 20 points to a QB since week 2. However, are you really going to shut down an Aaron Rodgers in your championship week for someone off the waiver wire or your backup? Are you going to sit down Travis Kelce just because he is playing the Denver Broncos? Now if you are sitting there with comparable backups on your bench you may and I stress may want to consider it. However, the moral here is not to panic. Stick with the money guys who brought you to the dance, especially if you don’t have any suitable backups on your bench. Strange things can happen, just ask anyone who played against Ty Montgomery last week.
Skip the waiver wire – There is no reason you should even think of playing the waiver wire game. Yes Derrick Henry may be tempting, but can you really trust a guy off the wire who is still 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 including another appearance in my main league’s Super Bowl this week. My rule of thumb is always start a running back in the flex position over a wide receiver. I don’t care how great the matchup looks for the receiver, go with the RB. No matter how much a receiver on your bench may be balling, just know that know WR has been consistent this season. I had a tough decision to make last week. I had LeGarrette Blount or Jamison Crowder who on paper, had the better matchup. I went with Blount and it paid off. 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 game-flow. The wide receiver you want to play could be easily shut out. I’d rather take the 8 point floor from my third RB 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 San Francisco 49ers and the Kansas City Chiefs are ranked as two of the best bets for wide receivers according to most fantasy sites. Those same “experts” will yell and scream to play your Wrs against the 49ers and Chiefs. What they don’t tell you is that the 49ers gave up a stingy one TD to one of the best throwing offenses in the league last week. I also look at pure talent and while DFS players are salivating over putting Todd Gurley into their lineups against the 49ers, he would be one of my last options in a season-long league based on his inability to put up points in previous matchups against poorly ranked run defenses.
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.
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