We are between week 8 and week 9 in the NFL which is the unofficial mid-point for the season. In many cases we already know which teams are going to make the playoffs and sadly which ones likely won’t. This is probably true in your fantasy football league too. Maybe you’re sitting with a record of 4 and 4 or 3 and 5 with a shot of making the playoffs if you can string some wins together. Just like in the NFC East where the Dallas Cowboys (4-4) and the Philadelphia Eagles (3-5) can still win their division and make the wild card spot or better if they go on a run. Unfortunately for those and the rest of the NFL teams they’ll have to improve on their own as the NFL trade deadline has passed. That’s bad news for them but for you as a fantasy football owner you can still make moves now to improve your team and hopefully turn the tide and get into the playoffs. Here are some moves you should be able to make in most leagues:
- Take a hard look at your roster: After this week more than half of NFL teams will have completed their bye week possibly freeing you from having to make a short-term pickup or carrying one too many TE, K or Defense.
- In the homestretch you should not carry more than one Defense on your roster and you might consider not worrying about TE if you don’t have one of the top 10.
- I wouldn’t recommend not having two TE’s going into the play offs but you don’t need two until just before the pick up/trade deadline for your league. Two Kickers and two TE’s are good insurance policy in the playoffs. You might be able to convince me of 3 QB’s depending on who you’ve got.
- Trades are also an important roster improvement tool but in my experience they are very hard consummate. Every year I proposed a couple of trades but few of them ever actually go through. I don’t believe this is due to unfair trade values rather I think it’s a lot like the real NFL where fear of making a mistake is a bigger incentive. So go ahead and make some proposal and see who bites but do try to make it fair otherwise you’re wasting your time.
- That leaves pickups from the waiver wire as the mainstay for improving your team. At this point you’ve probably already made several moves (I’ve made close to 20) and other fantasy football owners will be active now until your deadline. This creates an opportunity for you to vulture players they think they can drop for a week without any consequence. So my advice is first look at who is being dropped in your league and as long as the player isn’t injured consider it a possible windfall. I love picking up players from the team I’m about to play and then start those players. It almost always comes back to haunt them!
- Speaking of injured players don’t let this scare you. Many owners will have an itchy trigger finger when it comes to an injury and will drop a player as soon as they are listed on the PUP, IR or are just listed as Out. Players like Seattle WR Percy Harvin (listed as Out), RB Shane Vereen (listed on IR) and QB EJ Manuel (listed as Out) are probably sitting on waivers but are expected to come back this week or next. Why not take a chance on one of these impact players?
As we head into the second half of the season you’ve got to figure out ways to pile up the wins to not only make the playoffs but also possibly get a coveted bye spot. Don’t forget to keep an eye on the real NFL teams vying for playoff spots. Teams that have cinched a top spot may think about resting one of your star players. Teams that are completely out of it may do the same. So keep an eye on players like RB Adrian Peterson of the Vikings and QB Peyton Manning of the Broncos both of which may see less playing time but for very different reasons.