Bryan Altman, CBS Local Sports
There’s nothing worse than waiting an entire year for something only to be let down once the moment finally arrives. It’s a feeling that lots of Eagles – sorry, football fans – are coming to terms with at the moment as things haven’t exactly gone according to plan for their squad.
Outside of under achieving NFL teams, there are probably even more fantasy football owners coming to grips with the fact that their fantasy team isn’t all that it was jazzed up to be.
Admit it, you drank the Kool-Aid. You listened when the guy that always wins your league said he loved your draft and that your team was the best. You got all excited when the website you use for your league gave your draft an A+ rating. You thought it was in the bag.
Now, you’re in an 0-2 hole with a marquee team on paper that doesn’t execute on Sundays. What do you do?
Well, here are four ways to turn around the miserable start to your fantasy season.
1. Trade Your Best Player
I don’t care who it is – trade him. Do it now. If your team isn’t losing by mere fractions of a point then the issue you’re having is related to your team’s depth. You’re top heavy in scoring and counting on somebody like Antonio Brown to put up 20-plus points each week just to compete, which just isn’t going to happen consistently. So sell high. Trade whoever has been your top performer for two solid players that you know will crack your starting roster and see how it works out for you. Obviously there’s risk involved, but a change up might do your team good. (Note: This might not be the best advice if you’re in a keeper league, so keep that in mind).
2. Stalk The Waiver Wire Like There’s No Tomorrow
Every year there a game-changing free agent available within the first four weeks of the season. You, yes, you, have absolutely no excuse not to get him. If you’re 0-2 you should have one of the first claims at any player on waivers. If you’re in a league where you have to bid on your free agents, even better. Find the guy that’s performing well at a position you desperately need and get him at any cost. It’s extremely rare to find a viable free agent past the midway point of the season so saving all of your cash for a moment that might not come is futile. You need a free agent that can change your fortunes now, so don’t hesitate. Here are some possible players who are probably available in your league that you can snag.
QB: Derek Carr (OAK) – Carr looks to have real chemistry with wide receiver Amari Cooper, and they may be trailing in a lot of games moving forward, meaning aerial assaults could be the norm in Oakland.
QB: Andy Dalton (CIN) – Dalton might not be available, but he’s been stellar from a fantasy perspective in the early going with five touchdowns, nearly 500 yards passing, and most impressively, no interceptions. Grab him if possible.
RB: Matt Jones (WASH) – Jones exploded onto the fantasy scene last week and could be a huge factor in Washington’s offense moving forward. Don’t hesitate to snag him.
RB: Dion Lewis (NE) – I don’t know what Lewis did for coach Belichick that Jonas Gray didn’t, but after fumbling twice last week Lewis managed to keep getting snaps, which Gray couldn’t do after a four touchdown performance last year. Looks like Lewis is the new flavor of the week in New England at running back.
WR: Travis Benjamin (CLE) – While we wait for a sign of life from Dwayne Bowe, Benjamin is the primary wide out in Cleveland and showed his explosiveness on special teams as well.
WR: Leonard Hankerson (ATL) – Much to the dismay of Roddy White owners (your’s truly), Hankerson was Matt Ryan’s second-favorite target this weekend next to Julio Jones. Could be the start of a prosperous relationship in an offense that loves to pass moving forward.
3. Shuffle Your Defenses, Kickers And Quarterback Weekly
This obviously depends on the limitations of your waiver system, but assuming you have the ability to do so, change things up regularly based on matchups. Even if you have a top tier quarterback (Rodgers, Brady, Luck, Brees, ETC…) there might be someone on the waiver wire with a matchup too good to pass up. Now, I’m not suggesting benching any of those guys unless the circumstances are dire, but it’s something to consider.
This goes double for defenses and kickers. There’s no reason to stick with ANY defense of kicker if they don’t have a favorable matchup. I know the Jets looked phenomenal last night, but I’m not planning on starting the against the Patriots when they meet. Grab the Buccaneers’ defense against the Browns offense and wait for the McCown/Manziel duo to rain pick-sixes down upon your fantasy squad.
4. DO NOT GIVE UP!
This, is fantasy blasphemy my friends. Mailing it in – not setting your lineup, not paying attention to your league, not responding to trade requests – these are all valid reasons for banishment from whatever league you’re in.
First of all, it’s never over till it’s over, and in most leagues these days there’s some money to be won on a weekly basis. If not there’s probably some money to be saved by staying out of the basement. Either way, relish your opportunity to turn this thing around and to play spoiler to one of your friends that needs to beat your sorry squad to make the playoffs. It’s almost as rewarding as getting a check at the end of the year.
Bryan Altman is, for some reason, an unabashed fan of the Rangers, Jets and Mets. If he absolutely had to pick a basketball team it would be the Knicks, but he’d gladly trade them for just one championship for either of his other three teams.