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Fantasy football: Rethinking Strategy and Enjoying the Journey

At this point in the NFL’s regular season, some fantasy football enthusiasts are shaking their heads in frustration while muttering colorful expletives every Sunday. Projected points? A travesty! That stellar draft pick? Out for the season with a fractured left clavicle. That no-name tight end, the one drafted purely because no one else was available? Somehow that no-name tight end miraculously accumulated 50 points. What? Unfortunately, said points mean nothing because said tight end has been parked on the bench since week one. Ugh!

Discerning fantasy footballers need not despair. It’s not too late in the season for under-performing fantasy teams to stage dramatic comebacks, but to accomplish that, a reasonable game plan should be considered. Fantasy teams are like gardens. To remain productive, they require regular weeding and replanting. Consider the weeding and replanting of a fantasy team eponymously dubbed “Steve’s Peeves”.

In anticipation of the coming week, Steve reviews the projected points of his entire fantasy team and compares them with his opponent’s team. Although Steve’s team is projected to overtake his opponent by 30 points, appearances are misleading. For starters, his quarterback, Blake Bortles of the Jaguars, is listed as questionable due to a sprained shoulder. Further, one of Steve’s favorite running backs, Jamaal Charles of the Chiefs, tore up his right knee. Topping off that sundae of point suckage, Bucs kicker Connor Barth has a bye week.

To minimize the potential for a full-on fantasy flop, Steve should add a healthy quarterback to his roster, and definitely drop and replace Charles and Barth as soon as possible. Steve could add QB Tyrod Taylor of the Bills, for example. He’s healthy, and his coming match-up with the Bengals is favorable, in spite of the injuries that have plagued the Bills’ roster. Losing Charles is tough, but Falcons running back Devonta Freeman has been putting up phenomenal numbers and is a worthy replacement. As for Barth, Steve is not feeling any love for Barth anyway, so it’s an easy breakup. Texans’ kicker Nick Novak fills the bill nicely.

After Steve peruses available free agents and makes his selections, he shouldn’t stop there. He should look at the rosters of all of the opposing teams in his league. If there are players on the benches of opponents that are valuable, a wise fantasy footballer will discreetly offer a mutually beneficial trade. The cultivation of reciprocity and strategic alliances should ideally start early in the season, but persuading an opponent to agree to a friendly trade or two is undoubtedly helpful even later in the season. In addition, the banter which often accompanies the quest for a trade is too hilarious to miss.

After Steve’s weeding and replanting is done, Steve should relax and just enjoy the fantasy ride. The truth is that too many fantasy football players set themselves up for disappointment by taking the game way too seriously. The reality is that a fantasy team, however carefully crafted, can fall apart in an instant due to injuries, a player’s antics off of the field, illness and any number of other unforeseen occurrences.

The fantasy football experience should be an amusing diversion, not an additional source of stress in a world that’s way too stressful as it is. When all is said and done, even if a fantasy team fails to prevail one week (or all of them), the beauty of fantasy football is best expressed by quoting the immortal words of the indomitable Scarlett O’Hara: “After all, tomorrow is another day!”

GRFF Staff

GRFF Staff

Where the hell am I and where are my shoes.

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