Matt Hicks, Staff Writer
Injuries are always a huge aspect of fantasy football, but it seems like this year injuries are more prevalent than ever. We’ve now seen Aaron Rodgers, Jameis Winston, Derek Carr, Andrew Luck, Sam Bradford, Sam Bradford again, David Johnson, Dalvin Cook, Ty Montgomery, Bilal Powell and Matt Forte, OBJ, DeVante Parker, Allen Robinson, Emmanuel Sanders, Charles Clay, and Greg Olsen go down to injury; just to name a few. Week 7 is still TOO EARLY TO GIVE UP So how do you move forward from here to still put together a playoff run?
Here’s 4 ways you can manage your injury-ridden team to a fantasy championship:
Split the Value of a RB1/WR1
The IR on my keeper league roster is full with: OBJ, Dalvin Cook, Greg Olsen, and Jordan Matthews. I’ve managed to get to 3-3 still, but I want to make myself a more consistent contender so I’m looking into this move as my first option. I’m currently shopping Antonio Brown for 2 players, ideally a RB1 and a WR2. This is what I mean by “splitting the value”. Antonio Brown is a huge asset for a team making a playoff run (even more valuable in keeper/dynasty leagues). I’ve targeted one owner who has Jordan Howard, a RB1 who can fill Cook’s slot, and Keenan Allen, a WR2 who can fill in for Brown’s potentially vacant slot. This example is specific to my team but you can “split the value” of any of your top players to get two players who can combine for a greater impact and give you a more consistent roster. I suggest this as your first option; it’ll give you the best chance to make a long term run.
Don’t Trade for a Quarterback!
I can’t stress this one enough: you don’t need to trade for a quarterback in 1 QB leagues. In a 12 team league, you should have about 5-8 starting quarterbacks to choose from on waivers. Although Quarterbacks often score the most points for your league, there isn’t a huge difference in the production of a QB you’d trade for, compared to one you’d claim off waivers.
I’ve seen Russell Wilson floated in a ton of trades this week so let’s use him as an example: Wilson averages 18 fantasy points per game, which makes him roughly the 7th best QB in fantasy football right now. Now, compare that to QBs likely available on waivers in your league, like Trevor Siemian (available in 68% of leagues), who averages 15.2 fantasy points per game this season or Eli Manning (available in 56% of leagues) who averages 14.6 fantasy points per game. So if you choose to trade for Wilson, you’re likely giving up at least a RB/WR 2, or roughly 10 points per weeks. That means you’re getting a net gain of about 8 points a week. Instead, you could just claim a Siemian or Manning type QB, suck it up and take a net gain of 14-15 points.
Make Frustration Trades
You have that player that just hasn’t got the job done. You don’t care how many people tell you they’ll improve, you just need that player off your roster, for me that was Crowell. I looked long and hard for a trade partner who wanted Crowell, and I found that partner in an Amari Cooper owner. We swapped the two frustrating players to fit our team needs better. I didn’t get a consistently productive player with Cooper but I gained a player with huge upside, and I need that after losing OBJ. If Cooper gets it together this season, he could be the reason I win the championship.
Be a Waiver Wire Hero
This one sounds obvious, but it goes deeper than just hitting big with a successful claim on Jerrick McKinnon or Adrian Peterson. You need to be all over the waiver wire, every week, from Tuesday through Sunday at 1 PM. You need to plug and play based on match-ups, not production. This is the cheapest way to improve your roster but it’s also the riskiest. For example I claimed and started Agholor and Ellington this week. I hit big on Agholor but was very frustrated when Ellington barely saw the field this week. I need to go back to the drawing board next week to fill my RB2 slot (unless I can finally pull off that trade…). Another key part of being a waiver wire hero is watching the wire throughout the week to see who people drop. Owners make some crazy drops when they panic throughout the week. Just because someone dropped a player doesn’t mean that player is bad. Also, be on top of breaking news (perhaps through fantastic Twitter accounts like Top2Sports). Last week Alfred Morris and Darren McFadden went from irrelevant to owned in 100% of leagues in about an hour following the reinstatement of the Zeke suspension. Being a waiver wire hero has big upside but it’s a very risky move if you’re looking for long term consistency. I suggest doing this only as a last resort.
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