Aaron Rodgers missed several weeks of the 2013 season with a broken collarbone. For many, it spelled the end of their fantasy football seasons. After all, Rodgers is an elite fantasy quarterback – the head of a pass-first offense that takes multiple shots downfield and a player capable of rushing for a touchdown on any play inside the red zone. Rodgers may not put up the same numbers as Peyton Manning or Drew Brees, but he’s not far off.
While such an injury may doom many owners’ championship dreams, smart owners know answers are out there.
In the 2013 season, one such answer was a redhead named Andy Dalton.
Dalton may not own a playoff victory as quarterback of the Cincinnati Bengals, but the TCU product is more than capable of winning fantasy championships. Don’t believe me? You should, he helped me win a title last year after Rodgers went down.
I picked up Dalton in a long-standing league run by a good friend. Dalton played well enough to help get my team (Revis Christ) into the postseason. When the playoffs began, Dalton was magnificent., and I trusted my gut and kept him in the lineup after Rodgers returned. He was the best player on a championship team and he led Revis Christ to a league-record fourth title, two more than any other owner in the league.
When it comes to fantasy football, guess you could say I’ve always had the touch. Besides owning twice as many championships as any owner in my friend’s PPR league, I’ve reached the championship game a league-record seven times (with a league-record three titles) in a quirky, touchdown-based league I run. I also won another league so frequently, it closed its doors.
Why the success?
Well, some of it has to do with luck. Some of it has to do with following the game from an unbiased eye (i.e. not being a Steelers fan can be a blessing). There’s following draft strategies and keeping a close eye on the waiver wire, and not always for the player coming off a splash week.
So, here’s some tips to follow for fantasy success. Hopefully, we can make this a regular segment here. Feel free to ask me for any fantasy football tips. I’ll be happy to assist you on your way to a championship.
1. Get two stud running backs. Employ a wishbone if possible. The point differential between an elite running back and an average one is greater than any other position. That’s why it’s important to get a Shady McCoy, Eddie Lacy or even Le’Veon Bell is available. Look at your league champion. Chances are great the owner has at least one top-eight running back. My goal every draft is to land a pair of top-12 backs. If not top 12, top 15.
2. Don’t be afraid to make tough decisions. It’s tough to bench top running backs or a first-round pick, but a bad matchup is a bad matchup. This is especially true for quarterbacks and running backs. Trust your first instinct and try to stick with it.
3. Don’t be loyal. Loyalty will burn you at least twice every regular season. It’s about winning that week, not about keeping Larry Fitzgerald in your lineup just because you were at Pitt the same time he was.
4. Please don’t draft average quarterbacks early. There’s a distinct pecking order for quarterbacks, and while the top few are worth early selections, the No. 6 quarterback isn’t much different from the No. 13 quarterback. Basically, there’s not much gap between Tony Romo and Ben Roethlisberger, or a starting Brian Hoyer for that matter.
5. Stay away from defenses and kickers until the last three rounds. Dumb. Just dumb. Grab a third receiver first.
6. Don’t be afraid to snag injury reclamations. Football injuries can be devastating, but there are mini-miracles out there in the worlds of science and medicine. If there’s a former fantasy stud one year removed from injury in Round 10, take a flier. Good late-round picks win championships.
7. Use reference, but don’t base decisions on it. There are tons of fantasy football gurus out there in the online universe, and while I find the fellas at CBS sports to be the best in the business, I don’t base lineup decisions solely on them. Remember, these guys are fantasy football writers, they aren’t beat writers. Don’t be afraid to bookmark the major papers in football towns for sound news. Beat writers know. They are there. Fantasy writers are going mostly off hunches.
Good luck this week.