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Top 5 Mid-Season Tips For Fantasy Football: Winning Strategies, Trades, Waiver Wire

Preseason fantasy football drafts have come and gone, and we're quickly approaching the midway point of the 2023 NFL season. Whether your team is undefeated, hasn't won a game, or is somewhere in the middle -- in-season transactions can keep your team rolling, put you over the edge, or take your team from a bottom-feeder to a contender.

Fantasy football championships are not won solely during drafts. Unexpected breakout players like Puka Nacua and Kyren Williams are already rostered in most leagues, and big-time studs are unlikely to be available on the waiver wire for the rest of the season. That said, there is a new way to approach waiver wire pickups. However, that's just one aspect of our in-season strategy.

Below, we'll dive into five tips for getting an edge over your league mates near the mid-way point of the fantasy football season. Let's dive in.

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1. Evaluate Your Roster Among Your League

Near the mid-way point of the season, it's more important to evaluate where you rank in overall points, rather than your win-loss record. While you can make your own luck by drafting well and attacking the waiver wire -- good and bad luck do exist in fantasy football.

Fantasy managers who rank in the top three in points scored can have a losing record, while others will sit closer to the bottom in points scored and have a winning record. If you have a losing record but are putting up plenty of points -- it's not time to panic. Assuming your roster is relatively healthy and has future upside, things should even out. On the flip side, fantasy managers who have "lucked" into a winning record should be more proactive about improving their rosters.

At this point in the season, it's probably time to drop unproductive quarterbacks, wide receivers, and tight ends. There are plenty of players who carried a lot of hype into 2023 but haven't fired yet, like Jaxon Smith-Njigba and Dalton Kincaid. Eventually, it's time to pull the plug. Running backs can be treated a little differently, as we'll discuss below.


2. Stash High-Upside Fantasy Assets

After dropping the non-contributors from your fantasy roster, it's time to identify some high-upside bench stashes on the waiver wire. Instead of stashing a low-end WR5 in hopes he will eventually break out, pick up high-end handcuff running backs. To identify which players are best to stash, decide which offenses are worth targeting.

At the time of this writing, the Miami Dolphins, San Francisco 49ers, Buffalo Bills, Detroit Lions, Philadelphia Eagles, and Seattle Seahawks are among the top six teams in points per game. Automatically, players like Jeff Wilson Jr., Elijah Mitchell, Latavius Murray, Kenneth Gainwell, and Zach Charbonnet should enter your radar.

Most running backs are likely to deal with bumps and bruises that keep them out of at least a game or two, so any of these handcuff RBs on great offenses could become must-start options in fantasy football for at least a small stretch.

The WR5 or low-value tight end that you will drop to pick up handcuffs will likely never be a must-start option. Even if an opportunity opens for them, their outlooks wouldn't be as great as these handcuff RBs elevated to a starting role. Remember, targeting high ceilings is more important than having fantasy assets with safe floors.


3. Be Active In Trade Talks

Some fantasy leagues see multiple trades per week, while others won't have a trade go down all season. Either way, you should try your best to get "sell-high" candidates off your team and target "buy-low" options.

The toughest part about trading is the initial conversation. If you start it, your league mate will likely be interested.

Be sure to use our free fantasy football trade analyzer tool. You can compare up to three players on either side of the trade.


4. Prepare For Bye Weeks Early

Make sure to look ahead at when some of your key players are going to be on a bye week. Instead of panicking and furiously scavenging the waiver wire on the same week your player is out of action -- pick up replacements at least a week early. That way, you have little or no competition to acquire the one-week fill-in.

When bye weeks start to see at least four teams out of action consistently, your entire league will submit waiver claims or FAAB bids for mid-level streamers. Beat the rush, and do it early.


5. Rely On Matchup Statistics

During the first few weeks of the fantasy football season, matchup statistics can be taken with a grain of salt.

One team might have given up a ton of fantasy points to quarterbacks early in the season -- but it faced Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, etc. Meanwhile, another defense could have great statistics against quarterback -- but it faced Ryan Tannehill, Zach Wilson, and Kenny Pickett. Context matters.

Matchup stats matter more the longer the season rolls on. As always, superstars all are always must-start options, but when considering end-of-the-bench flex considerations, trust matchup data. Just because a player boomed in a juicy matchup the week before, doesn't mean they should start over a consistent fantasy stud who had a down performance.

There are also players who likely won't perform well in any matchup, so knowing how to rely on matchup stats and data is important for future start-or-sit decisions.

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