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Win Early to Win Late: In-Season Strategies

Winning early on in the fantasy football season gives you a major advantage over your compadres for many reasons.

For these reasons, which I will explain, you should be playing fantasy early the way that most RotoBallers play later in the season when they deem things to be more serious.

So, firstly let’s get to the strategies you should incorporate into your play and then I’ll explain how a winning record early allows you to operate at a different, advantageous level over your league mates.

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Win-Early Strategies

Defenses Count

Come playoffs, everyone is dying to have the team that is facing the worst offenses. This year, so far, it’s Miami, but that may change as the year progresses. The mindset is that every little advantage is needed come playoff time even if it’s just a few points from a good matchup. Well, incorporate this strategy early on to get ahead of your opponents. Spend some FAAB on whoever is playing the Dolphins, Steelers, Giants, Jets. Even better, look ahead a week and spend nothing to put that team on your bench for next week’s matchup. Some will say it’s dumb to hold two defenses, but not the team that had New England vs. Miami in week 2!

Spend FAAB/Trade for Players Performing Now

You best not be 0-2  if you are holding on to A.J. Green, Tyreek Hill, Hunter Henry or god forbid Kareem Hunt. You also best not be 0-2 if you are concerned about bidding on Demarcus Robinson or Nelson Agholor because of their full-season outlook. Get guys that are performing now and compensate for it later in the season with different strategies. I am a fan of trading Tyreek or A.J. now to the 2-0 teams for players that are performing currently.

Sacrifice Your Stud

If you are 0-2 you need to sacrifice your stud.  I’m not suggesting that you should trade your stud for just anything, but you should try to improve your depth in a major way. Here are some trades I love:

Some will find this blasphemous, but I think you need to take big risks if you just aren’t putting up the points. And this risk-taking should increase with every loss. At 0-4 you hit the panic button.  One exception: I’m keeping Patrick Mahomes no matter what!


For Owners That Are Winning Now


What players yield the highest FAAB on waivers? What players, every year, get picked up late in the season and help teams win the ship? What players get hurt the most leading to the most variability at their position? The answer to all these questions is running backs. Last year, it was guys like Phillip Lindsay and Damien Williams. Who will it be this year? Nobody knows, but if you have a 4-0, 5-1, 6-2 record you can line your bench with candidates.

These candidates are 'cuffs that would receive a huge opportunity if the lead goes down such as Chase Edmonds or Jaylen Samuels or satellite plus backs that are already getting a share but could explode with an injury such as Justice Hill or Darwin Thompson. Guys like Peyton Barber or Frank Gore are never going to be league winners so get a winning record and fill your whole bench with lotto tickets. Now, of course, you must adjust based on your own needs i.e. bye weeks and injuries, but you get the idea. And guess what happens when you hit gold? You’ve spent no FAAB, you have the player on your roster and you’ve prevented another team from having the opportunity (more FAAB) from getting that player.

Gobbling up Flyers

This strategy overlaps with the previous one, but in general having a winning record allows you to pick up flyers at all positions who may not emerge this week. The best part is that you don’t even have to pay for it. Simply check out the FA pool after waivers to pick up players that worse teams can’t afford to hold. Additionally, you can trade current mediocre players for flyers on other teams. The best part of this strategy is watching a player that one of your league mates dropped emerge.

Trading for Injured or Suspended Players

Drew Brees, Tyreek Hill, AJ Green. If you go 3-0 or 4-0, you need to be trading for these guys. Nuff said.


Later In The Season

Let’s say you follow some of these strategies and find yourself low on FAAB before the playoffs. The idea will be to leverage your flyers turned successes and/or RBs in trades with increasingly desperate teams. Additionally, you can stick with the #AllBenchRB strategy and flyer strategy assuming you still have a foothold in the playoffs.


Thanks as always for reading, and good luck RotoBallers!

- Brett Mitchell (@BrettMitchellFB)

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