This will most likely be my last post of the semester, so here it goes. Fantasy owners everywhere understand that they invest a lot in a player that they draft in the first or second rounds. They have certain expectations for those players more than every other player on their roster. The reason is simple. It is because those players taken in the first couple rounds are the best players in the league. At this point in the fantasy season, you should rely on your stars to produce. Don’t be messing with your lineup in the playoffs. “Start the starts, bench the rest” is my motto. With that being said, this message goes out to head coaches around the league… I understand teams invest millions of dollars in star players and do not want them them to get injured, but as athletes, and as competitors teams have to get the ball to their best players. The Cowboys and Steelers are great examples. Todd Haley, offensive coordinator for the Steelers said ” we will take all that [Le’Veon Bell] can give down the stretch”. This is a team that has a young 22 year old running back that has proven to be an absolute stud this year, and they are not afraid of handing him the rock as many times as possible. The Cowboys have the best back in the league right now in DeMarco Murray, and still in week 14 are giving him the rock 40+ times. This seems stupid to many because some people believe that it could ruin his career, but teams that are fighting for playoff spots only care about one thing, WINNING! If it means giving your best player the ball 40 times a game, then so be it.
Same goes for wide receivers. I expect guys like C. Johnson, A.Green, J.Jones, D, Bryant, A, Brown and other stars to get double digit targets every game. These guys must be your primary options week in and week out. You pay them to perform and create mismatches. Bottom line is feed the beasts, give them the ball until they throw up. This time of the year is where the cream rises to the top. Something clicks for superstar athletes when the pressure is on to perform and your team and organization is leaning on your shoulders. I believe in the saying “to be the best you have to beat the best” When it comes down to it in the playoffs and you need a big play the question all fantasy owners should ask themselves is ” can I trust this guy to get the job done?” If the answer is yes, then he might be someone you want to keep an eye on for next years draft.
Go back to your regular season and look at your match ups where you needed big things to happen and look who performed well. Those are the guys that I would target next year in the draft. I know most of it is luck, but it makes for a much less stressful season if you draft a guy who you trust no matter how he performs. I was 2-6 at one point this season, but found a way to finish 7-6, finish second in the league in points and make the playoffs. This is because I didn’t give up on my stars and they ended up producing for me late in the season. I believe that to be a good fantasy owner you must look beyond the stats and just look at the player himself. For example, Calvin Johnson sucked most of the year, he was my 4th overall pick. He got hurt and wasn’t 100%, but I stuck with him and he ended up paying dividends for me as he exploded for 10/146/2 on Thanksgiving, which allowed me to clinch a playoff spot. This is because he is Calvin Johnson. There really is no other reason. Some guys just know when to turn it on and how to do it. Another guy who is not on the same level of talent, but can produce is Ben Roethlisberger. This guy is a two time Superbowl Champ and just flat out knows how to win football games. He is not what you would call a fantasy starting QB, but he is trustworthy. I can confidently start Ben most weeks because I know the Steelers are making a push for the playoffs, and I know he’s been a tough competitor over the years, so he is a guy I don’t mind starting. These are deep fantasy thoughts, but it does make sense in fantasy terms. Try to apply these methods to your drafts and see where it takes you.