Yesterday my 10-year old mutt dog, Toby, jailbroke through the gate and shot up the stairs like a rocket. A minute or two later he reappeared with a whole slice of pizza gripped between his two front teeth – just like the big New York rat in the Youtube video. No doubt his powerful snout sniffed out the pizza prize. Are you like Toby, on the hunt and need to sniff out a win this week to make the fantasy football playoffs?
In my 12-man league, only 3 teams have clinched, 4 are mathematically eliminated, and 5 are scrapping. One of these days I may reflect on my season and analyze how I arrived at a 6-7 record with only a 54% chance to make the fantasy playoffs for the first time in 15 years – the bad trade decisions, poor sit/start choices, waiver wire misses, ignoring advice, etc., but for now, I have to keep my head in this crazy week 14. Cue up the fireworks for an exciting regular-season finish to the 2021 fantasy football season and let’s talk about our game plan!
Be a fantasy sniper
In my fantasy league, the 3 division winners make the playoffs followed by the next 3 best win/loss records, regardless of which divisions they are in. Points scored break ties. Like me, your fantasy fate could depend on certain league mates losing and 42 other things falling your way. Take an active role in all of these things happening.
This week, the Indianapolis Colts, Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, and Philadelphia Eagles are on byes. Check out the rosters of your league mates who need to lose to increase your odds of making the playoffs. Do they have injuries or bye week problems? In my league, I need Pete to lose and he has 4 players on bye and Adam Thielen is doubtful. He doesn’t have a playable wide receiver, so I checked the waiver wire and the best available option was Thielen’s teammate, wide receiver K.J. Osborn. It made sense that Pete might go for Osborn. I looked at Pete’s FAAB budget, saw that he had $3, so I bid $4 and got him. Do I need K.J.? No, but I needed Pete not to get him (and Pete did bid $3).
Plan your defense
We’ve discussed the importance of playing the right defense. It’s an easy way to get an edge on your opponents and at this point in the fantasy season, does Zack Moss really deserve a spot on your bench? Use these bench spots to stockpile defenses with good matchups through the fantasy playoffs. Even if your team is loaded with great defenses like the Pats, Bucs, and Bills, check the matchups and snag other defenses with good matchups to prevent your league mates from scooping them up. The top 5 teams that give up the most points to opposing defenses are in order: Houston, Carolina, Denver, Atlanta, and Detroit. Go get defenses playing against these teams. Play defense with defense.
Play to the end
Ok, you’re 3-10 with no hope for the playoffs, now what? Play to the end. When you joined the league, you made a commitment to your league mates. You owe it to them to keep putting out the best starting lineup possible. Why? Because other teams are fighting for the playoffs and it’s unfair of you to mentally check out and give a team a free win – this affects playoff outcomes. So, don’t be butt hurt if you’re already eliminated from making it to the playoffs. Be a good team player and stick with it. I can promise you that if a bottom-feeding team in the UCFL checked out early, he wouldn’t be invited back the next year.
There’s always next year
It’s never too soon to plan for next year, especially if you play in a keeper league. For the 15-year history of the UCFL, we’ve kept one player for the next year. So, if a player is on your roster at the end of this year, he can be your keeper for next year. Think about top NFL players who have sustained season-ending injuries. Are they still on your league’s fantasy rosters? For instance, Christian McCaffrey is 60.6% rostered in ESPN leagues, which means he’s not rostered in almost 40% of leagues. Do you remember Rams’ running back Cam Akers? Likewise, 96% of ESPN leagues have forgotten about him as well. Jags running back Travis Etienne, Jr – only rostered in 5.9% of leagues. Ravens running back J.K. Dobbins – rostered in 8.9% of leagues.
League mates often can’t afford a roster spot to hold onto dead weight, but it’s a good opportunity for you to grab a 2022 player on the cheap if you need one. If your team is like my buddy Dan’s and your best RB is Devonta Freeman, by all means, hit your waiver wire now!
By the way, I didn’t let Toby keep the slice of pizza. It was almost as big as him, and besides, I was hungry. Good luck this week! Oh, be sure to check out Sexy Hexy’s week 14 player rankings.
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