Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Roster Management Wins Championships

By Michael H. Osinski

The Yahoo computer hates how I draft fantasy teams. The last three seasons saw the computer project my draft day picks (Standard 12-team league with long-time players) at 4-9, 6-7, 6-7! I do a pretty good amount of scouting. To my wife's discontent, I participate in 2 mock drafts an evening from my birthday (June 13) until the draft (we always draft immediately before the first preseason game to reward off-season scouting).
So what gives? I finished 9-4 in two seasons and 10-3 the other. All in the playoffs...one championship.
I tend to draft upside, and have been pretty good at it. Spiller and Martin last year. Vick in 2010. Gronk in 2011. Vick this year. The computer doesn't like upside so much. But the real reason for success is roster management.
You draft depth and upside (or perceived upside) for one reason...to deal it for something better. Between losing your attraction to certain players and chasing waiver wire pickups like a hooker in Time Square, a plan to continually improve your team week to week will put you on the right track to your league's playoffs.
Trading Depth
You only play 1 qb, 2 rb, 3 wr, etc.  So, while being cognizant of bye weeks, any player below your top tier is an asset to be used. Sure you have to look around to see which team has which need and which teams have player preferences (we have a guy who is a sucker for anything New England).
That being said, trade 2 for 1 when you can. Say your WR3 is Andre Roberts. He is ok, but you want someone better. You already have Ridley and Spiller at RB and Tate and Lamar Miller on your bench. Trade Roberts and one of your spare RBs for Welker. Don't worry that the value of the two players you are giving up is more. You are only interested in the improvement of Welker over Roberts. Miller was only going to be a bye week replacement or injury insurance anyway.
Waiver Claims
Trading this way always means the last spot on your roster is always influx. It's ok. I usually only draft 1 QB, PK, Def and TE so that spot (and often the second to last spot) change weekly. Knowing that, make at least one waiver claim each week. Last week I claimed a Def and Marlon Brown (actually played Brown for an injured Amendola).
Try and either get the sexy pick (this week for our league is Royal and maybe Starks) or someone who is about to get more time (Andre Ellington or Felix Jones). It matters not whether you need them. It's about packaging them with something you already have to improve one of your starting spots, or creating more depth for a subsequent deal.
In a 12-team league, there is always someone unhappy. This week I am looking at the rosters of the 0-2 teams. I got more depth. I took on a banged up Larry Fitzgerald and David Wilson (He has already panicked about Dwil) and I gave up Lamar Miller, Ernest Givens and Michael Floyd. I wouldn't play any of the three except in a bye week. So now my Amendola spot is occupied by LFitz if he is healthy for the great matchup in New Orleans. If not, I'll sit him a couple weeks and play Brown.
Do this enough times before the trade deadline and you will be in the playoffs...
This week's waiver wire (Not the obvious picks):
Kenny Stills - Come on, NO playing Ariz. Points, points, points.
Andre Ellington - Mendenhal always an injury threat and Andre will get third down snaps anyway
Buffalo Def - I swap Def each week...this is who I got...and they play the Jets (Look at Def playing Jets, Raiders, JAX)
More next week...

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