As we enter Week 4 of the NFL season, it is time to honestly assess your Fantasy Football team.
While it seems like a small sample size, it really is not. I mean it is the first week with teams on bye, and almost 20% of the Fantasy Season is completed.
If you honestly assess your Fantasy Football team, then you can better prepare yourself going forward. If you stick to the mindset of “I drafted well, it will come around” then you might find yourself a spectator come Week 15.
When I say that you need to honestly assess your Fantasy Football team, I mean you need to re-evaluate each player’s value and worth. This is not just for trades. It’s also to know when you can drop guys or where you need to spend your waiver priority to strengthen your weaknesses.
I have found that players will fit certain prototypes at this point in the season. The stud who is a stud, the stud who is a dud, etc. By classifying these players when you assess your Fantasy Football team, you can figure out your best options going forward.
How to Honestly Assess Your Fantasy Football Team
Types of Players
Stud Who Is A Stud
There is not much that needs to be said here. You drafted this guy in the first two rounds, and he is performing to that standard. You basically check the box for his elite production and move forward.
How to Move Forward: Start them and rack up the points!
Examples: A.J. Green, Antonio Brown, David Johnson (I was probably wrong on this one pre-season), DeAndre Hopkins, Ezekiel Elliott, and Greg Olsen (fits even though he was picked in Rounds 3-5)
Stud Who May Be A Dud
These players might be the most important when you honestly assess your Fantasy Football team. These are guys that were taken early in drafts but have not produced in return.
How to Move Forward: You have to decide whether these supposed studs will come around or not. If you don’t think they will, then sell now before their value drops to nothing. If you see a couple that might make a strong comeback, try to buy low on them.
Examples: Brandon Marshall, Julio Jones, Mark Ingram, and Todd Gurley
This one is pretty self-explanatory. This group of players has dealt with either season-ending or nagging injuries.
How to Move Forward: If your players have nagging injuries, it is almost worse than a torn ACL. You end up starting them and they don’t produce. If you are already behind the 8-Ball in the playoff picture, I would try to get value for these injured guys.
Examples: Adrian Peterson, Danny Woodhead, Dez Bryant, Doug Martin, Jamaal Charles, Jonathan Stewart, Keenan Allen, Rob Gronkowski, and Thomas Rawls
The Sleeper Who Remained Sleeping
You might not have counted on these mid-to-late round draft picks as starters. However, you did hope that they would break out or at least provide you depth. They have been all hype and no substance.
How to Move Forward: Roster spots are your currency at this point, especially in shallower roster leagues. If these supposed sleepers don’t show a sign of waking up, then you must drop them for a better, more consistent option.
Examples: C.J. Prosise, Clive Walford, Devontae Booker, Donte Moncrief, Duke Johnson, John Brown, Kevin White, Tyler Lockett, and Tyrod Taylor
Sleepers Who Have Waken Up
This is the antithesis of the previous group. This type of player has lived up to the hype that some gave him as an under-valued asset.
How to Move Forward: First, decide if the success is likely to continue. If it’s not, sell high on the player. If it is, see if you can help other areas of your roster with the value provided.
Examples: Derek Carr, LeGarrette Blount, Matthew Stafford, Sterling Shepard, Tevin Coleman and Marvin Jones
The Waiver Wire Pick-Up
These guys were not drafted in most leagues but have burst out of the gate. They provide the ultimate value should you be lucky enough to get your hands on them.
How to Move Forward: Very similar to the previous category in that you must decipher if it is fool’s gold or not. Is it just a limited opportunity? Or could the production be long-lasting? The trouble with trading these players is that other owners can see them as over-valued since you did not give up anything to get them.
Examples: Dennis Pitta, Isaiah Crowell, Jacob Tamme, Jamison Crowder, Mike Wallace, Quincy Enunwa, Stefon Diggs, Terrelle Pryor, Theo Riddick and Will Fuller
The Injury Fill-In
Chiefs RB Jamaal Charles getting closer to return vs Steelers https://t.co/5Hq6e9fiZH
— AP NFL (@AP_NFL) September 28, 2016
This is the first category where guys can fit multiple prototypes. Simply put, these players are getting more chances/touches because of an injury ahead of them.
How to Move Forward: Similar to the last few types of players, is the production legit? Or is it the small sample size? How long is the starter out and will value remain when he is back? The best value you can receive for these players is with the owner of the starter being replaced.
Examples: Charles Sims, Christine Michael, DeAngelo Williams, Jerick McKinnon, Martellus Bennett, Spencer Ware, Theo Riddick, Travis Benjamin, and Tyrell Williams
The last group of players is the most boring. These guys are not leading the week in points but they are not laying a dud either. They give you the value with which you drafted them.
How to Move Forward: These players can be especially difficult when you honestly assess your Fantasy Football team. They are tough to get good return value on in trades, while remaining good enough as a starter or bye-week fill-in. This is a point where your league set-up comes into play with whether you need to go big or not with your moves.
Examples: Carlos Hyde, C.J. Anderson, Demaryius Thomas, Jeremy Hill, Jordan Matthews, LeSean McCoy, and Michael Crabtree
Now that we have the different types of categories that your players fit in, we can move forward to honestly assess your Fantasy Football team.
The biggest two factors in deciding your next moves are your current standing and the league format for playoffs. If you are 0-3, then you will have to be more aggressive to catch up to the pack. This is especially true in leagues with smaller playoff fields.
For instance, if your 12-team league only has four playoff spots, then you really need to swing for the fences. This is when you should try to make big moves for high-risk, high-reward players that other risk-averse owners will get rid of.
On the other hand, if the majority of your league makes the playoffs then you can be a little more patient. You can wait on your studs that are not performing up to par or players with nagging injuries.
In these instances, I always try to be the one trading four quarters for a dollar. Fantasy Football trading and roster construction is similar to that of the NBA. You have your 1-2 stars, and you fill in your roster with solid and consistent role players.
What you can learn from NBA trading is that the side with the bigger piece usually wins the trade. Think of the trades involving superstars like James Harden, Chris Paul, Shaquille O’Neal, Kevin Garnett or Carmelo Anthony. How many times did the team getting back multiple, future assets get an equal value in return? I want to be on the side trading Jarvis Landry and DeMarco Murray for Antonio Brown.
If you drafted well and built depth while avoiding injuries, then you should be able to make these types of moves.
The biggest piece of advice I can give you as your honestly assess your Fantasy Football team is make your decisions your own. All of us so-called “experts” can give you our opinions. However, when it comes to deciding if a player will snap out of a slump or if a small sample size is enough, it’s usually a 50/50 proposition. Make sure you’re happy with your decision so that when it pays off you can revel in your own genius!
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