Accepting an invite to play fantasy football is a lot like accepting an invite to stick your face in a bear trap. The pain is guaranteed. No one can avoid fantasy football’s wrath. Fantasy football is Rambo and you’re a Tatmadaw soldier in Burma. Good luck.
I’m here to offer some tips that could help you survive the onslaught. And they’re all free, so you can’t complain when I’m wrong.
1. CJ2K is dead. Chris Johnson’s addiction to the homerun hit has made him one of the biggest busts in fantasy football history.
Johnson is now playing running back like I do in video games. He doesn’t let off turbo and scoffs at holes that will yield five-yard gains. But unlike in video games, a real life running back can’t survive with this mindset.
If you have Johnson, it’s time to pull the plug. Trade him for a back that can gain over two-yards a carry.
2. C.J. Spiller is the Buffalo Bills running back to own. If there’s an owner in your league that is smashing the panic button on Spiller, pounce.
The Buffalo Bills’ running back situation reminds me of Alabama’s in 2010.
“Yeah, Mark Ingram is nice but wait until we can unleash Trent Richardson,” warned every Crimson Tide fan.
Just like Richardson was better than Ingram, C.J. Spiller is better than Fred Jackson. Before hurting his shoulder, Spiller gave the world a glimpse of his potential and now there’s no way Buffalo can go back to Fred Jackson — at least not all the way back.
3. Try not to laugh, but Shaun Hill is actually a solid quarterback option while Matthew Stafford is out. Sometimes good fantasy players are born out of opportunity, and Shaun Hill has a great one.
Hill is also somewhat proven; the Lions air attack didn’t slow down too much when he took the reins in 2010. Knowing how to throw in Calvin Johnson’s general area could make Hill a better fantasy start than Michael Vick.
4. “Scared money don’t make money,” said the dudes I once played dice with behind a Burlington Coat Factory.
They’re right. Don’t be afraid to make big moves. For instance, owners who gambled by trading for Jamaal Charles last week are now bathing in their riches. Buying low on Cam Newton could make you just as wealthy.
5. Bail on Steven Jackson. The St. Louis Rams have already lost their starting left tackle and center. This is status quo for the Rams, but that hasn’t made them any more prepared to deal with such crippling injuries. They’re currently starting 2011’s two worst rated tackles. My goodness.
The offensive line isn’t the only issue. Jackson has had recurring injuries to his legs and is now spelled by Daryl Richardson, who’s capable of stealing carries. A guy who has done so many inhuman things on the football field is finally starting to look mortal.
Jackson’s reckless dump truck style of running has reached its breaking point. He is no longer the same back and you have to react accordingly.
6. Kyle Rudolph should be your top waiver wire target. Rudolph can be described as “Rob Gronkowski Lite.” He blocks as well as he catches, which gives the Minnesota Vikings no reason to take him off the field.
Rudolph’s week three playtime numbers back this up: Rudolph was used in 67 of the Vikings’ 79 offensive snaps. To put that in perspective, Adrian Peterson got 49 snaps while Percy Harvin saw 53. Christian Ponder’s arm only makes Rudolph more attractive. Ponder has shown this year that he can rip it. And when he does, Rudolph is clearly his second option. Add in the red zone love Ponder gives him and you now have the makeup of a top seven fantasy tight end.
7. Are there trade offers for Robert Griffin III in your inbox? Go ahead and reject those. Also, include a snarky response in the rejection email. “Bite me” is always a very funny and effective comeback.
The Washington Redskins have had no problem figuring out ways to use Griffin. An example of the Skins adapting to Griffin’s unique skill set: they’re running a ton of stuff out of the pistol formation. The pistol puts Griffin in a position to run read-option and designed run plays more effectively.
The Carolina Panthers made similar adjustments to their offense last year for Cam Newton. In result, Newton had the best rookie season of any quarterback ever. Griffin could challenge Newton for that title.
8. You know your league is full of suckers if owners are holding onto multiple defenses and kickers.
If you’re one of those owners, it’s time to make some cuts. Please have your second kicker and second defense return their playbooks.