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How to Experiment When You’re Out of Title Contention (Fantasy Football)

by Zachary Hanshew | @ZaktheMonster | Featured Writer
Feb 29, 2020

Even the most encouraging fantasy football seasons can end in disappointment. The truth is, it’s tough to win a fantasy championship. Inevitably, you’ll get to the dreaded point in the season that fantasy managers hate — limbo. You’re 2-7 through your first nine games and already eliminated from the playoff picture. With four games remaining in the season, it would be easy to pack it in and look ahead to better days. But, now is the time to do some experimenting. This is your chance to get some real-world experience and develop valuable strategies and skills that will help you avoid your current situation next season and for years to come. Let’s go over how to experiment when you’re out of title contention.

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Trades

What better way to build up your trading chops than by executing deals once you’re out of title contention. This may be frowned upon in some leagues because you’re out of the running, but if the situation allows it, start wheeling and dealing. Great trades involve plenty of communication with other managers in your league, so get the conversation started. Hone your negotiation skills and figure out what works best for you in your league.

Streaming

Streaming has become a buzz word of sorts in the fantasy community, and the strategy has emerged as one of the most popular in the industry. Streaming means swapping out players at a certain position each week, while exploiting matchups and opportunity to garner the most points. The method is typically applied to the tight end and quarterback positions, so now that you’re out of contention, start streaming. Streaming — like many other aspects of our great game of fantasy football — is an art form.

To properly develop your streaming skills, you’ll need plenty of practice. Without the fantasy playoffs to think about, now’s the time to do so. Learn to recognize quality matchups, increased opportunity and hot streaks to build your streaming skills and utilize the strategy in future seasons. This will come in handy — trust me.

Waiver Wire

There are plenty of ways to take advantage of the waiver wire, and now that you’re no longer in the running to capture your league’s championship, you can experiment with them. We mentioned streaming above, and hitting the waiver wire for potential one-week studs at the running back or wide receiver positions can be a form of streaming that you’ll want to try out.

Flexy and I Know it

The flex position offers you freedom to choose from multiple positions to play the best available option in your weekly matchups. Flex usually involves a running back, receiver or tight end, but choosing which of these to play can be a tough decision. Now that you’re no longer competing for a title, you can hit the waiver wire each week and try out a form of pseudo-streaming that involves plucking gems from the waiver wire who may just be one-week plays. This can be very useful when dealing with bye-weeks and injuries, and the best way to get the hang of this practice is to try it out yourself. Take plenty of risks and gamble on some long-shots, because you’ve got nothing to lose!

Bidding Strategy

For leagues that utilize free-agent acquisition budget (FAAB) for waiver claims, now is the time to work on your bidding skills. Most leagues that use FAAB operate on a blind-bidding system, meaning managers can’t see how much other managers are bidding until waivers process for the week. What some managers don’t realize is that you can often see the results of the waiver claim process after it’s complete.

In Yahoo leagues, the transactions tab will guide you to the list of recent claims, including winning and losing bids. Looking through bid history of fellow managers can be telling about their valuation process and bidding strategy, which you can use to your advantage. Never overpay or be outbid again.

Research

You should have been researching all season (and off-season), though all the research in the world can’t always save you from a bust or an injury or two that completely derails your championship train. Now that you’re out of title contention, you can focus on some oft-neglected areas of fantasy football that may give you an edge for future seasons.

Learn About K & D/ST

I’m talking, of course, about kicker (K) and defense/special teams (D/ST). Both of them have come under some understandable scrutiny in recent years, and some leagues opt to do away with one or both of these pesky positions. Plenty of fantasy managers choose to ignore these positions in terms of research and preparation, so with your free time, you can do some reading on K and D/ST to figure out useful strategies for implementation in future seasons where you will hopefully not be out of title contention. Our own Andrew Swanson has been helping readers with kicker strategy at FantasyPros for years. His articles are a great source of valuable information on this topic.

Strategize!

There are so many strategies available in the fantasy football world that it’s tough to check them all out when you’re digging in for a title run. Now that you’re looking ahead to next season, you can take some time to properly learn about the different in-season and off-season strategies that can help you be more competitive in the future. The best place to start? Why not try our comprehensive fantasy football strategy vault? This excellent resource contains over 70 articles featuring advice on a wide range of topics:

Fantasy Football 101: Strategy Tips & Advice

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Zachary Hanshew is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Zachary, check out his archive and follow him @zakthemonster.

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