What To Do If Your Fantasy Football Team Is Struggling

Stu Forster/Getty Images

What To Do If Your Fantasy Football Team Is Struggling

Fantasy Advice

What To Do If Your Fantasy Football Team Is Struggling

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Stu Forster/Getty Images

Alright, so it’s now Week Six, moving towards Week Seven, and you’re 0-6, 1-5, or 2-4. What are you going to do now? Your plan of action may vary depending on what kind of league you’re in, whether it is a redraft league, a keeper league, or a dynasty league. Let’s start by listing the things we’re not going to do, and that’s give up! There’s no giving up in fantasy football because you never know how things will play out the rest of the season. Especially now that the football season has been extended to 17 games, there is a greater possibility to string a couple of good games together and get yourself to an even or winning record before the playoffs begin. 

One sign that this may already be possible can be seen when looking at your team’s points scored versus points scored against and comparing that to the rest of your league mates. If your team is in the upper half of the league in points scored, but has more points scored against than most of the league, you likely have had horrendous luck and played against teams having inordinately great weeks. Chances are these numbers will regress towards the mean, so you can expect to have more favorable matchups over the remainder of the year and are unlikely to need many changes to your team. If your team is near the bottom of points scored, now’s the time to make some serious changes to your team. These changes can vary depending on what kind of league you’re in. Generally speaking, you want to aggressively hit the waiver wire and make trades.

Working the waiver wire can be stressful, bouncing from player to player on a weekly basis is not easy, but temporary starters can be found using this method. In redraft and keeper leagues, there are often an abundance of serviceable players available, typically wide receivers and quarterbacks who have talent but have been underperforming. As well as running backs who may be temporarily taking on a larger role than normal, like Deon Jackson and Kenyan Drake. One slightly immoral strategy you can use in regard to the waiver wire, is addition by subtraction. In this scenario, you will be adding a player to your team for the sole purpose of keeping this player off your opponent’s team. If you look ahead at your matchup for next week, you can see who your opponent has on a bye. 

For Week Seven some guys to look for are Justin Jefferson, Dalvin Cook, Cooper Kupp, Josh Allen, Stefon Diggs, A.J. Brown, and Jalen Hurts. If your opponent will be missing a key player of a certain position, add the player who you believe to be his best possible replacement from waivers, so your opponent cannot use said player against you. By no means is this cheating, as you are simply being rewarded for doing your research and staying one step ahead of the game. In dynasty leagues, this is an unlikely scenario as most teams have multiple quarterbacks and very deep benches, so there is little to no talent available.  

The other avenue to improving your season, and arguably the most impactful method, is trading! This method will vary greatly depending on the kind of league you are in as well as the makeup of your team. For redraft and keeper leagues, struggling fantasy teams typically have either one of two problems; having zero depth, or having too much depth and not enough star power. If your team has a player like Christian McCaffrey, Saquon Barkley, or Stefon Diggs, yet you struggle to get production from your other players on the team, trade away your star player for two very good players who will both start for you. The second player you receive in a trade should be someone who will outproduce someone who starts for your team on a weekly basis.  Rather than starting Diggs and Antonio Gibson, a combination of Tee Higgins and Kenneth Walker will give you a better chance to win. 

On the flip side, you may have a lot of good players but no great players. Trade two of your players for one bona fide star, or even three of your flex players for two players who will start for you. Make the most of the talents on your bench, ideally trading one starter and one bench player for a better starter. Find a team with no depth and make magic happen. If you have options like Aaron Jones, Miles Sanders, Clyde Edwards-Helaire, and Cordarrelle Patterson, try to trade Jones and Edwards-Helaire for Breece Hall or Joe Mixon. It may be wishful thinking, but a team who drafted Javonte Williams or Cam Akers may be desperate to get production from their second running back spot and will be willing to take a downgrade at one position.  

In a keeper league specifically, you want to make trades that will benefit you this year, as well as provide you with a potential keeper for the following season. In my experience, last season I had Ezekiel Elliott and Brandin Cooks on my struggling team and traded them both for Amon-Ra St. Brown, who was a ninth round pick in my draft. I continued to try to win, yet gave myself an advantage for this season as well.  If you have a player like Derrick Henry who you drafted in the first round of this season, you can trade him for Kenneth Walker and Drake London. Both will help you win this season, and both can be a very valuable late round keeper for your upcoming season. If you are trading depth for a star, you can offer Najee Harris and Jaylen Waddle for Breece Hall or Chris Godwin, both of whom were drafted in the third through fifth round versus the first round price you paid for Harris. These are simply examples to give you ideas, but every league is different, and your league mates may value certain players differently when compared to the consensus.  

Dynasty leagues do not follow any of the trade advice previously mentioned because in these leagues, a bad team is rewarded with a high rookie draft pick in the following season. If your team is severely struggling in dynasty, your goal should be to get younger and get draft picks along the way. If you wish to compete this season, you can shop big name older players for upcoming young players who are having a good year. Trade away Davante Adams for Tee Higgins. Trade away Cooper Kupp for CeeDee Lamb and DeVonta Smith. You want to get as much value as possible for your players whose value is guaranteed to fall in the following year or two. Adams, Kupp, Tom Brady, Leonard Fournette, Dalvin Cook, and Travis Kelce all should be traded for young talent or for a collection of future draft picks.  

Be aggressive when offering trades and making moves on the waiver wire. This is not the time to be stingy. Continue to stay positive and most importantly enjoy the fantasy season with all of your friends! Take all the necessary steps to give your team a chance to win and watch your hard work come into fruition. Every season is a learning experience for the future, and no one truly knows it all when it comes to fantasy sports. Have fun and good luck the rest of the way!

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