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Championship Week: Words to Live By

It’s the most exciting of times in dynasty leagues as we’ve finally reached championship week. For any of you still alive in your league, we offer you congratulations because it certainly isn’t easy to get there. We sincerely hope we helped you along the way with some lineup advice, a solid waiver suggestion, an answered mailbag question, some help from the resident geniuses in the DLF Forum or just by simply keeping you up to date on all the news and notes – being even a small part of some victories this weekend is why we’re here.

Now it’s business time!

If you’re a savvy dynasty owner whose been around this block more than a few times or a newbie who has found the magic touch this season, this week can be one of the most stressful experiences of your life. No matter who you are, if you’re playing in the title game, this is the time where you risk being your own worst enemy – this article is simply a list of things to remember as you get one step closer to that championship trophy (assuming the Mayans are incorrect and you make it to the weekend, of course).

Do your research, but go with your gut

You’re likely going to comb through every Web site you can find on Google from FootballGuys to Trailer Steve’s Fantasy Football (don’t look because it doesn’t exist) to get every expert’s opinion on who to start and who to sit. You’re going to take a look at all the weather and injury reports, as you should. You may even go as far as making some type of master Excel spreadsheet to come up with an average ranking from all these sites for every one of your players. At times, you may feel like Walter White trying to come up with the magic formula. In the end, don’t let anyone else dictate who you play. Take the time to be informed and gather opinions, but this is your team, don’t overthink things.

Don’t get cute with your lineup

I know from experience that it’s very, very easy to start looking at your opponent and trying to spot match-up weaknesses or areas to exploit. For example, you may think it’s a great idea to play the kicker or tight end of the opposing team’s quarterback because you feel you have an advantage at other positions. In the end, you need to simply choose the players you think will score you the most points, regardless of who your opponent has in their lineup. If you attempt to neutralize your opponent’s players or try to outsmart the game, you’re setting yourself up for an awful lot of risk.

Don’t hesitate to accept reality

This is week sixteen.  Sixteen. We’ve been at this for four months and things aren’t going to change dramatically. Don’t start players who you feel are “due” when they haven’t produced recently. Sure, you could have never imagined playing Alfred Morris or Knowshon Moreno in your championship game at the beginning of the year, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t or won’t do it this week if they give you the best chance to win. It’s as simple as that, gang.

Don’t pick players in games just because you can watch them

It sounds ridiculous, right? Well, it’s actually not.  If you’re in an IDP league where some positions are more interchangeable or see an available kicker who plays on Saturday or Sunday night with a decent match-up, don’t just go swapping your lineup around so you can watch them. One point can mean the difference between first and second and having a last second change like that cost you a title would be a very, very bitter pill to swallow.

Don’t bench your studs

Again, make sure they still are studs this year and not just studs historically, but remember the players that got you here.  This goes right along with getting cute with your lineup, but it’s worth its own sentence or two. Simply put, it’s way too easy to over analyze match-ups this week.

Remember that past performance does not predict future results

Just because Danny Woodhead went nuts this past week, it doesn’t mean he should suddenly be thrust into your lineup. You may even think about playing a hot new player off the waiver wire because you feel like you’ve caught lightning in a bottle and are going to look like a genius to your league mates. Avoid the one or two week darlings and stick with what you know, not what you think you know. Those who try to look like a genius this week may look like a moron instead.

Don’t say something stupid

Win or lose, don’t say something you’ll regret later.  After the game is the best time to be a good sport. The other team wasn’t “lucky” or “undeserving.” Nobody likes the owner who has to take his ball and go home or the owner that feels the need to gloat. You need to win or lose with dignity. Remember, you’ll need to deal with these owners again in the future.

If you’re overanxious , don’t check scores until the late afternoon games

As Eric Dickens says, “This will help you avoid those pesky ulcers.” There’s another reason, too – if you start overthinking your lineup and have more players in the late games than the early games, it’s easy to make a ridiculous switch to a “boom or bust player” because you feel like you need it. Fact is, it’s stressful to see your team down 100-25 halfway through the day, but you have to let things play out. Now, there may be some extreme times where this may be necessary, but the chances of that happening are pretty extreme. After all, you have a good team or you wouldn’t be playing in the game this week. Have I mentioned you need to play the group you feel has the best chance to win?

Don’t feel like you’re suddenly clairvoyant

I was once in a title game and having trouble sleeping the night before in anticipation (yes, this happens to me every year). I finally fell asleep after some late night snacking and had one of the strangest dreams of all time. I think you’ll agree in it’s weirdness…

I was suddenly the new co-host of Punk’d with Ashton Kutcher. We snuck in to a recording studio to film Sir Mix A Lot recording a new song we had given him entitled, “You don’t got none and you don’t want none, either.” After he had recorded the terrible song (and it WAS terrible), we opened the door to the outside where a large crowd was ridiculing him for thinking that awful track was actually good. Sir Mix a Lot proceeded to chase me down and start beating me with a stick.  I looked up to see Hervé Villechaize (Tattoo from Fantasy Island) laughing at me. Just then, former Vikings kicker Gary Andersen busted through the door and kicked the tar out of Sir Mix a Lot (seriously, I couldn’t make this up if I tried).

I woke up and sat straight up in my bed thinking it was a sign from above that I needed to play Andersen in the finals. After calming down and thinking through things, I didn’t do it and realized I simply shouldn’t eat Sugar Babies and have chocolate cake when I can’t sleep.

The moral of the story is you can’t suddenly predict the future – you’re not going to get some strange coded message in your cereal bowl or see a silhouette of Lance Moore in a cloud you see in the sky – play your best players and let the cards fall where they may.

Have Fun

There are likely ten other people in your league who would love to be in your shoes this week. Take some time to enjoy it!

What other words do you live by when in the championship game?

Ken Kelly
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Coach
9 years ago

don’t gloat? win with dignity? what the hell? the best part of fantasy football is the ability to gloat over the victories!

Jon Lambrecht
9 years ago

Agree on all points Ken. Well said. I’ve been lucky enough to be part of 4 of our leagues past 5 championships – this year being my 4th appearance. Lost one championship in 08 by a couple points while I was heavily favored, won back to back in 09 and 10, then flopped last year. This year I was highest scoring team in league by a decent margin but ended up being the 2nd seed by a difference of one game. Back in championship again after winning two and hoping for the best. Trying not to overthink anything and looking for my 3rd title in 5 years of our league’s existance. Winning championships is hard to do. One must have a deep talented line up but must also get lucky because anything can happen. You can only control so much.

It is nice to get to the dance (playoffs) but it is even better to take the girl (trophy) home afterward…

Good luck to all that have advanced this far. Championships are what it is all about.

Chris Russell
9 years ago

So you’re saying to play Lance Moore!!! Got it 🙂

9 years ago

Great stuff Ken. I must admit, if I’m truly on the fence between two guys I often break the tie by who I can watch. But only if I am 50/50 to begin with.

Jim
9 years ago

Can’t agree more on the “play your studs” Don’t overthink it. I took a high draft pick out of my lineup in a championship game and it came back to haunt me. DANCE WITH WHO BRUNG YA……..

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