That’s the goal. With eight wins, you have virtually assured a playoff berth. Teams sneak in with seven wins on occasion, and even fewer teams get in with six wins after tiebreakers are calculated. In order to avoid the hassle of relying on chance and league tiebreaker settings: eight wins.
A quarter of the way through the NFL season and a third of the way through the fantasy regular season, eight wins either looks like a certainty, a likelihood, a possibility, or a longshot. But with nine games left to play, eight wins is within reach for absolutely anyone, regardless of records. Now is the time to make a move to ensure that you 1) get to the playoffs, where anything can happen, and 2) prepare for the playoffs, where anything can happen.
If you’re halfway to the magic number, you can look ahead to the playoffs to avoid the top seed early exit that seems to occur every year in every league. If you’re winning as often as you’re losing, you can break that trend and etch out the extra couple of wins that put you over the top. And if your season started with a failure to launch, there’s nothing wrong with bowing out gracefully… but there’s also nothing wrong with doubling down.
All you have to do is get there. Anything can happen in the playoffs. Just get to the playoffs.
In case you missed it, make sure you check out part one, focusing on teams with 4-0 or 3-1 records.
A .500 record gets us to the cusp of the playoffs, but a guaranteed ticket to the money bracket goes to those who win more than they lose by at least two games (again, eight is the magic number). At 2-2, we’re on course for a playoff run, but we need to find a couple of extra wins to get in (3-1 in the next four games gets us right back on track)… and we’ll probably need to beat other contending teams to do it.
We don’t need a sense of urgency, necessarily, but we also don’t have the luxury of losing several midseason games while loading up for the playoffs. We need players who will help us win now, build up our record and resumé, and still give us a chance to win later in the season. The goal is to cover up those small blemishes that led to two early losses, while building around the players who helped us to two early wins.
[am4show have=’g1;’ guest_error=’sub_message’ user_error=’sub_message’ ]
Who to trade with
The upper and lower thirds of the standings may be able to help plug a few roster holes, but they’re on a totally different program, making a mutually beneficial deal unlikely. That middle third of the standings, though… that’s the sweet spot. The 2-2 teams generally have a decent base and good depth, but some glaring needs in the starting lineup and an overall need to consolidate bench points into starter points. A little empathy goes a long way, so keep in mind that these teams are trying to do the exact same thing that you are, and they aren’t desperate for a winning streak, either. Find the rosters with weaknesses at your positions of strength, and vice versa.
Who to trade for/away
All that depth you built with savvy drafting and waiver management? Now is the time to cash it in. All of those flex consideration players who make lineup decisions difficult every week can be packaged for rubber-stamp starters. Conversely, a standalone stud can be moved for a package that improves multiple starters.
A favorable schedule during the crucial parts of the season would be nice, but far more important is a strong, concise starting lineup that can make lineup decisions easy and win more often than it loses. These trades will generally be either 1-for-2 or 2-for-1, and the occasional 3-for-1 if depth allows.
Here are some attainable trade targets with sustainable, starter-level production:
They’re all attainable in a start 1-QB format (where streaming is also a viable option) so find the team with depth. Aaron Rodgers, Kirk Cousins, Cam Newton, and Deshaun Watson are all players who could be wasting away on someone else’s bench behind a breakout star like Patrick Mahomes when they could be your every week starter.
- Kerryon Johnson. A rookie without a lot of wear and tear, who’s role continues to grow. He’s already performing as a high-end RB2, and he can likely be obtained for one or two flex-level WRs.
- Aaron Jones. While the rest of the Green Bay backs took a beating from tough Chicago and Minnesota defenses, Jones served a two-game suspension. He’s already taking over the lead back job, and he does so with fresh legs and a burst of energy that will last several weeks… all for the cost of a low-end WR2, tops.
- Sony Michel. With Rex Burkhead on IR, the New England backfield belongs to Michel and James White. Both fit the bill for sustained production, but Michel is the do-it-all back who will be relevant in any game script.
- Dalvin Cook. Health is the big issue, but change is coming to the Vikings after a 1-2-1 start. This team isn’t built to engage in shootouts, like the week four touchdown party in Los Angeles. Minnesota is built for defense and clock control, meaning Cook sees a lot more carries (and touches in general). As long as he’s on the field, of course.
- John Brown. It may feel like you’re buying high by packaging RB depth for an early season flash-in-the-pan. Here’s the thing though: this isn’t going away. The Ravens are fully committed to getting Brown the ball, and as long as he can stay healthy, they’ll gameplan for him and move him around the formation, motion him into soft coverage, and then call his number. That consistent WR1/WR2 upside can be obtained relatively cheap, maybe even for name value (LeSean McCoy?).
- Corey Davis. After a surprising performance against the defending world champion Eagles, the buy-low window on Titans closed considerably. Davis, in particular, enjoyed a breakout game, catching nine passes for 161 yards and the game-winning touchdown. As the Titans get healthier and perfect new OC Matt LaFleur’s playbook, Davis has an opportunity to build on the breakout performance and establish himself as one of the elite WRs in the league. His value is likely that of a fantasy WR2, so two players of slightly lesser value (Carlos Hyde/Marvin Jones?) should land him.
- Julian Edelman. While everyone falls all over themselves to acquire Josh Gordon (aka “Neo-Randy Moss”), go get the forgotten man in New England. After missing all of 2017 with a torn ACL, Edelman returned from a four-game suspension in week five, to a quarterback and offense that have been lost without him. The Patriots love to target the slot receivers, and there have been few better in the league than Edelman. In a PPR league, he provides a safe, high floor and may be available for as little as a flex-level RB (Tarik Cohen? Isaiah Crowell?).
- Julio Jones. The mere mention of his name loosens the bowels of any fantasy players who have gone to battle with Jones in the last year-plus. That’s why he’s such a great buy-low candidate, though; he still isn’t scoring touchdowns, those are all going to Calvin Ridley, but Julio is on pace for over 2,000 yards receiving. Combine that with 100+ receptions, and you’re getting the baseline production you need to stay around that .500 mark, with the occasional splash game to help you get the extra two wins you need for a playoff berth. The right name with the right amount of sparkle (Ridley? Mahomes? Mixon?) might just land Julio straight up.
Check back soon for part three, covering losing teams!
- Where to Rank Rookie Picks in Your Superflex Startup Draft - April 18, 2022
- Quarterback Extreme: Trading Quarterbacks in Superflex Dynasty Leagues - March 24, 2022
- 2022 NFL Scouting Combine Winners and Losers: Quarterback - March 5, 2022