Last Updated: Jul 15, 2014 1:03 PM
10 Commandments for Winning at Fantasy Football
This is the seventh in a series of articles geared toward winning at fantasy football. To find more content on useful ways you can win your league, click here
7th Commandment - Thou MUST Draft Key Player's Backup
In almost all circumstances it makes sense to grab your best players' backups – IF they too are capable players. We usually refer to these as “Handcuffs”. There are some that are always obvious, in 2014 we are looking at: Jamaal Charles/Knile Davis, LeSean McCoy/ Darren Sproles/Chris Polk, Matt Forte/KaDeem Carey, Montee Ball/CJ Anderson, Marshawn Lynch/Christine Michael, Arian Foster/Andre Brown, DeMarco Murray/Lance Dunbar/Ryan Williams, and some that are less obvious – of which we will touch on later. The reason you backup your Studs is two-fold:
1. To make sure you have a starter if and when your Stud goes down. The way you win at Fantasy Football is by having a deep bench and planning for the worst. Expect your best players to go down at some point, as most players in the league miss some time over the course of the year. Those of us that are prepared hardly miss a beat and are one step ahead of the competition.
2. To prevent other owners in your league from benefiting from your misfortunes. If you draft Jamaal Charles and neflect Knile Davis later in your draft, if Charles goes down, the owner, the one that took Davis will have a tremendous option to insert into his lineup. It likely would have only cost him a 10th round or later pick and at that price, insuring your 1st rounder is a no-brainer.
This does not hold true for all positions, especially WR's, as taking Calvin Johnson's backup will generally not benefit you very much. But the point is that if you spend an early-round draft pick on a player, and his backup would flourish if they were the starter, make sure to get him later in the draft.
This does often apply to QBs, again… as long as his backup is talented. If I were to carry 3 QBs, I'd usually have 2 starters, and my 3rd would be the better backup on the better offense of my other 2.
This insurance policy also does not hold true if your league only has 16 or fewer roster spots, as the waiver wire pool will be deeper, and you will likely be able to acquire starters from there if you had to. This is mainly for leagues that have 18 spots or more.
There is another way this strategy can help your drafting, and that is if you are unsure of 2 players at a certain point in the draft and they are in the same tier. You can opt for the player with the stronger backup because you can likely get the backup later in the draft cheap. The combination of the two will be better insurance that you will always have a starter. People may think that this talented backup will cannibalize the starter, but that is usually not the case. We are talking about situations where this guy's only role is to give the Stud a breather, but if needed for a few games could excel.
Inside the Champ's Draft Kit we will give you all of the handcuffs you should draft, as well as the handcuffs to avoid. We will follow up later in the summer with some more of each as well.
The main point is to pay attention to your key players, and if they have a capable backup – someone who you could spot-start if the starter goes down, be sure to get insurance for your team.