Fantasy Football: How to Save Your Season After a Bad Start

So you had a bad draft.
Your players’ numbers are down.
You sing a sad song hoping your guys will turn it around.
You say you didn’t know.
You tell me the projections lied.
You work on your roster hard, but you team continues to slide.
You had a bad draft.

That was my lame attempt at using Daniel Powter’s song "Bad Day" to represent how some of you may feel about your struggling draft picks. Unlike my song parody, however, my advice to you will not make you cringe.

Take it from somebody who in 2011 drafted Knowshon Moreno and Daniel Thomas as his RB2 and RB3, all is not lost. Now I didn’t win that league in 2011, but I did manage to turn that catastrophe of a team into a team that was one game short of a playoff birth – in a 12-team money league no less. Not an easy feat mind you, but enough about me. My point is that I understand your pain, and I am here to help.

How to Save Your Season After a Bad Draft & Rough Start

New York Jets running back Chris Ivory.

1. Don’t panic.

Don’t blow up your roster and drop your top draft picks just because they had a lousy first couple of weeks. Two weeks does not make a season. Sure Montee Ball and Chris Ivory will most likely never be the No. 2 back you drafted them to be, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have any value. Ball (67 total yards and 0 touchdowns) is still developing and Ivory (67 yards and 0 touchdowns) is still starting for the Jets. It looks bleak, but they still might turn into solid flex options. Stash them on your bench because they are probably better than anyone you’ll get off waivers.

2. Explore trades, but be patient.

Don’t act too desperate. You probably aren’t going to get much in return for David Wilson (36 yards and 0 touchdowns), Steven Ridley (86 yards and 0 touchdowns), or Maurice Jones-Drew (73 total yards and 0 touchdowns) right now, so hold out and don’t succumb to the guy who’s trying to buy low. I’m sorry, but Joique Bell does not hold a candle to either of those three, so do not accept that trade offer.

What you do want to do is look at other teams' rosters to see who has good depth and might be willing to part with someone. Ask people if they would be willing to trade someone or if they have any interest in someone on your team. This works much better then just updating your trade block because it forces people to read and respond to you. Hopefully, this will get the ball rolling on some potential trades.

3. Forget the draft order.

St. Louis Rams running back Daryl Richardson.

You want to get equal value in a trade, but don’t base a player’s value on where he was drafted. This is hard to do, but if you want to improve your team you can’t value the aforementioned Montee Ball (3 fantasy points) the same as you would Reggie Bush (31 fantasy points) just because they were taken in the same round. If you do this, you will never complete any trades and your team will continue to be stuck in mediocrity.

If someone were to offer me Daryl Richardson and his 16 fantasy points for Ball right now, I would take it in a heartbeat and I hope you would too. Just because you took Ball five rounds higher than where Richardson was taken doesn’t mean Ball is five times better. In fact, he might be five times worse. My advice to you would be to never look at your league’s draft recap again unless, of course, you want to be reminded of how you royally screwed yourself.

4. Work waivers vigorously.

This is your saving grace for a bad draft, but you have to be ahead of the curve. You don’t want to wait for someone to break out before you submit a claim for him because you’ll be battling everyone else in your league for his services.

Sure, you may get DeAndre Hopkins (7 catches, 117 yards, and 1 touchdown in Week 2) because your team is first in the waiver order, but you’ll miss out on Eddie Royal (7 catches, 90 yards, and 3 touchdowns in Week 2). If you had a bad draft, you’ll have to find more than just one fantasy starter off of the waiver wire and to do this you’ll have to pick a player up before he breaks out. Pay attention to touches and team injury reports to see who’s in line for some previously unexpected action.

Baltimore WR Marlon Brown is a guy I’ve had my eye on since Jacoby Jones went down on opening night. Jones is out until at least Week 6, QB Joe Flacco doesn't have many options outside of RB Ray Rice and WR Torrey Smith. Through two weeks, Brown has 8 catches, 110 yards, and 2 touchdowns on the season and may develop into a valuable possession receiver for the Ravens, and a sneaky pick-up for your fantasy squad.

Others I feel have the potential to breakout are Dallas RB Lance Dunbar, Minnesota WR Cordarrelle Patterson, and recently signed Giants RB Brandon Jacobs.

I like Dunbar because of DeMarco Murray’s injury history, Patterson as a first-round rookie who can move into the WR2 spot on depth chart (a la DeAndre Hopkins of the Texans), and Jacobs because I feel like New York HC Tom Coughlin is just looking for a way to avoid giving the ball to David Wilson. None of these guys have put up big number yet, so they should all be ripe for the picking.

5. Don’t fall in love with your stars.

This is the last resort, if all else fails advice, but if a few weeks from now your draft picks are still struggling, you haven’t been able to pull off any helpful trades, and you waiver wire pick-ups are starting to fizzle out, then it might be time to trade away your superstars.

Let’s face it: if you had a bad draft, then your depth is probably pretty weak and you don’t have many tradable assets.

The only players on your roster that anyone wants are your two top, can’t-miss picks. Calvin Johnson or Adrian Peterson cannot win you a league on their own, and if this isn’t a keeper league, there is no reason to keep them when you can trade them for two or three starters. It’s quality for quantity at this point.

For example: if you have Peterson as your RB1, but your RB2 is Mark Ingram, then you might want to consider parting with Peterson (36 fantasy points) for a two-player package choosing from Chris Johnson (16 fantasy points), Lamar Miller (12 fantasy points), and Rashard Mendenhall (20 fantasy points). Now no one wants to trade a guy like Peterson, but desperate times call for desperate measures.

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