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My Rules For Setting Your Lineup

Setting your lineup and team management throughout the fantasy season is far more crucial than the draft itself.  The draft is the time to try and set yourself up with a reliable roster you like and with which you are comfortable.  The draft is the easy part.  The hard part comes every week when it’s time to set your lineup.  I have a few cardinal rules I have developed over my years playing fantasy football and I would like to share them.  In hopes, these rules can put you at ease when the season starts and help carry you to the playoffs.  Once you’re in the playoffs, all bets are off and you are on your own.  Go big or go home, come playoff time.  Of course, you need to make it to the playoffs first.  So, consider these rules when setting your own lineup each and every week.  Best of luck during the regular season! 

  1. Start your Studs aka “Don’t get cute.”
    This concept is far above the most important for your fantasy team and for your sanity.  No one is drafting Davante Adams to bench him when he’s facing a tough cornerback to start Marquez Callaway.  Don’t overthink it, Keep it simple, stupid, or Don’t get cute.  However, you want to think about it is up to you but don’t forget the principle.  Studs like Davante Adams and the other top 10(top 5 at TE) at their respective positions are in the top 10 because they see the most opportunity and have the greatest chance to have week-winning games each and every week of the NFL season.  I would rather have a stud put up a goose egg in my lineup than have them go off on my bench.  
  1. Flex spots can help balance your lineup.
    Ok, so you have your studs in the lineup. Check.  Now it’s time to fill in the rest of your lineup.  WR3, RB2, and flex decisions will make or break a season. These roster spots in your lineup can help you balance between the floor needed to be competitive in a matchup and the upside needed to win a matchup.  If there are some boom/bust guys in your lineup, then flex a player with a reliable floor.  If the lineup is composed of more high floor players, then get someone with upside to win the week.  You can only win one week at a time.  So, worry about this week’s lineup and how it can be used to your advantage to win THIS week.  
  1. Don’t worry about your opponent’s lineup.
    I never look at my opponent’s lineup when it comes to making decisions for my own lineup.  I could care less who they have or whom they may be starting from week to week.  I am going to roll out my best lineup and if it can’t beat my opponent’s lineup then it wasn’t meant to be.  Trying to be clever and make the upside of the opponent’s lineup can put players that would normally be in the lineup on the bench and vice versa.  Fantasy football is pretty random and no one knows when Deandre Hopkins is going to go out and put up a stinker.  So, don’t stress too hard about the opponent’s lineup.  Hell, like I said, don’t even look at it.  Just put together the best lineup possible out of the players available and have fun. 
  1. Get Thursday Night players out of the flex and put Monday night players into the flex.
    By the time Thursday night football starts, your starting lineup should be pretty set, barring injury.  Put players that are playing on Thursday night into positional spots to maximize flexibility come Sunday.  Nothing is worse than clogging the flex spot with a guy playing on Thursday when another player at that position gets hurt in Friday or Saturday practice and the only guy available to start is from another position.  Freeing up the flex spot for injuries or illnesses that might pop up after Thursday night’s game offers the ability to pivot freely and not pigeon-hole your lineup decisions.  Inversely, reserve the flex spot for players that play on Monday night.  Again, this offers the most lineup flexibility if something occurs before the game on Monday night. 
  1. If you tink(er), your team will sink.
    I used to be a last minute tinkerer.  Moving players around all the way up until game time and it has bitten me in the ass far too many times.  Nowadays, I set my lineups on Wednesday after waivers clear and just check in on them before game times on Thursday, Sunday, and Monday.  I still check at those times because of surprise injuries or inactives but that’s it.  My lineups are set in stone come Wednesday.  It is far too easy to overthink lineup decisions.  So, put the best players in their spots and enjoy your life.  For the most part, unless there is an injury or a player just isn’t performing, I run out pretty much the same lineup every week too.  I want to reduce variability and get all the best games out of my players.  I let the law of probabilities take control and win me weeks.

Biggest thing to remember is, it is YOUR lineup.  You do whatever you want and make whatever decisions you want and can live with.  These are only suggestions I have found to work for me.  I hope they can help develop your fantasy acumen and help you evolve into a fantasy champion. 

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