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Shrewd moves can help lift your fantasy team

October 14, 2011
By Keith Shelton - Sports Reporter ( , Daily Press

ESCANABA - And then there was one. One unbeaten that is, and you're looking at him. Five and Oh, I can't explain it.

I can't give you a blueprint on how to replicate it. I've scored fewer and fewer points every week, but so have my opponents and somehow Silver Crush (my team) has ended up alone on top of our 14-team Fantasy Football league.

I'm far from the highest scoring team in our league, but I have the fewest points against, which can be more important. There's a pack of 4-1 teams behind me, so when I do inevitably lose a game, I'll drop back considerably. But as long as I have a better record, point totals are meaningless.

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Keith Shelton

For weeks one through five, my point totals are as follows: 139, 133.5, 108, 125.5 and 97.5. Injuries and bye weeks play a big part in the decreasing scores. With Kenny Britt, I was a fantasy powerhouse. I lost him after week two, and now I'm treading water.

When it's all said and done however, the teams at the top have usually done two things better than anyone else. They've drafted better, and they've done a better job plucking free agents off the wire.

I've already found three solid waiver wire pickups. The most recent pickup was New York Giants receiver Victor Cruz, who has been outstanding. After picking him up off the scrap heap to help replace Britt, Cruz, an undrafted free agent, has turned in performances of 12 points and 24 points.

In week three, Cruz also scored 24 points. That's an average of 20 points a game - WR1 numbers. The key was anticipating Cruz's breakout before it happened. Each week I scour the waiver wire looking for possible breakout performances.

What it really boils down to is lucky guessing. I'm sure a popular move when rummaging through the scrap heap is to sort by total fantasy points. Sure, that's one way to do it, but you're not going to find that gem down at the bottom who suddenly has an opportunity to start, by doing that.

I like to check the NFL injury list every Tuesday and look for starters who have gone down with ailments. Then I'll check out depth charts and go from there, I'll see who's available on the wire.

Since moves are $2 each in my league, I try to look for as much of a sure thing as possible. Prior experience is a plus, so is the buzz of potential.

In the case of Cruz, he had neither ingredient but did have ga Super Bowl winning quarterback in Eli Manning, so I took a chance, and it paid off.

As these bye weeks roll on, you also have to be careful who you drop. Chances are, at some point, you're going to have to drop a bench player you'd like to keep to replace a starter with a bye week.

You have to remember your trash may be another team's treasure, just like at rummage sales.

For example, some teams have a wealth of running back talent. I'm hunting those teams down and just waiting for them to drop one of their four solid running backs, because I need help in that position. Once that back hits the market, I'm on it like a crow on the trash heap, and it will happen.

Some teams luck out and end up really strong in one position, but no team can maintain that. I know that sooner or later, drops have to be made.

That's how I ended up with Austin Collie. Though admittedly not a great pickup, he got me through week five, replacing a starter on a bye week and earning 6.5 points. Decent for a WR3 but not great. Now that Collie has served his purpose, I can drop him if need be and not feel bad about it.

With Peyton Hillis on a bye week, I was forced to start Joseph Addai last week, and it was a disaster. He got hurt and left with 1.5 points. My other running back, LeGarrette Blount, also went down with a knee injury. I dropped Addai, I'm hanging onto Blount until I know the extent of the injury. You just can't always afford to wait for a player to heal. It could cost you a win.

In the meantime, I'm looking to pick up Kansas City running back Jackie Battle, who seems to have surpassed Thomas Jones and Dexter McClouster on the depth chart. I'm leaving a roster spot open in anticipation of another viable running back being dropped.

Don't get too sentimental with your bye-week pickups. Use em, and lose em, unless you think you know something. But then, that would just be luck, wouldn't it?



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