Your team is set for the week. You have made sure all of your players are healthy, you have looked at the matchups, studied the recent performance of your players and their opponents. In other words, you are done for the week, all that is left is to see how your team will do this week. Not so fast. While you may think your work for the week is done, it is not. If you were still in school, you would not hand in a paper just because you were finished, would you? At work, do you just tell your boss a project is complete once you finish? I am hoping the answer to both of those questions is no.
Completing a paper or project is a stage in the process not the end result. There is another step. For a paper, you will proof-read, make sure there are no major mistakes or even minor errors. For the project, you will make sure that you did everything asked of you, that you did it correctly and that it looks like something you took pride in. You should be doing the same thing with your fantasy team each week. You need to double-check your team. I am not just talking about making sure that your players are playing, you need to go deeper. You need to see if your assumptions about your players are shared by others.
If you have a number of players in the same game, you will want to check the over/under. No, the over/under has nothing to do with yardage, but if you have five players in a game with an over/under of 31-points, you might want to rethink things. The odds makers spend a lot of time studying the games each week, and have tools that you do not have, if they think a game will be low scoring, chances are they are correct. That does not mean that you avoid all those players, but it will mean you probably need to reconsider some. It is also a good idea to compare your projections for you players with those of another source.
I am not saying you should blindly follow anyone else’s projections; what I am saying is if you think a player will have a monster game and a major site has that player doing little, you need to at least spend a little time reconsidering. Why is the player projected so low? Is there a recent injury you do not know about? Did you miss-read his matchup? Does a certain site always have a low projection for him? If one site is low on a player but others are high then he should be fine; if multiple sources are down on a player, you should consider that a major red-flag. What I suggest for double-checking your projections is to find a site that has projections you trust and use them as your primary reference, if you are using a player they are low on, look to another site and see if they agree. You do not automatically make a change, you just want to make sure there is not some information you missed – thus a site that gives some commentary with their projections is a little more useful.
In the realm of the more obvious, you will want to make sure that your players are actually playing each week. For the NFL, you can find plenty of information on who is active before games kick off. You will also want to take a look at the practice reports and latest news. If you selected a player and he practices early in the week, then gets held out later in the week, you might want to replace him, it is an indication that he is probably not completely healthy. If a guy you selected misses practice early in the week but practices later in the week, you do not need to be concerned as teams often rest players early in the week.
Another thing you should do if you can, is nothing. If you are not playing a contest that includes the Thursday Night game, take a couple of days away from your team. You should not even think about your team for a day after you set your initial lineup. It may seem strange, I have been advocating that being a good owner requires work all season. While this seems like a contradiction it is not. The key to good proof-reading, is time away from what you wrote. Consider your team a new paper each week. The longer you are away from what you wrote, the less likely you are to assume what was written – you know what you meant to write so when you reread what you wrote soon after you wrote it, your mind fills in what you thought you wrote. That is the case with your teams too. You know why you liked a player a few minutes later, in a couple of days you might wonder what you were thinking.
Consider “proof-reading” your team another tool in your fantasy owner’s tool box. While it seems obvious to make sure your players are playing each week, looking at the over/under and comparing projections might not be something you usually do. And, chances are, you do not take a couple of days away from your team during the week, yet, I advocate doing all of these things. You are playing to make money, you want to do everything you can to increase your chances of making money. Think of your team as an investment, if you were investing thousands of dollars, you would take more than a few minutes to decide what to invest in. You would check as many sources as you could to make sure that what you are planning on investing in looks promising; to make sure that there is not some information you are missing. Your goal is to make money, taking the extra time to check your team each week – and ignore it if possible – increases your chances of making money.