How to make it through Fantasy Football Super Bowl week with calm and confidence
Fantasy Football Super Bowl week is here, with all the hoopla and excitement that always surrounds it. No, there won’t be media days, radio row and celebrity-filled parties. But there will be a lot of internal hype. There’s going to be so much pressure that you generate on yourself, it will feel like you have your own podium with microphones and cameras packed in around you. There’s going to be a media blitz in your own head.
You’re going to ask yourself lots of questions over and over, and second-guess your decisions more than ever this season. Even if you have been there before, the anxiety generated by Fantasy decisions increases the deeper you get into the season, and climbs to sometimes-unnerving levels during the playoffs.
But you can deal effectively with the pressure and more calmly come out on top. Here’s some tips for Fantasy Football Super Bowl survival. You’ve likely heard some of these tips before, but in the biggest game of the year, they are more important than ever. You need these reminders!
Don’t overthink it: When you start going back and forth and asking yourself questions about the same lineup decision over and over, you’re in danger of not making a sound choice. You cannot control anything that happens on the field once you set your lineup. Simply make the best informed decision and stick with it. All of us need to turn somewhere to help us make a tough final call, though. That can be your favorite Fantasy expert. Go ahead and ask George Kurtz. But once he tells you why to start a certain player over another, don’t continue to question and doubt it. Make the firm decision once you have all the right information to make your call. If you question it too much thereafter you may make a move you regret.
For me, when I have a tough call, I just consult the DailyRoto optimizer for their projections. Although that sounds like a sales pitch, it is really true coming from me. I trust those projections and can use them for seasonal too. Once I have consulted them then I have the most peace of mind possible. There’s only so much we can do to try to set ourselves up for success. We just have to make the most informed decisions possible, set the lineup and then it’s up to the players to execute from there.
Don’t worry about the other team: In Fantasy Football, what we see on paper prior to a matchup often goes awry very quickly. Pregame statistical projections can be fun but are often futile. Looking at the other team’s roster prior to the week while fear builds inside you is a wasted exercise in negative energy. In Fantasy Football, even more than the real NFL, any team can beat any other in any given week. If you were viewing a pregame lineup in Week 15 and your opponent had, for instance, Jared Goff, Saquon Barkley, Lamar Miller, JuJu-Smith-Schuster, Keenan Allen, Adam Thielen and Zach Ertz, you likely didn’t feel good about your chances. And a team like that would have lost easily.
You can generate enough anxiety about your own lineup decisions. Don’t add to it by worrying about the decisions you cannot control at all. You can’t game plan to double team your opponent’s top WR or stack your fronts against their best RB, so glance at the lineup, but don’t stress over it. That lineup is just another final hurdle to clear, which you will if you make solid decisions and just get a few breaks your way.
Don’t get hung up on last week: Good players sometimes have bad games. Unreliable players sometimes bust out. But every week is new and you have to stick with your top performers with the best track records this season. If you survived and advanced with Barkley, now is not the time to sit him for Tevin Coleman. The best players quickly rebound from down performances in many cases. Mediocre or unreliable players often go flat again the following week. I am not starting Alshon Jeffery over Brandin Cooks. Now is not the time to lock Kalen Ballage into your lineup when it’s the Fantasy Football Super Bowl.
Don’t be a slave to matchups: There was so much Fantasy love for C.J. Uzomah this past week because the Raiders were so bad against opposing TEs. I never bought into it. Uzomah has only two TDs this year and has never gone over 55 yards. The player has to be capable of taking advantage of the matchup, you can’t just start him based on the matchup alone. Uzomah predictably did nothing.
Not every tough defense or defender automatically wins every matchup with the offensive player, and not every offensive player takes advantage of a friendly matchup. Matchups should be used as a decision tiebreaker between closely valued or ranked players. Not as the main reason for the lineup decision.
Don’t overreact to the Saturday games: You don’t have a “lead” or a “hole” when you have employed or faced one player in one game. That guy has simply played earlier than everyone else and is no real reflection on the final outcome when so many others have to yet to take the field. Don’t make a lineup change after Saturday based on one or two games of the week.
Keep a level head about injuries: If one of your guys is a game-time decision, simply have an alternative ready. If he’s a superstar and he is active, you play him. Don’t worry about him being on a “pitch count” or acting as a “decoy” unless you read of such an outlook. If a player is reported not to have a significant injury, don’t hesitate to use him. Don’t make more of the injury than what the actual reports indicate.
Don’t overreact to weather reports: We are obviously much more likely to face challenging weather conditions by this point of the season. But simple rain or snow may not curtail offense in a major way in some situations. If the rain is not driving and intense it may not affect outlooks in a major way. In snowy conditions, the offense may sometimes have an advantage as it is the defenders who may have to react and not get proper footing. What should really concern you is winds above 15 mph, which can wreak havoc on the passing game. And often pregame weather conditions can clear up more by game time. Consult nflweather.com, which gives you forecasts by quarter. I’m not saying rain or snow cannot dampen an offensive outlook, but too many Fantasy owners start to freak out about it when all reports or conditions are not the same.
Don’t assume a win or a loss in the second quarter on Sunday at 2:30 ET: The worst types of Fantasy owners on social media are those who overreact to early results. When it’s halfway through the second quarter and their top WR has one catch for 14 yards, they start coming apart in front of the Twitterverse. Don’t be that person. Remember that an NFL game is four quarters and numbers are often not compiled over those full four quarters. There’s a lot of game left.
Don’t try to predict game flow and let it govern your decisions: Don’t bank on a pass-catcher from a bad team padding his numbers in garbage time. Don’t assume a running back from a good team will get a lot of carries to run out the clock. Games between seemingly good and bad teams often don’t turn into the blowouts we sometimes expect them to. The bad teams can stick close and lose when it counts. Or they can rise up like Oakland did to Pittsburgh or San Francisco did to Seattle.
Don’t “split the pot”: Before their Fantasy Football Super Bowl, the participants sometimes will agree to total up and split the first and second place prizes evenly. Don’t do it! Get your deserved winnings for all you accomplished. Splitting the pot is purely giving into fear and anxiety and makes victory less exciting and rewarding. It’s like playing to a tie. It’s cowardly. You’re friends after the game. There’s no place for a gentlemanly or ladylike compromise when there is a league championship on the line. It’s a Fantasy Football vasectomy. What the heck did you play for all year long, just to back down now?
Be confident!: You’ve come this far, now is not the time to unravel and panic. Give yourself a lot of credit for getting to this point, because it’s not easy to even get to the Fantasy Football Super Bowl. You’ve made a lot of good decisions to get to the Fantasy Football Super Bowl, you belong here, so don’t put any unnecessary extra pressure on yourself.
Featured Image via John Newberry on Flickr