Free Agency (NFL)

Draft Guide Exclusive: Handcuff Strategy – A. Kagan

by Aaron Kagan

Tw: @SkullKingGuruFF

Today, I’m going to tell you about a strategy that I had implemented which had led me to two championships in consecutive seasons in a very competitive 12-team PPR league. Fantasy GM’s have to make the best decisions for their team, and choosing to implement this strategy could prove to save one’s season.

If you are a long-time competitor of fantasy football, you know what happens during the season as far as injuries are concerned. They are part of the game and the fact is known that they very commonly happen. Happening at the worst time to a GM’s star player can completely decimate a season worth of work, as well as playoff hopes for that team. I want to talk about how heavily the situation can affect your team, how this fact and situation can be mitigated, and the different aspects of this strategy for redraft leagues and for dynasty leagues.

An injury to one of your main starting players can greatly hurt your team no matter where you are during the season. This can be devastating if no preparations have been made. The strategy that we will be discussing has to do with this preparation for injury. Investing high draft capital into an elite player that is projected to produce for your team, and then an injury happens almost makes the GM want to break into tears.

When a player is taken out due to an injury, the next man up will usually see a majority of the snaps. This is because a coach’s game plan isn’t based solely on a player, even if that player is very influential. The essence of this strategy is acquiring the next man up after your stud player on their team’s roster for your fantasy team. By having the next man up for one of your important players, you are mitigating the situation which would occur if an injury were to happen to that player. By having the player on your roster, you secure that roster spot in many scenarios.

The risk with this strategy is you are sacrificing a roster spot in order to solidify a single position. This prevents other GM’s from acquiring this player as soon as the injury happens. Many times you won’t be able to tell who will be getting those snaps that are left behind by that player not being there. There is, however, typically a single player that receives the majority of the playing time. This strategy In example would be: if you had taken Joe Mixon in the first round of your start-up draft, you can feel more comfortable having Giovanni Bernard on your roster just in case the injury scenario were to occur.

The differences in implementing this strategy for dynasty leagues, or redraft leagues are both large and small at the same time. For a dynasty league, you are able to draft rookies that are behind your main starters. There is no guarantee that these players will make the team, or even see any time during the season. Acquiring the direct back up is possible through a trade, but you will have to give up value to aquire that player. For redraft leagues, you are giving up value during the draft that could be better used in another area. There is definite risk to implementing this strategy, and it is up to you as the GM to make the best decision for your team.

Follow me on Twitter @SkullKingGuruFF and just ask if any advice is needed


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