Now that you have drafted your team and you are ready to dominate your league, you’ve got to be ready to set your lineup in a strategic way. Regardless of how good your draft was and how talented your squad is, if you set a bad lineup and leave the points on your bench, you aren’t going to go very far.
The best way to dominate your league is to outsmart your opponent and play against their strengths. You have to have a little bit of strategy and stay on top of your lineup.
In this article we are going to break down what steps you should take in setting the best lineup possible. We’ll examine how to maximize your points and make sure you can talk all the crap you want and be able to completely back it up. Here are a few steps you should check out immediately when it comes to setting your starting fantasy lineup.
- Who is on a Bye? If there is just one thing that you cannot do this season, it is starting a player in your lineup who is currently on a bye week. It is embarrassing, detrimental to your team’s success and it will give other teams crap talking material for weeks. If you lose by 10 points because you forgot your kicker and defense were on vacation, that’s a massive no-no. So step number one is subbing out your bye week players.
- Lock Times: That Sunday morning game that is in London can really mess you up when you forget it is happening so the lock time is important for a player to know. A lock time is the last cutoff for you to make a lineup change before the roster is set for that week. Some leagues allow you to make lineup changes up until kickoff while others only allow you to change your lineup up until 10 a.m. Sunday morning.
- Injuries: Some injuries are apparent and long. For instance, if you’re running back has a sprained ankle, you know he will be sidelined for at least a couple weeks (unless it Saquon Barkley, who is not human) but some injuries happen during a late Thursday practice. If your player is a game-time decision, it’s imperative that you are checking their status right up to the last second before the game. A last-minute injury who is ruled out and left in your lineup can totally tank your team.
- Go with the trends: If you have Ronald Jones on your roster and he is an RB3 or FLEX option, you don’t want to leave him in if Bruce Arians keeps subbing him out in the red-zone or every third down for Leonard Fournette. Even if you have a guy you spent a high draft pick on, if he is not the player getting touches or looks, don’t be afraid to sub him out for another option. You’ve got to go with the trends and the hot hands in fantasy football.
- Check the Roster Again: As we have mentioned before in this article, injuries happen. But that doesn’t just apply to your own players. If you have Phillip Lindsey on your roster and it is announced on Sunday that Melvin Gordon is OUT for the game, that is going to increase Lindsey’s touches and change his projected points. He is a guy who could benefit you if he is in the starting lineup. Things change all the time, so make sure you are on top of your roster and know all the ins and outs of the players you have.
- Understand Matchups: This may be the most important step in setting any fantasy football roster. The matchups that your players have on any given week is what sets their point prediction. It is your job to steer away from the matchups that aren’t in your favor. Say your QB is facing the third-best pass defense in the NFL and your backup is playing the 29th best pass-defense. It makes sense for you to sub out your starter this one week. The same can be said about a defense facing one of the top offenses compared to one of the worst offenses.
- Check the history: Just as matchups are important, it is also critical that you check out how a player has performed in the past against a team that they are facing that week. Because each NFL team plays their divisional counterparts twice a year, they know them better than anyone else. If you know that James Conner always runs all over the Cincinnati Bengals, it is in your best interest to make him an absolute start. Some players just have great success over and over again against familiar foes and it’s always a good idea to go with that guy in the starting lineup.
Now that we have gone through the steps of setting your fantasy lineup, it’s time to really examine the players and who should be starting. Let’s take a look at a lineup and see what changes need to be made.
After examining this lineup, there are a couple of major issues. The very first thing you should be looking at are the red letters next to a player’s name. “Q” stands for questionable, “O” stands for Out, “IR” stands for injured reserve. If there are red letters, this means there may be an injury to one of these players, these are the guys you must be keeping a careful eye out for. In this case, having Deebo Samuel in the lineup is useless. It seems like he may be out for the game given the fact that he has 0 projected points. To fix this, I would sub in James Conner for Samuel. Next, I would look at matchups and see who is on my bench that is projected to outscore a starter. I would sub out Cylde Edwards-Helaire for Boston Scott. This is because Edwards-Helaire is his team’s featured back and Scott may be sharing a lot of touches. After that, I would focus at the tight end position. Mark Andrews is projected to outscore Austin Hooper. After looking at the circumstances, I would sub him out.
Remember when you are setting your fantasy lineup, research and attention to detail are exactly the things that will make your team successful.