If you drafted Aaron Rodgers and Wes Welker early and snared Fred Jackson and Darren Sproles late, chances are you've been enjoying your fantasy football season immensely so far. Life is good and you spend your weekends gobbling up points like children's candy on Halloween.
Not everyone has had that kind of good fortune this season, however.
For some, the season hasn't gone as planned. Philip Rivers hasn't been a Top 5 quarterback. DeSean Jackson has been maddingly inconsistent and Chris Johnson ... well it's probably best if we just don't talk about him. But your season doesn't have to be over even if it hasn't been a smooth ride thus far. The clock is ticking but it hasn't struck midnight yet and that means you still have a fighting chance to turn things around and start enjoying your fantasy season.
This week, I want to go over a few tips I believe can aid you in your quest to regain fantasy prominence and, hopefully, dominance.
Play To Win NOW - Sounds obvious but my point is you're not in a position where you can analyze Strength of Schedule for the playoff weeks. Your focus needs to be on this week and this week only. It's great if you think Mike Williams will still break out at some point this season. If he does, that's terrific but your attention needs to be on finding players who are going to be productive this week and Williams offers little upside right now. It doesn't matter who those players are either. If they're producing and have a high fantasy ceiling get them in your lineup. In other words, it's not crazy to consider starting Brandon Lloyd over Larry Fitzgerald this week considering how good Lloyd has been lately and considering Fitz is once again mired in a bad QB situation and faces a troublesome matchup. Names don't matter at this point of the season. Only production counts.
Use Your Depth - It's wonderful if you have Frank Gore, Steven Jackson and Fred Jackson at running back. Congratulations on outstanding work in your draft. However, you should look to trade one of those players to address a need elsewhere. Depth is a luxury you cannot afford if your team has holes at another position. It's time to use that good depth to strengthen your team. The same holds true if you have a top backup running back who isn't a handcuff. It's great to have Ben Tate on your roster given his potential should Arian Foster gets hurt. But Tate holds more value to the Foster owner than he does for you so use that to your advantage. Try and work a trade with that owner to entice him with a player he needs to add better talent to your starting lineup. Don't jeopardize your starting lineup by having a wealth of talent and/or potential on your bench. You need the points.
Work The Waiver Wire - I've spent the entire season on the National Fantasy Football Championship message boards talking about how this has become a week-to-week game. That's especially true for those owners whose teams are struggling. Being aggressive and taking shots on the Waiver Wire is the best way to try and maximize production - even if it's just for a one-week flyer. Earl Bennett has never gotten it done consistently in the past, but he's hot right now so go after him and see if it will work out. If it doesn't, look in another direction next week. Laurent Robinson's value will only be high as long as Miles Austin is out but right now it's soaring and he makes for a great Waiver Wire target who can help you win now. Josh Cribbs has scored in each of the last two games so it's not crazy to consider starting him in a deep league. You never know who could be a fantasy savior at this point of the season but you won't find out if you're not willing to roll the dice.
Mine For Gold With Kickers And Defenses - These positions are often afterthoughts for fantasy owners but not for your struggling team. You need all the points you can muster so don't hesitate to go week-to-week and play the matchups here. If you don't have David Akers and the Ravens' defense, find someone who can deliver each week with quality matchups and plug them into your lineup. This week, for example, Shaun Suisham and the Rams' defense are two spot start options who could deliver nicely. You may dump them next week but like I said before that shouldn't be your concern. It's all about this week and this week only.
Lastly, Don't Give Up - Here's another one that sounds obvious but often isn't. It's a crazy game we play and you never know when the tide is going to turn. Even if things look bleak now, continue to fight to try and salvage your season. You could get on the type of run that will have you talking about this season for years to come. At the very least, you can play spoiler and enjoy the satisfaction of knocking someone's team out of playoff contention.
TK's HOT PICKS
Here are five sleeper picks for Week 10:
QB: Christian Ponder (Min.) - Ponder made his first career start against the Packers in Week 7 and threw for 219 yards and two TDs. Green Bay's pass defense hasn't gotten any better since then and Ponder will likely have to throw a lot to try and keep up with Aaron Rodgers.
RB: Reggie Bush (Mia.) - Bush has topped 90 yards rushing with seven receptions the past two games. This week, he faces a Washington run defense that allows more than 122 yards per game. He's rolling, so start him as your RB2.
WR: Laurent Robinson (Dal.) - He's replacing the injured Miles Austin and has been a pleasant surprise for the Cowboys this season. Buffalo's pass defense ranks 21st in the league and Robinson will be very active on Sunday.
TE: Visanthe Shiancoe (Min.) - He caught a TD pass in the first meeting with Green Bay and has 12 receptions in his last three games. He's starting to come on and is a viable sleeper pick this week.
D: St. Louis - The Browns don't turn the ball over often, but they struggle to score points and St. Louis' pass rush has showed renewed vigor the last two weeks. The Rams are a good spot start if your primary defense has a tricky matchup this week.
Tom Kessenich is the Manager of High Stakes Fantasy Games for STATS LLC. Find out more about the NFFC at nffc.stats.com or email Tom at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @TomKessenich.