Second Half Strategies

By John Paulsen (Senior Editor), last update Nov 5, 2012

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John was named the Most Accurate Fantasy Football Expert by FantasyPros for the 2010 and 2014 seasons, finished as runner-up in 2011 and 4th in both 2012 and 2015 for a total of six Top 6 seasons in the last seven years. Cumulatively, John was the most accurate expert from 2010-15 while also winning the 2011 Fantasy Sports Trade Association award for the most accurate draft rankings. 

Follow John Paulsen on Twitter: @4for4_John.

We have reached the midpoint of the 2012 fantasy season, so it's a good time to discuss how to plan for the stretch run and fantasy playoffs. There are several different strategies to discuss, so let's jump right in.


Trading Depth for Starters

Bye weeks wrap up in Week 11, so fantasy owners who have good players sitting on the bench should think about trading them away for an upgrade at another position. For example, let's say you have Larry Fitzgerald sitting on your bench behind Demaryius Thomas and Miles Austin. Both Thomas and Austin are past their byes, so Fitzgerald is expendable. Now let's say you have Arian Foster locking down one RB spot, but in the other you have Frank Gore and would like to upgrade. Ideally, you would trade Gore and Fitzgerald for a solid, low-end RB1 like Alfred Morris, Matt Forte, Jamaal Charles or Willis McGahee.

At this point in the season, it's almost always a good strategy to trade two-for-one, especially if you have depth that you can leverage.


Targeting Players with Favorable ROS or Playoff Schedules

Looking at our positional Hot Spots reports, it's fairly easy to see which players have the most favorable rest-of-season and/or playoff schedules. For example, Andrew Luck has the best ROS schedule (18.5), while John Skelton has the worst (13.6). Luck is a player to target if you are going to need to string together a few wins to make the playoffs.

Conversely, if you are sitting pretty in first place, you can target players who have favorable schedules in the fantasy playoffs. The PO2 and PO3 columns in the Hot Spots tables provide the average SOS for playoff schedules that take place in Weeks 15-16 and Weeks 14-16, respectively. Looking at running backs, Ahmad Bradshaw has the best projected three-week playoff schedule (23.1), while the aforementioned Frank Gore has one of the worst playoff schedules (14.0). Older players tend to wear down as the season goes on (Gore saw 58% of his touches in 2011 in the first eight games), so with the tough schedule, it's not a recipe for success.

Going a step further, the table below shows each team and each position, and how their ROS and PO3 schedules compare to the schedules they have played year to date. Sticking with the Bradshaw example, we can expect the Giants' RBs to score about 4.0 additional fantasy points per game when compared to their season average thus far. So assuming Bradshaw stays healthy and scores 75% of those points, his average should increase from 12.4 PPG to 15.4 PPG or so, which would put him in Top 5 territory on a per game basis.

Remember, assuming his situation remains the same a positive number means that a player should see an increase in his production due to schedule, while a negative number would indicate a possible decrease.

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