It should come as no surprise that injuries can have an enormous impact on fantasy sports teams. A season-ending injury to your top draft pick will dramatically change the makeup of your team. While there might be a tendency to give up on the season, should this happen, there is no need to panic. Many teams suffer injuries at some point in the season, and the good ones find a way to overcome. Here are five ways that you can prevent an injury from ruining your season.
1. Draft smart and handcuff your running backs. Handcuffing is a term that refers to drafting your star’s starter. This logic works best for running backs but applies to every position; if a player who has a low value will spike in worth if someone on your team goes down, you should try and draft that player in a later round. Good examples from this past fantasy football season include picking up Glen Coffee if you owned Frank Gore and picking up Jason Snelling if you owned Michael Turner.
2. Don’t be too cocky on draft night. If you pick up three quality starting wide receivers, you might think that your work is done. But what happens if one of those guys go down? Work to put together a balanced team.
3. Move quickly. If your guy goes down, put in a request for his backup immediately (if you don’t already have him.) Some leagues have permanent waiver systems, others are permanent free agency, and others are a balance between the two. Make sure you know the rules of your league so that you’re not caught lagging behind.
4. Remember that players’ stock changes as the season goes on. On draft night you probably wouldn’t have ranked Brandon Jennings as highly as you would if your starting guard went down in week 2. If your running back went down in week 14, you could have struck gold by picking up Jerome Harrison. It’s important to pay attention to everyone’s value even if you don’t want to be active on waivers, because if you try and figure all of this out once your player goes down there’s going to be too much information for you to make the right decision in time.
5. Consider shaking your team up. Many times, people are hesitant to make trades, particularly ones that involve their best player. But if you find yourself without a starter at a certain position, you might need to trade a blue chip at one to pick up two quality guys at another. It’s true that an injury is not cause for panic, but that doesn’t mean that you can act like nothing ever happened.
Hopefully your next fantasy season will be injury free. If it isn’t, though, remember these five tips to help keep your season on track.