Fantasy: 7 steps for 'Shaking The 0-3 Blues'

BY foxsports • September 26, 2013

Whether you have incurred three gut-wrenching defeats, or served as cannon fodder for a trio of seismic blowouts, there's a singular shame that goes with starting a fantasy campaign at 0-3.

In a roundabout way, it's the fantasy equivalent of walking around with a Scarlet Letter adorned to your favorite NFL jersey. (Marketing idea for Madison Avenue?)

But all hope is not lost for the momentarily downtrodden ... provided they can accept the grim reality that, in highly competitive 12- 14- or 16-team leagues, an 0-3 club faces prohibitive odds of winning a championship.

So, why not get aggressive and leave everything to chance?

Let's roll up our sleeves and focus on seven quick strategies for Shaking The 0-3 Blues, while preserving the obvious goal of earning a much-needed victory in Week 4:

For those sitting at 0-3, you simply can't afford to let Aaron Rodgers (above), Cam Newton, DeAngelo Williams, Randall Cobb, Jordy Nelson, James Jones, Greg Olsen, Eddie Lacy, James Starks or Johnathan Franklin languish on the bench during their bye weeks.

The best course of action: Go to your league page, and send an all-encompassing email or message-board post to every owner, alerting them to the immediate availability of the above names.

Stress the need for closing a deal before Saturday around noon (most leagues require a 24-hour veto period with trades). But as part of that, let it beimplied that Rodgers or Newton could be had for slightly less than market value.

In the Philanthropist #3 league, my only 0-3 disaster of 10 fantasy teams, I'm focused on trading away Tom Brady, Dez Bryant or A.J. Green by Saturday afternoon, as a means of replenishing my backfield options (BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Ahmad Bradshaw, James Starks, Ronnie Hillman).

Bottom line: As much as I would love to ride out the season with Green and Bryant ... I can no longer afford to screw around at the tailback slot. The odds of improving with rushers in 16-team leagues, via free agency, are incredibly long.

So, I have no choice but to exercise Plan B — forsaking greatness at one spot for balance in two or three areas.

Of the 20 targets leaders at receiver heading into Week 4, Cecil Shorts, Vincent Jackson, Greg Little, Emmanuel Sanders, Torrey Smith and Patriots rookie Kenbrell Thompkins have caught 55 percent of less of their targeted balls.

Obviously, each player should be assessed on a case-by-case basis. But their inclusion onto the above list likely stems from one of these factors:

a) Poor quarterback play
b) No formidable support at receiver, running back or tight end
c) Their skills are on the decline
d) A player's (real-world) head coach and offensive coordinator aren't on the same page, philosophy-wise

This one applies to just about every type of owner:

There is zero excuse for having Peyton Manning and Michael Vick on the same roster. You're just wasting precious points on the bench every single non-bye week — regardless of the starting choice.

The solution: Suck it up and trade one of these red-hot passers immediately ... to the highest bidder, of course. And with this eminently necessary pruning, you'll also gain peace of mind, no longer consigned to sleepless Saturday nights, undoubtedly waffling over whom to start on Sunday.

I typically don't endorse knee-jerk reactions with veteran kickers. But if you don't like your guy after three games, cut him and don't look back.

Simply put, there should be no sentimental ties with kickers: They're dime-a-dozen assets in the fantasy realm, aside from the elite group — which, frankly, changes every year.

As for defenses, be leery of high-profile teams that aren't prodigious in sacks (Vikings, Bengals, Rams, Steelers, Giants) or creating takeaways (Chargers, Texans, 49ers).

And don't fall in love with a particular special teams ... unless you can identify the club's punt- and kick-returners within 10 seconds.

This one seems rather obvious: In 10-, 12- or 14-team leagues, where not every owner chooses to employ multiple tight ends, decent fill-ins can always be found in free agency.

Use that valuable vacant spot for a sixth or seventh tailback or receiver ... or make room for a high-end QB3, like Tampa Bay rookie Mike Glennon, who has Doug Martin, Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams as primary weapons.

Let's say you're holding a razor-thin lead on Monday and your opponent has already exhausted his/her starting options for the week.

You still have a kicker, defense or turnover-prone quarterback playing on Monday Night Football, and you're in living in fear of losing points, and ultimately, snagging defeat from the redoubtable jaws of victory.

For the vast majority of leagues, I would endorse filling all the starting slots, in terms of maximizing seasonal points for down-the-road tiebreakers.

For this special scenario, though, intentionally taking a "zero" at a volatile spot makes perfect sense.

Tanking? How sad. How necessary.

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