and Jon Millman
Last Updated: Jul 05, 2013 12:46 PM
This is the seventh in a series of articles geared toward winning your college fantasy football leagues.
7th Commandment - Thou MUST Draft Key Player's Backup
In most circumstances it makes sense to grab your best players' backups – IF they too are capable players. We usually refer to these as “Handcuffs”. The reason you backup your Studs is two-fold:
1. To make sure you have a starter if and when your Stud goes down. The way you win at Fantasy Football is by having a deep bench and planning for the worst. Expect your best players to go down at some point, as most players in the league miss some time over the course of the year. Those of us that are prepared hardly miss a beat and are one step ahead of the competition.
2. To prevent other owners in your league from benefiting from your misfortunes. If you drafted LaMichael James a couple years ago but neglected Kenjon Barner later in your draft, when James went down for a few games, the owner, the one that took Barner, had have a tremendous option to insert into his lineup. It likely would have only cost him a late round pick and at that price, insuring your 1st rounder is a no-brainer.
This does not hold true for all positions, especially WR's, as taking Marqise Lee’s backup will generally not benefit you very much. But the point is that if you spend an early round draft pick on a player, and his backup would flourish if they were the starter, make sure to get him later in the draft.
This only applies to QBs if his backup is talented and the system is QB-friendly (Houston, Texas Tech, Oregon and Baylor are prime examples).
This insurance policy does not hold true if your league only allows you to carry a small amount of players, as the waiver wire pool will be deeper, and you will likely be able to acquire starters from there if you had to. This is mainly for leagues that have larger roster allowances.
There is another way this strategy can help your drafting, and that is if you are unsure of 2 players at a certain point in the draft and they are in the same tier. You can opt for the player with the stronger backup because you can likely get the backup later in the draft cheap. The combination of the two will be better insurance that you will always have a starter. People may think that this talented backup will cannibalize the starter, but that is usually not the case. We are talking about situations where this guy's only role is to give the Stud a breather, but if needed for a few games could excel.
Inside our Draft Kit this summer, we will highlight all of the handcuffs that are worthy of draft consideration.
The main point is to pay attention to your key players, and if they have a capable backup – someone who you could spot-start if the starter goes down, be sure to get insurance for your team.