Playing fantasy football isn’t exactly like running a real team, but you’ll still need to manage certain logistical realities. Each week, you’ll have to field a complete team, filling out roster slots with players eligible for specific positions. If fantasy football were just about picking the best players, regardless of a position, it would be a whole lot easier — but that’s not the case. This is why it’s important to keep positions in mind all season long, from draft day to championship weekend. Here’s what you need to know about managing positions as you make your way through the fantasy football season.
Remembering positions on draft day
The most important time to think about positions is on draft day, but you also need to be careful not to think too much about them. Early in the draft, you’ll want to opt for the best player available. After a few picks, though, you’ll want to keep an eye on your roster slots. Are you in particular need of a certain position? How are those tier lists looking? Are you about to see a big drop-off in talent at a position you have yet to fill?
Try to get almost all of your roster filled out before you pick anyone to ride your bench. You can pick a bench player before your kicker or your defense, but try not to pick any benchwarmers before you fill out spots like a wide receiver and running back completely. Remember, a player is only valuable to you if you can actually play them.
IR and bench slots
As the season gets underway, you’ll go to war with the team that you drafted, but there will be plenty of changes and shuffling to do along the way. You want to avoid bad matchups, cover bye weeks, and fill slots left by injured players.
This will sometimes mean picking up and dropping players, but you don’t want to do that consistently because you’ll be giving up too many good players to the waiver wire. If you can, try to shuffle players on and off your bench. Make full use of any IR slots you have, too. You can move your own injured players into those slots or you can pick up a hurt player in free agency and stash them there in case they come back strong later in the season. Using these extra slots outside of your starting lineup will give you the flexibility you need to keep every position filled with a decent player week after week.
Not all positions are created equal. Some, like quarterbacks, are likely to score more points than other position slots. Others may have big upsides and downsides, depending on how thin the given position is in the given year. As you draft, pick up free agents, and choose which players to drop during the season, remember the relative value of positions. If there are only a few good wide receivers to choose from, you should be picking them early. If you’re looking to stash a player on your bench during a bye week, make sure they’re worth keeping. Every point matters in fantasy football, but smart players remember that some positions generate more value than others.
This isn’t your excuse to throw out those defense rankings, of course. You still need to make a decent pick on draft day. Just remember not to go drafting defense or kicker too high, because that’s a pick that you may later drop in order to play the matchups with a free-agent kicker or defense.
Shuffling players around to fill positions can be tiring, but remember not to overthink things. You don’t necessarily need to make every move you’re considering. When in doubt, stick with your top picks through thick and thin. A bad matchup isn’t necessarily the end of the world when you’re talking about an elite player. Fewer lineup changes will mean less shuffling of players and fewer tricky roster moves, so don’t be afraid to keep it simple.