8 TRADE, TRADE, TRADE. IT'S HOW championships are made. Here are four unimpeachable rules to live by when dealing before the trade deadline.
Be honest in assessing your roster. Don't be fooled into believing bad players will magically turn on the jets. If you've had a weak spot during the first 10 weeks, you'll be similarly exposed in Weeks 14, 15 and 16 as well.
Be the aggressor in offering trades. Don't let another owner throw out names in hopes that you'll bite out of desperation.
Always get the best player in the deal. Regardless of whether you're going 1 for 1, 2 for 2, 3 for 2 or 4 for 1, make sure you walk away with the primary stud in any trade.
Don't be afraid to sacrifice your bench. Great bench depth will serve you no purpose in the playoffs. If you have four solid running backs—Ronnie Brown, Reggie Bush, Frank Gore and Chris Johnson, for example—and need to get stronger at receiver, then have no fear of dangling CJ or Bush to land a big-fish pass catcher. You'll be sweating bullets if a runner goes down to injury, but there's a risk-reward aspect to every challenge in fantasy. Don't look back.
9 WHETHER YOU'RE DRAFTING, TRADING or mining the waiver wire, keep your eyes on the playoffs. The following is a comprehensive list, in five classifications, of which teams have the most (Tier 1) to least (Tier 5) desirable schedules (accounting for traditional weather patterns, strength of opponent and home/away considerations) during the fantasy playoff period of Weeks 14, 15 and 16. This should help you earmark the players that you'll want to move mountains to acquire before the start of your league's playoffs.
TIER 1: Arizona (at San Francisco, at Detroit, St. Louis), Houston (Seattle, at St. Louis, at Miami), Tennessee (St. Louis, Miami, San Diego).
TIER 2: Indianapolis, New Orleans, Philadelphia, San Francisco.
TIER 3: Cincinnati, Dallas, Detroit, Jacksonville, Kansas City, New England, New York Giants, Oakland, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, San Diego, Seattle, Tampa Bay, Washington.
TIER 4: Atlanta, Buffalo, Carolina, Chicago, Denver, Green Bay, Miami, Minnesota, New York Jets.