Overcoming the danger of streaks
Posted Oct. 05 at 04:15 AM
In the NFL, streaks are dangerous. A mediocre team on a winning streak actually becomes a better team. Kansas City isn’t a good team, is it? I don’t know, but the team is 3-0, which means it has confidence, the division lead and the best record in the entire league. The team’s record has an effect on its demeanor, practices, everything. So while Kansas City might get hammered in Indianapolis, but it also could win. Kansas City certainly isn’t scared of the Colts. It’s the Colts who should be worried about falling to 2-3. The pressure is on them.
One the other hand, the 49ers are 0-4. That streak also has an effect on the team. They’ve already shuffled the coaching staff, and while their division is still up for grabs their margin for error is shrinking. Players are starting to take little digs at each other (receiver Michael Crabtree took a swipe at quarterback Alex Smith by saying coaches can draw up good plays but they don’t throw the ball) and confidence is low. They might still turn it around, but they won’t have any swagger until they do.
What does this mean for your fantasy team? Nothing, and that’s important to know. What I mean is, your team can’t have streaks like NFL teams do. You don’t benefit from synergy, and you don’t suffer from a team’s lack of confidence. Your team isn’t a real team so the dynamics that affect a team -- good and bad -- don’t exist in fantasy football.
In other words, your 0-4 is better than San Francisco’s 0-4. You don’t have to overcome a lack of team chemistry, or infighting or a loser’s mentality. Some of the players on your team are probably on great NFL teams. They have plenty of confidence. You might be worried about your record, but the players aren’t. They’ll go out and do their best for their real teams, and hopefully you’ll benefit from that. Just because you came up short in four random comparisons to other fantasy teams doesn’t mean you can’t do better in the next four random comparisons. Your record might have very little to do with how good your team is, so don’t worry too much about it. You can turn it around a lot easier than a real team.
By the same token, that applies to your 4-0 record as well. Your team doesn’t have any swagger. Your players aren’t riding high on your division lead. You simply won four random comparisons. It could go the other way just as easily, so don’t get too confident. You need to work the waiver wire just as hard as always. Your bench needs good depth and you need to be on the lookout for players that can improve your team. A real undefeated team will play better because of their record. Yours won’t, so losing that advantage is easier in fantasy football.
Maybe I shouldn’t say that streaks don’t matter in fantasy football. They exist in your mind, so they might affect how you run your team. That makes them dangerous in our game as well. You might panic and dismantle a good team, or you might get lazy and let valuable players -- guys you’ll need in a month -- slip past you on the waiver wire or get traded to a different team. So in that respect, streaks can make a difference: To the extent that you believe in them, they’ll always hurt your team.
It’s hard to ignore a good (or bad) record. But while NFL coaches talk about taking things “one game at a time,” it’s really true in fantasy football. You’re making a number of weekly comparisons to another team, and none are related to each other. Your team isn’t riding high or feeling low -- because you don’t have a real team. Please use that to your advantage and good luck this week.
You can reach Michael Murillo at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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