For the deadbeat fantasy team owners: A simple weekly checklist

There’s one in every league. They start players on their bye weeks, make a total of zero roster moves on the season, never respond to trade offers, and keep players on their rosters despite season-ending injuries. You’re annoyed when they hand over easy wins to other teams, and you’re even more annoyed when their autodrafted squad randomly puts up a huge week when you’re matched up against them.

Some of these guys just aren’t going to change; maybe you talked them into playing in the first place and they’re just not that into football. But I’m willing to bet that some of them don’t participate simply because they’re a little confused and overwhelmed. This checklist is for those folks, and if you think you’ve got one in your league, try sending them this link (you can use the Share This feature at the bottom of the post) and see if it doesn’t turn them into the fantasy football nut you always knew they could be.

Dear Deadbeat Owner,

Between you and me: I understand. You’re just not that into fantasy football yet, and you’re not sure if it’s for you. Maybe your buddy talked you into joining, and secretly you were pretty pissed when you forked over the league fee for something you were pretty sure you wouldn’t even participate in, and certainly wouldn’t win.

But you’re in the league now, and trust me: There’s something to this fantasy football stuff. It’s a lot of fun. If you’re lucky, you might even become obsessed like the rest of us (pay no attention to the voices in the background chanting “ONE OF US… ONE OF US…”) and become a far less productive and reliable employee, parent, and/or spouse!

Honestly, though, keeping your team competitive every week isn’t rocket science, and it doesn’t have to be very time-consuming. The following checklist will help you make sure that you give yourself a chance to win every week.

Sunday morning: Check your roster and make sure nobody’s injured or on their bye week. In pretty much every online system, you’ll see a little note next to the names of the guys who are hurt. If you aren’t sure whether someone’s going to start, do a Google News search for the player’s name. Usually, you’ll find an article in the team’s local newspaper that will fill you in on the player’s situation and the likelihood that they’ll start. If you have a guy on a bye week and no backup for him, you’ll probably want to grab

Tuesday or Wednesday: In most leagues, waivers clear on Wednesday night – this means that you have until the end of the night on Wednesday to put in a claim for a player who isn’t on anyone’s team at the moment. However, this works differently in many leagues – some don’t use waivers at all – so ask your commish if you’re not sure. In any case, Tuesday’s usually the best day to look at the players available on waivers and see if any of them are worth putting in a claim for. Luckily for you, we’ll have a post up every Tuesday with our thoughts on all of the interesting waiver pick-ups.

After waivers clear: It’s generally a good idea to look at the free agents who are left after waivers clear. These will be the guys that nobody wanted to spend their waiver priority on, but who might still be worth a pickup if you lack depth at a position and the player appears to have some potential.  Also, take a look at your bye-week situation, and grab a fill-in free agent if you need to.

Don’t make trades. This point doesn’t really belong here, but if you’re a fantasy player who needs this checklist, just trust me on this. Any trade offers you get will be predatory, usually from experienced players in a tight spot who see you, the uber-naïve newb, as the last hope to save their season. If a trade offer really looks tempting, ask us about it first.

That’s really all you have to do. Good luck, and congratulations – you’re well on your way to no longer being the most annoying person in your fantasy league.