fantasy football tips

2021 Between the Holidays Tips: Together Again

As the snowflakes begin to fall from the sky, along with our Christmas trees from the attics in which they are stored, a familiar feeling comes over us for the 30-some days that separate two of America’s biggest holidays – the festival of plenty and a day the French describe oh-so-perfectly as Nöel.

Only this season feels a bit different in the wake of 2020 that interrupted most traditions. If you’re lucky, you got to restore those customs, along with returning to the presence of those who make them so special. If not, you may be beyond the reflections of the drive-through holiday light shows, working hard to create a new celebration for yourself or your family.

For many of us, especially those who create content or simply play fantasy sports, in addition to working full time, the time between the holidays can often feel like a blur. 

One minute you’re putting away leftovers as you watch Buffalo Bills’ tight end Dawson Knox inhale the traditional turkey leg, and the next you’re out fighting crowds of bargain hunters to get the new hot thing off the shelves. Before you know it, you’re finishing off the final days of your Advent calendar, sweeping the floors before company comes, while simultaneously setting that critical Week 16 fantasy football lineup.

To help you not only get through this “Between the Holidays” season but to also make the most of it as we gather again, In-Between Media returns with the help of some of our best friends from the fantasy sports industry to present our “2021 Between the Holidays: Together Again” Campaign. 

Dec. 17 will mark our second-ever Holiday Party Livestream, and Dec. 28 kicks off our Week 16 Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) Charity Tournament. 

Until then, as you finish putting the final decorations on the tree or settle in to watch your first holiday film of the season, we present our “2021 Between the Holidays Tips,” featuring life and fantasy sports advice from 27 individual fantasy sports analysts and community members.

As it always should be, life proceeds fantasy sports.

Holiday Help & Happenings

1. Remember the Magic

Do you remember when you were a kid and this time of year was magical? As adults, with all of our responsibilities, we tend to forget that. Between scheduling family gatherings, planning meals, buying presents and the general madness that is the holidays, it makes sense. 

This year, try to take at least a moment to soak in the pure joy that the holidays are supposed to bring. It isn’t easy, but I promise it is 100 percent worth it. Nate Polvogt, In-Between Media senior digital media editor, podcast co-host & YouTube series co-host, co-creator of “32 in 32”

2. Stop Trying to Impress Everyone

With the holidays here, try to remember that you are expecting more of yourself than anyone else is expecting of you. The holidays can be a very stressful time. We were raised on movies with a perfect holiday spread, everyone dressed in their best clothes and everything just being wonderful for all involved.

Let’s face it, most holidays are more “Christmas Vacation” than anything else.  So learn to laugh at yourself and spend time with those you want to be with instead of in the kitchen trying to impress a bunch of strangers on Instagram. Because just your presence is enough for the right people who you should be with during the holidays. Mike Faiella, host of “Hangin’ with Daddy” & writer for TrophySmack

3. Slow Down

The holidays always keep you busy, and it’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle. As everyone around you is looking to go, go, go, remember that there is beauty in those small, in-between moments when you are riding in the car with your significant other to the next family gathering, when you are last-minute wrapping presents, when you weave your way through holiday grocery store traffic. These are when we get to feel the raw magic of the holiday season. Katie Mest, In-Between Media editor

4. Don’t Be Afraid to Say No

No, this isn’t an ad for D.A.R.E. or whatever similar drug prevention program lurks in school these days. We talk a lot about mental health nowadays, and there are a lot of things that can stress us out and raise our anxiety levels. The holidays are typically a time for large social gatherings with family and/or friends. 

If you feel that time with family will stress you out? It’s okay to shorten your stay or politely decline an invite to spend the holidays with them. Are your friends planning a night out and you don’t feel comfortable going? Just politely tell them, “next time.”

It’s okay to say “no” and spend the holidays how you want to spend the holidays. Your friends and family should understand and respect your struggles. Joshua Hudson, founder of Club Fantasy FFL

5. Eat What’s on Your Plate

Always eat what’s on your plate, no matter what it is, metaphorically and physically. If you don’t like what your mother-in-law made for Christmas dinner? Too bad. Eat it. You don’t like Aunt Dottie’s burnt cookies? Too bad. Eat one.

This time of year can be particularly stressful, but remember that it’s only temporary and to be grateful for the time you get to spend with your family. Oh, and that disgusting cranberry sauce with walnuts isn’t going to be your last meal. Jen Polvogt, In-Between Media managing editor, business manager & podcast co-host, co-creator of “32 in 32”

6. Stick to the Basics When Bearing Spirit Gifts

Vodka is one of the lighter alcohols, making it a popular choice during the holidays.

We all know I like to have a good time. I like to keep a fairly full social calendar and the holidays are no exception. Parties are a weekly occurrence during the holiday season, oftentimes more than once a week. Between Friendsgivings, Thanksgiving, holiday parties, Christmas parties and, of course, New Year’s Eve parties, the fun never stops. 

No matter what the invite says… I try to not show up empty-handed. The gift isn’t usually extravagant as it’s the thought that counts. My go-to’s are typically alcohol-related. A nice bottle of wine is always a safe bet. If you opt for booze as a gift, stick to the basics – a bottle of Tito’s, a bottle of Maker’s Mark. Something that can be enjoyed on its own or as a cocktail. 

Pick items people are familiar with. Trust me, no one wants to receive a bottle of (fill in the blank) cream or a fruit-flavored bottle of junk. After all, spirits are meant to be enjoyed and shared. If you haven’t heard of it before, it’s a safe bet that that same bottle will be on your friend’s back bar next holiday with a nice layer of dust built up on it. Conor Coughlin, In-Between Media YouTube series co-host & columnist

7. Revert to Traditions

My bit of advice this holiday season is to celebrate your traditions. Reverting to traditions can return you to your foundation and help you find some peace during a season where things can get quite hectic. Joey Wright, content creator at Front Yard Fantasy, writer for Razzball & expert consensus ranker for FantasyPros

8. If Dieting, Practice Portion Control

As someone who is trying to lose weight, holidays can be tough. My two cents are, when filling your plate, leave white space between foods so you can see the bottom of the plate. This will help with portion control, which I struggle with.

The other tip is to go for foods that you generally don’t have during the year. Mac and cheese is great, but you can have it at any time. So maybe skip it and go for something like corn casserole or another item you don’t have throughout the year. Shane Barrett, co-founder Fantasy Kollectiv, co-host of “Fantasy Nightcap” & writer for GoingFor2

9. Enjoy the People That Make You Happy

As we get older, our friend groups tend to shrink. People move away, have families, lose touch. The potential for meeting new ones goes down. You are left with a great core of lifelong friends that’ll stick by you through anything. Cherish them, love them. Plan trips, do Zoom Mario Kart tournaments. They are a second family and be thankful for them. Dan Turner, writer & podcaster for Champions Round

10. Speak Words of Life & Encourage Those You Encounter

As you look ahead to holiday gatherings with family or friends this year, it’s natural to feel a bit of uncertainty and trepidation. After a year and a half of COVID-19 concerns, you may not have seen some of these people in some time, or your relationships may have become somewhat strained due to tensions associated with how you have divergently approached the pandemic. Likely, some of your friends and family may be feeling that same apprehension about getting together.

Holiday greeting cards have seen a steep decline since 2012.

As you gather with those friends or family members this year, look to speak words of life and take actions to encourage those you will encounter. The pandemic has been rough on all of us, and we could all use a little bit of hope and reassurance. When you think about the people you know you will encounter, try to plan out at least one way you can encourage each of them during your time together. Think of something specific they have done in the past several months that you have appreciated and thank them for it. Do something that you know speaks to their love language – for example, find a way to serve them in some way, leave them a note somewhere that will make them smile or laugh, or plan a brief activity you can do with them to spend a few moments of quality time.

You may still feel some hesitation about gathering together, but having a plan to make a positive impact on others can help take the focus off of your struggles and insecurities and give you a mission that you can be passionate about. Let’s all make the holidays a bit brighter this year for all those with whom we come in contact! Joseph Griffin, In-Between Media editor

11. Be Flexible

I’m going to share something personal. I’ve been struggling with my mental health over the last two years due to some very big family bombshells. I’m dealing with things that have changed the landscape of my life as I know it forever. It’s not been easy. And every time I think about holidays and traditions, I can feel my heart start to race and anxiety come on, and I run to grab a remedy. 

This holiday season, I’m giving myself permission to not be traditional. I’m teaching my kids that it’s OK to do something different than we normally do. Traditions aren’t rules. Traditions should be fun and shouldn’t cause debilitating anxiety. Be flexible. Be gentle. Be mindful. Enjoy the ride, even if it’s not what you “always” do. Someone you love might need a temporary change. Kelly Singh, writer for The Commish Brand

12. Double Check You have Everything Before Leaving

Just as Santa is making a list and checking it twice, so should you before you leave to attend or go home from any holiday event. Make sure you have those critical items like your phone, wallet and keys. Bring winter clothes and blankets in case your car breaks down, and be certain you have anything that you’re bringing to or taking from your function.

You don’t want to get halfway there, only to learn you forgot something critical and have to turn around to go back. Before you head out the door, take a breath and look around to gather yourself and your belongings. Seth Woolcock, In-Between Media founder, editor-in-chief & podcast co-host

13. Be Yourself

Hey, guys. Rumboyz Robbie here, and my holiday advice is the same as every day. Be yourself! With all the holiday rush and family members coming into town, it’s easy to get caught up in someone or something we’re not. Don’t let the Scrooge get the best of you. Robert Johnson, aka Rumboyz Robbie, founder of the Rumboyz Fantasy Network, writer for Dr. Roto, host of Draft Night Out, CMO of SportsMe & co-host of 30TwoBit

14. Don’t Go Broke to Show People You Love Them

If you are celebrating the upcoming holidays, it is not about tangible items or gifts it’s about your presence. Be there for your friends and family. Enjoy the moments you will have. They are better than gifts. Corey Spala, writer at Dynasty League Football & host of “Load the Wagon” & “Coming Off the Edge”

Philosophies & Mindsets

15. Enjoy the Moments

This tip might be similar to one from last year, but some things are worth repeating. Enjoy the moments, because at the end of our lives that’s all we have, moments that brought us joy. Too many times in my own life I’ve failed to appreciate what’s going on because I’m so focused on what comes next. What comes next matters, just not as much as what is happening today. Today is all that’s promised, so enjoy it. Shane Manila, co-host of the “Dynasty Trades HQ Podcast” & writer for Dynasty League Football & FantasyData

16. Be Easy on Yourself

This is the time of the year when expectations can rule our emotions. This is a time of traditions, and if everything isn’t just right, it’s so easy to beat yourself up with negative feelings, affecting your self-worth.

Remember that things aren’t going to be perfect and just make the best of your situation. After last year, just the fact that we can get together is such an incredible blessing. Why ruin a great event with self-deprecation and negativity? Don’t sweat the small things. Fully enjoy those beautiful moments when they come. JWalk, writer, editor & illustrator for Jeawok.com

17. Embrace Our Differences

I sometimes hear people say, “they don’t see color,” or they don’t acknowledge differences, and I wonder to myself, “Why?”

Why would you deprive yourself of noticing, embracing, and valuing the remarkable differences we all bring to this universe? Whether it be the color of our skin, the differences in our gender, or who we love, our unique differences bring beauty to this world. 

As each day happens, embrace the difference in each person you see. Acknowledge the acceptance of each other’s uniqueness with a smile or nod. Realizing our differences is something to embrace to learn from and hold in that special place we reserve for learning.  What makes us different will ultimately make us stronger together, embracing one another (both figuratively and literally). Gladys Louise Tyler, podcast host & writer for GoingFor2

18. Remember Your “Why” 

We all have our motivators in life. The triggers that move us off the sidelines and take action on our chosen paths. But obstacles along the way cause us to lose sight of why we started in the first place, and the push for more furthers the finish line. Remember the reason why you started. Jeff Bell, lead writer for FantasyPros & co-host of “The Devy Royale”

19. Make Time for Yourself

The older I’ve gotten, the more stress I’ve experienced during the holiday season. No matter the list of reasons why, always be sure to make time for yourself every day to help work through any amount of seasonal stress. 

Unplug, find silence, and just let yourself reset outside of your daily sleep routine. Something as simple as five minutes of the cliché “deep breaths in through the nose and out the mouth” make a world of difference to reset yourself. Stephen Johnson, media manager for ChiCitySports.com

20. Treat Everyone With Respect

This is such a simple thing to do, yet so complicated at the same time. Being polite takes very little effort. It can be accomplished by an effortless smile to a stranger. Even saying good morning to the cashier at the Old Navy store who has been swamped by rude customers all day. It’s not hard to be a nice person. Not to mention, it just feels better to treat others with the respect we all deserve. 

Being angry and rude drains so much energy and is actually not even healthy for you. Think of how much lower your blood pressure would be if you weren’t burning with the fury of 1,000 suns every time you are around other living beings. It’s not always easy, considering it feels like a majority of the people this time of year don’t subscribe to this philosophy.

In the end, though, all you can control is yourself. If you choose to respect those around you, you can feel better knowing you have done your part to hopefully make the day better for anyone who has crossed your path. Rod Villagomez, podcast host & writer for Sports Gambling Podcast

21. Chase Happiness in the Right Places

Around the holidays and in life in general, it’s so very easy to get caught up in the “What’s in it for me?” mindset. What am I going to get for Christmas? What do I get out of this? People are chasing happiness in all the wrong places. While there may be an initial spark of joy in material things, that feeling is fleeting. Selfishness does not lead to happiness. Selflessness does, however. 

I make it no secret how much my faith means to me. I try my best to live my life by loving like Jesus. Doing for others who can never return the favor. You don’t have to be a person of faith to do the same. It simply brings joy into your life when you give to others, do for others and bring happiness into the lives of others. 

Whether its someone who doesn’t expect it, someone who doesn’t deserve it or just someone in your life you care about, doing for others will always bring you much more joy than anything you’ll ever do for yourself. Making the world a better place is a pretty good thing, too. Jay Felicio, content manager for Front Yard Fantasy & content contributor for FanDuel

22. Practice Empathy

There are many charities that help support getting kids-in-need gifts on Christmas.

The holiday season is different for everyone. I’ve been very fortunate to be a part of nothing but pleasant holiday experiences that are some of my fondest memories of childhood, and are becoming wonderful memories with my family. But I know it’s not that way for everyone. I know the holidays can be a stressful or sad time for many.

So, please, remember – for always, but especially around the holidays – you typically have no idea what other people are going through, what pain or trauma they might be reliving. Try to turn up your patience threshold with other people and cut a little extra slack. 

And that includes you. Try to give yourself a break, too. If the holidays are a rough time for you, don’t hesitate to lean on your people for support. My brother-in-law who I rarely see stayed with us for a few days at Thanksgiving. He was worried about being a burden on us. I made sure he knew that was not the case, quite the opposite, it was a pleasure to spend time with him. So, lean on your people. It’s not a burden. Scott Rinear, In-Between Media digital media editor, podcast & YouTube series co-host & columnist

23. Set Boundaries

The holiday season is upon us! This year you will read a lot about showing gratitude along with embracing the memories and enjoying all it has to offer. No doubt great advice, but we need to operate in the healthiest mode possible – meaning, setting boundaries for our emotional and physical health. The excitement of finally filling our homes with our family and friends is a warm feeling! 

Being kind, humble, and caring enough to see the changes in our attitudes this season is the greatest gift we can give ourselves. Making sure our needs are met has been looked at as selfish. Rightfully so but given the hustle and bustle of parties and family gatherings, it’s enough to cause major stress and anxiety. Spend each day setting boundaries and realistic expectations for yourself. A happier and healthier you is the best way to enjoy all the season has to offer! Chris Robin, betting analyst for Woodward Sports Network, & DFS Pro at Team Riser or Fall

24. Keep the Peace

This holiday season will be special for many of us who were not able to be with our families last year due to the pandemic. If you are in this boat, my advice is to enjoy the time with family. I know there are family members who are more difficult to enjoy than others. Be grateful that you are able to see your loved ones. Stay civil. Enjoy the food. Have a drink if you are so inclined. Smile and exchange pleasantries. When it is time to leave, tell everyone it was nice to see them, even if it was not. Keeping the peace will go a long way towards preserving your (and everyone else’s) sanity. Dave Stewart, In-Between Media columnist & Pro Football Mania writer

25. Don’t Let a Date Dictate Change

Whatever your personal goals are, why wait until January 1st or your next birthday? As my kids’ favorite Atreyu song goes: “The time is now!” There really is no time like the present to make a change. If you are really going to commit to change for yourself, you don’t need a landmark date to do it. The commitment itself will become a landmark date for you. 

Want to feel even better about your goal when you hit it? Aim high and push past. The best kind of goal to set is one that is high yet achievable. This is because when you smash that goal, you will feel so much better for it than if you baby step it. Mike Tulanko, In-Between Media columnist & godfather of the “Fantasy Football Breakdown” board

26. Listen to Advice Given

Anytime someone gives you advice, regardless of how ridiculous you may think it is, it generally comes from a good place within them to try to help, whether it be life or fantasy sports-related. 

Even though I wrote in last year’s column that going with your gut is a better idea, going with my gut has half of my fantasy football leagues this season under a .500 record and with a slim shot at the playoffs, including in the Scott Fish Bowl. So take it from me, maybe it’s worth it to give some of these tips a shot! Elliot Hicks, In-Between Media YouTube series co-host & columnist, writer for YinzerCrazy.com

27. Don’t Spread Yourself Too Thin During the Holidays

Holidays can feel like a constant juggle of spending time with your family, in-laws, friends and planning for travel, food and budgets. Don’t spread yourself too thin. Remember what the holiday is all about: Spending time with the ones you love. @cooterdoodle, social media account manager of Matthew Berry’s Fantasy Life

Rest-of-Season Fantasy Football Advice

28. Don’t Spread Yourself Too Thin in Fantasy Football

This idea of spreading yourself too thin also crosses over to fantasy football. If you’re in too many leagues and you feel stressed about waivers, trades and setting lineups every week:  It’s OK. Instead of panicking or getting burnt out, bow out next season if you need to. Fantasy football and holidays should bring you happiness. When you cut out the extra and focus on what truly matters, you’ll find it to be much more enjoyable. – @cooterdoodle

29. “When You Come to the Fork in the Road, Take It”

If you’re unfamiliar with this quote, I suggest you brush up on your baseball history. It’s one of my all-time favorites from hall-of-fame catcher, Yogi Berra. His Yogi-isms are gold, but I digress.

Look, when it comes to crunch time, decisions have to be made. Some will be a lot easier to make than others. You’re going to ask friends and analysts you trust for their opinions, and there won’t always be a consensus. Take a step back, take a deep breath and listen to your instincts. Will they always be right? No. But when it is, you’re going to feel a lot better when you outsmart the person telling you to go against them. – Hudson

30. Don’t Stop Playing

Just because other people are easing up doesn’t mean you should coast. That’s when you should put your foot on the gas! With fewer players paying attention, that means that there is much more opportunity on the waiver wire. 

Also, do your research, you don’t want to leave any points on your bench. Imagine missing playoffs or getting knocked out of playoffs because you stopped listening to podcasts, reading columns, or watching highlights? That shit is just lazy. 

I have seen more titles won on the waiver wire than I can count. Those late-season games are when rookies get more play and injuries pile up even more. – JWalk

31. Consider Recent Data

As the season winds down and you’re weighing matchups on opponents, do not overweigh a team’s rank for the entirety of the season against a position. The pitfalls you can run into in doing this can throw your whole season down the drain in an instant. Check out NFL.com’s or FFtoday’s fantasy points-against metrics that can break things down from anywhere between the last one to five games.

For example, if you look at the full season, the Bears allow the 12th fewest points to QB. But the last five games? They allow the fifth most. Never get lazy with the stats the further the season moves along. It’s the worst move you can make. – Stephen Johnson

32. Always Be Consolidating

ABC. Always Be Consolidating. A fantasy roster is a breathing organism that continually grows.  Depth is significant, but only to the extent of the last starter. Constantly churn rosters to consolidate assets and allow value to come onto your team via the waiver wire. – Bell

33. Don’t Rule Out One-Week Fliers

Leagues are won and lost on the waiver wire. This 2021 campaign has seen an avalanche of injuries and COVID-19 designations which makes the available options out there in fantasy football free agency very thin. Don’t be afraid to take a one-week flier on a player based on match-up and situation, and don’t be afraid to drop that player the next week when the conditions are less favorable.

Being flexible and fearless with free agents is a big key to winning, especially at this point in the fantasy season. – Nate Polvogt

34. “Cross the Streams”

This is a strategy I’ve used for a while when it makes sense. A better phrase is probably “steal the stream,” but I like the movie “Ghostbusters.”

“The Ghostbusters'” Firehouse is located in Manhattan, New York.

Streaming is a strategy in fantasy football that has become more common over the last decade, typically at the QB, TE, D/ST and/or K positions depending on the format and size of your league. Along with the advice to look at the upcoming schedule (especially playoffs) for the positions you are streaming, such as grabbing a D/ST with a good matchup multiple weeks in advance, also look at the positions your remaining opponents might be streaming, and “cross the streams.”

If you have bench flexibility, look to play some preemptive defense by scooping up players D/STs who have favorable future matchups and are likely candidates for your opponent’s streaming  purposes. And do it a few weeks in advance. This can be crucial if you’re making a final push to make the playoffs.

If you’re already in positions to make the playoffs, this isn’t as clear-cut when you don’t yet know your playoff opponents. So look at how your playoff seedings and matchups are determined and try to paint a speculative picture. The last few weeks prior to playoff time obviously can do most of that determining, but take some time to project out some potential playoff scenarios in your league, who is likely to play who, and pounce on a future opponent’s likely streamers as soon as you can. If they’re not planning ahead for the playoffs, take advantage. – Rinear

35. Flexes Aren’t Just for RBs & WRs

This season we’ve seen an emergence of young tight ends taking a step towards fantasy relevancy. Pat Freiermuth, Dawson Knox, Mike Gesicki and Tyler Conklin are all averaging double-digit Points Per Reception (PPR) points since Week 6. 

They are all outperforming flex-level players like Jakobi Meyers and Miles Sanders, and even surprisingly scoring more than high-end players like Antonio Gibson and Mike Williams

Chances are, if you have one of these options, you may have another tight end such as T.J. Hockenson or Kyle Pitts. It may not be conventional, and there is a risky floor you need to consider, but don’t be afraid to go to a two-TE lineup if you are in need of a pivot. – Woolcock

36. Lookout for Logan Thomas

From a fantasy football perspective, a player who intrigues me the rest of season is the Washington Football Team’s returning tight end Logan Thomas. The Football Team has the best remaining schedule against teams allowing the most fantasy points to tight ends. With the scarcity of dependability from the position, Thomas could end up being a league winner. – Wright

37. Remember, Change Doesn’t Have to be Scary 

One of my strategies in leagues with kickers and defense where I don’t have one of the top at the position is to change them every week. I drop them and pick up a new defense and a new kicker. It’s difficult to roll with the same players all year long because those positions are so inconsistent week-to-week. It brings me luck most weeks, and it’s fun to shake it up. Generally, there is enough to go around, and you’ll rarely be without either of these positions. – Jen Polvogt

38. Trade & Stash

Khalil Herbert averaged 13.5 PPR points Weeks 6-8.

If you are a playoff contender and your trade deadline hasn’t passed yet, look to make moves to give yourself the best possible starting lineup come playoff time. 

You don’t want to completely leave yourself empty-handed with no depth, but you want to maximize your ideal potential lineup for each week of the playoffs. 

Do you have three RB2s you feel OK about, along with solid depth at WR but need an RB1 to put your team over the edge? Try flipping two of those RB2s and a WR you can live without for an RB1 and a flex player who will start for your team to another team in need of WR help. 

Then, use that extra roster spot to grab a second D/ST with a playoff matchup you like or a high-upside RB handcuff who could have a big-value increase if the starter were to go out, such as Khalil Herbert, Samaje Perine or Kenyan Drake. – Griffin

39. Target High-Upside Backups

Now that bye weeks are almost over, it’s time to stock your bench with high-upside backups. Yes, you needed that backup TE or fifth WR to fill in for byes, but come playoff time, depth matters much less. Look at your waiver wire and see if there are high-upside backup RBs available. If the players ahead of them miss time, those types of players can lead you to a championship. – Felicio

40. Use All of Your Free Agent Acquisition Budget (FAAB)

Similar to what they say about your money when you die, you can’t take it with you. If that’s the case with your FAAB budget, and you’ve got some leftover heading into the stretch run before the playoffs, take some risks and wager more than you normally would on the potentially solid waiver-wire additions that come up.

Even if you feel like you overpaid, a good performance at the right time could bring you all the more close to a championship – or at least to being competitive in the Toilet Bowl. – Hicks

41. Be Honest with Yourself in Dynasty

Honesty is the best policy – especially when dealing with yourself. Is your team a contender or not? Let me give you a tough example for me to share. I have a team that I started selling off players from to acquire picks for 2022 immediately after the 2021 draft. It’s an orphan team that I picked up a couple of years back and just haven’t quite turned around yet. Here’s the kicker: I just slipped to fifth place this past week but have still been in a selling mode. 

Why? Because I have the second-least points forced by a mile and have just gotten lucky with matchups. Aside from my Individual Defensive Players (IDP), my team is… not good. It’s important that I can admit this to myself because I currently have four first-round picks for 2022 and two for 2023. These picks will be worth a lot more than the players I gave up for them in a few short months. – Tulanko

42. Avoid the Middle in Dynasty

Now is the time to assess where you are in the standings and see if you can really contend this year. If not, start selling your assets to playoff teams. The middle of the league is the absolute worst place to be if you don’t have a direction you’re going. So decide and then execute your plan to get where you want to go. – Barrett

43. Start the Rebuild Now in Dynasty

At this point in the year, you know whether your dynasty teams are competing or not. If you are not competing, the time is right for planning your off-season rebuild. If your league’s trade deadline has passed, you may only be able to plan for the future. If your trade deadline has not passed, work on off-loading those aging pieces to contenders in exchange for draft picks and young assets.

However, be certain you are getting adequate value for your veterans. Giving veterans away at below market value is not going to help your team get better any time soon. Insist on getting what your guys are worth, so you can have the best chance of getting in the mix next season. Stewart

44. Target Now-&-Laters in Dynasty

‘Tis the season of going for broke in dynasty leagues. Thoughts of winning titles are running rampant. But don’t forget that there will be a next year (in dynasty at least), and if you’re going to make a trade, try to trade for players who can help you now (duh) but still have room to appreciate in value.

Target players like Tee Higgins and Marquise Brown. Oh, and running backs are the devil; don’t overpay for them. – Manila

45. Pay Attention to Players’ Contracts in Dynasty

In dynasty, now is the time to be checking contract statuses. Using a website like Spotrac, you can easily see impending free agents and then determine how that might affect their dynasty value.

Players like Allen Robinson, who are being adversely affected by their situation may be on the move next year. Backups who have flashed in a part-time role might finally get their shot if the starter is moving on. And players that have been elevated by their surrounding cast might be in for a fall if that group of players is about to change. Knowledge is power in this situation, and you should use that power to improve your roster before your league even knows what hit them. – Faiella

46. Be Selective & Don’t Swing for the Fences on Monkey Knife Fight (MKF)

Patrick Mahomes has topped 350 passing yards twice this season.

The best advice I have with More-or-Less games is to take the least sexy game on the slate. Take the game no one else wants to gamble on. My experience has been that these are by far the easier games to figure out.

I stick to head-to-head bets, as well. In my opinion, it is much easier to predict that Patrick Mahomes will out-throw Teddy Bridgewater than it is to figure out if this is a game where Mahomes surpasses 350 yards on his own. Individual player props can be fun, but I find the edge lies in the head-to-heads. 

That being said, I like to stick to four, or five-leg head-to-head parlays that pay 10x and 20x, respectively, on MKF. The temptation to put together an over/under 10-legger at 500x is too much for me to resist each week, so I do always throw $5 or $10 at it. However, I have never hit a 10-leg. I have been close, 9 out of 10 once. (Thanks Darren Waller for blowing that for me.)

MKF is generous on all of their parlays, build your bankroll and then swing for the fences. Use our promo code (IBT) and get an instant 100 percent deposit match up to $100, as well! Who doesn’t like free money? – Coughlin

47. Give DFS a Try

As a DFS player, there is no worry about the seasonal fantasy playoffs! That’s the beauty of DFS! No injuries, suspensions or COVID-19 impacts. We can build and select players daily! Spend the rest of the 2021 NFL season looking into DFS.

Granted, the stress and anger are still there, but so is the excitement and camaraderie! If your seasonal fantasy football leagues are done and over, give DFS a try. You can also carry over that same fire and determination throughout the actual 2021 NFL postseason! – Robin

48. It’s OK to Eat Chalk on DFS

Week in and week out, you hear people talk about fading chalk. Players are chalk for a reason. I’ll eat chalk until I’m blue in the face if that chalk is the best play. In DFS, there are so many ways to differentiate your lineup. Why fade good plays? Find leverage in other places.

A good lineup should, and typically does, make me feel uneasy. I have three or four players who I am confident in, usually the chalky plays. I will have two or three deep looks, and then the defense is a crapshoot. It’s rare that I play a defense above the dead minimum price. I don’t care who it is. I’ll take the loss to have the massive-upside opportunity of a higher-end position player.

The chalk I fade is typically the most popular game stack of the week. I will play my favorite part of the stack, but rarely do I follow the herd on the way to the popular game stack through. This strategy in itself often pays off. Check out our “DFS Tailgate” YouTube series every Sunday for more of these unconventional takes! – Coughlin

49. Remember What Got You Here

My fantasy football advice is to remember what got you here. Fantasy playoffs are approaching, so don’t go getting cute. Lean on your depth because you’re going to need it now more than ever, and the waiver wire will be your friend with the trade deadline closing. Play with confidence, but remember to enjoy it. – Rumboyz Robbie

50. Put Your Phone Down

If you start to feel burnt out and unmotivated in your fantasy football season, maybe it’s time to schedule some breaks. The last thing you want is setting and checking your lineups to turn into a chore during a time when your teams really need your focus to rebuild and prepare for playoffs.

Find the days (or mornings, afternoons, etc.) when you can set down your phone and fully step away from the injury reports and league rumors. That way, when you return to your fantasy apps, you can come in with a fresh perspective and rejuvenated interest. – Mest

51. Take a Step Back

Breathe. It’s been a rough go this year with injuries and other factors decimating fantasy football teams. It can get frustrating and stressful. Remember why you play. Play Dontrell Hilliard and Rex Burkhead and smile. Remember, fantasy football is supposed to bring joy, so be sure to take a step and appreciate that fact. – Turner

52. Don’t Let Your Fantasy Football Record Dictate Your Self Worth

Self esteem is dictated by both genetics and environment.

Far too often, we, as fantasy football players, treat the game as if it’s an extension of ourselves, and how can you blame us? We spend hours researching and building what we think is the perfect combination of players months before the season starts. Even more time is spent listening to our favorite analysts and working the waiver wire every week.

So, it stands to reason that if you are looking at a 1-10 record after all of it, you could feel utterly defeated and worthless as a person. Likewise, if you are 11-0, you think you are the Greatest of All Time (GOAT), and that everyone below you is not worthy of your fantasy greatness. 

But here’s the thing, this game is exactly that, a game. Sure, there is money and glory attached to it at times. That said, when it comes down to it, all we are doing is making imaginary rosters of football players who we don’t even know personally. What’s more, we don’t have any control over how the players will perform. We make our best-educated guesses and hope for the best. You’re not a horrible person if it doesn’t work out, and you’re not the world’s smartest human if it does. – Villagomez

53. Let It Be Fun

At this point in the season, you likely know if you’re going to make the playoffs or not. Regardless of the outcome, continue to have fun with it. Keep tinkering with your rosters. Make some trades, if the trade deadline in your league hasn’t passed. Take some fliers!

This is the time to enjoy the game you love so much and the people you play it with. You’ve worked so hard to build your team and get to where you are. Good or bad, it is what it is, but you can still cheer. You can still have a competitive spirit, and you can even learn to laugh at your own missteps. This game should be fun. Let it be fun. – Singh

54. Own & Enjoy It

If you are the worst team in your league, own it. Keep setting your lineup because you do not want to be the person to be doing the punishment (if you are in that type of league). 

So basically, having fun means fantasy football typically does not matter to real-life, outside of high-stakes leagues that pay bills. But it is neat that fantasy sports brings, and keeps, friendships around. Enjoy the time, and make those side bets, and maybe you can walk away with more than just the worst-team title. – Spala


Thanks for reading! Be sure to follow all the contributing personalities on Twitter for more great fantasy sports content. And for more feel-good lifestyle and fantasy football advice, follow the site on Twitter @IBT_Media.