Week 9 fantasy football: The moment of truth
By BRYAN RUBIN
College Contributor Network
Week 9 will be dedicated to your team's push towards the playoffs, or its descent into irrelevance.
Every college kid has that one girl in their grade they can never seem to shake. You've had a crush on her since you met at a tailgate and although it didn't go anywhere, you got your foot in the door. For your sake, we'll give you the benefit of the doubt she gave you her number, too.
But after a few days, you still haven't texted her. It's not that you don't know what to say, it's more that you don't know what she'll say back. But there is only one-way to find out, so you compose a generic "hey whats up" text and hit send. (Disclaimer: please do not included any 'lol's" or emojis. She's a woman. Ain't nobody got time for that). Now comes the moment of truth.
With only five weeks to go in the fantasy football regular season (in most leagues), it's time for fantasy owners to also face the moment of truth of Week 9 and determine if your team can actually make the playoffs. If you are .500 or above (4-4 or higher), you control your own destiny. If you're 3-5 or below, not only can you afford to lose one more week max, but you need help too.
I call Week 9 the moment of truth because it marks the on-set of a treacherous run of bye weeks. For the first time since Week 4, six teams will be on a bye this week. Then in Week 10, another six will get off, followed by four in Week 11 and two in Week 12. Over the next five weeks, the Packers, Bears, Lions, Falcons, Colts, Patriots and Cowboys (all top-14 offenses in league) have byes.
After taking a break from your fantasy football research, you do a little bit of recon on your crush and find out she is not in a relationship. You realize you now actually have a shot with her, but until she texts you back, there remains a cloud of uncertainty.
Just like how you summoned the courage and texted her, it's that time in fantasy where you need to get aggressive and start using your waiver claims. While of course there will inevitably be another one or two starters that get claimed before the season's end, you might be long eliminated from the playoffs by then. Nothing is certain in fantasy football and that's why you need to take action and make things happen.
With Rodgers, Cutler, Stafford, Ryan, Luck, Brady and Romo out for one of the next five weeks, it's imperative you start looking at free agent quarterbacks' upcoming schedules. It's hard to win a week when you get stuck with Derek Carr or Brian Hoyer in your lineup. Plan accordingly.
Also, to help you through bye weeks, it's always smart to seek out two-for-one trades. You upgrade at a position and create an open roster spot for a free agent. A hypothetical example would be Mike Wallace and Sammy Watkins for Jeremy Maclin or Julio Jones. You unload your wide receiver depth to another team in exchange for a star. It's a win-win.
Lastly, don't be afraid to pull the trigger on your bench. I know you're waiting for Carlos Hyde to actually do something with his life, but unless you are in a keeper league, there is no point of holding onto him over a Martavis Bryant or John Brown. The two rookie wide receivers have a much larger upside compared to Hyde who could only reliably contribute if Gore goes down. Even Theo Riddick, DeAngelo Williams, or Charles Sims could be better stashes.
Regardless if you ever get a text back, you know you left it all out on the field. Nothing in life, nor fantasy football is assigned to you. Instead, you always choose what move you make next. And that is the way the game is played.
Bryan Rubin is a senior at Syracuse University. He once ate Chipotle three times in one day and woke up at 3:46 a.m. on a Wednesday morning to make a roster move to his fantasy football team (while his friends were sleeping) to avoid wasting his No. 1 waiver claim. Follow him on Twitter: @bryan_rubin