Roster Management: The Correct Call Isn’t Always The Best Call September 11, 2013  |  Justin Bonnema

If only.

If only you would have started player X instead of player Z. Then you’d be on your way to a victory instead of a top waiver priority.

You know the feeling, the one that gnaws at your composure and ultimately blankets you with regret as the final minutes of Monday night expire. Hindsight be damned—you might think—this is a situation that could have been avoided. You’re better than that. Palm, meet face.

We’ve all been there. We’ve all made roster decisions that disgust us. It’s frustrating to have a player burn up your bench while your flex player flops. There may be nothing worse than when you lose because of a wrong decision you made.

I think it’s important, after Roddy White broke a lot hearts in Week 1, to remember something about decision making in fantasy football:

Making the correct call is often different than making the best call.

The correct call is by definition the smart call. It’s the one based on logic and a lot of research—two things all diligent fantasy football players have and do. There is no shortage of beat writers and bloggers out there providing endless amounts of information. It’s your job to take that data and compare it to expert weekly rankings and/or your own rankings. That is the basis of how lineups are set. And how championships are won.

The best call is a different animal. It’s a savage beast that feeds on bravery and risk taking, often ignoring logic in favor of upside. But it only exists in hindsight. Benching White for Anquan Boldin, for example, would have been the best call. We knew the risk surrounding White going into Sunday. We knew he wouldn’t be 100%. Still, it was pretty unanimous he had to be started in every format.

And starting him was the correct call. As was starting Arian Foster. You don’t bench your studs.

I see people ask sit/start questions all the time about this wide receiver or that wide receiver. That’s what rankings are for. If you still need to ask then it’s obvious that you don’t agree with the rankings. So go with your gut.

Pierre Garcon was ranked a full five-to-eight spots above Jordy Nelson depending on whom you asked. In hindsight, we should have known that RGIII was going to be rusty having not played in eight months. And we should have known that regardless of the defense, regardless of options, Aaron Rodgers’ receivers should always win the coin toss. But Nelson represented more risk so he rode the bench.

The system is going to be wrong at times. Weekly winning is about making more correct calls than your opponent. Sometimes it’s not going to work out. Week 1 can be especially frustrating as it features more guessing than any other week of the season. The important thing to remember here is that hindsight is for losers. Foresight is for winners. Do your best to make the correct call at every position knowing that the best call only exists in hindsight. If you do that then you’ll have a much more enjoyable fantasy season.

Now if only I had drafted LeSean McCoy instead of C.J. Spiller.


2 Responses

  1. charlie batch says:

    we all have 3 brains: our neocortex aka human brain, responsible for rational thinking, logic, reasoning, arithmatic, language, etc. Our cortex aka mammalian brain, responsible for passion and emotion. And our autonomic nervous system aka our reptilian brain or our balls, responsible for our instinctual behavior.

    Our human brain fucks us on decisions all the time. Trust your gut! Trust your heart! Theyre way more primal than our logical brain and are responsible for the millions of years of animal survival!

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