With teams now done with bye weeks, it would appear as though making fantasy football start/sit decisions is simple. However, I believe it is the opposite. To me, it is more like splitting hairs. With each player now usable on your fantasy team, this leads to an increase in decision making. From personal experience, when there are more choices to make, there is a higher chance to make a mistake, leading to “bench remorse”. You know, when you could have won your week if you started a player currently on your bench? Avoiding bench remorse and making the most educated start/sit decision comes down to one word: Usage.
It is not my style to simply throw out names of players for you to start. I like to give the basic reasoning behind the decision, leading you to make the best decision in your eyes. Most of the time, the player you end up starting tends to be the one the experts pick. However, I like to arm you with the tools necessary to make the most educated decisions, and maybe even beat the experts’ pick.
Let’s get back to that word, usage. To put it simply, usage equals more opportunities for your player to score points. When determining which player to start or sit, always look at usage. Usage can first be broken down into snaps. I define snaps as plays in which your fantasy player appears on the field. Snaps can then be broken down into rush attempts and targets. I define these as not only plays in which your guy was on the field, but the play was designed to feature your particular player.
Let’s convert this to a real-world example and say you own Corey Clement and LeGarrette Blount. You need to start one and cannot decide between the two, so you refer to their week 11 performance. Side note, the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior, remember that. Clement had the better fantasy day, with 13.6 points (Yahoo PPR scoring). Blount only had a measly 7 points, leading you to believe he is the obvious sit decision.
However, when you look through the lens of usage, the final decision may change. Clement only had six rushing attempts and was on the field for nineteen snaps. Blount had over twice as many rushing attempts (13) and was on the field for eleven more snaps (30). Blount is much more involved in the offense, and the numbers show he has more opportunities to provide your fantasy team with points.
I hope this simple tip makes the rest of your season a bit easier. Do not just go with the player who was hot the week before. Do your due diligence and take a look at the usage rates. I cannot speak for everyone, but when deciding between two players, I’ll always take the one who is more involved in their particular offense.