As the Fantasy Football season winds down, so too do many Fanagers’ dreams of a 2011 Fantasy Championship. For some of you, this is the last week of your regular season – for others, it’s the first week of the Fantasy Football Playoffs. If you are already in the postseason, each of the remaining weeks could be your last. You are just one loss away from the end, but also just a few wins away from the glory. 

This week is all about the match-ups. You should be comparing the stats (Fantasy Points Against, Offensive/Defensive Rankings, late-season trends, etc.) for all of your players’ games, weighing them against their previous production this season and against this opponent in years past. You also need to consider any NFL Playoff implications that may be decided in this weekend’s games. Some of the guys I would stay away from are: Dwayne Bowe against the Jets (Revis Island can be lonely, especially with Tyler Palko throwing the ball); Beanie Wells versus the top-ranked San Francisco 49ers rushing defense; and all of the Indianapolis Colts (no argument necessary).
One thing worth pointing out is that team statistics for offensive and defensive rankings as well as Fantasy Points Against may be misleading as they are the average of the entire season. Some teams are now consistently playing at a different level than their statistical averages for the season would suggest. A team like Miami was a walk in the park for opposing offenses a month ago, but is a completely different story these days.
Team Defenses are a great way to score some extra points if there isn’t an individual player available that would be likely to add Fantasy points to your team. I will add a Team Defense for next week’s match-up to ensure that I get one that’s likely to score many Fantasy points.  
As is usually the case this time of year, some teams will quit once their postseason hopes are eliminated.  Always be on the lookout for teams about to implode. Although I don’t think the Bills are going to be the ones to dismantle them in San Diego this week, the Chargers are one of the teams highly capable of folding before the season is finished. Hint: look for teams with coaching controversies.

At some point, the risk will outweigh the reward for individual players on the teams eliminated from contention. Whether this means they play more conservatively than usual or are altogether benched, guys like Adrian Peterson will decrease in Fantasy production.

If you’re out of the hunt, watch the remaining games with an eye to looking for sleepers to draft next season. In fact, I chose my best sleeper pick for the 2011 Fantasy Football Draft around this time last year. Somehow the Seattle Seahawks made the Playoffs with a losing record last year . I was not happy about having to watch a team that I considered mediocre; but I couldn’t help but notice Marshawn Lynch re-emerge as an all-star Running Back so late in the season. I ended up drafting Lynch in the last rounds of all 3 of my Fantasy leagues because I liked him to get hot again come Fantasy Playoff time…now, with a such a big investment in Lynch, I just hope he stays that way.
The most important thing is to savor this weekend because in just a few weeks this NFL season will be in the recordbooks.  So, appreciate the Fantasy Football season as long as it lasts – pretty soon you will have to find something else to do with your Sundays.