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Engel: Out Of The Box

Part of the fun of playing fantasy football is we can often act as our own general managers/coaches, who we often second-guess on Mondays. But we also find ourselves second-guessing our own decisions as well, especially after a loss. In retrospect, we always seem to kick ourselves a few times per year for not making the right decisions.
But as Matt Leinart and Rex Grossman proved on Monday night, nothing in fantasy football or the NFL is fully predictable, and we'll always be in for surprises. It would be nice if we could set the same lineup every week and not have to wrestle with tough decisions the rest of the way. But even when the bye weeks pass, we'll be faced with many challenges. Instead of trying to create the perfect roster through blockbuster deals, there's nothing wrong with going with solid starters at any position and rotating them depending on matchups or hot streaks.

You don't have to own a lineup full of superstars to field a championship contender. A good fantasy owner works well with what he has, and tries to submit the best possible lineup every week even if some positions are clearly stronger than others. For example, if your quarterbacks are Byron Leftwich and Ben Roethlisberger, you don't need to trade for Marc Bulger to settle your QB position. You can simply rotate Leftwich and Roethlisberger depending on the matchups, or who is playing better of the two.

I often get questions asking me "who will be better for the rest of the season" between two players, as many fantasy leaguers just want to plug in one guy for the rest of the year and not worry any more. Well, there are rarely, if ever, cases when you can simply depend on a group of starters for the rest of the year with minimal concerns. You'll always have to deal with injuries and some down performances for almost any player. Tackling these situations and submitting your lineup with little or no second-guessing of your own moves is all you can do. Once your lineup is set, you can just hope for the best results, and realize you can't control what actually happens on the field.

There's nothing wrong with rotating Reggie Williams and Amani Toomer at your second receiver spot for the rest of the season. And if you make the wrong call in a given week, don't kick yourself for it. If you had Chad Johnson or Reggie Wayne instead, there are no guarantees that they wouldn't have had an off week, either. If you have a good core of two to three guys you can depend on regularly, you can build the rest of your roster around them and still win a lot of games. Your lineup doesn't have to be perfect at every position for your team to be a big winner. Trust your own management skills, do your homework, and you should continue to have good success overall.