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Your In-Season Fantasy Football Reference Guide

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There are an abundant number of draft guides, magazines and draft day manifestos geared toward helping you draft the next championship team in your fantasy football league. We at F&C even put together a plan of attack for, arguably the most important day of the year. Bang it [here] to check it out.

But your fantasy team isn't a plug-and-play device; if you draft it, it will grow-type of thing. No. It's a flower. It needs daily attention. It needs meticulous care. So we've put together an in-season reference guide to take you from draft day, to Championship Week in your fantasy league. 

So once you leave your rivals' home—full of wings, beer and playoff aspirations—drop the draft day guide and pick up our in-season reference guide to help you snatch the championship away from everyone in your league. And no, not a hypothetical championship, either. Not the, "If I would've started Donald Brown over Maurice Jones-Drew, then I would've made it to the championship" kind of paper-champ.

It's time you land a real championship, and 2012 is your year.

Rely on Social Media

Knowledge is power. And in fantasy football, that saying couldn't be more true. If you take nothing else from F&C for your fantasy team, heed this: sign up on Twitter. Twitter will make your fantasy football IQ skyrocket.

Here's how: 1) Get a Twitter account, 2) follow an NFL insider such as Adam Schefter or the like, 3) sync your cell phone with your Twitter account, 4) have Schefter's tweets texted to your phone. That's it.

This is one secret that I thought I wouldn't let out, but for my F&C readers, I can let it be known.

After you have the twitter set-up as I've explained, you'll get up-to-the-second updates on players. Up-to-the-second! This really is handy during games when players get hurt, and you can use that same phone to go and pick up a backup running back or wide receiver.

Also, the tweets texted to your phone help just before kickoff when players are game-day decisions.

When you're away from home on Sundays—you know, out with the girlfriend or wife doing that all important grocery shopping—you can stay on top of all relevant fantasy news.

And it's all free: even the advice.

Always Check the Weather

Checking the weather on Sunday mornings could mean the difference between winning and losing. And you can't afford to lose, ever. Every win in fantasy football is essential to making the playoffs.

Rain and wind affect the way the football game is played. If there are gusty winds, heavy rain showers or a blanketing snow storm in the city where your wide receiver or quarterback is playing, that may affect your decision to sit or start that player.

It may also affect your draft day decisions. Look for teams playing in domes—especially during the fantasy football playoffs. In Week 16, managers are taking comfort in the fact that Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson will be indoors at Ford Field and not outside battling the elements.

You look here to check out the weather for all NFL games in one convenient package. 

Check Injury Reports Right Up to Kickoff

There's nothing more frustrating than starting a guy only to find out that he's not active. Every week in fantasy football, there are several game-time decisions. Prior to setting your lineup, you should check the injury reports. And I mean right up to kickoff. 

A few times last season a player suffered an injury while warming up for the game, including Marshawn Lynch being scratched moments before kickoff. His owners weren't tasting the rainbow that week.

Scour the Waiver Wire

Every year there are waiver wire wonders that propel fantasy teams into the playoffs. The question is, are you aboard the waiver train?

This year, such gems included DeMarco Murray, Tim Tebow, Jordy Nelson and Laurent Robinson. 

Every week, there are different players that are considered hot waiver adds. It's good to claim those guys and see how they develop. Some flop (Tashard Choice) and others flourish (Jordy Nelson). 

Either way, you should make sure that you have room on your fantasy team to secure a few waiver adds during the season. 

Pay Attention to Playoff Weeks

Last season, Reggie Bush was a disappointment for much of the season. He started the year slow and based on the pre-season hype he received, was looking like, well, Reggie. 

Prudent owners were not just looking at his past performance and writing him off, they were looking ahead to his playoff schedule. He faced the Eagles, Bills and horrific Patriots' run defense in Weeks 14, 15, and 16, respectively. Bush flourished once he ran against weaker defenses and it paid off for those owners who looked ahead instead of backwards.

Bush's situation underscores the importance of evaluating players' playoff schedules during the year. Prior to the season, it's somewhat difficult to tell which defenses will be weak against the run and/or pass. Pre-season strength of schedule lists are somewhat useless. But after a few weeks in, you can get a good read on most teams. 

That's when it's time to strike. Madly pursue players with favorable playoff schedules during the season. Because getting to the playoff games is important—winning those games is even more important.

Read Local Newspapers

Yes, we're telling you to read the local newspaper. No, not your local newspaper; the local newspapers of the players on your fantasy football team. 

And no, I'm not telling you to start a subscription of 10 newspapers and have a bunch of smelly, black ink on your fingers. It's all on your computer. 

The beat writers for each local team are usually plugged in with players and coaches and offer invaluable insight into the team they cover—usually the superstar players on the team, which would be the players on your fantasy football team. 

Some of the best beat writers—Kent Somers in Phoenix, Brad Biggs in Chicago, Kevin Acee in San Diego—have a pipeline right to the heart of their local teams. You need to connect yourself to that pipeline and read what they have to say...eh, write. These guys are also on Twitter.

The local newspaper is filled with gold that you should get your hands on. It will help your fantasy football team all season long. 

If you implement F&C's in-season strategies this year, we're confident that you'll make it to your fantasy football playoffs.

Cedric Hopkins

Cedric Hopkins Bio

Cedric Hopkins runs this sports law/fantasy football blog. If you have issues with it, it's all his fault. Cedric was an athlete-student at the University of New Mexico (Basketball - Go Lobos!). He then morphed into a student-athlete when he attended law school in San Diego. Age replaced athleticism and now he writes appellate briefs for criminals (alleged criminals, of course) in state and federal cases, including writing U.S. Supreme Court briefs.

For years Cedric has researched and written about legal issues but maintained a love for sports. With FieldandCourt.com, he's combining his two passions: researching and writing about sports. When he's not in court arguing a case before a judge (or writing about himself in the third person), he'll be doing the same with his articles on FieldandCourt.com. Follow me, er, him on Twitter (opens in a new window).

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Featured Writer

Cedric Hopkins

Cedric Hopkins runs this sports law/fantasy football blog. If you have issues with it, it's all his fault. Cedric was an athlete-student at the University of New Mexico (Basketball - Go Lobos!). He then morphed into a student-athlete when he attended law school in San Diego. Age replaced athleticism and now he writes appellate briefs for criminals (alleged criminals, of course) in state and federal cases, including writing U.S. Supreme Court briefs.

For years Cedric has researched and written about legal issues but maintained a love for sports. With FieldandCourt.com, he's combining his two passions: researching and writing about sports. When he's not in court arguing a case before a judge (or writing about himself in the third person), he'll be doing the same with his articles on FieldandCourt.com. Follow me, er, him on Twitter (opens in a new window).