With byes wrapping up next week and the playoffs on the horizon, now is the time to start building your team for those crucial final weeks of the season when fantasy championships are won.
Last week, when discussing a few potential quarterback solutions if you lost Aaron Rodgers, I noted the strength of schedule rankings on fftoolbox.com in picking players off the waiver wire. I'd suggest giving that database a look when it comes to making decisions on who you will carry into the playoffs, especially if you are streaming defenses or looking for back-ups at certain positions where you may not have carried a back-up most of the year (quarterback and tight end, for example) just in case of injury.
The remaining schedules are also a good tool if you are considering making a trade at your league's deadline. Perhaps you can trade a player who has been overachieving lately because of his schedule about to hit a rough spot for a player with upside and an easier schedule during weeks 14 to 16.
While depth is nice, the key to the playoffs is having the best possible starting roster. Look ahead and set different lineups for playoff weeks based on match-ups to see which players might be expendable in a trade and where you need help.
When considering trades, make sure to consider your situation and the situation of your trading partner. If you're one of the league leaders and a lock to make the playoffs, and have depth at one position but would like to bolster your team at another, try to find a team on the fringe who has a player that can not only bolster your roster but might be in need of your depth. If you're a team desperately trying to make the playoffs and are weak in several areas, consider trading a stud for multiple players to a team that has depth across the board.
Now is also a good time to start considering handcuffs to your running backs. While I don't advise dropping usable players for the sake of getting a handcuff, if you have the room, it couldn't hurt for LeSean McCoy and Matt Forte owners, for example, to pick up Bryce Brown and Michael Bush. And if you don't have one of those elite runners, but have the room to add their back-up, it could play huge dividends if the starter goes down. Just look at Brown a year ago. (Read more about running backs to handcuff and who to target at http://www.carrollcountytimes.com/blogs/sports/fantasysports.