Trying To Figure Out “Who Do I Start”? Take A.I.M.

I’ve been there, and I am pretty sure that you have been there too.  You know, when you are looking at your fantasy football team and trying to figure out who to start, and you are so confused who your flex should be that 20 minutes later you realize you are going to need to make an appointment with Hair Club For Men because of how much hair you have pulled out.

There are many methods that you can utilize to help make your decision, results of course vary.

You can flip a coin, throw a dart, pick a name out of a hat, call a psychic, etc.  Another option would be to ask one of the many fantasy football analysts/”experts” on twitter WDIS (who do I start).

I have to be honest, I answer WDIS questions on twitter, but I don’t like it.  Not because I don’t want to help, but because you just can’t get enough information (scoring system, starting requirements, roster composition etc.) in 140 characters to make well informed recommendations.

It is easy to say just start the players that will score the most points (except in Full Impact IDP, but that’s a beast unto itself), but there are times when that is easier said than done.  Do you play a boom or bust guy over a low upside but steady type player?  If so when do you do that?  Why do you do that?  The one thing you can’t do is affect your opponents players scores, but you know what, while his may seem to be an odd thing to say, I do think that you need to analyze your opponents lineup.

Actually, what you should do is take A.I.M. (Assess,Investigate, Matchup):

Don’t get caught in the same old rut that many do by just analyzing your lineup trying to figure out who to start.  Instead manage the entire process with A.I.M..

Assess:  The first thing you need to do is assess the risk/reward each of your starters presents.  Do you have a couple of top RBs facing top 5 defenses?  Is your top WR facing a shut down corner or an injury replacement nickel back thrust into the starting lineup?

Investigate:  Many fantasy GM’s don’t “investigate” their opponents roster and probable starting lineup.  “if you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles;…”, Sun Tzu.  Just like in war, you must know your opponent and just like you assess your team, you should assess your opponent’s team.  Broken down into basic laymen terms, you need to see if you need to “play it safe” or “swing for the fences”.

Matchup:  This is where you are looking at all the variables from both lineups and you play the player that helps you to matchup best with your opponent based on your risk/reward assessment.  Basically if you look like you are going to be a big underdog in your matchup then you swing for the fences with a boom or bust guy.  However, if it looks like you should be able to pull out a win you may want to look at a guy that doesn’t have a huge variance in his weekly scoring.  There is something to be said for a guy that puts up 3-5 fantasy points over a big fat zero.

No matter what you do, do something other than flip a coin, throw a dart, pick a name out of a hat, call a psychic, etc.  After you go through the A.I.M. steps if you still can’t figure things out feel free to tweet me and I will do my best to answer your questions with the little bit of info you can supply in 140 characters.

Oh, and don’t forget to make sure you submit your lineup before you leave for your Hair Club For Men appointment.


Follow me on twitter(@IDPSteve) & if you have any questions please feel free to email me at


About Steve Gallo
Steve is an NFL Analyst and IDP writer for USA Today Sports Media Group( He is also a member of the Pro Football Writers of America & Fantasy Sports Writers Association.

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