FANTASY GRIND: Decisions you control, dead weight

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Here’s one way to ease your stress as fantasy football hits its crunch time: Focus only on the decisions you can control.

Some common complaints on social networks this week _ paraphrased for clarity (and language):

_ I lost by less than five points because Tampa Bay running back Mike James got hurt on Monday night. That Bobby Rainey touchdown should have been mine.

_ Of course the week I drop St. Louis receiver Tavon Austin is the week he goes off and scores 31 points.

_ Why is Arizona coach Bruce Arians still starting Rashard Mendenhall over Andre Ellington?

The short response for all of them is the same _ at some point you just have to shake it off.

On James, you almost certainly had other players under- and overperform this week, meaning you probably lost your match elsewhere and can improve by scrutinizing something else. On Austin, you should have dropped him long ago. Even in keeper leagues. On Ellington _ yeah, that’s a head scratcher. But Arians did use Ellington in some wild cat formations and turned to him for the Cardinals’ final three carries after Mendenhall fumbled in the game.

It’s common in fantasy to get caught up in late results rather than early decisions that set up tight finishes. Perhaps getting off to a better start is in order.

That’s what the Indianapolis Colts are trying, according to the AP’s Mike Marot ((at)apmarot on Twitter).

Andrew Luck is known as a comeback quarterback. But as Marot reports (http://bit.ly/17SISni), Indianapolis is trying to get out of needing him to come up with fourth-quarter rallies.

Coach Chuck Pagano’s approach after a 38-8 loss to St. Louis applies well to fantasy owners.

“We talk all the time, you don’t win games in the National Football League, you lose them. We’re doing everything possible to put ourselves in these holes,” Pagano said. “We found out (Sunday) that we put ourselves in one that we couldn’t find the magic to get out of.”

So don’t blame an injury if you played James over a more conservative, though less exciting option. Chuckle when an opponent picks up Austin and starts him, unless Austin suddenly starts getting thrown the ball more often. And if you’re playing Ellington you’ll simply have to be patient, despite his exciting talent.

As always in fantasy, you need as many paths to win as possible.

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