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Luck is not the answer

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Many people, particularly those who don't play in fantasy leagues, think that winning a fantasy league championship is all about luck. The ball bounced one way instead of another. One lineup suffered more injuries than another.

They will frequently point to the year 2008 when Tom Brady, a No. 1 pick in many leagues after a 50-touchdown, 4,806-yard passing season in 2007, was injured in the first quarter of the first game of the year and proclaim that this is a prime example of luck being the most important factor in fantasy sports.

I would come back with the famous Louis Pasteur quote, "Chance favors the prepared mind."

Pointing to the same incident, a superior fantasy owner would have been prepared with a number of possible options.

The experienced owner also probably selected Brady's backup, Matt Cassel. All Cassel did was start the final 15 games that season and throw for 3,693 yards and 21 touchdowns while leading the New England Patriots to 10 more wins.

The superior owner may not have had Cassel on his bench, but had another solid quarterback on his bench.

But perhaps there were no decent quarterbacks at the end of the draft to give the fantasy owner depth. It still wouldn't stop a good fantasy owner.

Given no quality backups, a first-class owner moves to "Plan B." He loads up at another position with high quality talent to use as trade bait.

I recall a team I had two years ago where I accumulated five good receivers (Hakeem Nicks, Greg Jennings, DeSean Jackson, Pierre Garcon and Santonio Holmes) in a league which I could only start two each week.

When injury befell my team, as it usually seems to do, I had the tools to make a trade, sending Jennings (76-1,265-12) to another owner for Philip Rivers (4,710 yards 30 TDs, 13 INTs).

Finally, although it is my least favorite strategy, you can trade one of your team's superstar performers for two lesser, but still solid players. This method gives up the explosiveness of early round talent for balance, but can still be a successful option.

While it is true that luck plays a part in all athletic and gaming endeavors, it is not the primary factor in winning versus losing. If that were the case, why do certain fantasy owners always seem to be fighting for the title while others are always watching the championship race from the outside looking in?

In another league, I won three consecutive titles. Am I the luckiest guy on the face of the earth or did the fact that I study the statistics, watch the games, analyze every box score and am up-to-date on all the injuries play a more important role?

I say it's the latter and so will every other dedicated fantasy owner. It's what makes this a great game to play.

Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Steve Schwarz at sschwarz@sportsnetwork.com.

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