Now that the NFL and the Players Association have come to an agreement, this means that fantasy football is on full tilt. And for many this means pulling money out of the bank, piggy bank, or miscellaneous Paypal expenses for the chance at virtual gridiron glory.
I myself initially wasn't a fan. I thought it was for faux-thletes and couch coaches that object every call the actual coach makes. But then one day, purely out of curiosity I signed up. I joined a free league named "Epic," I figured that would be fitting seeing the journey that I was about to embark on.
I was startled at the statistical fortitude it takes to stay competitive within the league. From defensive match-ups to injury reports, fantasy football is a day-to-day analysis of player breakdowns and statistical advantages. Not to mention the every so often "hunch" that comes from "sleepers" that break out from time to time.
This was right up my sports enthusiast alley. I am not only an avid follower of football, but I breakdown every game from every league as if I was a sports analyst myself (a dream still in the making). I am however by no means saying that this is for the casual football fan. This takes a particular investment that the average fan may not be able to abide by. In the same token though, some casual sports that are rabid home-team fans can easily succumb to fantasy football as it flows fluently with the following of their own respective teams (these usually are the teams heavily dosed with players from the same team). Females are flocking by the thousands as well, being as though by majority fantasy football was occupied by older professional, college and high school male sports fans.
Now I am officially four years into my fantasy football career and I have taken home three league championships and finished second in my first league ever. I now have entered a caveat of fantasy genius, built a New England Patriots of fantasy teams. So I must now bestow knowledge upon the first time or few time fantasy footballer who might seek advice on how to win outside of the 3 million fantasy experts that are paid to contradict two or three times a day during the football season.
Here are my steps to winning a Fantasy Football League:
6. Draft Kickers Last
This is an easy step to follow, as no one ever really gives the kicker consideration in the first place. A kicker can make or break a match-up if it is close, but will never dictate a teams success or failures. A good kicker can give you the upper hand only if the team in which he is playing for fails to score within the red-zone frequently.
Picking a kicker any round other than the last is a bad idea as you may miss an opportunity to find that "sleeper" that will definitely make or break a team that may be on the cusp of success.
5. Avoid Initial Trades
Anyone who is seeking a trade with your team wants something that will be of value to their teams success. So this ultimately means that they are helping your team succeed. Look over the trade to see what you are going to lose and what you look to gain and propose a counter trade of more equal value. Most players expect a counter trade to they set the bar high for it to be lowered to something more realistic.
4. Percentage Owned Matters.... Usually
A player's rating is the ultimate litmus test of success. Usually a calculation of the players performance from the previous seasons and their likeliness to repeat. The percentage owned rating is the amount of teams in leagues across the network that are currently that player on their respective squads. This means that the player holds some value and performance advantages. "Sleepers" are usually players that are not highly owned that perform above expectation. So don't put all of your eggs in the percentage owned category. Just most of them.
3. Winning Teams Breed Winning Players
Teams that are successful by design have more players that can contribute to the success of your own fantasy team. Teams with less than successful records tend to have two or three stars that contribute for most of their teams production (these are typically running backs or wide receivers). Look for players from teams that are typically successful and you should find yourself on the winning end of many match-ups. No one however can predict the success of a team before the season, so keep to teams that are consistently successful.
2. Study Injury Reports With Precision And Detail
In the world of sports injury reports are the gamblers handbook to better odds. Unfortunately, you cannot rely on one particular news or media outlet for consistent, up-to-date, accurate information on one players injury to the next. This in part is due to most teams reluctance to divulge too much information about a their players injury to the opponent and the other is there is no doctor-media outlet to release the information on a minute by minute basis.
So you must assume the role of team insider, sticking close to all major sports press outlets all the way to game-time for any updates on a current players injury status. Usually a good indicator will be a players participation in the weeks practice. This is where the NFL differs from any other league, as teams have a week of preparation before each game and injuries can be monitored more vigilantly from a spectator's position. So keep your ears to the streets, they're talking.
There is nothing worse than having an injured player starting and a breakout performance hanging on the bench.
1. Draft Elite Players First
This requires absolutely no knowledge of percentage owned, or even player ratings for that matter. All this requires is enough football knowledge to know who is a producer and who might be a producer. You know that Peyton Manning is going to be a top 5 quarterback, but you hope that Chad Ochocinco has a elite year. This is usually when the pre-rankings come in handy, as they are an indicator on the top performers from the season past. Going with your gut is always a good option, but going for what's obvious is the smart choice. If you are in a position to choose between Jordy Nelson or Maurice-Jones-Drew I would highly suggest taking Jones-Drew because know for sure that MJD will produce at his worst better than half of the running backs in the league but we don't know for sure how many snaps Nelson will see let alone whether he will be productive in the those snaps given.
So all in all go for what you know and not what you have been told. So totally disregard this entire blog.