Got Championships?

Let’s be honest, most of you will do one of the following when it comes to fantasy football research:

  • Listen to the ESPN or CBS Sports fantasy podcast
  • Buy a magazine

They are useful tools, but they fit the needs more for the novice fantasy player and give out cookie cutter information.  If you are going that route then I suggest listening to CBS as they are more fantasy info based whereas ESPN is more entertainment based.  If you are looking for suggestions for better fantasy football podcasts or magazines try the following:

Fantasy Pros Podcast- They are more info based and always have guests who have won national fantasy big money leagues.

Fantasy Football Index Magazine-  Most magazines are printed right after the NFL draft so the info in them is old. Fantasy Index Magazine does offer, for an additional $15 cost, the ability to get updates in player rankings every week until the season begins.  Having real time rankings is one step to drafting a better team.

Chance Favors the Prepared Mind.

Draft prep is crucial to building a championship team.  Here are some ideas to help simplify your draft prep.

  • Create your own cheat sheet August 1
  • Adjust your rankings weekly as injuries occur, depth charts change and news comes in
  • Find out what draft position you are and prepare for your round 1 pick. If you have the 7thpick in the draft then create a list of 7 players ranked 1-7 in the order you would take them if you had every pick 1-7. When you’re up you simply take the highest ranked guy remaining on your list.
  • Have a plan but be flexible. If you plan to take 2 RB’s, 1 WR and 1 QB with your first 4 picks and stick to it you could let a better player slip all because you want to have a specific assortment of players.
  • Create a do not draft list. Find out which players are overrated, too old or had a come out of nowhere season.  Let other owners draft these risky players with high bust potential.
  • Target players who score consistent points. I would much rather have a player get me 10 points every week over a DeSean Jackson type player who can score 20 one week then follow it up with 2 points and 3 points the next 2 weeks.
  • Decide what position you want to be your weakest. I usually slot my Tight End or WR 2 to be my weakest position.  The difference between TE 8 and TE 20 is usually 1 point a week so who cares.  The difference between RB 10 and 20 is usually 5+ points a week.

Build a Strong Foundation.

  • Draft rounds 1-4: I like to call the early part of the draft your foundation.  This is where I look to add players that are game changers in scoring but pose the least amount of risk.  I want these guys to play all 16 games so I avoid injury risks, flash in the pan or sleepers.  Later rounds are for sleepers and breakouts.
  • Draft rounds 5-10: This is where the league is won or lost.  You will out your roster, get depth and take a chance on a player or two.  Anyone can draft Gurley or Antonio Brown.  Finding the solid players here is what separates teams from making the playoffs or going fishing early.
  • Draft rounds 11 and on: This is where you decide on taking a young player with potential or a known name. Also I like to draft players that won’t necessarily get much time in weeks 1-7 but have the potential to become the starting RB or the main focal point of offense with some luck or an injury.
  • Last 2 rounds:You should never draft a kicker before your last two rounds

In Season Management.

  • Always watch the waiver wire and be ready to add a player who is starting to get more touches or targets. The best time to add players is Sunday morning as injury reports are available and news comes out before a game.
  • If you draft well then your in season management should be minimal.
  • Don’t waste people’s time with making shit offers.  If I offer you a guy who had one great game that’s a scrub plus Joe Flacco and you ask for a Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers I instantly think “Go fuck yourself”. Propose trade offers that make sense to both teams.  The trade doesn’t have to be equal.  It just has to work for both owners and make sense.  And there is nothing wrong with dialogue.  Ask an owner what position they need and are willing to part with. Don’t be afraid to pull the trigger.

The above article doesn’t guarantee shit.  But it will improve your chances at having a good fantasy season.  Good luck this season.

Here is the same as what is above but more in depth.

Before you have a great draft you need to put in some work.  You don’t need to put in endless hours.  1-3 hours a week should suffice starting August 1 until your league drafts. They say information is king so what you want to look for is good information.  Every coach will say they love their WR, RB or TE to have a breakout year.  Most of it is bullshit.  Pay attention to injuries.  Ankle and hamstring injuries especially as those can linger into the season causing the player to have a more serious injury weeks 4-10.

I typically start with creating my own player rankings by position.  I like to do this before August and as I gather information I will adjust my rankings on a weekly basis and the closer I get to the draft I do it every 2-3 days.  I also like to create a do not draft list.  I review my rankings and take into consideration a players age, weapons surrounding them, coaching staff, coordinators, did they just have a big year the season before, players that just got paid.  I tend to avoid drafting players in rounds 1-4 who are injury prone, just signed a new contract and had a year where they came out of nowhere. That helps me with my decision when it comes to the foundation of my team.

Next up I create an excel spreadsheet involving all of my league mates and do a mock draft of my own. If you want to practice mocks quickly go visit fantasypros.com and take advantage of their mock draft tool.  It’s free, quick and easy.  The only downside is the computer drafts based on rankings from all the major sites combined.  Please take into consideration how your league drafts as it will be different. I don’t necessarily use it to see who I will take on my team.  I use it more to gauge where certain players will fall in the draft.  It teaches me where a particular player will most likely be drafted in each round.

Know your leagues scoring system.  In my main league a stud defense is just as valuable as a top 10 RB, top 5 WR or top 3 QB. Defenses have gone as early as round 4. Know when is a good time to reach for a position or sit back and wait as the 8th-20thranked tight ends will have a difference of 0.5 points per game.

Create player ranking list for your first round pick.  If you know you have the 7thpick then create a list of your top 7 players in the order you would take them as if you have picks 1-7.  One of those players will be available when it’s your turn to pick. The order is key as you want to take the highest player remaining on your list.  While it’s good to have a plan it should be fluid and change as the draft evolves.  I like going with the best player available rounds 1-4 then filling out your roster rounds 5-10 with holes and depth.

Pick your weakness. Do you want to be weak at RB2, WR2, TE, other?  Your team will have a weakness and you have some control as to where that is.  What is the difference between TE 8 and TE 15? Not much.  What about WR 20 and WR 35?  Find out where the smallest difference is based on your scoring system and decide where you want your weakness to be.  I typically choose WR 2 or TE to be my weakest position as those are easier to find on the waiver wire.

Don’t be afraid to grab a QB early if you award 6 points per pass TD (By the way, every league should). Having Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson or Tom Brady get you 20+ points almost every week is huge.  RB’s and WR’s can be very inconsistent when it comes to scoring.  In my league 90+ points usually gets you a win.  A stud QB can get you 22%-25% of the way to 90 points while being only 11% or 12% of your roster.  That’s huge.

Be a trend setter and not follower.  If a run on WR’s occurs it means a RB can fall in your lap.  If a few tight ends fly off the board then go best D or a rookie RB.  Zig when everyone else zags.

Rounds 1-4 is where you want to find the core of your team.  You want these players to be consistently healthy and scoring.  Let someone else snaga Desean Jackson type.  He might get you 20 one week then follow it up with 2 and 3 points in each of the next two weeks.  I will take the player that consistently score for me every week over a boom or bust player.  You want to minimize your risk rounds 1-4.

Rounds 5-10 is where you take your chances on a rookie, a player who is boom or bust or a breakout candidate.

Rounds 11 and on is where you take your chance on a sleeper, breakout or unknown player and fill in some depth.  Chances are most of these players will not be on your roster after week 4 or hardly ever crack your starting lineup.

Save 1-2 spots to be your revolving door.  Always play the waiver wire and snatch up a player who is starting to get more touches. Don’t hang on to a player that will never be put in your starting lineup.  Why the hell do you ever need a 2ndkicker unless you have a top 3 kicker and play the bye week.  As soon as the bye week ends you dump the backup kicker and free up a spot.

Never draft a kicker before the final 2 rounds of your draft.

Trust your gut, it’s usually right.  Who cares if the experts think you should draft Player A since he is the next highest player.  If you think player B will have the better year then take him.  It’s your fantasy team.  Don’t let other people dictate who you should have on your team.  Take the player you want.  If they end up being a bust at least it was someone you wanted and not some bum ass player the experts told you to take.

Don’t not draft a player based on them having a tough “Fantasy playoff” schedule.  The strength of schedule is based off last year and much has changed since then.  Do you really want Player Z that has a great fantasy playoff schedule over player Y that is the better player?  You need to get wins to get you into the playoffs.  The best players will get you wins, not the best fantasy playoff schedule.

-Nick

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