Now let me begin this article by prefacing the title. Anyone that proclaims themselves to be a fantasy sports expert is not one. Fantasy sports advice should be like a guide, not a commandment. Fantasy games are so fickle that you can look like a genius for one call and a complete idiot for another. Yet, in the long run calls like that don’t matter since corrections can be made via the free agency wire. Anyways, enough about philosophizing about fantasy sports. I’m here for a reason and that is to share what I’ve learned from over 10 years of playing various fantasy games. I was really successful on Yahoo! Last year winning 3 titles, including a Winners league and my favorite, the @Cinemablend football league. So, what are some general keys to winning at fantasy football?
1. It’s Starts At the Draft: This is a really easy one. If you do your homework before the draft then there is less preparation needed throughout the entire season. Since football is really short and there is only one game a week there is not a lot of wiggle room to make mistakes. In order to cut down on drafting Brett Favre as your starting quarterback it helps to read a few pre draft kits that offered for free on ESPN or you could read the column on Yahoo!’s Roto Arcade. I also recommend getting to know the players. I don’t mean follow them on twitter but I mean, what is their injury status, contract status, job status, etc. Its little things like that that can get you Arian Foster instead of Ben Tate. In the past I used to go to The Roto Times for this but now I go to Rotoworld. It is free and easy to navigate. If you have an ESPN Insider account you also have access to this information.
2. Nobody is Safe: So, you’ve just drafted the #1 running back in the league last year. You are feeling pretty confident, huh? Well, don’t sit too pretty because in the NFL things can change on the drop of a hat. If you draft a strong starter, it is smart to also pick up his handcuff. Many folks don’t like this technique but I for one feel like the roster spot is worth it. Since there is a limited number of starters in the majority of leagues, the roster spot used on a handcuff will not be attaining points for the week anyways. By holding on to a someone like a Thomas Jones, Jacquizz Rodgers, and Rashad Jennings you not only block your opponents but you might end up getting a starting worthy player as well. On the subject of handcuffs, I am also of the opinion of the revolving door. With the limited starting roster spots the flavor of the week can quickly add up to the pickup of the year. It is smart to not go overboard and get yourself in trouble by drafting two top tier players who cannot start at the same position. You might miss out on someone like Michael Vick if you don’t have spots open.
3. The Wide Receiver Secret. This one actually came to me very recently and has gotten me the success I reap today. This adds on to what I was saying near the end of Nobody is Safe. People tend to draft a lot of running backs during drafts. Way more then they need. I tend to go RB, WR, WR. But after that, most folks are going QB or another RB. I keep taking WR unless there is a top, top tier QB on the table( I am talking Manning, Rivers, Brees, Brady). You see this one is al about numbers. The difference between the worst WR and the best is far more then best QB and the worst. The same with RBs. In standard leagues, you could always find useable QBs on the wire, like Vick mentioned above. The same with RBs. But finding a WR on waivers in standard league takes some luck. Therefore, I draft 2 top 20 WRs while everyone is over stockpiling on RBs or paying top money for second tier QBs. The best part about this strategy is that you don’t have worry about where the points are coming from every week. You’ve got more starters on your roster that will get you a consistent amount of points every week. For example, one of my championship teams last year had
QB. Tom Brady
WR Andre Johnson
WR Mike Williams (TB)
WR Deion Branch
RB Arian Foster
RB Mike Tolbert
TE Jason Witten
As you can see, I got by with my WRs. That is because Tolbert went down pretty much during playoff time and I had to scramble for a warm body. I was pretty much winging it but because I had researched early and held no one on a pedestal I was able to win.
4. Fade the Public – One of my favorite strategies is this one. In order to do this, I want to you to watch about 4-5 hours of ESPN Fantasy Football “Mock Draft” coverage during Spring Training and Pre-Season. This is where I got the motivation to draft Brady and Moss in 2007. I’ll never forget all the blind hate just thrown around by the talking heads of the networks; decrying New England’s signing. But I did not take that as fact, I took that as something to be proven wrong. And they did. Brady and Moss had historic seasons and there were more championships won. The point is that fantasy sports are a lot like the stock market, you are buying into the future. YOU know more than some of these so called experts, which is why it is more important to just follow your gut. There is no secret to being good at fantasy sports. You just have to follow the game and be quick on the FA trigger.
5. Enjoy the Game – This isn’t so much advice but a reminder. We play these games for fun. Sure we may win t-shirts or money but in the end it is the game that matters. I never understood why some folks would admonish you for having players from a rival team. That is what makes fantasy sports fun. You not only get to know your own team but others around the league!
I hope I’ve been able to help you right your fantasy football ship somewhat with these little nuggets of advice. I can be reached on twitter at @thatpj or you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.