By Andy Orton
It’s the end of August which means football season is right around the corner. This article will kick-off a series of fantasy football-themed articles with five strategies that will help you win your league.
Strategy #1: Wait on QBs
Quarterbacks carry a lot of name value and it’s tempting to draft Aaron Rodgers or Russell Wilson in the first round, but let your more uneducated league mates take them. You can make the case that Aaron Rodgers will score the most fantasy points out of any player in fantasy and this is very likely to happen, but fantasy football is all about value. You’re better off drafting a solid bell-cow RB (Le’Veon Bell, Ezekiel Elliot, Todd Gurley, etc.) with your first round pick because they’re more difficult to replace than a QB.
According to Sports Illustrated, Russell Wilson finished as the number one quarterback last year and averaged 22.2 points per game. Dak Prescott finished as the number 13 quarterback last year and averaged 17.1 points per game. That’s 23 percent less than Russell Wilson. Meanwhile Todd Gurley, the number one running back outscored the top scoring non-starter at running back, Frank Gore, by 58.1 percent points per game. There is significantly less value for a late round running back compared to a late-round quarterback.
Be patient and remember that if a run of QB’s go early, that’s just opportunity for more skill position players to fall to you.
Strategy #2: Let the draft come to you
A common mistake I used to make early in my fantasy days was meticulously planning my approach to the draft. I would map out what position I would take by round. This led me to reach on certain players and ignore others because it wasn’t the “right position” in that round. While it’s important to have a well-rounded team with talent at all positions, you shouldn’t worry if you take two RBs or two WRs in the first two rounds. If this happens make sure you make the other positions a priority in the later rounds. Again, it’s all about value and if there’s a player that you feel is too good to pass up, then you should confidently draft them.
Strategy #3: Create your own rankings and find “your guys”
It’s important to have a sense of where players are going in the draft. By looking at draft rankings and a players’ ADP (average draft position), you will get an idea of what rounds your favorite players are being taken in. You can use this to your advantage. By creating your own rankings and comparing them to a player’s ADP, you can know what players you’d have to reach to get and what players you can wait on. The important part is finding “your guys”. Research and identify at least 10 players that you would confidently draft. Look for players with an ADP in each round so you’re prepared in the later rounds. This is your team and at the end of the day you have to live with your picks, so you should like who you take.
Strategy #4: Know the other players in your league
Many people play fantasy football with their family, friends and co-workers. If you want to win a championship, it’s important to learn their tendencies and biases. You can use this to your advantage. For example, in every league I’ve played in, there has always been at least one “homer” who is very loyal to their respective NFL team and will favor players on that team. Let the Bears fan take Mitch Trubisky, Jordan Howard and the Bears defense with their first three picks. Let the Broncos fan take Demaryius Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders and Case Keenum. These players will often get drafted ahead of their ADP because of these biases, which only means other players will fall to you. However, if you like some of these players and you’re playing in leagues with these “homers,” you may have to reach to get some of them.
Strategy #5: Have fun
According to Quartz, fantasy football has become a $7 billion industry with more than 59 million players. While the game has never been more competitive and there’s usually a lot of money on the line, remember, it’s still a game.
For many NFL fans, fantasy football is an extension of a sport we love. It forces us to look at the game with greater scrutiny and detail. It’s an excuse to catch-up with old friends and a great conversation piece around the water cooler at work. It unifies us and gives us something to look forward to every week.
Good luck this season and happy drafting.