FOOTBALL MANS

Newz Group’s Nine Tips for Maximum Fantasy Football Enjoyment

By: Terry A. Yates, Jr |tyates@newzgroup.com

The NFL season opens up September 6, but fantasy football has been starting in earnest for some time. This weekend, fantasy drafts will be live all across the country. As a multiple times fantasy football league champion, going for the hat trick with my league this year, I feel as though I’m uniquely qualified to give my tips for a successful run at your own league’s trophy!

This advice is mostly applicable to ten team standard leagues. Your mileage may vary.

There is no sure fire way to be a fantasy champion

A superficial glance at all those fantasy football advice columns should be evidence enough, but you don’t need to be a guru to draft a successful team. More often than not, those fancy pants six-figure clowns that mug on TV know less about fantasy football than your favorite fork.

On top of this, several “analysts” get caught up in the sauciness of potential and fail to focus on the cold hard fantasy numbers that lead to success. Sure, use the millions of television shows, internet videos, podcasts and “advice” columns…as entertainment and maybe pick a few little nuggets out of, but do not depend on any outside element to form your own opinion.

Draft running backs in the first two rounds

Running backs are the predominant number of grinders on your team. Don’t waste time on GOAT players and really look at yards and carries. While a potential running back may not have that spicy flavor and appeal of more known (arguably better) players, if they have the numbers then it’s not an issue. You won’t waste a precious draft pick on a player who will do nothing for you in the first few weeks as the season shakes out and the true GOAT fantasy players arrive to be scooped up. As most real NFL teams are using a running back “by committee” scheme these days, star power is less important and finding a few yard grinders for your team is more important than touchdown potential.

Draft a couple of wide receivers

The key to a great receiver is the number of targets they get. While this isn’t an ever-present stat, make sure to find out if your potential draftee is a preferred target by his QB. Fantasy football is a numbers game, and receivers who are targeted will grind out more points in the long run, as opposed to the big names that may score a few more touchdowns, but won’t necessarily have more points. In addition, stay away from players that spread the field. While they may have more touchdown potential, they do less grinding and therefore have fewer points.

football-1487913_1920

Time to take out the garbage!

By now you’re in the five or sixth round of your draft. All of the GOAT players have been taken but a lot great potential is out there, ready to be drafted if you know where to look. What do you do?

Well, you could start drafting against your competition, picking up players you don’t necessarily want, but you definitely don’t want anyone else having. You could draft some rookies with a lot of potential, have them ride the bench as the opening weeks of the season unfurl or take em for a spin to see if you strike fantasy gold.

Better yet, draft a “garbage time” quarterback!

By now you’ve probably noticed a theme with my advice: draft fantasy points grinders. And what better grinder than a quarterback that will just chuck the ball to anyone and everyone that’s remotely open. From their favorite receiver, all the way to the hot dog concessions man in the upper rafters! Drew Brees, Eli Manning, and Matthew Stafford are all great garbage time QBs that will just huck the ball hither and yon as if they have themselves on their fantasy roster. Sure, you’ll get some negative fantasy point having INTs up in there sometimes, but for the most part garbage time is the best time when it comes to eking out those game-winning fantasy points with an RB or QB!

The free agency is your friend

Speaking of garbage, unless you’re drafting a healthy Gronk at tight end, don’t worry about the position. Every other TE is disposable and you can use the free agency to pick the best option from week to week. Don’t worry about drafting any defense; play the weeks matchups and find good defenses going up against a mediocre offense. You’ll score more points than sitting on a defense that’s ranked #1. The same holds true for kickers, you should value consistency and have at least one kicker riding your bench, but don’t swear fealty to any one player.

Knowing is half the battle

Now that you have some semblance of a fantasy roster, it’s time to look at your competition. Notice what they prioritized in the draft and check the free agency for potential trade bait for their deficiencies. Hopefully, you’ve also stashed some players on your bench that could have been future headaches for your team. The key is to minimize the damage that could be done to you on a weekly basis, but also provide you with enough trade value that you can obtain better players from desperate owners in the coming weeks.

As the fantasy season plays out, don’t be afraid to pick up players that are sneakily panning out to be fantasy GOATs or that a competitor may be talking up. Always have leverage and flexibility to make smart moves and don’t get stuck with under-performing players.

kids-56952_1920

No player is indispensable

Sure, there are some players you draft that you just can’t drop from your roster due to “the rules”. But most of the time, feel free to drop any fantasy player that’s just not panning out for you. In a standard ten team league, most everyone has a pretty great roster of fantasy players and the difference between victory and defeat can come down to just a few decimal points. Don’t deny yourself victory by holding on to former GOAT players or personal favorites. You’re playing fantasy football to win!

At the end of every season, when I compare my current roster to my draft roster, I find that nearly half of my team is free agency. In a ten team league, you have to play smarter and be more flexible with your roster than you’d probably like. Most of your roster decisions should come the last remaining minutes before the real football games start.

S#!t happens

As the preseason has proved out: things beyond your control happen. Injuries and football go together like chicken wings and indigestion. You can protect yourself during draft day by avoiding players that are injury prone, but oftentimes they are also great fantasy players for short-term gains in the season. That’s the great joy of playing fantasy: the risk/reward. Make sure if you do draft an injury prone player that you have an equally potent backup, or scoop one up off the free agency wire.

With suspensions being a bigger part of the “No Fun League”, draft those bad boys for later in the season, when they’re back on the field. Not only are they fresher than their teammates who have been playing all season long, they often have a chip on their shoulder and will grind up unfathomable amounts of fantasy points.

football-1503586_1920

Have fun

Fantasy football can be a lot of fun but can be a lot of stressful if you allow it. You’re playing because you love the game of football…and who doesn’t love winning a fake championship that means nothing outside of the ten people playing. You may not even have ten people even playing fantasy football come January…or even October! People rage-quit, forget to set their rosters, and there may be a few hollow victories, but don’t let that get you down. Play for the joy of the game, hone your skills for a time when you get a hold of a better league, but most importantly…have fun!

Fantasy football enhances and brings enjoyment to football matchups that you might not enjoy watching, but if you have a couple of fantasy players up in it, makes it infinitely more enjoyable.