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How To Win At Fantasy Football

Updated on August 30, 2014

The Next Level In Fantasy Football

If your reading this, I assume that you are both familiar with Fantasy Football and active in at least one league. Fantasy Football is actually very easy to learn and makes Sunday that much more special. The thrill of handpicking your favorite star players makes an exciting twist and opens the door for hundreds of ethical questions concerning how you pull for your favorite team. However, taking your fantasy play to the next level requires a few techniques that few people ever use.

Before The Draft

League managers who consistently vie for the championship do not use the automatic draft values preset in whatever league they play for. They also do not take them out of a magazine or any other publication. These publications are a start, but if you want to separate from your peers, you need to learn to value your own players and create your own draft day cheat sheet.

Before you begin your cheat sheet, read the rules and scoring settings for your specific league. Pay attention to how each player can accumulate points. Do players receive points for PPR(points per receptions) or only yards and touchdowns. How many points per yard? What about yards for kick returns and punt returns? Do they lose points for fumbles? If so, how much? All these scoring rules should be taken into account when you value your players. Some receivers and running backs gain or lose value based on how your league scoring is set. Pay attention to this when ranking players.

Another very important thing to consider is whether the team the player is on is undergoing significant change. Is there going to be a coaching change or a new coordinator? What do know about the new coach? Does he like to run the ball, or run a pass happy offense? If he is balanced, what are the strengths of the team?

Rank your players by position. List all quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers, tight ends, and defenses and assign them in order of value first to last. You can rank them in any manner you prefer. Use last years results to order them at first, then use your gut to place rookies and older players up or down in your ranking. Keep players injury history in mind as well.


Valuing Your Players

OK. By now you should have a good idea of who your best and your worst at every position is. The next step is to value all players in all positions. But how? The best method is called value based drafting. Simply put, you need to rank players by order of their value relative to their position. In other words, if only five running backs are quality backs, but you have ten quarterbacks who score about the same, then running backs are more valuable to you because their are less to pick from. Here is how you do it.

First, go to your league history and look at last year's draft. In the first one hundred picks, count the number of quarterbacks, receivers, running backs and tight ends that were picked. Mark the player that falls last on each of your lists. If twelve running backs were picked, then the number twelve player on your list is your baseline player.

Next, compare your top player's fantasy points to your baseline. The number he scored more than the baseline player is his value. Do this with every player you have on your list. For rookies and veterans you have downgraded, average their points between the players above and below in the rankings. Do this at every position and you have each player's value based score. Sort all your players by their individual value based score and you now have your draft cheat sheet.

The last step is to make an average draft position sheet and put the average draft position number beside each player on your list. Make sure if your draft is online that you transfer all your data to the online computer rankings. This is essential on draft day to help you make quick decisions.

Draft Day-Making The Right Picks

You have already made the first big step by preparing your own draft day cheat sheet. You have practiced by doing a few mock drafts to get comfortable with the system. Now what?

During your draft try to avoid runs on positions and stick to your cheat sheet. With that said, do not make the mistake of ignoring what other managers are doing and how they are picking. Pay attention to other manager's rosters when you get to the middle rounds and try to take the players they want and avoid the players that they will pass over. Pay attention to average draft position throughout the draft and take players that have been ignored.

Never, ever draft a kicker or defense early. Kickers are so close in scoring that it makes no sense to pick one early and defenses change so much from year to year that it is a complete crap shoot. Pick the best defense available and be prepared to be active on the waiver wire in the first few weeks finding a rising defense.

Managing Your Team

By now, you have a team and you know all the rules for your league. Pay attention to waiver wire order rules. If it is first come, then pick up players often, especially in the first few weeks. Trust your instincts and snatch up those players before other managers do. If their are specific rules about waiver wire order, then pick your spots and pay close attention to other managers. If they drop a player because he has a bad week, then snatch him up.

Pay attention to what is happening on each NFL team and make sure you keep up with player injuries and all the assorted drama of the NFL season. That is half the fun anyway! Start your best players and trust them to win for you. Do not second guess yourself.

Fantasy Football is great fun and even better when you are in contention to win it all. Best of luck, and enjoy the season!


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    • Erin Merritt Wood profile image

      Erin Merritt Wood 5 years ago from McDonough, Georgia

      Not a surprise you chose to write on this subject. You do have a lot of experience in multiple leagues. LOL Great hub!

    • chip1775 profile image

      Brett Wood 5 years ago from Atlanta

      Will do. Lol, I am the king of the procrastinators, best of luck next year.