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Fantasy Football-How to win

Updated on July 20, 2013

NFL Football

Draft board for fantasy football players

Break players into tiers using projected points for position, it'll give you a better understanding of their actual value.
Break players into tiers using projected points for position, it'll give you a better understanding of their actual value.

Part 1: Draft to fantasy football playoffs

Drafting by the numbers

There is more to a fantasy football draft than picking your favorite players and hoping they have a good season. To be competitive you need to understand risk to reward factors, how to draft by tier levels and the value of each position. Another thing to consider is scoring for the league you're in. I prefer to play 10 team standard leagues in ESPN and Yahoo leagues, they have slightly different scoring, Yahoo uses fractional points and your QB only gets 4 points for a passing TD. Yahoo also uses 3-WR and ESPN uses 2-WR and a flex player, the end results is that scoring in Yahoo leagues run about 4 points per game higher, because of the fractional points.

After reading an ESPN fantasy football article by Mathew Berry, I discovered that 94pts. per game average is what it takes to get 8 wins needed to make the playoffs. In the last 5 years, I've never had a 8 win team in an ESPN 10 team league not make the playoffs. Yahoo leagues, have a 14 game season instead of 13, Also Yahoo playoffs are weeks 15 and 16, ESPN has 2 game playoffs weeks 14-15 and 16-17. That being said 8 wins will still make the playoffs most of the time. There are many factors that you can do nothing about, injuries, suspensions, benching, etc. We do have control of whom we draft and what positions for your bench to support your team.

Drafting by the numbers will help make your team balanced enough to be competitive but you still need to understand values of players positions, along with determining risk vs reward of players and the value of mock drafts. The goal to winning any league starts with a solid draft, then finding which guys can help your team off the wavier wire. I've used these methods to make fantasy playoffs about 75-80% of the time. Once you get to the playoffs strategies change, that will be covered after season begins in Fantasy Football Frenzy part3.

Fantasy Football points values

projected points per game
projected points needed to draft(total points for the season)
RB 1
RB 2
WR 1
WR 2
Flex/WR 3
points per game totals
Total projected points for the season- divide that by 16 games= points per game

Fantasy Football drafts in a nutshell

Draft by position values to get the most of your team

  • Draft by position tiers
  • weigh the risk-vs-rewards, the higher the risk the bigger the reward but at what cost?
  • draft depth at the needed positions, injuries will happen
  • RB's have the best chance at repeating past performances
  • WR's coming off double digit TD seasons usually fall off 30%
  • Mock drafts- practice makes perfect(practice, practice, practice)
  • Get to the draft early to position your strategies

Understanding Fantasy Football player values

Each Fantasy Football season is different your draft strategy should change as well. This year there are quite a few good quarterbacks available, and just a few elite receivers or tight-ends. The 2nd and 3rd tiers players are plentiful so don't over reach for players, let the draft come to you. Using projected player ranking point systems, you've only got the following 1st tier players 10 QB, 9 RB, 10 WR, but only 5 tight-ends. There shouldn't be any problem getting 1st tier players except at tight-end, if one isn't available draft another position, don't reach. You can pick up K.Rudolph, O.Daniels or Finley in much later rounds and they're all about the same. Every year there are quality QB's available in the 6th round, sometimes even in the 8th, draft for value, you can always work a trade later.

Risk VS Reward

Is the risk worth the reward?

Gronk is the number 2 tight-end with a pretty big drop to the next but, he is coming back from 2 off season surgeries. Shady McCoy has a new offense to fit his style, will he be able to stay healthy? Which rookie RB will have the break out season this year, Bell, Lacy, Ball, or someone under the radar? These are all factors to consider before drafting. Really you need to research ESPN, Yahoo,, etc and come up with your own player values. It's much easier to weigh risk-vs-reward when your not on the clock.

Draft for depth, if you drafted Gronk in the 5th round and not sure when he'll be available, pick up Finley in the 14th or 15th round. If you drafted A.Foster at RB, pick up Ben Tate in the late rounds. I like to have a back-up for my QB, RB1, RB2, and at least 1 extra quality WR. Just cover as many of your bases in the draft as possible, there's always waviers or trades that can be made later.

Rookie of the year?

Who's going to be this years break out rookie?

See results

Importance of mock drafts

Mock drafts could be the single most important aspect in making a Fantasy Football powerhouse. It gives you a good feel for how the drafts are going and the value of players and positions. If your playing in a Yahoo 12-man standard league, practice those mock drafts from every possible draft position. Try mock drafts from other leagues, ESPN,, etc., practice until you get a real feel it. I used to try 2-3 mock drafts and think I was ready,then come draft time nothing ever seems to fall the same. In a 12 team league nothing is more important than the draft because, there are very few quality wavier wire players. In a 10-team league, you have a better chance of recovery.

Mock drafts help you understand the players that will be available in your Fantasy Football draft. For instance, if you were picking 3rd your next pick would fall at 18. It gives you the opportunity to find 4-5 players that you consider at great number 18 selection. You have to get the best value without over reaching for players. Practice different draft strategies such as RB1, RB2, WR1, WR2, QB, TE, etc, then try again RB1, WR1, TE. QB, RB2, WR2,etc. You get the drift, it'll give you a heads up on the competition.

Mock Drafts practice makes perfect

Prepare for Fantasy Football success

Get to your draft early, know what players you are targeting. Know your draft position, which in most leagues won't be available until minutes before the draft begins. Set your picks up according to your draft position, it'll help you get better value players. I've been using this method for several seasons,I went from winning about 20% of my leagues to over 40%. Fantasy Football is 50% draft,25% wavier wire/trades and 25% luck. Drafting a great team is just the beginning, in Fantasy Football Frenzy Part 2, I'll be covering playing the wavier wire. Good Luck! Hope you have a successful Fantasy Football draft.


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