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Fantasy Football For Dummies.
Despite what you might think if you followed my picks last season, I'm not psychic.
I can't see the future.
I believe everything I'm writing, but that doesn't necessarily make it true.
Having said that, I'm pretty confident about what I'm about to write down, and I hope it helps you during this, the most unholy of off-seasons.
Now that the Disclaimer is out of the way...
Fantasy Football for Dummies.
In case this is your first time doing fantasy football, or perhaps you're just not very good, here are a few tips that every internet GM should know.
The Best Player Available.
When actual draft season rolls around, you'll hear a lot of NFL experts talking about teams selecting the best player available.
What does this mean?!
It means that the GMs and coaches look at the pool of unproven collegiate prospects and select the player that they think will help the team in the long run as opposed to drafting a player with less talent that fills a need.
That makes sense in the NFL because even a slight improvement can mean the difference between 10-6 and 6-10.
So the same logic applies for the draft, right?
Sure, if your league gives you a few picks after you've addressed your starters and backups, absolutely grab the best guy on the market.
However, most leagues don't, and the first couple of picks are absolutely crucial to determining your success.
Before I move on, let me just explain that while the first couple of picks can break your season, they will definitely not make your season.
A well rounded roster is the key to winning in fantasy football.
Having Aaron Rodgers is great, but if your runningbacks are Latavius Murray and Danny Woodhead, you better hope for breakout seasons.
A Convenient Truth.
What is the most important position in the NFL?
If you said anything other than quarterback, you're wrong.
The key to any dominant team in 2015 is having a competent signal caller.
That's why those guys get the mega-bucks, and why teams will overlook terrible things when selecting a QB (Looking at you, Tampa Bay).
So... Based on that logic, you should take a QB in the first round of a fantasy draft, right?
Because the NFL has become a quarterback's league, that means there are more good quarterbacks!
Once upon a time, it was a big deal if one quarterback passed for 4,000 yards. In 2014, 11 of the 32 starting quarterbacks hit that milestone, and of that 11, 8 threw for over 30 touchdowns!
Thirty touchdowns?! Incredible!
So what does this mean for fantasy?
It means stay the hell away from field generals in the first round.
Increased passing means reduced rushing, and there are only a couple of special runningbacks left! In 2014, only 13 backs went over 1,000 yards, and only 2 saw double digit touchdowns.
Fresh out of the oven!
I know, I know, you're also a fan of your real NFL team.
And I'm willing to bet they went out and got an exciting young player that's going to redefine your franchise forever!
Hey... since he's going to help my real team... maybe he can help my fantasy team too!
Pump the brakes, Mark.
Some rookies hit the ground running and take the league by storm.
See: Adrian Peterson or Odell Beckham Jr.
Some... do not.
See: Every offensive player my Raiders have taken since I was born.
I know you wanna draft that rookie, and for your sake, I hope he turns out great (Unless you're a Broncos fan), but in all likelihood, nobody else is going to draft him.
That's right. Don't waste a pick on a guy that might not even start right away.
There are some red flags that you have to take notice of as you move forward.
There are a few sub-pots that run rampant through every off and regular season in the NFL that will impact certain fantasy performances, allow me to list them.
Players on a contract year.
"What have you done for me lately" goes both ways. If a guy has an amazing year, he'll get paid more. Some of these guys will over-perform during contract years.
Example- Joe Flacco, 2012.
Prediction- Philip Rivers.
Players that just got re-signed.
Let's do the math kids, if someone just over-performed to earn the contract, what happens when he gets it? Sure, most guys play up to that level. But the sad fact is that some just don't. Beware gravity, it's unforgiving.
Example- Ryan Fitzpatrick, 2011.
Prediction- Lamarr Houston (of the KC DST).
Players coming off on injury.
Some guys bounce back from injury. Some are never the same.Some players just can't get that step back, or they play scared.
Example- Carson Palmer, 2006.
Prediction- Carson Palmer. Yup.
Players that held out.
PLAYERS WANT MONEY, GMs DON'T WANT TO SPEND MONEY. GMs WON'T GIVE PLAYERS THE MONEY UNTIL THEY HAVE TO.
So if you're a player, how do you force them to give you money? You threaten not to show up!
Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. All I know is that when players hold out and come back rusty, it feels like more often than not, they end up injured or they start slow.
Example- Jamal Anderson, 1999.
Prediction- Dez Bryant.
Players that just moved.
Old faces in new places. Every year we see players move on to greener pastures.
Or so they thought.
Sometimes they follow the cash and don't pay attention to the scheme that the team runs.
Sometimes the player doesn't fit in out as well as they thought they would, and it hurts their performance.
Example- Nnamdi Asomuga, 2011.
Prediction- DeMarco Murray.
Right now, RIGHT NOW, I want you to walk over to the hardest table in your house, and deliberately stub your toe.
Not joking, go do it.
Stub. Your Toe.
Fine, don't do it.
The reality is, we, as a species, are fragile.
Things hurt, and there's only so much punishment the body can take.
If you think stubbing your toe hurts, imagine stubbing your whole body... against another human being.
Sure, the pads help. Helmet does too! But at the end of the day, the body begins to break down, and there's only so much they can take.
There's nothing wrong with players being injury-prone.
They do it for the money, they do it for the game, and they do it for the fans.
I'm just saying... It might not be the worst idea to steer clear of players who are under a ton of physical duress.
Some people just aren't built to take the punishment, and some players are pushed too far.
DeMarco Murray... for example.
The first three seasons of his NFL career were cut short by injuries, and he carried the ball 392 times last year... And that was just in the regular season. Add the 44 carries he took in the post-season and he carried the ball well over 400 times.
If you look back into history at the backs that carried the ball more than 400 times... It's not pretty.
Arian Foster and Adrian Peterson both touched the ball over 400 times in 2012... Look how that worked out for them in 2013.
All that would be just fine too...
If he hadn't just switched teams.
He went from Dallas, where they have one of the best offensive lines in the whole league to Philadelphia.
That's not to say Philadelphia's offensive line isn't good... They're fine. They were even top ten last year.
But an injury prone back... force-fed 400 carries... in a new system?
I'm just saying...