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Impeccable Tips On Winning your Fantasy Football League

Updated on August 10, 2012
Brady, Megatron, Gronk, McCoy are all studs, but when do you take them?
Brady, Megatron, Gronk, McCoy are all studs, but when do you take them? | Source

Most people I've talked to have always wondered how do you win a fantasy football league. I have always told them that there is no blueprint in winning. There is always uncertainty and unpredictability. There is no correct way to win a league. You win it how you win it. If you play in as many head-to-head leagues as I play in, you know the grind of it. You know how when you play someone and you lose, but you would have beat them if you faced them in the previous week? You know the grind. I will give you in-depth, impeccable tips on how to win your league.

Always make your own rankings

I stress "always." Never let the predetermined rankings from ESPN, yahoo, etc., cloud your judgment. If you are an ESPN guy like me, you know they have a Pre-Draft Player Rankings option you can use. I strongly advise you to use that and make your own rankings from it. This is so you can get the guys you are high on and want, and the predetermined rankings don't define your draft. The biggest reason why I say this is because many fantasy players make the mistake of making draft decisions based on those rankings. Those rankings can misguide you. Many drafts have been ruined simply because they were using the predetermined rankings to decide who to pick and missed out on the player that they really wanted. There is no worse feeling after the draft than having a team you are not comfortable with. Make your own rankings so you can get your type of guys. Just looking at the ESPN rankings so far, I'm the type of guy who would absolutely rank A.J. Green, Wes Welker, Jimmy Graham, and Rob Gronkowski over Andre Johnson. Andre Johnson burned fantasy owners last year. He's not getting me this time. If you are just using the predetermined rankings, you'd probably pick Andre in the first round or early second round because he's ranked 11th, but even picking AJ Green in the top 15 isn't a bad pick even though he's ranked 26th. Don't think for a second that A.J. won't go before 26, because he will. I'd take him top 10 if I had the 9th or 10th pick over Andre. That's my ranking. Make your own.

Romo Value

This is the type of guy in the draft that can always be found in the draft later than you initially thought, yet he puts up the same type of numbers as guys that went a round or two before him. Romo is seemingly in this spot every year. Look for guys with Romo Value. Greg Jennings is a guy to target. It seems as if in every draft I've been in, Greg Jennings falls a round lower than he should go. Greg Jennings has been one of the most consistent fantasy players and can give you Larry Fitz numbers, and you can probably get him in Round 3. I can pretty much guarantee he falls in Round 3 because many will look at what he did last season with the injury and the emergence of Jordy Nelson. I don't expect Nelson to repeat. I expect Greg Jennings to give you around 1200 yards and 9 TDs. That's about what Fitz will get, but without the first round price. Matt Forte is a guy who I think will join that list. I have no doubt this situation in Chicago will be resolved, but I still don't think that will assuage many fantasy owners when it comes to Forte. From his knee concerns to his dispute with the Bears' brass, Forte will most certainly not be picked at #18 in most drafts. I doubt that he will even go top 30, unless you are in one of those leagues where owners don't show up and auto-draft kicks in. I think Forte would fall, and you should be there to pounce on him. Personally, I have Forte ranked as a top 10 player, but I think you can get him for Romo Value. Let's just think about this for a moment. Matt Forte has amassed 1400+ all-purpose yards in every single year he's been in the league. If you are in a PPR league, you know what type of monster this guy is. He has also caught 50+ balls in each season he's been in the league. He gets you plenty of rushing yards and receiving yards, and you can get this guy for Romo Value. He might not get you many TDs, but he will get you plenty of yards. If you see this guy on the board in Round 3, in which I think you will, draft this guy without hesitation. This is a #1 RB that you just got in Round 3. Other players with Romo Value:

Michael Vick

Eli Manning

Steve Smith(CAR)

Percy Harvin

Antonio Brown

Jason Witten(PPR Leagues)

Fred Davis

Malcom Floyd

Jeremy Maclin

Miles Austin

Never take a QB before Round 5

Speaking of Romo Value, this is exactly why I don't take a QB before Round 5. You can always get Romo. If you were like me who picked Eli in Round 7 in most leagues last season, you got great value. If you took Stafford in the 9th or 10th round, you got absolutely ridiculous value. Don't be afraid to take risks on young QBs like Luck and RGIII. The NFL has become a passer-friendly league. I'm honestly not touching a QB until the 7th round. I rather take my chances on RGIII or Luck than taking Rivers in Round 4. Now this is not to say that you completely dismiss Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, or Brees. If you want those guys, then by all means, take them, but I'd strongly advise against it. Get you an RB there. Seriously, look at the RB and WR pool. After the first 10 or so each, it starts to get unpredictable. I don't like unpredictable at RB or WR, and you shouldn't either. I'd take my first four picks on RBs and WRs with RBs being the highest priority. If you are in a 10 or 12 team league, what sense does it make to take a QB before Round 5? If the league is only 10 or 12 teams, and if everybody showed up to the draft, you know you should get a top 12 QB, so there's no need to reach. A top 12 fantasy QB coupled with two great RBs and WRs is a fast track to winning the league. I realize that Brees, Brady, Rodgers put up staggering numbers and are better than most, but what's to say that another Cam Newton or Stafford can't emerge? Cam Newton was not much worse than any of the top 3, and he wasn't even on the radar in fantasy pre-draft. There could be more Newton's and Stafford's this year. See Luck. I'd definitely take a chance on him. Elite prospect who has some nice weapons. Reggie Wayne may be old, but he can have a Steve Smith-like resurgence like we saw with Cam. There's no pressing need to go QB early. What's to say that Romo couldn't be the #1 QB in fantasy? Eli? Rivers? Ryan? Any of them could be #1 in fantasy at any given moment. Don't waste an early pick on Brees, Brady, or Rodgers when you can get those type of guys later. I do realize that the top 3 are so much better than the rest, but that doesn't mean they can't have down seasons or that tier 2 or 3 fantasy QBs can step up and put up tier 1 numbers in this passer-friendly league.

Be cognizant of your surroundings

This should be something that you should be doing anyway and it's something that you should already know. It's really quite simple. Be aware of what's around you. Know who are the easiest people to trade with and know who are the toughest people to trade with. I don't think I have to tell you that you should avoid trading with anyone that's tough to trade with. You may really want a player of theirs badly, but never give in. Try not to think with a grass is always greener mentality. Avoid these people at all costs in trades. More often than not, you will end up paying much more than you anticipated. It doesn't matter if the player has not performed to expectations. A person who is tough to trade with will always be tough to trade with regardless of how worthless the player is.

During drafts, always be mindful of the competition picking ahead of you and behind you. Look at their teams and see who they have. If you need a QB and the guy(s) behind you needs one, it's probably best to go ahead and get a QB when it's your pick. If the guy(s) behind you already have a QB, you can hold out for one more pick and can get Romo Value with your next pick. Always be mindful of what's going on around you. You can get Romo Value just by paying attention to your competition, especially if you have two picks within five picks of each other. Make sure you grab certain players that you want that more than likely won't be there the next time you pick when your picks are far apart. Even if it looks like a reach based on the predetermined rankings(rankings you probably shouldn't be paying attention to anyway), go ahead and pick that guy. If you have the first pick in the draft or the last pick in the first round, you will be forced to do this quite often. You know that certain player will be gone within the next 15 or so picks, so go ahead and grab that guy. You have to always think ahead.

Don't overrate handcuffs

Many people waste draft picks on handcuffs. The reason I say not to do it is that handcuffs change constantly and are too unpredictable. Remember, you shouldn't like unpredictable. Whether it's the coach, injury, or etc., handcuffs change constantly and are too unpredictable. It's nice to get great games from Ben Tate when Arian Foster goes down, but that's something you don't want to rely on. The premise of having a handcuff is if the main guy goes down or if that handcuff vultures TDs. Well, what if the main guy doesn't go down, and what if the handcuff isn't getting many TDs either? It's just a waste of a start in your line up. It's nice when you can luck into a Reggie Bush, but that's relying on the unpredictable. If you can get your handcuff reasonably late, then grab him, but don't waste a valuable pick on a handcuff like Ben Tate or Felix Jones. It's not worth it. Get you a starter with that pick.

Follow the sport religiously

This should be obvious, right? Well yeah, you might want to do this though. I've known a lot of people who don't. That's a good way to finish in last place. You might want to watch some NFL football, go look at some stats, go to some team sites, and look at some tape. Most of this stuff is available on the internet, you know? You need to do these things so you can pick up guys like DeMarco Murray and Victor Cruz, or draft guys like Rob Gronkowski. There were raves about Gronk during training camp last season before the breakout. Hard to believe a guy like that was going in the 10th round in most drafts. This guy was all of 21 years old and caught 42 balls for 546 yards and a whopping 10 TDs in his rookie season. The TD upside was there, so you know with his TD upside alone, he should have been going higher in drafts. With Moss out of the picture, it's no surprise that Gronk became a viable weapon. Of course, nobody thought he would set the NFL TD record for TEs in what was arguably the greatest season for a TE ever. Gronk was someone that Brady could trust, and it worked out tenfold for owners who got Gronk late. If you watched Giants' games like I did, you saw how much Eli Manning trusted Cruz. That was all the info I needed to scoop up Cruz. When a QB trusts a receiver, by all means, pick that receiver up right away if he's on the wire. The guys that a QB loves the most, are guys you should love the most, and guys you should own. Sleepers can always be found if you follow this sport closely.

Be on the lookout for my fantasy football sleepers hub coming soon. I can help you find the next Gronk.


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    • ShootersCenter profile image


      6 years ago from Florida

      Good hub, I play ff very much the same, no qb until round 6-7, very few handcuffs. I like young or rookie rb and qb, they seem to come on late in the season.

    • GiancarloLorenzo profile imageAUTHOR

      Ray Williams 

      6 years ago from Little Rock, Arkansas

      Thanks guys.

    • theframjak profile image


      6 years ago from East Coast

      Great advice. I love the term Romo Value.

    • FF Commish profile image

      FF Commish 

      6 years ago from Milwaukee, WI

      Very nice Hub.


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