23 August 2011

How to Dominate Your Fantasy Football League

This Was My Team in 2010.  Only Philip Rivers and Andre Johnson Were Drafted.
by Jacob Allen
Most people will tell you that the easiest most secure path to a fantasy football championship is preparing for, and executing the perfect draft. While there are many elements of truth to that theory, by no means is it the only way.

I personally don’t put all that much stock in the draft. I like to draft good players as much as the guy next to me and I’ve seen teams draft well…and win with the team they drafted, but each fantasy season is long. Things happen. If you play right…the championship is rarely won on draft day. It’s won with the little things in between.

Drafting players is only 1 of 3 ways to acquire talent. Free agency is the 2nd…and trading, my personal favorite is the 3rd. So before you go and label your season a boom or a bust when the last player of the last round gets picked…understand that that if you have a bad draft you can make up for it with relative ease two other ways.

The strategy for grabbing free agent is easy. Pay attention on Sunday. Throw out the notion that your waiver priority matters. It doesn’t. Usually in a rolling waiver format the reason why a certain team is #1 is because they have been paying the least amount attention. They won’t pay a lick of mind to next Sunday’s matchup until Saturday. That’s lucky for us because payday comes on Wednesday when players clear waivers in standard 2 day waiver rules.

Obviously your first 7 picks in the draft needs to fill out your starting roster (less the kicker).


What's next is what separates the men from the boys.

 My strategy is this:

Get Free Agents early and get them often.

Bye weeks don’t start until week 7, usually, so outside of a silly injury you are not going to need anybody on your bench until then anyways. I cant stress this enough. Shuffle! Shuffle! Shuffle! Don’t worry about picking up guys based on positional needs or balanced depth. Just grab guys that have the big weeks. Big week 1 games tell a lot.

When a white boy you’ve never heard of playing for fantasy black hole Cleveland named Peyton Hillis carries the rock 20 times and scores…well, you grab him every single time. If nothing else, just make him yours and see what he’s got next week. If he doesn’t bring it the following week…give him 1 more. He fails week 3…pink slip. But now we are only in week 4. We still have 3 weeks until the byes. The risk you take is almost nonexistent, but the reward is the 3rd best back in the league.

Do this with every single bench spot. Once you’re done drafting your starters start drafting players who are either the #1 at that position on their team (like Fred Jackson) or fills another team’s void. Do not be tricked into thinking the bench players you drafted will ever see the field. They won’t. If you do what I’m telling you to do, they will be LONG gone by the time you need to plug them in for a spot start.

The truth is that the picks that come after these first 7 really don’t matter. According to me they are going to be shuffled up first week anyways. Handcuffing is fine. Honestly I can’t really provide too much evidence against handcuffing your running backs, but what I noticed when I handicapped my backs was that that:

a.) You just wasted a pick on a guy you know does not have a shot at playing time unless somebody gets hurt. That’s not good. Plus even if he does assume all the carries at some point, he was not good enough to get them when there was a player in his way at the start of the season.

b.) These handcuffs are almost always not drafted and available at any time during the early to middle part of the season.

c.) I found myself drafting them, only to immediately lose patience when I realized I had a bench spot that served no purpose (outside of protection) and I could not do a single thing with besides wait. Nobody is interested in your handcuff backs so don't draft them. Trust me.

Jamaal Charles owners… Thomas Jones is not getting drafted. Neither is Michael Bush sitting behind DMF or Jason Snelling behind Turner. Etc.

The beginning of the season is when the breakout players are going to float to the surface. Especially in a shallow league, but it is more important to pay attention to them in a deeper league like the one we are about to have, 14 teamer where the talent is few and far between.

Here is a list of some of the players that have been available on the wire in fantasy football 2009 and 2010
  1. Jamaal Charles
  2. Miles Austin
  3. Mike Vick
  4. Peyton Hillis
  5. Jacob Tamme
  6. Ahmad Bradshaw
  7. Legarrette Blount
  8. Benjarvis Green-Ellis
  9. Mike Tolbert
  10. Stevie Johnson
  11. Brandon Lloyd
  12. Josh Freeman
Look for those guys. Take multiple chances weekly in an effort to find those guys and when you find one. Keep him and don’t hesitate….if he is better than your starter at that position start him. Early emotional decisions will bury you. If he’s better than your first round pick….start him. Until you find guys that you can see being on your team start to finish and through the playoffs….your bench is no more than a stack of poker chips. Risk chips in order to build your stack.

This brings us to the second way you can make up for a bad draft. Trading. For some strange reason people don’t consider trading a legitimate way to shape a fantasy roster. Not me, I love trading. Other people love trading too. There is an art to it, but before you can even think about your negotiations you have to know what guys are going to be willing to trade with you. My strategy is to make at least 1 deal with every team in my league. Some favor me, some favor them…but it will always favor you in the long run. Either you came out on top in a deal, or somebody owes you. I stress….it is VERY important for you to make one sided moves that help the person you are trading with more than it helps you. It builds good relationships. A few years back I tried to make moves that would swindle people, but that just did not work. Sure, I was able to make a few…but people notice. Help other managers. They will help you back.

Always make sure you find a reason on your end and their end to make the trade. Trying to force somebody to make a trade is bad form, and plain old won’t work. A lot of times a manager doesn't know they have a weak spot and it’s OK for you to let them know they do….just don’t make it seem like they have to fix the leak and they have to fix it right now with you. It’s their team and they can do whatever they want.

Here’s how I have been successful. I spend more time studying other peoples rosters than I do studying mine.  I know my guys…and anyways they are going to do what they are going to do. At any given moment I know every player on every teams roster…and I probably have a good read on how they are playing, should be playing, and if they need to be upgraded or not. This enables you to make a snap move at any time. You've already done the research.

What I try to do is all season long trade for players who were ranked top 20 overall players pre-draft. Trade anything to get these guys. My strategy is simple. Give up anything to get these guys. Trade 1 for 1, or 2 for 1, or even 3 for 1 to get them. No matter what you think…it’s an upgrade. That’s why they are ranked there. Target the guys who are ranked real, real, high. Don’t be afraid to go after them either, because they are available no matter what anybody says. Just proposing trades in the fantasy league are the worst way to make a trade. You have a 1 in 20 chance of it getting accepted. When you spot a trade that you know works for both sides

here’s what you do:

Tune in to part 2 to find out more


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