The Sports Bros.
How to win your fantasy football league in 12 easy steps
The NFL lockout is over and we're all so excited to have football back in our lives. But let's be honest — we love watching every game of the sport because of fantasy football.
Games are just so much more exciting when you're watching your guys battle it out. Fantasy football, like most things, is infinitely more fun when you're also winning. So allow us to give you some tips and suggestions that get you ready for your draft. If you listen to these tips and put them into practice, we guarantee absolute victory and dominance.
Do NOT draft a quarterback in the first round!
This one may be hard for some people to take. Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers and Michael Vick will be there tempting you, but I assure you, it's not the prudent move. Guys like Matt Schaub, Philip Rivers and Ben Roethlisberger put up very comparable — and sometimes better numbers — and you can get them in rounds four and later.
Take a reliable running back or stud wide receiver with your first pick. It's all about value. You'll get first round stats from a fourth, fifth or sixth round QB no problem. It will be much much harder to get the same production from a fifth round wide receiver than from one in the first round.Go with a combnation of Andre Johnson and Philip Rivers over a Drew Brees and Lee Evans pair any day. The exception is if you're in a snake draft and you're near the end and you're confident in a tandem. You won't get to pick again for 20 or so picks so you might need to make that leap.
Know your league settings
We were once in a draft that was had two starting quarterback spots, one that was also a points per reception league (PPR). We didn't realize it until round six. With 12 teams and every team needing two QBs, that's a total of 24 quarterbacks that will be started every week. And if you look at the above rule, we don't value QBs early. We were so curious when we started seeing QB after QB fly off the board. We just laughed and laughed and then realized the joke was on us. Set us back for a long in that league.
Don't let that happen to you! Check if there are bonuses for yardage gained, negative points for drops, points per reception and change your values on players accordingly.
Do Mock Drafts before the actual draft
Practice makes perfect. See where guys you really want are going so you know when you're going to need to draft them. Also, it'll get you familiar with your draft application so there's no confusion with your first round pick.
Two years ago, I (David) was all set to draft Frank Gore with a top five pick, but had looked ahead to my second round. I misclicked and ended up drafting Marques Colston as his first round pick. If I was familiar with the draft application, it was a problem that could have been avoided. (I did end up winning that league!)
This is a very broad rule, but important none the less. Pre-rank your players on the site. Choose a few guys that you really want. Strike some guys that you absolutely do not want. Look at some sleepers. This will help resolve a lot of late round stress.
If possible, know other owners' tendencies
Sometimes this is a bit harder to do because you may not know every owner in your league. But how many times have you been in a draft and you know that person right in front of you is going to take that pick you've been waiting for?
Are you drafting with a lot of Houston people? Expect Matt Schaub to go earlier than usual. Expect them to take Andre Johnson over Calvin Johnson. One of my buddies places higher value on Cowboys because he loves them. I know to expect them to go early so I don't count on them. Any leverage over owners is a good thing.
Don't take a kicker until the last round — if at all
Not one kicker is worth drafting outside of the last round. The top scoring kicker changes every single year. Their jobs are fickle.
Sometimes I think you should take a sleeper or a handcuff with the last pick and see how the rest of preseason shakes out. You may get lucky on a backup player getting a starting job. You can take care of the kicker the night before the first game.
Take note: Your league may require you to take at least one Defense and at least one Kicker, so make sure to check your league settings.
The late rounds are for picks with upside
Once you get your starting lineup set, not including K and DEF, you'll get a few in-between picks that can be starters. But in the final couple of rounds, it's almost like you're drafting players you know won't start and you'll probably end up cutting. Use these picks on rookies or players that might break through. You don't win fantasy football by drafting Stevie Johnson the year after he breakouts, you win getting the NEXT Stevie Johnson.
Don't be afraid to reach for your guy
This mostly applies to early rounds. Last year, Texans fans knew what Arian Foster was capable of before the season began, so a lot of us looked like geniuses when we reached for him in the second and third rounds. It wasn't where he was preranked, but if you're that confident in a guy, go up and get him.
Also, in the first round if you know you want Andre Johnson, don't be scared to take him fourth or fifth overall. He's a first round pick. Don't be a slave to the preranks. If you don't take him, someone else will.
Don't be afraid to stockpile at a position during the draft
Just because you already have two or three really good wide receivers, doesn't mean you can't snatch up another that you see some great value in. Simple math tells us that if you have a lot of WRs, someone is going to have a need there because they don't have enough. There's plenty of time to trade after most drafts. You can even make agreements during the draft.
Be aware of two back systems and short yardage speciality backs
The current state of the NFL running game is very frustrating to fantasy players. Very few running backs get the bulk of the carries and the goal line chances. Ray Rice owners have hated Willis McGahee for a very long time now. But you should know that both McGahee and Le'Rob McClain are not behind Rice any more. Do this kind of research.
Also, Matt Forte now has Marion Barber behind him on the depth chart. His goal line carries will be limited. Adrian Peterson, Maurice Jones-Drew, Arian Foster, Michael Turner and now Ray Rice look to get the bulk of the carries and goal line looks. Adjust the value you place on certain backs accordingly.
Use the draft chat to your advantage
If you're doing an online draft, use the chat function to leverage owners. Build up your picks, try and outsmart other owners by putting negative thoughts into their heads about players you want. Use smoke screens, get people second guessing their picks. Make yourself the authority figure.
We're not advocating being a jerk, but if you can trick an owner into making or not making a pick that goes in your favor just based on the chat, then it's a win for you.
Remember that fantasy football is won on the waiver wire and not at the draft
If you draft well, don't get complacent. Keep trying to make your team better. If you have what you consider a poor draft, don't get discouraged. There are always going to be players that come out of nowhere. Mike Vick went undrafted in just about every league last year and he ended up being an absolute stud. Stay up and stay alert.
Good luck to everyone in their drafts! Let us know if any of these tips helped. If you have any tips of your own feel free to drop them in a comment.