Monday, August 21, 2017

Fantasy Football Strategy

I just completed my first fantasy football draft and wanted to talk about it a bit. I haven't done nearly as much research as I usually do because there are so many good resources available now. In previous years I would obsessively watch every preseason game and scour all the information and final stats that I could find. Last year was the first year that I hadn't won a fantasy football league in decades, but it was also the first time in decades where I had only played in one league. I had the first pick in that draft, and against all of the advice available I picked David Johnson. This year picking him first overall doesn't seem as crazy. So let's talk about some basics of fantasy football draft strategy. I think these tips are helpful especially if you don't have one of the first two picks.

Want List

Fist thing I do is to make a want list of players that I feel have a lot of upside in the upcoming season. I also make a list of players I do not want. The upside players are ones that I feel could have a breakout year or could outperform projections. These are mostly late round fliers that could turn into next year's solid mid-round picks. The do not want list are players that I feel will underachieve based on the projections made. These are players I avoid unless the value becomes too good to pass up. I will also avoid players if I feel like they could miss more than 4 games. For these players I come up with a backup plan in case I end up drafting them anyway. These are the types of picks that can make or break your season. The experts aren't always right. Their projections give you a baseline to work with of what players might accomplish in the upcoming season.

Seeing the preseason roles of players helps to determine how much of an impact these players may have in the upcoming season. The first half of the 3rd preseason game is the most important one to watch for every team. This is usually the dress rehearsal for the first week of the season. I also pay attention to the depth charts for teams. Sometimes the experts will rank a backup higher than a starter for another team, or you may not know who will win the position battle by the time the draft begins. I don't like picking backups unless I want to handcuff a player that I already have as insurance.

Points System

This is perhaps the most important thing to look at before the draft begins. This can affect your whole draft strategy. If the league uses standard PPR or standard scoring then you can use the standard draft strategy. In the draft that I just completed the scoring system was skewed toward Quarterbacks and Receivers. This changes your whole draft strategy. Dual threat Running Backs are always going to be the most valuable, but with this scoring system 3rd down or passing down backs could have just as much value as rushing down backs. The system for this league gives half a point per completion and 1 point for every 20 yards passing. This makes Quarterbacks insanely high point players.

Determine Value

By value I mean the relative value one position has over the other players at that position. This will help determine how important it is to pick certain players based on their average draft position. This is why the first 2 picks this year have such a large advantage coming into this season. Bell and Johnson, the top 2 running backs, are projected to get about 100 more fantasy points than the number 3 running back in standard PPR. By contrast the top WR is projected to get around 15-20 more points in standard PPR, and then there are 8 more WRs that are projected to be within 15 points of each other. The top 3 QBs are within 10 points of each other, and 20 points ahead of the next 9 who are within about 20 points of each other. In the league I just drafted for the QB evaluations were different. The 3rd ranked QB was projected to get the most points in this system, and the top 3 QBs were projected to be 50 points ahead of the next one. That made me decide to pick a QB much earlier than I would have done otherwise. This is the most important factor in deciding your early draft strategy when everyone is picking players that they know.

Mock Drafts

Mock drafts are your friend when it comes to putting together a draft strategy. It lets you know which players are being reached for, and which players are falling down the draft boards. If there are players you absolutely have to draft then you can figure out where you can draft them to get the best value. This year in mock drafts I am seeing Christian Mccaffrey trending way up draft boards. Right now you would have to use a 2nd or 3rd round pick to get him. I think he is going to be a solid football player, but I'm not ready to say he is worth a 2nd or 3rd round pick. I ended up picking up Frank Gore because he dropped to the 10th round which is great value for a consistent 1,000 yard rusher even if father time may finally catch up to him this year. I was also in desperate need of a RB at that point because I was ultra stacked at WR and QB which are the two most valuable positions in this league.

My Draft

Please keep in mind that this league is heavily weighted toward pass catchers and even more heavily weighted toward Quarterbacks. We also had 7 bench spots in a 12 team league. The starter spots for this league are QB, RB, RB, WR, WR, Flex, TE, D/ST, and K.
  • QB - Drew Brees and Matthew Stafford
  • RB - Dalvin Cook, Frank Gore, Chris Thompson, Shane Vereen, and Jerick Mckinnon
  • WR - Jordy Nelson, Demaryius Thomas, Pierre Garcon, Kenny Britt, Torrey Smith, and Marquise Goodwin
  • TE - Greg Olsen
  • D/ST - Cardinals
  • K - Chris Boswell

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Writing Progress Updates

The Ghost Novella
Waiting on Cover Art

Virtual Wars: Running
First Draft: 45,136 words

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