Did you know that fantasy football has been around for 50 years?
Back in 1962, during a cross-country trip for the Raiders, the late Wilfred “Bill” Winkenbach, an Oakland area businessman and a limited partner in the Oakland Raiders, along with Raiders Public Relations man Bill Tunnel and Tribune reporter Scotty Starling, developed the basis of modern fantasy football. So, fantasy football began in a New York City with three men from Oakland who founded the GOPPPL (Greater Oakland Professional Pigskin Procrastinators League) with a total of eight teams.
The rest, as they say, is history. The Internet gave fantasy that final push that made fantasy football a phenomenon. It’s so popular that here we are, bracing ourselves for another NFL season but are looking more forward to our fantasy teams than the actual games. Needless to say, fantasy football is a big deal, and we can use as much help as possible, or at least think we do.
So, as many of us begin prepping, here are seven tips to help you draft a winning team.
7. Leave Your Allegiances at the Door
This is extremely difficult, especially if you bleed your team’s colors, but remember, fantasy is all about winning and not being loyal to your particular team. If you’re a Giants fan, would you pass up a Drew Brees for Eli Manning? Would you not draft LeSean McCoy because he’s in Philly? Staying too loyal to your time in real life won’t get your fantasy team anywhere.
6. When to Draft a QB, RB, and WR
Unless the QB is Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady or Drew Brees, it’s best to wait for a quarterback for a later round. Also, it’s usually the norm to pick two RBs within your first three selections, since stud running backs are few and far between, not to mention that they can earn you a lot of points on game day. Receivers, on the other hand, are plentiful, and, yes, these include tight ends. There are more than enough WRs to fill out your roster who can be taken during later rounds.
5. Keep Up On News
There’s no excuse not to be updated on the latest NFL and fantasy news. We all have access to to the Internet where we can get 24/7 updates. We need these updates to be aware of any injuries, contract disputes, coaching changes, etc. Any of these scenarios could, and will, alter your draft plans.
4. Take the Best Player Available
There’s a debate amongst fantasy players: do you take the best player available or do you feel out your roster? There are pros and cons to both, but we’re leaning towards best available. Ask yourself this question: would you take a kicker over a solid running back, even if you already have two or three? What’s the harm? Running backs have a tendency to get hurt, or you could use that RB in a trade. Remember, that in fantasy, the overall idea is that it’s not how many points a player scores, but by how much he outscores his peers at his particular position. So, draft players to accomplish that task.
3. Make Multiple Projections (Cheat Sheets)
This is part of the insanity and fun that is fantasy football—the prepping before the actual draft, and the best way to prep yourself is to make projections, or cheat sheets, of your fantasy team. However, before we go further, remember that projections can change depending on your league’s scoring rules, the number of teams in your league, the number of players you’re required to start at each position, and how many fantasy points these three players scored relative to every other player at their position.
Once you know these guidelines, you can go ahead and make a spreadsheet with every draftable player. Then, research their value with projections, which will eat up hours. From there, you should have an idea on who you want on your team. Of course, things change, so you should also have alternate picks just in case.
2. Prep and Research
This obviously goes hand-in-hand with making your own projections. Not only you should be up-to-date with NFL and fantasy news, but you also need to sink your teeth into anything and everything that is fantasy football. Investigate numerous projections. Compare players stats from last season. Know when players have bye weeks. Why draft a second QB who has the same by week as your starter? Also do this for the rules and guidelines for your league. In short, you need to squeeze as much knowledge about football, both in reality and fantasy, as you can in that brain of yours. You need to know what you’re getting into.
1. Don’t Rely Too Much on Last Year’s Stats
Stats from last season are great starting points, but they shouldn’t determine how to draft your team. Current projections are based on the end of last year’s performances, which doesn’t mean that those players will have the same stats once the new season kicks off.
Sure. There are always consistent players like Tom Brady, Drew Brees, and Arian Foster, but some players have great years and fall off, ahem Peyton Hillis. You want to look for consistency and not at just what you saw during one season. If you dug deep, you’ll shockingly discover that more than half of players will not repeat their stellar performances from the previous season.
Image Source: Gridiron West
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