By Joe Osborne
It’s that time of year again. The air is getting a little bit cooler, people are running out of vacation days and the NFL season is weeks away. The game within the game of fantasy football has become just as popular as the game itself, so I thought I’d drop some knowledge and basic tips for all you fantasy football virgins out there. The draft isn’t only the funnest part of playing fantasy football, it’s also the most important, so here’s a few suggestions to help you draft smart.
– Know when teams have a bye week: The last thing you want is a team filled with players who have the same bye week. Use strategy when selecting your back-ups, especially your QB, to make sure they’re available to play when your other players are off. With this said, don’t pick too many players who are on the same team, or you could end up with getting a serious beat down during their week off.
– Know who’s injured or suspended: On the day of your draft check out each teams injury report to see what impact players could miss time. If you don’t check, it’s more than likely that the dicks in your league won’t tell you. Top level fantasy players like Ben Rothlisberger or Vincent Jackson should be very low in your draft rankings, as they’ll be missing some games at the start of the season. If they dip too far in your draft though, pick them up, as they’ll make for great backups.
– Do your homework, but not too much homework: Spending time researching the upcoming season is good, but spending too much time reading different guides and different websites will only confuse you. The guys at ESPN might have Marion Barber as a sleeper, while a guy from Sports Illustrated will tell you to stay away. Man up, and go with your gut when picking your team. A small percentage of these ‘experts’ actually do offer substantial advice. Last year no one predicted that Ray Rice or Miles Austin would be top fantasy players, but they were. The point is, go with who you like, not with some jackass’s predictions that probably won’t pan out.
– Pick your kicker last: Anyone who picks a kicker before the last round is an idiot. Why? Because the top 10 kickers are never separated by too many points. Try to grab a guy who has a late bye week so you can hold on to him for a while.
– Play mind games with people in your league: Try to talk up a big name player who you think will have a poor season. For example, say this to a dumb ass that you’re drafting against. – “I think Terrell Owens will have a big comeback this year, and has a good chance of leading the league in touchdowns.” This may entice the dumb ass to pick him well before we should get drafted, thus improving your chances of getting a player you want.
– Aim for players with a high upside: Use the later rounds to go after guys who aren’t superstars, but have the potential to be. Every superstar has one breakout season. Snagging a guy like Mike Wallace or Matthew Stafford in the later rounds has a low risk, high reward probability.
– Last but not least: If you have the first pick in your draft, don’t over think it – pick Chris Johnson. CJ was the top fantasy player last year, and had 60 more points than any other running back (In ESPN standard scoring).
That’s it! Remember to have fun and try to pick a well balanced team. Good luck, and make sure to check back during the season for more fantasy updates and advice!
Joe Osborne is a sports and entertainment enthusiast who resides in Halifax, Nova Scotia. To read more stories like this, visit WhatUpSports.wordpress.com, or you can follow Joe on Twitter @TheJoeOsborne.