Since virtually all Fantasy Football leagues (FFL) are done on the web, this article is targeted towards the various websites that offer FFL. We will split the article into different sections, so if you’re a Rookie, or a Seasoned Vet, you can go directly to the parts you need the most.
1) Join a Private or Public League – A Private league is a league usually set up by a Seasoned Vet and they send out invitations to people they want in the league. A Public league is open to anyone to join. You can find these on Yahoo, ESPN, CBSSports and about a million other sites.
2) Is this a Head-to-Head or Total Points league? – Head to Head means that you play against another team in your league each week and who ever has the most points for that matchup wins. You will then have playoffs and even a Championship Game. A Total Points league simply calculates the total number of points all of your players accumulate throughout the season and the team who has the most points at the end of the season wins the league championship. (Head to head is a lot more fun. You get to talk some serious trash each week.)
3) Look at the scoring rules – This is very important, since the scoring in your league can be very different then the next. One league can have a Passing TD as 6 points, while another only 4. Some leagues award 1 point for each reception a WR/ RB & TE make, while others only allow for yards and TDs.
4) Pre-Rank your players – Each league will have a draft before the season begins. Once you have looked through the scoring rules and determined what players and positions will be the most valuable in you league, you will need to Pre-Rank your players before the draft starts, preferably a few weeks ahead of time. Most websites actually Pre-rank them for you and will allow you to modify the list to your personal settings.
5) Draft Time – After all you hard work and research, it’s time to get some guys on your team. If you have Pre-Ranked your players correctly, should have mostly QBs & RBs in the first few rounds, then followed by RBs, TEs, Defense/ Special Teams and finally, Kickers. Be sure to check out if a player has been injured during the pre-season, is in a contract dispute, or is suspended. Players who will only miss a week or two will be fine, but don’t waste a draft pick on a guy who was injured in a pre-season game, and will miss the whole year.
6) Week 1 – All the guys you thought were going to have big years, have a horrible first week and a RB you never heard of gets 200 yards and 3 TDs. Don’t worry, it happens every single year. If you picked guys who have produced in the past, chances are they’ll have another good year, but if there is a guy who comes out of nowhere, and dominates in the first regular season NFL game of his life, don’t be afraid to drop a guy and pick him up if you’re in need at that position. Just ask anyone in the last 5 years or so about Marques Colston, Eddie Royal, Willie Parker, or “the other” Steve Smith.
7) The rest of the season – Evaluate your teams ability to produce. Don’t keep a guy, just because you like him. If you cut him from your FFL team, I’m sure he’ll survive. Good luck!
So, you’ve been playing FFL for how long? Emmitt Smith was a rookie on my first FFL team. Since no websites kept track of this stuff, I would have to get the Monday and Tuesday morning paper to check the box scores, then manually calculate all the Passing, Receiving, Rushing, Defensive & Kicking stats for each team in my league and determine a winner each week. After 20 years of FFL, here are some of the things I’ve learned:
1) Draft some second string guys. I’ve been the commissioner of a keeper league the last few years. The first year, I was really weak @ RB towards then end of the draft. I looked at the depth charts to see which 1st String RBs would most likely be injured first. I looked at these three guys: Ahmad Green (Houston), Lendell White (Tennessee) and Willis McGahee (Baltimore) and decided to draft their backups. The three back ups were Steve Slaton, Chris Johnson & Ray Rice. Need I say more.
2) Keeper leagues are overrated. Football is such as violent sport, guys get injured all the time. My keepers rarely stay the same year after year. The “new guy” last year, didn’t have any keepers and finished third in our league.
3) Don’t underestimate Top Tier TEs. Most head to head leagues have about 10-12 teams. That means that every FFL team will probably have a top tier QB & RB. In 2009, 10 QBs threw over 4,000 yards and 18 QBs had over 20 TD passes. 15 RBs ran for over 1,000 yards and 12 RBs had over 10 rushing TDs. 20 WR had over 1,000 yard receiving, but only three TEs had over 1,000 yards. You can land one of “The Big 3” TEs and still get a 1,000 yard receiver in the next round or two. Getting one of the a “Big 3” Tight Ends is like getting a Fourth 1,000 receiver. TE fanatasy value really drops off after the “Big 3” are off the table.
4) Don’t overestimate WRs. Unless you are in a point-per-reception league, don’t waste a top pick on a WR. Even if you are in a point-per-reception league, look for a RB who gets thrown to a lot before picking a WR. They can have very up and down games.
5) Don’t underestimate Defense & Kickers. The best defenses and kickers can usually crack the top 10-15 in scoring in a lot of leagues. Not bad, considering nobody usually picks them until 100’s of other players are already picked.
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