ITS ABOUT TO GO DOWN!! If you are the seasoned veteran Fantasy Footballer, then you already know the basics to success! This article will give you tips,hits and a refresher in just what you need to dominate your 2012 Fantasy Draft and Leagues! If this is your 1st- Fantasy Football experience, here are the basics to get you going. Fantasy football is basically this: you join a league with other owners, draft a group of NFL players to fulfill certain position requirements, and then each week during the NFL regular season you face off against another person in a head-to-head matchup. Your team earns points based on your players' performance in the real NFL games. If you outscore your opponent, you win; it is that simple. Fantasy Football is extremely addicting, you've been warned rookie!
Pre Draft: Strategy and rankings
Make sure you do your homework! If you don't print out rankings or read up on players, I guarantee you will not have a competitive Fantasy team. There are no bad Fantasy owners except the ones who don't take the time to try. Take time to evaluate players and select your targets before your league's draft. Come up with your own rankings and strategy ahead of time so your not rushing around last second. Dont worry about straying off your strategy from time to time, but try to stick with your original plan. No matter how many "expert" opinions you may hear or read, the bottom line is that it is your team, I can't make the picks for you. Its all up to you, so my suggestion is to value the players as you see fit in your rankings. Those "experts" aren't always right, believe me.
We talked about having a strategy earlier, here is what I mean. Depending on where you are picking in the first round, who will you target? An elite RB, a WR or a QB? With the 7-elite Quarterbacks (Brady,Rodgers,Brees,Stafford,E.Manning,Romo,Newton) then a considerable drop off, do you want to target one of them in the early rounds? With a select class of elite fantasy Wide Receivers, how many do you want to make sure you draft? With so much depth at the Tight End position, do you want to draft an elite one, or wait till the later rounds? All of these are important questions that you must take into account when drafting.
Draft: Take chances in the late rounds
Taking chances and risks in the early rounds is a recipe for disaster, taking them in the late rounds is a recipe for success. If you draft veterans in the late rounds, you aren't doing yourself any favors, because they have virtually no upside. Taking chances on rookies and young players with upside in the late rounds is the way to go. There are no bad upside picks in the late rounds because if they don't pan out, its to the Waiver Wire you go! Don't be afraid to take chances late in your draft, Rookies make great gambles but some tend to reach to high. (Richardson for instance has to play Ravens,Steelers and Bengals defenses x2 could spell for disaster if taken to early).
Preseason: What to watch and what not to
The key things to watch for in training camp and the preseason are injuries, holdouts and who is stepping into a larger role in their team's offense. Teams are very often vague about players' injuries in the preseason, so monitor a player's progress when recovering from an early injury and players coming into training camp recovering from last years problems. Fantasy owners should not read too much into preseason stats. Often times, the huge performances we see in the preseason are coming against second string defenses and players who will not make their team's rosters. The guys to watch are players like Chargers RB Ryan Mathews and WR Pierre Garcon - examples of players who are stepping into larger roles in their teams offenses.
In season management: Wavier Wire HOT Picks
Draft went great, now its time get to work checking that waiver wire! The wavier wire is a treasure chest loaded with hidden gems if you know where to look. Injuries and depth chart adjustments can turn a player with no value but a ton of upside into serious fantasy assets quickly. Keep tabs on the top performers from the previous week; if they are worth a pickup, do not be afraid to get them.
In season management: Bye weeks and injuries
The number one rule in Fantasy Football is that you never start a player on a bye week. Fantasy owners need to be aware of when they are, and have a replacement ready to fill in. Same thing with injuries; if a player is unlikely to play he will be listed as (Questionable or Doubtful) and is better off on your bench unless your 100% sure he will play. One tricky aspect of fantasy football is when it comes to injuries and the late west coast games. If a player is an injury question mark and is playing in one of the later games of the day, you are better off sitting him in favor of a healthy player than finding out five minutes before the late game that your injured player is out, leaving you with no backup to play.
In season management: Trading: Buy Low, Sell High
If you know anything about the stock market, you are aware of the basic philosophy: Buy low, sell high. When is the right time to buy when you are talking about fantasy players? The right time is when you see a player is being undervalued. If the player is truly better than his current value, his "stock" will eventually rise and reflect his true value. When looking to trade, identify players who are undervalued, and that you believe can turn it around to help your fantasy squad. When is the right time to sell? The right time to sell is when a player's value is at its peak (especially if they are overachieving).
In season management: Trading: Trade from a strength
A big problem (especially for new fantasy owners) is knowing where to start when making a trade offer. The answer is that you always want to deal from a position of strength. You want to make a deal that will strengthen your weaknesses by trading away some of your strengths. For example if you are in need of a wide receiver, trading your backup quarterback to a team in need of a starter for one of his wide receivers makes sense.
Hopefully some of these tips help and remember that Fantasy Football is ALOT of luck, but putting yourself in the best possible position to succeed is all you can really do. Wishing everybody the best of luck this year and remember TO ALWAYS YELL LOUDER THEN THE OTHER GUY or GIRL!!