Blog Entry

The Secret to winning your fantasy league!

Posted on: August 9, 2009 2:36 am
Edited on: August 9, 2009 3:35 pm

So the one secret to winning is....

By: Christopher Torola

That there is no one secret that works. I have heard every publication or pair of knuckleheads on a podcast touting everything from "Draft the Opposite" to "The Magic Formula". They also claim to have mathematic proof and historical data to prove that their method works... the trouble though is that "Draft the Opposite" tells me to always draft wide receivers and quarterbacks ahead of running backs so you have the pick of the litter at those positions, and "The Magic Formula" was basically telling me that I have to take as many running backs as I can start with my first picks, since they score the most points. If they both have proof that their systems work the best, how can they be the complete opposite strategies?

So I have decided to put my strategy right here on this blog, and may even claim that it is the only sure fire way to win... why not? Everyone else is doing it. The trouble is, I like to look at drafts in many different ways.  You have to take into effect the different variables like, scoring system, league size, draft position, trends, possible injuries, the average barometric pressure and how they effect quarterback's passer ratings, and the other owner's temperament. Sadly, I don't actually have a system that will work with when taking all those variables into consideration... Instead, here is a list of some tips that have worked for me in the past.

- Watch for steep drops in talent on a given year and actually use tiers for the different positions. For example this year there seems to be a sharp drop in talent after both the first 4-5 running backs and the first 5-8 wide receivers. So if you are in a 12 team league, and you have the 12th and 13th picks in a snake draft, go ahead and take 2 WR or a WR and a QB.

Using the CBS average draft position or ADP: if you went with the top 2 RB's you would most like get 2 of  - Chris Johnson ADP 11, Marion Barber III ADP 17, or Brian Westbrook ADP 18.  With your next 2 picks, 36th and 37th, your QBs and WRs are the likes of Dwayne Bowe ADP 36, Kurt Warner ADP 37, Terrell Owens ADP 37, Wes Welker ADP 37, and Tony Romo ADP 39.

On the other hand, at 12th and 13th pick you can get WR and QBs like - Tom Brady ADP 12, Andre Johnson ADP 13, Randy Moss ADP 15, or Peyton Manning ADP 16. When it comes back around to picks 36 and 37 your available RBs are - Kevin Smith ADP 34, Larry Johnson ADP 40, Darren McFadden ADP 41 and Marshawn Lynch ADP 47.

Given these 2 options which team would you rather have after 4 picks? Team A - Marion Barber III, Brian Westbrook, Kurt Warner and Wes Welker or Team B - Andre Johnson, Peyton Manning, Larry Johnson and Darren McFadden? Need a hint? CBS projects Team A to score 847 total points and Team B to score 875 total points.

This works the same way for the running backs. If you have a top pick, you are going to want to take guys like Adrian Peterson, Matt Forte, and Maurice Jones-Drew. Say your favorite guy is Tom Brady and you have the number 3 pick. You know he won't be there when it gets back to you, but Phillip Rivers and Aaron Rodgers will be. If you take Brady with the 3rd pick, your RBs that make it back to you are in the class of Ryan Grant and Ronnie Brown. The difference between Brady's projected fantasy points - 325 and Phillip Rivers - 318, is 7 on the year. The difference between Matt Forte, 196, and Ronnie Brown, 154, is 42 fantasy points.

- Avoid joining player runs. This goes back to the tiers and drops in talents, but if in the 5th round of a 10 team league some one right after you takes Jason Witten, and before it gets back to you Antonio Gates, Dallas Clark, Tony Gonzalez, and Greg Olsen are taken as well. You could take Chris Cooley with your 6th round pick to make sure you get one of the better tight ends, trouble with that, is Cooley should be able to go another round or two before you need to get him. Instead you could take Chad Ochocinco, Matt Schaub, Jay Cutler or Santonio Holmes.

- Don't be afraid to start runs. In the last example it was good to be the guy the grabbed Jason Witten, just don't do it too early or it won't become a run, just a bad pick. If it works you got the best player at the position and forced everyone else to follow suit. This will generally only work with TEs and the mid-level QBs.

- Pay attention to draft averages and spot some underrated talent. Pick a couple guys to watch that look to out perform their average draft positions and target them. An example could be Cedric Benson. His ADP is 73rd and he is set to run the ball in with for the Bengals, a team that just lost T.J. Houshmandzadeh and does not have a RB by committee. 

- Load up on proven commodities in the middle rounds. Its fun to pick guys who are about to break out, but it is hard to get it right. Knowshon Moreno and LenDale White are both being drafted around the 57th pick. It is true that Moreno could break out, but chances are better he won't. White on the other hand has been getting better year by year, and he was more than serviceable last year.

- Go Bill Belichick if you can get away with it. Anyone feel like trading draft picks? If you can find someone to take the 7th overall pick from you for their 2nd and 3rd round picks... go for it. Then see if you can trade one of your two 3rd round picks for a 4th and a 5th round pick. The way I see it, two 2nd rounders, a 3rd rounder, two 4th and 5th rounders are better then just one pick every round. Good luck pulling this off; however, its a good lesson to apply to auction leagues as well. Spread your money out on good wide outs and 2nd tier running backs, avoid the few huge dollar guys. Since I called it Belichicking, i guess you should also tape your competition doing mock drafts.

- Take chances in the later rounds. Ok you got all your starters drafted, even have a good back up QB, RB, and WR. Sure Isaac Bruce is still available, but why not take a rookie wide receiver. Bruce or a player like him would be o.k., but you will never want to start him, not even on a bye week. If you take a late chance you might end up with this years DeSean Jackson.

-Lastly, and most importantly, take your kicker with your last pick. Nothing more needs to be said about that.




Since: Oct 30, 2006
Posted on: August 15, 2009 11:17 am

The Secret to winning your fantasy league!

I'd ask the Commish to reopen the vote at least until a MAJORITY has voted.  It should be up to him to contact the other owners for their input.  It needs to be in the rules as to what constitutes an "official" vote.  If a majority accepts it, then you'll have to live with their decision.  In my league, we appoint 3 knowledgeable people (not in our league) to handle situations like this.  Owners know that it will never pass and usually don't even try to get away with any garbage.  Good Luck!!

Since: Aug 15, 2009
Posted on: August 15, 2009 10:19 am

The Secret to winning your fantasy league!

I'm new at this so be patient if this isn't the right place to pose this question. I just joined a FFL League a month ago and we already drafted. It looked competitive at first, but the commissioner made a trade giving S.Moss and N.Washington for L.Fitz and DeSean Jackson. I voted against it but since only 3 of us voted (all against) the trade passed. This looked very, very questionable!! I didn't appreciate it too much and what suggestions does anyone have for me? How can I relay the message (subtly) since the commish is my Brother-in-Law to the rest of  the League that this was unfair?

Since: Oct 30, 2006
Posted on: August 14, 2009 4:38 pm

The Secret to winning your fantasy league!

Draft with your head and not with your heart.  Championships are rarely won in the first couple of rounds of the draft but they can definitely be lost there.  Getting consistency at RB and WR in the early rounds, then getting value at every pick thereafter.  Don't waste mid-round picks on Kickers and Defenses.  Pre-season projections on kickers are worthless.  Year-end discrepancies in team defense scoring are sometimes significant, but almost impossible to predict.  Draft a D late in your draft and watch the waiver wire for "hot" d's and favorable matchups.  Same goes for Kickers.  Spend those mid to late round picks on guys with huge upside or "home-run" potential.  Back-up RB's that play behind injury prone studs.  Having a very deep bench could also help you pull off a great trade to solidify your starting lineup.

One last tip.....Stay away from Michael Turner.  Have you seen his stats vs. Top 15 defenses?  Much tougher schedule this year compared to the cupcakes he saw in 08-09. 

Since: Dec 4, 2007
Posted on: August 12, 2009 4:31 pm

The Secret to winning your fantasy league!

After doing my first real draft this year I learned something interesting. I had pick 11 in a twelve team draft. I took Steven Jaskson, a bit of a man crush for me, despite my plan of going WR with my first 2 picks. By the time it got back to me in the 3rd WR were vastly diminished. On the other hand, there were still very good RBs left. Pierre Thomas, Larry Johnson, and Darren McFadden all went in the 4th round. Kevin Smith, LenDale White, and Joseph Addai dropped to the 5th.

Since: Jul 31, 2007
Posted on: August 11, 2009 12:01 pm

The Secret to winning your fantasy league!

There's no secret to winning Fantasy Sports Leagues other than "SHOWING" up each week but the following can be helpful:

a).  Monitor how the Wavier Wire is being "EXPLOITED" each period within your league (s) by the fantasy cheats

[the top 1 - 6 positions never change while the bottom 6 positions are rotated each period between the teams with the leagues "WORSE" records {"LOSING TEAMS"} and among those whom the Cheats deem a serious threat of actually winning the Divison/CHAMPIONSHIP]

b).  Concentrate more on your roster than the asinine trades [ie., 3 for 1 dummy trades, STUDS for DUDS, Multi trades between the same 2 or 3 teams/owners, etc.] that occur.

c).  It's Sports and people get hurt in Sports:  for every Albert Pujols/Larry Fitzgerald's [those whom it seems just keep clugging along] there will be 100 Justin Upton's/Reggie Bush's/Justin Duchscherer's [those whom seem to get hurt every tim the wind direction shifts], so don't be afraid to go into unchartered waters, Try an "UNKNOWN" players, ROOKIES help winning programs continue their winnings ways!

I've won My share of Fantasy Championships over the years and I have yet to take part in a "SINGLE TRADE"!

But more importantly remember to have fun [after all when you really get down to it, it's you against the system & not you against the abusers of the system]!

If you have to "CHEAT" at Life, Half your Life is already OVER!

Since: Oct 11, 2007
Posted on: August 11, 2009 11:47 am

The Secret to winning your fantasy league!

I have seen a huge drop off of talent after the top 20 RBs, and the top 25 WR's. Sprinkle in Brees, Brady, Manning, Rivers and Warner, and there should be no deviating from that top 50. There is too many question marks out there with RB and WR's after those top guys. I have to say, draft position greatly affects draft strategy, especially 10 or 12 team leagues.

In a 10 team league, I wont even take Brady with the 17th pick(and I am a huge Patriots fan), I would rather have Reggie Wayne (assuming Moss, Fitz and the 2 johnsons are off the board already)
I am taking probably Forte/or Turner at the 4 spot, then the best WR with #2, then the best RB or WR available for #3.

Now my 12 team league, I have the #3 pick, I am going RB/WR/WR (My second round pick I may take a QB if one of the big 3 is available) but that is unlikely.

After the 3rd round, it is so hard to predict what position your going to take, I always go for the best player available. Too many injuries happen during the year, back up RBs are key, and the 4th -6th rounds it is time to sweep that up.

Since: Jul 1, 2008
Posted on: August 11, 2009 9:42 am

The Secret to winning your fantasy league!

You had the luckiest year EVER in fantasy football!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Since: Dec 20, 2006
Posted on: August 11, 2009 8:30 am

The Secret to winning your fantasy league!

This technique seemed to work for me last year:
Round 1: take the best avaliable RB or WR
Round 2 and 3: Take best avaliable and end the end of round 3 you MUST have 2 WR's and 1 RB
Round 4: QB (depending on how they are being picked or best avaliable RB or WR)
Round 5: More than likely a rookie RB (QB if not picked in the previous round)

and so on
Here's how it worked out for me last year (pick 6)
Round 1: Clinton Portis
Round 2: Larry Fitzgerald
Round 3: Andre Johnson
Round 4: Matt Forte
Round 5: Calvin Johnson
Round 6: Tony Gonzalez

Round 13: Kurt Warner (I picked up Cassell in FA as my other QB)
Result: Championship

Good Luck Drafting this Year!

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or