Fantasy Football Masters Program, Accelerated
August 29, 2006 7:42 AM   Subscribe

I've been drawn into participating in a Fantasy Football (NFL) League. I'm rather casual towards the NFL, don't know much about fantasy leagues, and would appreciate suggestions on books, magazines, podcasts, web sites, etc. that will help me grind my friends into dust.
posted by boombot to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (15 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Previously on AskMe. That should get you started.

I find to be a good resource. I didn't go to far as to pay for their software app, which looks good but overwhelming for a newbie such as myself, but I am using their free cheatsheets.
posted by schoolgirl report at 7:54 AM on August 29, 2006

Is it a keeper league? A one-season type of thing? Mock draft? Auto-draft? I've participated in a few so I can help a little if you provide more details.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 8:19 AM on August 29, 2006

Response by poster: A one season only league, with a mock draft.
posted by boombot at 8:24 AM on August 29, 2006

Do not get magazines. Those articles were written, edited and published months ago. They are laughably out of date now.
posted by NoMich at 8:31 AM on August 29, 2006

Had my draft on Sunday. This year is a peculiar one in terms of FF as the NFL changed drastically with the new labor contract. Teams have a lot of money to spend and they have done so. What you see now is heavy reliance on a two RB strategy to share yardage and goal line work. You are also seeing a pretty thin field of talented WRs working in systems that are starting to model the Patriots - that is, spread the ball and use all your talent as a team. With some exceptions the days of one RB carrying an entire team and racking up monster points are over.

With that said, the strategy of picking RBs in the first three rounds, as advocated by most of the magazines and books and websites you will throw money away on, is antiquated. If you cannot pick one of the top 8 RBs in your first round you should ABSOLUTELY pick a top 5 WR with your second pick. Once you get past LT, Larry Johnson, Tiki Barber, and Sean Alexander, you are looking at RBs who are not sure things or who will be heavilysharing the load with the secondary RB, thus cutting your point potential. This is why you need to go for a top 5 WR immediately if you don't have one of those marquee RBs.

After that, the talent differential drops dramatically and in the third and fourth rounds you are going to have to start looking for sleeper RBs and WRs.

It's a tough year. Especially if you have a 12 team league.
posted by spicynuts at 8:49 AM on August 29, 2006 [1 favorite]

boombot: "A one season only league, with a mock draft."

My favorite. I was in a keeper league for three years and it was like having another full-time job.

For a one-season gig, all you really need to know about is who is injured (either out for the year or for an extended period). Once you know that, then you can create your depth chart based on active players (I've played many a league where I didn't bother to keep up on injuries and ended up starting the "All-Injury Team" and got trounced).

Most leagues give premium points for passing and rushing so it would only follow that you want a stud QB and RB. Secure those first and your season will go much smoother. Some leagues have points for defensive play but I've never really seen many of those.

ESPN has a player tracker which allows you to keep up-to-the-minute tabs on your players but it isn't free. I used it one year but found that my Sportsline and Yahoo player info was already sufficient. If you're one of those fantasy players that believes Torry Holt's breakfast habits on Saturday will affect his effectiveness on Sunday, then the ESPN player tracker might be more comprehensive and appropriate.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 9:03 AM on August 29, 2006

Get some drafting practice in here...

You'll need an ESPN login, but that costs nothing.

That'll help you get a feel for what players typically go in what round. DO NOT draft a kicker or a Defense before the 6th or 7th round. Pointless. Stock up on the skill positions (RB and WR) as best you can.

The draft is important, but just as important is working the waiver wire all throughout the season. The person who typically grabs the best "Late Bloomers" as the season goes on, is probably the one who will win your League.
posted by BobFrapples at 9:13 AM on August 29, 2006

Some things I've noticed in my (ongoing) draft:

1. Traditionally RBs make up 9 of the first 10 picks and 17 of the first 20. That is not the case this year - there are a lot more WRs who are worth having than in the past.

2. For several years, the TE position was Tony Gonzalez early and everyone else in the last few rounds. That has changed a great deal, with at least 4 or 5 TEs in the elite category and the rest not simply scrubs you have to field but worthwhile, important parts of your scoring attack.

3. There is a great deal of uncertainty in QB-land. After Peyton and maybe Brady, there are about 12-15 guys who could do very well - and who could equally do poorly. Favre, for example, was a fantasy horrorshow last year, but is there really much difference NOW between him and (say) Jake Delhomme? Aaron Brooks?
posted by mikel at 9:34 AM on August 29, 2006

If you're willing to pay, is entirely worth it. You can cherry pick what you need to know or you can gorge on information to your heart's content. Their e-mail updates really help out with things like the waiver wire and injuries and the like. They also have great strategy articles.
posted by incessant at 10:00 AM on August 29, 2006

Mikel, you're right on w/ that advice. And, after back-to-back championships, I second!
posted by sixpack at 10:10 AM on August 29, 2006

If you cannot pick one of the top 8 RBs in your first round you should ABSOLUTELY pick a top 5 WR with your second pick.

See, I disagree with this strategy completely. My team has the honor of being the dynasty during our 10-year league's time, and I don't think things have changed much in terms of player value.

WRs are greatly overrated. Provided you're using a standard performance scoring system where you get roughly 1 point per ten yards rushing or receiving and 6 points for a TD, the difference between a top 5 receiver and the next 12 is about 2 points per week. I consistently draft guys who the pundits have labelled as #3 or #4 fantasy wideouts and they perform just fine (sometimes more consistently, even).

The money play is still in the RB department. For instance, this year I took a running back in the first 4 rounds! There are plenty of teams without any servicable backups, and this gives me a distinct advantage over everyone else throughout the season.

Remember, the name of the game isn't necessarily who can draft the best starters... the way I play it is I want to be able to put together a competitive lineup regardless of injury status, bye weeks, or the like. Once you make it to the playoffs, anything can happen. Consistency throughout the season is key, and that REQUIRES tremendous depth at the RB position.
posted by fusinski at 1:34 PM on August 29, 2006

Also, don't forget WR is a double-dip injury concern. Not only can the WR get injured himself, but generally if his QB gets injured his production goes down the toilet as well.
posted by fusinski at 1:42 PM on August 29, 2006

There's maybe one receiver I'd ever take in the second round and none I'd take in the first. Get two RBs then think about one of the top three receivers if available. Otherwise grab the best remaining RB. Then look at a QB and WR.
posted by DieHipsterDie at 1:54 PM on August 29, 2006

If your league awards rushing points to QB's, then someone like Michael Vick can be more valuable than he might otherwise seem based on his passing numbers...
posted by dersins at 2:19 PM on August 29, 2006

If your league awards rushing points to QB's, then someone like Michael Vick can be more valuable than he might otherwise seem based on his passing numbers...

Mos Def. Which is why you shouldn't even start to think about a QB until the 6th round, when there are plenty of statistically-desirable QBs still left (unless Peyton Manning drops to the 2nd round). Then you can take two or three--they're cheap. In one of my drafts this weekend, I scored Vick and Bledsoe back to back in the 6th and 7th rounds.

The thing is, if you look at QB talent historically, there have been over the past a handful guys who were head and shoulders over the rest. That wasn't the case in 2005, and likely won't change in 2006. The QB talent pool is very deep and reeks of parity.
posted by fusinski at 6:56 AM on August 30, 2006

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