Fantasy 101

I have recently talked to several people interested in playing fantasy football.  All asking me what they should know before they start. A simple yet long answer.  I always tell them the draft is where it starts.  A good draft can be helped by knowing a few details before sitting down and selecting your team.

SCORING

The first thing i tell people new to the game or even joining a new league is know your scoring.  Many leagues have different scoring.  Standard scoring where Touchdowns are king.  PPR where receivers, backs and ends get a point per receptions.  PPC where quarterbacks get point per completions. Do kick return points count for individual players?   All things you need to know to get an edge on drafting.  You can find the answer to this in your tool bar on the home page of your league.  Most likely under scoring and settings.  You find out the points for each position.  For example, Is a touchdown for a QB 4 points or 6?  There you will also find what the line up for your roster will be.  Sometimes a “Flex” is used, which can be a slot for multiple positions.

Pre-Draft

After you’ve familiarized yourself with the scoring, Start thinking about ranking your players.  You don’t have to go 100 players deep.  I tell people, try and rank your top 30 players.  That can get you on the right path.  It also will help calm you down when that player you really wanted gets taken the pick before you.  Then you can just go right to the next guy.  Most leagues have a preset ranking.  you can usually do a custom rank also.  That way it’s all set up for you just how you like it.  It’s one less thing to worry about before the draft.  Last, try to do some practice drafting.  Many sites have live mock drafts you can participate in.  It gives you a feel of where players are landing.  Practice makes perfect.

Drafting

By now you know your scoring and who you want in what order.  While drafting keep some things in mind.  Just because you live in a certain city, doesn’t mean you can’t take a player from a rival team.  Don’t pass on Tom Brady because you are a Jets fan.  Your only hurting yourself.  The first five rounds i try to go for best player available.  I worry less about filling my roster and grab the better player.  If you have two runningbacks, don’t pass on a third that has slid down the board that could really help your team because you need a Receiver or a tight end.  Injuries happen and you’ll be kicking yourself if you let a good player go by.  Don’t reach for a player.  If you have a hunch on a guy to have a breakout season, be realistic.  Don’t select him in round 3 if he’s coming off boards in round 6.  You know this because you have practiced and seen him rise or fall.

Post Draft

After you’ve drafted take a look at your roster.  Then take a look at who is out there.  Try not to make a bunch of moves before the season starts.  If you see a player you really want, see if there is a bench player you can cut for him.  But make sure you use your head.  Don’t just dump somebody.  You can’t make yourself too thin at a position.  Injuries could kill you down the road.  When the season starts, don’t be quick to cut a guy who has a history of performing.  My first season ever playing i made this mistake.  I cut Plaxico Burress after three weeks of weak production.  Week four, BOOM!  He went nuts and never looked back.  That same team had a major injury to Kurt Warner, when he was with the Rams.  All of the sudden I was down two top players.  I spent the whole season on the waiver wire.  I sneaked into the playoffs and was out week one.  I really learned about fantasy football that year.   Last, know the back-ups to your star players.  If a guy gets hurt, try and fill him as soon as possible.  Otherwise someone else will.  If your waiver wire number is high, try not to waste it on a mediocre player you don’t really need.

If you are just starting out, the first season could be tough.  Players have this down to a science.  especially if they have been in the same league for years.  Stick with it.  You’ll get there.  The first year or two will be a learning process.  Learn from your mistakes as I did and you’ll love Fantasy football.  Good luck!

Mike Lockhart

Follow me on Twitter @SportsHubFantFB

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