Fantasy Football Drafting 101: Break Away From the Pack

Abandon the herd, be flexible and stick to your drafting strategy

Abandon the herd, be flexible and stick to your drafting strategy

If you ever want to witness the phenomenon of the herd mentality, all you have to do is participate in a fantasy football draft. Just like the stock market, fantasy drafting is undeniably one of the most poignant examples of human herding behavior.

We have all experienced it and every one of us has been caught up in it at one time or another. A run starts on a certain player position and the floodgates open wide.

For example, drafters start scooping up running backs and suddenly the whole league is swept away in the frenzy. Forget the fact that you are bypassing Dez Bryant or Rob Gronkowski, you MUST HAVE A RUNNING BACK!! The fear of never drafting a running back again grips you. These people are crazy, they are taking all the backs – I must have one before they steal them all.

OK, Stop – Deep Breaths – Breathe with me

You still have 60 seconds, the top five running backs are gone and that’s ok. You wanted Antonio Brown, you still want Antonio Brown and you don’t have to draft a running back this moment. There’s no reason to go off the rails. A draft is a living, breathing activity and no two drafts are the same. You have to be somewhat flexible, but your job is to take the best player off of the board when it’s your turn.

Not the best wide receiver

Not the best quarterback, but

The best player on the board

If you left Jordy Nelson on the board so you could take Justin Forsett during the running back frenzy, you just self-sabotaged your fantasy team and your draft.

Have a strategy going into your draft, but keep your eye on the ball and be ready to adapt and adjust. There are a variety of ways to win a fantasy football championship, but a good draft builds a foundation for future success. You have to stack your team with the best “fantasy point” players to carry your team when you are faced with suspensions, injuries and bad coaching decisions.

Remember to breathe – Have an amazing season and Good Luck!

 

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4 Tips to Turn Around Your Losing Fantasy Team

For every person that quits - Your one spot closer to the playoffs

For every person that quits – You are one spot closer to the playoffs

There is one area of fantasy football that very closely matches the way modern-day pro football works.

First place teams very rarely win championships. Don’t believe me? Let’s look at the last five years in the NFL. Here are the top teams from each year that rolled into the playoffs with the BEST record in football and went home LOSERS – That’s right L-O-S-E-R-S!

  • 2012 – Broncos   13-3  Knocked out by Ravens
  • 2011 –  Packers   15-1   Knocked out by Giants
  • 2010 – Patriots   14-2  Knocked out by Jets
  • 2009 – Colts       14-2  Knocked out by Saints
  • 2008 – Titans     13-3  Knocked out by Ravens

I have two leagues where I am undefeated, but I know that being the top seed when the playoffs roll around means SQUAT, CRAP and Nothing at ALL!  

No team has ever won a fantasy championship in OCTOBER – NEVER happened and it never will. Your job as a fantasy owner is simple – MAKE THE PLAYOFFS – that’s it. If you make the playoffs, you have a shot to win the whole damn thing.  

If you are 1-5 and or 2-4, you are still completely in it and it is far too early to quit now.  

My team in the FantasyBuzzer League is “High on Hoyer.” I am 2-4, how come my season isn’t over? Maybe it’s because I am only two games back from a playoff spot. Fantasy Football is all about getting hot at the right time and sticking with it when other teams start to quit.

Forget the top teams - How far are you from the last playoff spot?

Forget the top teams – How far are you from that last playoff spot?

The good thing about fantasy football is that some owners always end up quitting. It’s human nature and it’s another reason why you should be making your push to win right now.  

Step 1 – Make Trades  

No one is afraid of your 2-4 team, why not make a trade? Your team is NOT a threat and people will be more likely to trade with you because they think you are out of the running.  

Step 2 – Points Matter 

Score as many points as you can each week – Most leagues use points as a tiebreaker s system. High on Hoyer may only have two wins, but he has more points than any other team except the guy who has Peyton Manning.  

Step 3 – Save Your Waiver Picks  

Don’t blow your waiver wire picks on kickers or defense/special teams. The Waiver Wire is for players that can score – Players returning from suspension, injury or backups that have great potential. Save the pick and strike when someone great comes along. 

Step 4 – Budget Your Free Agent Money 

Going into Week 7 – There are two players in the Fantasy Buzzer League who have less than $10 remaining. If their team doesn’t stay healthy, they have no shot at picking up anyone they might need for the rest of the season. Just like the Waiver Wire, budget your money for a rainy day.

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Waiver Wire Wide Receiver Pickups for Week 6

Alshon Jeffery blowing away expectations

Alshon Jeffery blowing away expectations in Chicago

The Atlanta Falcons and Miami Dolphins have bye weeks during Week 6. Fantasy owners with Julio Jones, Roddy White, Tony Gonzales, Mike Wallace and Brian Hartline are looking for spot starts while other owners are looking for possible alternatives for struggling wide receivers such as Dwayne Bowe and Roddy White.

Luckily, there are some wide receivers putting up solid numbers that can help owners during these bye-weeks and sub-par performances from some big name receivers.

Justin Blackmon

Justin Blackmon produced some big numbers during his 2013 debut with 5 catches for 167 yards and a touchdown in Week 5. Blackmon took full advantage of the putrid St. Louis defense and it didn’t hurt that the Jaguars were playing catch-up the whole game. Blaine Gabbert also left the game early with a tweaked hamstring and Blackmon was and will continue to be more productive with Chad Henne at quarterback.

There’s nothing not to love about Blackmon’s fantasy value moving forward. He’s playing on a team that will almost certainly be behind in every game they play this year and he will be getting lots of chances to make big plays. Blackmon is owned in only 61% of Yahoo and 20% of ESPN Fantasy leagues so grab him if he’s available in your league.

Alshon Jeffery

Alshon Jeffery produced double-digit fantasy points during Week 3 and 4 and absolutely exploded in Week 5 against the Saints. Jeffery caught 10 passes for 218 yards and a touchdown. This was Jeffery’s second week in a row with at least 10 targets and it’s quite clear that Jay Cutler has found his number two option in Jeffery.

Jeffery has a great Thursday night match-up against the Giants at home during Week 6 and another great match-up on Week 7 against the Redskins.  Jeffery is poised to put up big numbers the rest of the season with his favorable schedule and high volume of targets he is receiving. Jeffery is only owned in 67% of Yahoo and 85% of ESPN Fantasy leagues and should now be owned in 100% of all leagues.  If you have a high waiver priority, it should definitely be used on Jeffery.

Austin Pettis

Austin Pettis has scored has at least 10 points in his last four games in PPR formats. Pettis is getting lots of targets in the red zone and already has four touchdowns on the season, including two on Sunday against the Jaguars.

Pettis plays in a tough division so he has some ugly match-ups down the road, but he still warrants a WR3 or Flex consideration during bye weeks. Pettis might not warrant a waiver wire pick-up in smaller leagues, but is definitely worth a look in deeper leagues because of his upside.

 

NFL Week 5 Buzzer Beater from the Man Cave

The Sporting Guy dishes out last minute performance and injury advice heading into Week 5 across the National Football League. There are several injury concerns surrounding several key players including Rob Gronkowski, Rashad Jennings, Josh Freeman and Zac Stacy.

NFL Week 4 Buzzer Beater from the Man Cave

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The Sporting Guy dishes out last minute performance and injury advice heading into Week 4 across the National Football League. There are several injury concerns surrounding several key players including Rob Gronkowski, Ray Rice and Miles Austin.

NFL Week 3 Buzzer Beater from the Man Cave

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The Sporting Guy dishes out last minute performance and injury advice heading into Week 3 across the National Football League. There are several injury concerns surrounding several key players including Vernon Davis, Ray Rice and Reggie Bush.

NFL Week 3 Buzzer Beater from the Man Cave

Screen shot 2013-09-21 at 12.12.16 AM

The Sporting Guy dishes out last minute performance and injury advice heading into Week 3 across the National Football League. There are several injury concerns surrounding several key players including Vernon Davis, Ray Rice and Reggie Bush.

NFL Week 2 Buzzer Beater from the Man Cave

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NFL information pulsing out of the Fantasy Buzzer Man Cave

The Sporting Guy dishes out last minute performance and injury fantasy concerns heading into Week 2 across the National Football League. There are injury questions surrounding several key players including Roddy White and Larry Fitzgerald.

The Critical Importance of Fantasy Handcuffs

Ben Tate saved many Arian Foster owners last season.

Ben Tate is one of the top rated handcuffs in the league

With the first game of NFL season just 6 days away, the window for drafting in fantasy football is quickly closing.

One of easiest things you can do to separate yourself from other fantasy owners is making sure you lock in a running back “handcuff.”

A “handcuff,” in fantasy terms, is the backup running back for your fantasy team’s starter. You draft a handcuff at some point after you draft your starting running back. This is done to provide a safety net if your starter goes down with an injury or anything of the sort.

Whenever a starting running back goes down, there’s a universal waiver wire scramble for that player’s backup. If you have that backup in place, you are safe from the league predators who are ready to swoop in and stop your fantasy season in its tracks.

In many cases, the benefits of owning a handcuff can be your saving grace. For example, when Arian Foster missed 3 games in 2011, his backup Ben Tate filled the void very well. During those three games, Tate racked up 327 yards from scrimmage (an average of 109 yards per game), including 2 rushing touchdowns.

Smart fantasy owners with the handcuff were able to survive those critical three weeks while Foster was sidelined, while other owners watched in horror as Tate racked up those numbers for another team.

Stud running backs like these often play for teams that give them a high volume of carries. If the starter goes down with an injury, another (fresher) player gets a shot at their workload and can very well succeed at it. Even average players can rack up decent numbers with a high volume of carries.

For your team’s starting running backs, it’s essential to draft the next guy in line who will get every down carries. Don’t let this pass you by, you don’t want someone else reaping the benefits of your devastating loss.