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Sunday, June 27, 2010

Hours of Entertainment !

One of the presents my kids gave me for Fathers Day was the ESPN Fantasy Football 2010 Magazine.

Beyond all the stats, they have a bunch of information on Sleepers and Busts, Rookies and Veterans, Keepers and last but not least Strategy!

For this post, I’m going to start with their reviews of strategy.



1) Bookends: This is more of an analysis of draft position rather than a strategy. I’ve always hated drafting in the dead middle of the pack and their statistics seem to prove the point. But unless if you are in a league which allows trading for position this first tid bit of information is next to useless. Mainly because you generally have little to None control over it. So, this is interesting but little to no value for strategy. The key to Fantasy Football is paying attention for the entire season.



2) Cuff’em: This can be a draft strategy but it’s true value is in an overall league and season strategy. This is when you pick the backup to a Top Tier player. And, this is definitely one to keep in mind and use wisely and definitely falls into the “pay attention” strategy for the entire season. For a draft strategy this can be a bit risky since you can not accurately predict injuries but lots of people use this strategy on the waiver wires. Again, pay attention to waiver order throughout the season! Acquiring the backup can change the whole power plays of you league and give you added advantage in both matchups and potential trades.



3) Value Based Drafting: Here is the scenario; it’s your turn to draft in the second round and you have 3 really good players still on the board all of who scored just about the same total points last year. Who do you pick? Answer: The one who outscored his competition the most. VBD is the difference between a players point total and the baseline score for his position. How do you calculate it? First you calculate how many roster spots are drafted on average in a particular league. The example ESPN used was 16 QB’s, 38 RB’s, 33 WR’s in a 10 team league. Take the point total of the 16th QB and that is your Baseline Score for QB’s. So, lets say you have a choice between Joe Flacco and Ryan Grant. Both scored 197 and 196 points respectively in the ESPN stats last year. But Ryan Grant scored 103 points more than the baseline for his position compared to -2 for Joe Flacco. VBD says pick Ryan Grant.



4) Forget about RB-RB drafting: Draft WR-WR or RB-WR. Based on their stats, WR-WR-RB-RB and WR-RB-WR-RB outscored RB-RB-WR-WR every time. Why? More and more teams are using RB by committee now which makes the top WR’s more valuable. Personally I have almost always avoided RB-RB because I like to diversify rather than putting all my eggs in one basket.



5) Slow down on the TE’s: This one is more rather, if you don’t jump the gun and or get really lucky getting the top or top 2 TE’s better hold off on getting one and load up on QB, RB, and WR instead. Why? It actually has something to do with VBD. Historically the total difference between the 5th and 14th total scores for TE was 30 points. That is less than 2 points per game. Hardly a significant difference in their opinion.



6) Respect Seniors – Just don’t draft them: Statistically this is very true for RB. The 30 and over club sees at least a 12 – 14% drop per game as compared to when they were 29 and nearly 30% less than their 25 year old counterparts. So, who are the 25 year old studs this year? Reggie Bush, Justin Forsett, Shonne Greene, Chris Johnson, MJD, Laurence Maroney, Adrian Peterson and Pierre Thomas. Who is 30 and over this year? Justin Fargas, Willie Parker, Larry Johnson, Derrick Ward, LT, Thomas Jones, Chester Taylor, and Ricky Williams.



7) Draft the West Coast: Here is their scenario. Your star player is slated to play in the second set of games on Sunday and is listed as questionable. Your prime backup is healthy and listed as ready to play in the first set of Sunday Games. If you draft your backups from the west coast, the theory says that most of the time your stars will be playing first and the backups second. That way if for some reason your star, sits out, you can adjust your roster to activate your backup. So, which teams have double digit late starts? Arizona, Denver, Indy, Oakland, San Diego, Seattle. There are a ton of teams with double digit early starts. So chances are that with the majority of teams having early starts, chances are your starters will play early more often than not. So, which have zero late starts? Buffalo, Cleveland, and Detroit. Hmmm. . . I am a bit more skeptical with this strategy than the others. Pros are paid to play and unless if you have one who is going to be a crybaby every time he gets a booboo I don’t put a lot of substance in this strategy.



8) Don’t bench your big guns: Even if Hell or Green Bay Freezes over. . . Out of the 17 coldest snowiest contests, only 3 featured more rushing yards than passing. Again, just like the previous example, the pros come out to play.

9) Bid Fearlessly: If you are in a bidding league they claim this strategy works if you follow their example. Don’t bid on the first one or two players offered up. But bid aggressively on any and all others. So if AP and Chris Johnson go for $62 and $60 bid up to $67 for Ray Rice. If somebody out bids you then fine, let them. Bid just as aggressively for all others. Once people see how crazy you are, they will either not bother or bail early and you will be able to get somebody like MJD for a much better bargain. I’ve never been in a cap or bidding league and probably never will. So I will just take their word for it. However, there is something to be said about psychology and playing mind games with others in Fantasy Football. This is especially true with potential trades. Again, a strategy to keep in mind throughout the season.



10) Stack your Byes: I actually came across this one while trying to figure out who to keep, if anybody, in my Borderless League. I noticed that a fair number of my potential keepers had the same bye weeks this year. So I did a little research and, as it turns out, so did ESPN. The best bye weeks to stack your players is 8, 4 and 7. The theory is this. If all of your starters have the same bye week, then yes you probably will lose that weeks match up, but they will all be playing while other teams are trying to juggle the one or two starters they have out over the span of 2 or 3 weeks or more during the season. You could be looking at a 4 – 7 point advantage during those other 2 – 3 weeks. Of course, good luck in trying to draft all your starters with the same bye week, but it is an interesting idea.



I think, simply because I have a lot of players I like on my current team I will limit my draft preferences to these weeks. So, who shows up on my list? BTW, I included week 6 because two of my favorite choices for “wanting back” are on this week. The players in Red are the ones who are currently on my team who I like and are considering either keeping and or getting back in the draft.


Player

Bye

Position

Adrian Peterson, MIN

4

RB

Ray Rice, BAL

8

RB

Andre Johnson, HOU

7

WR

Peyton Manning, IND

7

QB

Michael Turner, ATL

8

RB

Larry Fitzgerald, ARI

6

WR

DeAngelo Williams, CAR

6

RB

Cedric Benson, CIN

6

RB

Matt Schaub, HOU

7

QB

Roddy White, ATL

8

WR

Calvin Johnson, DET

7

WR

Tony Romo, DAL

4

QB

Miles Austin, DAL

4

WR

DeSean Jackson, PHI

8

WR

Jonathan Stewart, CAR

6

RB

Shonn Greene, NYJ

7

RB

LeSean McCoy, PHI

8

RB

Beanie Wells, ARI

6

RB

Jamaal Charles, KC

4

RB

Joseph Addai, IND

7

RB

Steve Smith, CAR

6

WR

Sidney Rice, MIN

4

WR

Matt Forte, CHI

8

RB

Joe Flacco, BAL

8

QB

Jay Cutler, CHI

8

QB

Dallas Clark, IND

7

TE

Brandon Jacobs, NYG

8

RB

Felix Jones, DAL

4

RB

Chad Ochocinco, CIN

6

WR

Steve Smith, NYG

8

WR

Anquan Boldin, BAL

8

WR

Jerome Harrison, CLE

8

RB

Percy Harvin, MIN

4

WR

Jahvid Best, DET

7

RB

Tony Gonzalez, ATL

8

TE

Dwayne Bowe, KC

4

WR

Brent Celek, PHI

8

TE

Thomas Jones, KC

4

RB

C.J. Spiller, BUF

6

RB

Jeremy Maclin, PHI

8

WR

Jason Witten, DAL

4

TE

Philadelphia Eagles

8

DST

Matt Leinart, ARI

6

QB

Marion Barber, DAL

4

RB

Baltimore Ravens

8

DST

Steve Breaston, ARI

6

WR

Brett Favre, MIN

4

QB

Pierre Garcon, IND

7

WR

Braylon Edwards, NYJ

7

WR

Ben Tate, HOU

7

RB

Owen Daniels, HOU

7

TE

Santonio Holmes, NYJ

7

WR

Donald Brown, IND

7

RB

Cleveland Browns

8

DST

Kellen Winslow, TB

4

TE

Dez Bryant, DAL

4

WR

Cadillac Williams, TB

4

RB

Chicago Bears

8

DST

LaDainian Tomlinson, NYJ

7

RB

Josh Cribbs, CLE

8

WR

New York Jets

7

DST

Devin Hester, CHI

8

WR

Jerricho Cotchery, NYJ

7

WR

Dallas Cowboys

4

DST

Arian Foster, HOU

7

RB

Kevin Smith, DET

7

RB

Minnesota Vikings

4

DST

Bernard Berrian, MIN

4

WR

Derrick Ward, TB

4

RB

New York Giants

8

DST

Atlanta Falcons

8

DST


Of course, I will have to wait and see who of these get claimed as keepers by the other teams in my league, but it is an interesting list.


Oh, and one last strategy that I happen to use which was not mentioned in the ESPN strategies was that I often try to look at who the potential bubble teams are going to be. You know the ones who towards the end of the season are going to be fighting for a playoff spot as opposed to those, like Indy, who probably will be a lock and either coast in or sit many of their starters. Why do I do this? Because the end of the season is when the Fantasy League playoffs and championships are! And, after all it is the Championship of your league that you are really playing for and want players putting forth their best effort towards now isn’t it!



2 comments:

Gimpdiggity June 28, 2010 at 12:04 AM  

I have always, and will always, draft a QB with my first pick.

I've been burned by the "#1 Running Back" pick too many times. There simply aren't enough backs in the league that get enough carries any more to warrant spending that #1 pick on them...especially when for every Shaun Alexander there is a third stringer in Denver that will start by week 4 and get you a ton of points.

It's a strategy that has rarely backfired on me...with quite a few Championships and First Runner Up finishes to back up the idea.

It helps that I play in leagues that use standard scoring, and in standard scoring a top tier WR and a top tier QB can score as many points as a top tier RB most of the time.

ejaz14357 July 3, 2010 at 8:02 AM  

There simply aren't enough backs in the league that get enough carries any more to warrant spending that #1 pick on them...especially when for every Shaun Alexander there is a third stringer in Denver that will start by week 4 and get you a ton of points.

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