Eight Top Tips for Strategizing Your NFL Fantasy Football Season
Fantasy football is a hugely popular form of entertainment in the United States. Approximately 19 million people participate in online fantasy football leagues either publicly or privately each season; a figure which does not account for unofficial competitions organized among groups of people within workplaces or family and friendship groups. Some estimates suggest that almost 20% of the American population aged 12 and above play some form of fantasy football, or around 60 million individuals.
The popularity of the game has more than doubled since 2009, with the knock-on effect of increasing interest in the real NFL. Fans who manage fantasy teams are more likely to watch NFL broadcasts, even when their home team is not playing, as they may have fantasy players on the field who might bring some points to their team. Fantasy football is a game of strategy that relies heavily on getting the right team selection in the draft at the start of the season. There are further opportunities to make changes to a team during the season, but those that manage to bag the best selection during the draft will have the best chance of earning the big points.
Plan Each Round of the Draft
A fantasy draft works in a similar way to the real draft, in that team managers select players in a series of rounds. Planning each round in advance helps gain a solid overview of wat the final team selection will look like. Some people go into the draft simply with a list of players they would like to secure. That may be all well and good, but things will not always work out as planned, so having a targeted strategy can help ensure a quality line-up even when some of the top picks are gone. By planning in advance, it becomes clearer where conflicts may arise and back-up choices have to be made. Assuming it is a serpentine draft, each team manager will know in advance which rounds they will be close to getting their first pick and which rounds they are more likely to have to compromise.
Secure the Right Positions Early
A lot of fantasy football players steam in and try to snap up their favorite players in the early rounds, regardless of position. It pays to think about each position in turn and how many top choices there are available, so those positions where there are limited superstars can be filled early with the best players.
Top quality running backs are often in far shorter supply than great quarterbacks, for example, so they should be a priority pick in the first few rounds of the draft. That said, some people may prefer to snap up an elite quarterback in the first round if their choices of running back are limited, especially if they are towards the tail end of the snake and know they will be one of the first to pick in the next round.
Make Roster Goals
Each fantasy football league will have its own specific rules, but each will have certain limitations on the number of players that can be chosen. Having roster goals, which is a pre-determined line-up in mind before beginning the draft, can help in planning out a strategy to secure the best team. For example, knowing you want to secure two quarterbacks, five running backs and six wide receivers helps plan where these picks are going to be made in each round of the draft.
Draft Before Drop Off
Selecting which positions and players you are going to target in the earlier rounds of the draft requires researching the drop off for each position. Being aware of the difference in skill level between consecutive picks can help prioritize which positions to go after early and which can safely be left until later rounds. For example, if you have identified that there is a large drop off between the 8th and 9th wide receiver on your list, and the 9th becomes available, it might be worth adjusting your draft strategy to snap that one up.
Calculate Bye Weeks
To maximize opportunities for getting points, you need players on your fantasy team on the field each week. This requires calculating who will be on bye weeks at which points in the season to ensure all your best players are nit suddenly on bye weeks at the same time.
Buy Low and Sell High
When thinking about making trades and transfers throughout the season, try to buy low and sell high. If you managed to draft an elite wide receiver, don’t deal him out just because he has a poor start to the season, unless there are other mitigating factors. If there were strong reasons to draft that player in the first place and he is not suffering from injury or anything else that may have a long-term effect on play, then it will most likely pay to have faith and wait for things to pick up. However, if you spot someone else offering to get rid of a player such as this, you might be able to swoop in with a lower offer than usual and grab yourself another star.
Play the Matchups
Weekly team selection for the starting line-up is about more than picking your best players. Analyzing who those players are up against and calculating their odds of scoring you some points under those specific circumstances can increase your chances of winning.
There are various strategies that people use when playing fantasy football, and no one-size-fits-all solution that can guarantee a win. The main aim is to have fun and engage in the sport – the more you watch, the more you will start to see where you could have made changes and begin strategizing for the following season.