Fantasy Football 2012: Ten Strategy Tips for Beginners (and Everyone Else, For That Matter)
By: The Football Girl | Posted: July 24, 2012
Over five million women play fantasy football. When I first heard this number I was surprised, too. But upon deeper examination it makes sense because as fantasy continues to grow at such a rapid pace, it’s almost a legitimate competitor of the actual game.
Year after year new fans join leagues for a variety of reasons. Some are lifelong devotees of the game and finally realize fantasy is mainstream and no longer reserved for (usually rotund) dorks. Others are using fantasy as an avenue to learn about the game and players who play it.
For this latter group, the foray into fantasy can be exciting, yet intimidating. To help ease the transition, here are some tips for all fantasy beginners as they embark on their first draft and season.
1) Don’t be overwhelmed. Start Googling “fantasy advice” and your computer may explode from all the information out there. There are approximately 3.75 billion fantasy experts out there, including myself, all offering the same advice in different packages: who to draft, who to pick up on waivers and who to start or sit each week. Pick a couple of folks you like and stick with them.
2) Add your own flair. But don’t implement anyone’s fantasy advice 100%. Pick a couple of players you like or don’t like and draft accordingly. Trust me, your experience will be way more fulfilling that way.
3) Check ADP. ADP stand for average draft position, which simply means the average of where people are drafting a particular player. My favorite ADP site is fantasyfootballcalculator.com, which processes its data from hundreds of mock drafts and updates its number daily. It’s a good place to see how the average fantasy player is thinking and implement your strategy accordingly. For instance, I see that Robert Griffin III is the 12th quarterback being taken. While I love his talent, I think this is several slots too high for a rookie with wide receivers who are average at best. I’d take Jay Cutler or Ben Roethlisberger, both with lower ADPs, above Griffin.
4) Know your league. This is of utmost importance if you actually want to win. Most beginning leagues will be standard scoring, but make sure this is the case with yours. If it’s PPR (points per reception) or anything else your strategy will be different. Even if it is standard, check your scoring rules. Is a quarterback touchdown worth four or six points? How many ways are there to score on defense? Understanding this will help you better prepare for the draft. If you’re joining a preexisting league, check out the top scorers from last year. Assuming the rules were the same, this will greatly help you on draft night.
5) Don’t autodraft. To quote many an American Idol judge, “take this song and make it your own.” The same applies to fantasy. Don’t just use a computer system’s arbitrary rankings. Even if you only veer off on your kicker, the team becomes your own and you’ll likely care about it a lot more.
6) Pick a good team name. Maybe not the most obvious piece of advice, but an important one nonetheless. A good team name lets the league know you are cool and are ready to bring some flair.
7) Give rookies some love. If you’re going to throw a dart on anyone draft night, make it a rookie. There are fantasy darlings, usually multiple ones, in every rookie class. This is not to say you should take Jags receiver Justin Blackmon in the first round, but research a couple of rookies you may think will break out and draft them slightly earlier than expected. This is one of the greatest risk/reward moves you can make.
8) Don’t draft like a chick (or at least the stereotype). Please don’t pick a player because he’s hot or has a cool name. The reasons for this should be obvious.
9) Stay Active. Sometimes beginners can give up early in the season, not understanding the importance of filling out a complete roster every week. This isn’t fair to other owners in your league. At a base level, make sure you’re submitting an active starting lineup every week. Beyond that, work the waiver wire, propose trades, and try to trash talk a little. An active fantasy player will be a more fulfilled one.
10) Have fun and don’t take it too seriously. This may a fairly obvious ending, but it’s true. Don’t beat yourself up over rookie mistakes – they will happen. And most importantly, if your first round pick goes down with a season-ending injury, please don’t send him psycho messages on Twitter.
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