Tuesday, August 4, 2009

How to win at Fantasy Football: Strategic Tips for the 2009 Fantasy Football Draft

Introducing Jacob Tamme, the man you should take in the second round this year!

They may play that song "It's the most wonderful time of the year" around Christmas, but to me, we are about three weeks away from the REAL "most wonderful time of the year!" Football season! Okay, so it's more like six weeks away until real games get cranking, but part of the joy of football is the joy of FANTASY football. I am taking part in two leagues this year, which is a departure from my usual time tested theory of only playing in one league at a time to avoid fantasy confusion, but I'm really ready to roll with fantasy this year even more than usual since my expectations of my beloved Broncos could not possibly be lower. The second league that I'm joining is one with some guys who I really wanted to compete against over at the Dameshek.com message board, so I made the exception.

This season, I'll have two fantasy teams take the field, the Floppy Llamas, entering their fourth season in the Denver World League of Fantasy Football, and making their maiden run to glory in the Shek Republic league, the Vertically Striped Llamas! Generally, people like to keep their draft strategies mum before the draft gets started, but I'm so confident in my fantasy abilities that I'll be unveiling my draft strategy right here on my blog with this post. Basically I'm giving my competitors my game plan and DARING them to beat me. Yeah, I'm that good.

The DWLFF operates with an auction draft, and the Shek Republic league will employ a more traditional snake draft model, but this plan shows the players that I think should be drafted high/have large auction bids, so I am giving away my game plan either way, and no, I am not afraid!

The key to any good fantasy football draft is your first few picks. Many so called experts will tell you that you need to draft running backs right away in the first few rounds, putting a ton of focus on that aspect of your team. My secret to success this year is to go in another direction...I say draft your kicker first! It's out of the box thinking to be sure, but if you don't grab a Steven Gostkowski, Adam Vinitieri or Neil Rackers right away, you may be stuck with a Lawrence Tynes or Robbie Gould, and that could sink your season. I say hit a home run with your first pick, and zig when they expect you to zag. The Cardinals are going to score a ton of points this season, and be it a field goal or an extra point, Neil Rackers is going to get a ton of points...he could be the difference maker that you're looking for, and first round is only slightly a reach. If you really want to compete with me, I think going kicker early is the way to get your draft off to a grand start.

Now you are just about to begin the second round of your fantasy draft. At this point, you're probably thinking now is as good a time as any to get a good defense before they start flying off the board. While that is probably a more traditional way to go in round 2, I say that it's time to continue to think outside the box and fill that critical Tight End position. A good Tight End can make or break a team, and I have got a fantastic sleeper that will win you your league! Round Two may be a bit of a reach, but I think you'll thank me later. Two words for you: Jacob Tamme! You may never have heard of Jacob, but he's poised to increase his production three or four fold! He is working in the highly productive Indianapolis Colts system, and as a Rookie last year he went for a whopping 3 receptions for 12 yards. It is not inconceivable that he could increase his production as much as 500%. When you have a chance to pick up a player with that kind of upside in his growth potential, I think you have to jump at it. I only hope I haven't sold him so high that he is gone before I have a chance to strike.

As the third round comes up, I say you still play the waiting game on the defense. Although you may miss out on the Giants or Bears D, There should still be plenty of good defensive squads in round four. At round three, I have a guy that I hope falls to me in round three...Plaxico Burress. When you have a chance at a super productive guy who shot himself in the leg last season and may miss up to three years due to prison, you're a fool to pass that opportunity by if it falls into your lap in round three. Harris Smith can take you to the promised land in fantasy...I am all over him in round three.

Okay, you've definitely waited long enough. Round 4 you take what you can get at the defensive position. Hopefully the Saints or Broncos D's are still around, but if you have to make do with the Raiders, jump on that in round 4.

Round 5 is probably when you want to start getting a running back or two. There is a great chance that Tatum Bell or Kenneth Darby are still on the board, and I think those are the kind of players you can build a fantasy team around. Round 5 is probably about the right place to find a value pick like that.

As you enter Round 6 you may want to start picking up more wide receivers now. I would consider Devin Hester or possibly even Champ Bailey. Anytime you can get a guy who started as a defensive player like Hester and then moved to the other side of the ball, you want that guy. He understands how the defenders think, and that makes him a better wide out for your team. Sure, Champ Bailey is mostly a Defensive Back, but a few years ago he was getting a few plays on the offensive side of the ball. Now that he has a new offensive genius coach and a few more years under his belt, I think the odds that he becomes a fantasy force at Wide Receiver has never been better. Act now, and pick him up before it's too late and someone else is reaping the fantasy benefits of this great athlete!

Round 7 is a great time to pick up a Hall of Fame guy that is inexplicably flying under the radar even though he is probably headed to the hall of fame. Who couldn't use a potential Hall of Fame guy at running back in round 7. The trick is he's a fullback, but odds are good that Lorenzo Neal will still be available even this late in the game. He is one of the greatest fullbacks in the history of the game. The Oakland Raiders signed Lorenzo back in May, and are hoping his veteran presence is the one missing piece that can put the Raiders over the top in the AFC. Frankly, you'd be a fool to pass up this fantastic player when you can get him as such a value this late in the game. If Lorenzo is gone, now is a good time to make a play for Marshall Faulk. He attends a ton of games with NFL Network, and surely it can't be too long before he gets back out on the field where he was a menace to society and also to opposing fantasy football players. I'd definitely recommend giving him a whirl if need be.

Round 8 has come, and now is the time to pick up your franchise quarterback. The time is right to grab a guy who is very likely to still be on the board for you this late, and who possesses the ability to get it done for you. Brett Favre. I mean, sure, he "says" he is retired, but we've all heard that before. This is Brett Favre we're talking about. This man has been talked out of retirement more times than Michael Jordan and Brittany Spears combined. If you have the opportunity in round eight, I say grab the king of indecision before it's too late. That way, when his inevitable return to football pops up, BAM, you've got yourself an All-Pro and you got him in Round 8.

From this point on in your draft, you're on your own, but with the tips I've dispersed so far you should have a core in place for your team that can win you lots of games and possibly even a championship. The key is to get past the traditional thinking, and be innovative. Creativity wins fantasy football championships. I highly recommend that you follow these instructions to the letter...especially if you happen to be an opposing owner in one of my leagues. Surely you will be near the top if not the overall winner if you follow my system. And that's how you win at fantasy!

1 comment:

Scott Haynes said...

500%?!?!?!!!!!?!?! That number is far to large to ignore. I'm in!