Ask the Experts
Posted Sep. 01 at 09:50 PM
ASK THE EXPERTS appears weekly with answers to a new question being posted Thursday morning. How the guest experts responded when we asked them:
What's one of your hard-and-fast fantasy draft rules?
My hard-and-fast draft rules are pretty simple guidelines I try to never waver from – keep your receivers old and your running backs young. Meaning receivers are almost always overhyped when they are young and do not meet expectations. I never get a rookie wideout for example because I know that 97 percent of the time the guy would not be a fantasy starter anyway. And my running backs are preferably in the first three or four years of their career – old enough to have a track record and are reliable and yet young enough that the injuries are fewer and there is no worry about when he will “lose a step”.
Dorey is the co-founder and lead NFL analyst for The Huddle and author of Fantasy Football: The Next Level. He has projected and predicted every NFL game and player performance since 1997 and has appeared in numerous magazines, newspapers, radio and television.
I have many tips, techniques and rules, but often they only apply to certain situations. In other words, I let the draft come to me and the way the draft unfolds determines what I do or do not do. There is on rule I always follow. If I have to start a kicker or team defense then I only draft one of each and I make sure they are on different bye weeks, preferably later in the season; that way I maximize roster spots for depth at RB and WR (rather than have extra kickers or defenses). The same rule may even apply to TE unless they are in a PPR league with a flex option. When the sole kicker and defense are on differing late bye weeks, it gives me a longer time to evaluate the other sleepers before I have to drop one to add a bye week fill-in for the kicker/defense.
Sam Hendricks is the author of Fantasy Football Guidebook, Fantasy Football Tips and Fantasy Football Basics, all available at his website, www.ffguidebook.com, at all major bookstores, and at www.amazon.com. He is a 20-year fantasy football veteran who regularly participates in the World Championship of Fantasy Football (WCOFF), National Fantasy Football Championship (NFFC) and finished 7th and 16th overall (out of 228 competitors) in the 2008 and 2009 Fantasy Football Players Championship (FFPC).
Do not draft a QB before the 7th round in a league that uses only one. The point difference between Aaron Rodgers and Eli Manning is small enough for me to consider the weekly benefit of another RB or WR too great to pass over. QBs are consistent scorers for Fantasy Football, get a guy that hovers around the 20 point mark and you will be just fine.
Tranquilli is the founder and the primary "brains" (if you stretch it) of BFDFANTASYfootball.com. BFD is about delivering the information players want, not fluff, just opinions that matter to fantasy football players. Lou has worked with NFL players and gives a unique perspective because of it.
Like many fantasy enthusiasts, I used to prescribe to selecting RB-RB in the first two rounds, also known as the STUD running back theory. However, with the proliferation of RBBC scenarios league wide, I now attempt to draft a solid base on most of my teams. In other words, in 12- and 14-team leagues, I attempt to build a solid foundation by securing an elite player at the quarterback, running back, wide receiver and tight end positions. Obviously, this isn't always possible if you don't have the early first-round pick necessary to land a bell-cow back, but whenever possible, I attempt to build the foundation early and then have confidence in my ability to fill in the blanks with solid producers at the other spots on my roster. This strategy has worked out well for me the past couple of seasons, but I will include the caveat that your elite guys have to stay healthy for it to work, so there is some risk attached.
Hawes is the Managing Editor of NFL content at Fanball.com and OwnersEdge.com. These sites offer league management software, daily play fantasy games, up-to-date news, free and premium content, Live Advice, custom projections and cheat sheets, staff rankings, IDP analysis, and a vast array of fantasy tools to help you bring home the championship hardware. If that’s not enough to whet your appetite, you can join our NFFC High-Stakes football contest, listen to us on the Fanball Fantasy Drive show at Sirius (211) and XM (147), or pick up one of our six magazines, including the Pro Football Draft Preview, as well as five Fantasy Football publications. For more information send e-mail to email@example.com.
I have 2 rules. The first is, never ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever draft your kicker before the last round. The roll of your kicker is to get you 6+ points a game, if the person you draft doesn't do that, drop him and get another one. Too often No. 1 ranked kickers end up No. 10 or even 15, it just isn't worth it. The next rule isn't as hard or fast as the first rule, if fact comparatively it is more of a soft and slow rule and that is never reach for a rookie. If a rookie falls to you in the position they should be picked or later by all means snag him but don't jump up a round or two for fear of him not being there. There are so many examples of rookies that come in to the NFL as the next big thing and turn out to be nothing. This is especially true with QBs and WRs, don't believe the hype.
The May brothers have more than 16 years of combined fantasy football experience and are the co-founders of FantasyDraftMaster.com. The cornerstone of FDM is the UberRank which is a revolutionary approach to the traditional fantasy football cheat sheet. FantasyDraftMaster.com also offers insightful and humorous commentary on football happenings as well as recommendations on waiver wire pickups, line up submissions and weekly pick em' pools. For more info, visit www.fantasydraftmaster.com or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I have a few: be aggressive with early-season pickups; if you make a pre-draft plan, keep it flexible; never expend significant resources for kickers and defenses; if you insist on considering strength of schedule, go month-by-month (the league changes too quickly for us to project further than that).
Pianowski has been playing fantasy football for 15 years and writing about it for 12. He joined Yahoo! Sports in 2008 and has been blogging 24/7 on RotoArcade.com ever since.
I never draft a QB in the first round unless the scoring system heavily favors the QB or you must start two QBs each week. In the past, I used to never draft a WR in the first round, but with the proliferation of RBBCs, that is no longer the case, Although if I am drafting in the first three slots, I would never take a WR first.
Nazarek is the CEO of Fantasy Football Mastermind Inc. His company offers an online rookie draft kit, preseason draft guide, customizable cheat sheets, fantasy auction & regular drafting programs, weekly in-season fantasy newsletters, injury reports and free NFL news (updated daily) at its web site. He has been playing fantasy football since 1988 and is the one and only four-peat champion of the SI.com Experts Fantasy League, a nationally published writer in several fantasy magazines and a former columnist for SI.com. For more info go to www.ffmastermind.com. Nazarek can be reached at email@example.com.
My hard-and-fast rule is to not have any hard-and-fast rules. One of the worst things fantasy owners can do is put themselves in a box. The moment you limit yourself to a steadfast rule you have narrowed your options at each juncture. No thanks. Keep an open mind, and make sure your draft plans are flexible.
Since 1996, KFFL.com has been combining its award-winning news service with top-notch fantasy analysis. KFFL.com offers industry-leading services, including daily news, draft guides and in-season advice. Now 100 percent free, KFFL.com is your destination for fantasy baseball, football and NASCAR cheat sheets, tips, sleepers and much more. KFFL.com has won more than a dozen expert championships and was listed as "One of the 10 essential sports-related online destinations for fans, athletes and fantasy owners" by Time.com. KFFL.com has provided content to USA Today, Yahoo! Sports, FOXSports.com and many other quality organizations.
This is an easy one, wait to take Kickers and Defenses until the last few rounds. Defenses and Kickers are so unpredicatable, they don't score that money points and they are usually pretty close in terms of points scored. I am always amazed when they start going off in the tenth round.
Fantasy Football Champs, FFChamps.com, founders the Millmans are the No. 1 ranked experts In the history of the Fantasy Football Index Experts Poll. FFChamps.com gets there every year by following our Football Bible, The FFCPI, our weekly rankings telling you who to play. FFChamps.com has the most state of the industry Mock Draft tool, proprietary algorithms and systems for player rankings/who to draft/who to play/who to trade in the industry, and one-to-one Expert Advice. In the last 7 years FF Champs has competed against the top Fantasy Football Experts in all of the major magazines' Experts Polls and has finished lower than 3rd only twice.
My biggest (two) rules are to go against the grain of the draft and grab the players with the most upside. If too many of one position goes (thinking RB/WR/QB), take the position that isn't going. Don't be afraid (especially in leagues with a flex spot) to take the position you already drafted again if they are a better value at your pick rather than filling your starting lineup. Next, look at player who have a higher ceiling rather than a higher floor. You're up against at least nine other fantasy owners, so I'd take the guy with more upside rather than the steady guy. Give me Jermichael Finley over Dallas Clark, Ryan Mathews over the top-8 rated RBs, Jay Cutler over Carson Palmer, Joe Flacco, Brett Favre or Eli Manning. You get the picture; you gotta take some chances if you want to win your league.
RotoWire.com is a fantasy sports news site that focuses on MLB, NFL, NBA, NHL, auto racing (mostly NASCAR), golf, college football, college basketball and soccer. The web site features player news, draft kits, mock-draft software, in-season tools, feature stories and statistical data to help fantasy players in each sport. RotoWire hosts a three-hour daily radio show on Sirius-XM, XM 147, Sirius 211 11 AM - 2PM ET, has partnerships with Yahoo! Sports, ESPN, NFL.com and FoxSports, among others. To sign-up for a free-trial to RotoWire.com, go to RotoWire.com/trial..
It may be obvious, but wait, wait, wait and wait a bit longer to draft your kicker. Unless there is an excellent strategic reason for doing otherwise, the last pick in your draft should be the kicker. There’s not enough separation between the best kicker and the 12th best kicker to make picking them earlier worthwhile.
Kamys is president of Dr. Stats Fantasy Sports. His company, via the web, offers player news, injury reports, cheat sheets, projections, weekly matchups, statistics, and a customized team tracker. Dr. Stats Fantasy Sports also e-mails preseason newsletters and reports throughout the season. For more info visit www.docstats.com or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you don't get a top tier RB, don't fret. The top-notch high-scoring WRs and QBs will more than compensate for not having a beastie RB. Maybe grab an elite TE in the 4th or 5th round, too. If I have a draft where I'm picking between 6th and 8th--and my first 4 picks are Aaron Rodgers, Randy Moss, Reggie Wayne, and Jermichael Finley--the sting of not having a stud back diminishes greatly. So relax, the RBBC backs are plentiful, so take the next layer guys and don't worry. Whether it's Ricky Williams, Brandon Jacobs, Marion Barber, Reggie Bush, Beanie Wells, Thomas Jones, Felix Jones, Jonathan Stewart, L. Maroney, Jamaal Charles, McGahee, J. Harrison, Sproles, or LT -- they'll all be around later and will help your depth. Draft mid-later round players who may score on special teams like CJ Spiller, Percy Harvin, Jeremy Maclin, DeSean Jackson, Josh Cribbs, Knox & Hester, maybe even Ted Ginn. If 2 guys are about equal, one from a bad team vs. one from a good team, take the guy from the better team. Draft a #3 WR from a good team that passes a lot--Meachem, Dez Bryant, Austin Collie, Early Doucet, J. Edelman, vs. a #1 or #2 WR from teams that are crappy--Rams, Bills, Browns. You may want to avoid guys you do not like or have screwed you in the past, guys like Willie Parker, Portis, Shockey, Cedric Benson, Jay Cutler, even Brett Favre, or anyone from the Jets, Skins, or Raiders--OK, maybe the NYJ defense is draftable. Lastly, be well-prepared so you can relax, have fun, and smack talk intelligently and humorously--like when someone buys a magazine the day of the draft and picks Ben Tate--actual factoid from a draft I was in Sunday!
Scott Sachs is “The Coach”, at Perfect Season Fantasy Football, offering live talk and advice from early August through the NFL playoffs. The Coach has 22 years experience in a 24-team league, 19 years in playoffs with multiple Championships, including the league’s only perfect season! The Coach has a knack for Sleeper & Rookie picks, too! Free content and subscriber options on the website: www.perfectseasonffb.com. Email questions or info requests to email@example.com.
I don't touch players coming off serious injuries. Wes Welker, Kevin Smith (not like that one's difficult), that sort of thing. Call me the No Torn ACLs team. Fantasy football has enough risk involved to select players who may be pushing themselves to come back earlier than they should, and who generally need a full year from their injuries to be the same player again (if then).
Richardson has been a columnist and contributor to the Fantasy Football Index magazine and web site for the past nine years. His responsibilities include team defense and IDP projections and various site features, and he has run the magazine's annual draft and auction leagues since their inception. He previews all the NFL games on Saturdays and writes a wrap-up column on Mondays during the NFL season.
Posted by JERRY ENGER | Sep. 02 at 03:36 AM
Agree with BE FLEXIBLE for sure. I'm known for buying the top RBs in my auction league, and this year they all went way too high. I shifted gears, nailed Drew Brees, Randy Moss and Miles Austin, then later took (on the cheap) Shonn Greene, CJ Spiller and Arian Foster. I was not prepared to turn my strategy over to anything like that, and pure dumb luck saved me. I'm glad I was flexible, the team is awesome, but I was not prepared. Never again. Think the unthinkable and plan for it.
Posted by Brian Grzybowski | Sep. 02 at 02:39 PM
David Dorey's rule of avoiding young WRs seems outdated. Any fool can draft well in the first 5 rounds of a draft, but leagues are won after that point. Rookie WRs (and less heralded 2nd year guys) are useful in putting your team into contention and they come at an extremely discounted rate. If you can gamble in the late rounds and find a starter, why wouldn't you? Saying that "97 percent of the time" a rookie WR won't be a fantasy starter is woefully inaccurate. In reality you only need to look at 3-5 guys; seriously, how many rookie WRs are getting starting gigs in the NFL? Here's a brief list of Rookie WRs that could have been obtained in the 10th round or later and would have helped teams when championships: Charles Rogers ('03), Anquan Boldin ('03), Eddie Royal ('08), Dwayne Bowe ('07), Percy Harvin ('09), Marques Colston ('06), Larry Fitzgerald ('04), Hakeem nicks ('09), Roy Williams ('04), Michael Clayton ('04), Andre Johnson ('03), Lee Evans ('04), and Desean Jackson ('08). Here are a bunch of second year WRs that also could have lifted you to a championship at a bargain price: Mike Sims-Walker ('09), Reggie Wayne ('02), Chad Ochocinco (nee Johnson, '02) Braylon Edwards ('06), Greg Jenning ('07), Steve Smith ('02), T.J. Houshmandzadeh ('02), Plaxico Burress ('01), Brandon Marshall ('07), and Calvin Johnson ('08). Mr. Dorey would have you believe that it is impossible to figure out which, if any, young receivers will put up serviceable numbers. It's not; plus those numbers are better than serviceable. The rookies that look like they have the best chance to make an impact this year appear to be Mike Williams (Tampa Bay) and Jordan Shipley (Cincinnati). That's just my observation, but unlike Mr. Dorey, at least I'm looking.
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