ASK THE EXPERTS appears weekly from training camp through the Super Bowl with answers to a new question being posted Thursday morning. How the guest experts responded when we asked them: How can fantasy teams (and the NFL) minimize pain of exhibition injuries?
I am certainly a proponent of waiting as late as you can to have your local fantasy draft. In trying to make a level playing field for everyone, waiting until late to have your draft ensures no one enters the season at a disadvantage from losing players. Injuries are a reality and certainly happen in Week 1, but not drafting too early at least allows each fantasy team an even chance to start the year with full rosters. As the NFL goes, I doubt I would allow my starters to participate in a preseason game. That 15 or 20 minutes on the field is not going to make any difference to how the team is ready for the year - that is what training camp is for. Preseason games should only be used to determine which fringe players are going to stay or be cut.
Dorey co-founded The Huddle.com in 1997. He's ranked every player and projected every game for the last 23 years and is the author of Fantasy Football: The Next Level. David has appeared on numerous radio, television, newspaper and magazines over the last two decades.
People act like injury risk is somehow contained to just the preseason. There's a far greater chance of injury in the regular season. Sure, in an ideal world, every draft would happen 24 hours before the start of the season so provide a near-zero chance of pre-season injury. But life doesn't work that way. Our leagues are filled with scheduling hurdles like kids, jobs, and travel. Draft when it's convenient for you. Don't be a slave to fear.
Charchian is the CEO at GuillotineLeagues.com. Guillotine Leagues are a new way to play in which the lowest-scoring team each week gets chopped from the league, and all the players go to the waiver wire. Charchian was inducted into the Fantasy Sports Hall of Fame in 2013.
As of now, it would be insane for fantasy leagues to draft before the completion of the preseason -- too many of us have been burned over the years. However, I think we’re getting to the point where starting players won’t play at all, and the preseason will be limited to players filling out the back end of rosters.
Bland, a fanatical fantasy football player since 1992, has been a contributing expert to Fantasy Football Index since 2018 and appears regularly as a guest on the Fantasy Index Podcast. He is the Managing Editor at yourulz.com, a fantasy sports platform launching in 2021 that allows live in-game substitutions in every sport.
I’m surprised that more teams don’t use more players in the preseason games. I would think there would be some value in getting game-speed work against opponents. I would think that would help to get everyone dialed in and ready to hit the ground running in the real games.
Allan co-founded Fantasy Football Index in 1987. He and fellow journalism student Bruce Taylor launched the first newsstand fantasy football magazine as a class project at the University of Washington. For more than three decades, Allan has written and edited most of the content published in the magazines, newsletters and at www.fantasyindex.com. An exhaustive researcher, he may be the only person in the country who has watched at least some of every preseason football game played since the early 1990s. Allan is a member of the FSTA Fantasy Sports Hall of Fame and the Fantasy Sports Writers Association Hall of Fame.
I definitely believe that fantasy players should not draft until AFTER the preseason is over, due to injury risk. Granted, major injuries can happen in practice, but for the most part, tackling is limited, which reduces the risk significantly. This is the primary reason why I never draft in money leagues before the preseason is complete.
Nazarek is the CEO of Fantasy Football Mastermind Inc, celebrating 25 years online! His company offers a preseason draft guide, customizable cheat sheets, a multi-use fantasy drafting program including auction values, weekly in-season newsletters, injury reports and free NFL news (updated daily) at its web site, www.ffmastermind.com. He has been playing fantasy football since 1988 and is a 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. He's also won nearly $30K in recent seasons of the FFPC High Stakes Main Event. Nazarek can be reached via email at email@example.com.
The volatility of training camp, preseason, injuries, roster trimming, trades, signings, etc., have always been a part of the NFL. It is a massive glut of information -- true, false and conjectured. For those reasons, the ideal scenario for fantasy drafts is the week or so just before Labor Day through Wednesday before the season starts.
Sachs runs Perfect Season Fantasy Football, offering LIVE Talk & Text consulting. He has multiple league championships including 2 perfect seasons. Scott is a past winner of the Fantasy Index Experts Poll and a 2-time winner of the Experts Auction League.
No home league should draft before the end of the preseason, but we've always known that and it just isn't practical. And as much as I want to say every coach should hold all of his best guys out, we do note year after year that running games in particular get better as the season goes on, because that part of the sport depends on precise choreography, and that requires reps. So some of this stuff is probably inevitable, and we'll have to live with it yet again. Granted: it stings more than usual when two exciting young running backs go down for the count in the span of a week.
Eleff hosts the Fantasy Index Podcast, available in the iTunes Store now. He has worked for Fantasy Index off and on all century.
In my opinion you should draft all year long: from the NFL Draft through the first week of the season. Why? Because it allows you to use different strategies. One strategy may be to go with riskier players or not. That risk level can decrease the closer we get to the season. As an example....to draft or not draft backups for injury insurance. As far as NFL teams holding out key starters, you have to do what you think is best for your team and winning. Guess it comes down to, It's all part of the game. And deciding who to draft will depend on when the draft is and how much risk you want to take. Sometimes going all in to try and win it all is the best plan versus making the playoffs but really having no hope of winning the Championship. I would much rather fail 9 times out of 10 and not make the playoffs but win the Championship then make the playoffs 4 times but not win.
Hendricks is the author of Fantasy Football Guidebook, Fantasy Football Tips and Fantasy Football Basics, all available at ExtraPointPress.com, at all major bookstores, and at Amazon and BN.com. He is a 25-year fantasy football veteran who participates in the National Fantasy Football Championship (NFFC) and finished 7th and 16th overall in the 2008 and 2009 Fantasy Football Players Championship (FFPC). He won the Fantasy Index Open in 2013 and 2018.
If I were an NFL head coach, I wouldn't put my key running backs on the field in the preseason, period. They're the guys who take hits and risk injury on basically every offensive play, so losing them in a meaningless game is senseless. Yes, they can get hurt in practice, but you can limit that by not allowing them to actually be hit. Yes, they can get hurt in Week 1 -- those games count, so be it. No running backs in August games. As a fantasy coach, I'd prefer to draft after the exhibition games are done. Not always possible, but I don't feel like taking on that kind of risk, even knowing it will benefit me at times (when other teams lose their early picks to injury). Draft a week before the season, unless it's a best-ball league (with huge rosters to cover for preseason injuries).
Richardson has been a contributing writer and editor to the Fantasy Football Index magazine and www.fantasyindex.com since 2002. His responsibilities include team defense and IDP projections and various site features, and he has run the magazine's annual experts 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.