So your draft is next weekend and you begin to think about last season and how you drafted Tennessee RB Chris Johnson with your first overall pick. However the magazines you purchased ranked Johnson number two overall. So what happened?
Now don’t entirely blame yourself for last season. You only did what has been a tradition of sorts among fantasy football competitors of all levels. What threw a monkey wrench into this approach was the NFL Lockout.
The NFL Lockout changed where everyone searched for fantasy football information. Instead of going to the magazine counter in early August and finding a full magazine rack you probably were probably limited in magazine choices.
You were expecting to see a trusted publication such as Fantasy Football Index however that was not published last season. A matter of fact many magazines that were published did not have updated rosters, player profiles, or updated NFL free agency moves. Just blind speculation based of 2010 stats.
Now we all know how I feel about basing all decisions on stats alone. You need analysis from former players and coaches that have insight to what is happening because fantasy football is not the same as rotisserie baseball. Basing decisions on sabermetrics, which by the way there are no sabermetric formulas in fantasy football; rather you need to be grounded in informed opinion. If there even were a sabermetrics formula it would have to be loaded with variables that would give an actuary math anxiety.
However this blog entry isn’t about my annoyance with the fantasy stat geeks rather this is about finding solid draft strategy for this coming 2012 fantasy football draft that is
- Cost effective
- Provides up to date news, is never biased by stats, and includes in-depth fantasy football advice.
- Has a site that is easy to navigate
- Most of all will be make my fantasy team competitive.
Here are some cliff notes to help you plan.
- You need a Cheat Sheet for your draft! While mine are available on the right side there are other sources that I will list below.
- If you are going to use a drafting app it will cost a little money but make sure it is updated with current NFL rankings. I have the best listed below.
- Do NOT use a pay site! Just because you paid doesn’t make it better. I won a subscription to Pro Football Weekly in July of 2011 and was so impressed that I renewed my subscription in February. They are the only pay subscription I have besides the Chicago Tribune but like the Tribune they provide in depth reporting for NFL fans. No fantasy football sites advice is worthy of paying for when the leaders of the industry are the reporters who cover their NFL beat.
- Use the information from your leagues host web site such as CBS, NFL, and ESPN.
- Blogs such as mine are loaded with links, analysis, and experienced advice that can help you choose a plan.
- If you are not going to read then please watch and listen! Podcast and videos are a big help for those of us who have no patience.
- Practice! Practice! Practice! Mock drafts help you prepare your draft strategy.
- Most of all keep things simple.
Great Free Sites!
Now while opinions differ on who is the best overall source for fantasy football advice the truth is all the sites below have different strengths and weakness.
- CBSThe absolute leader in fantasy football web content. Dave Richard and Jamey Eisenberg are the leaders in the industry in fantasy football analysis. See the downloadable CBS fantasy football draft kit.
- Sports IllustratedAll of the SI.com fantasy staff writers are very insightful to the NFL and fantasy football. Some of my favorites are David Sabino, Eric Mack, and “The Injury Expert” Will Carroll. All of them will put you on to the path of fantasy football knowledge.
- NFL.comA great site for fantasy football beginners because they never
take any risk. Fantasy football analyst Michael Fabiano is clearly the poster boy for the stereotypical TV personality with his blinding smile and a bronze tan that would make the tanning bed mom jealous. Fantasy football enthusiast will find the sites overall fantasy content lame or even worse boring. Checkout the NFL.com Draft Kit.
- Yahoo.comdraft kit
- ESPNThe Talented Mr. Rotto Matthew Berry’s Love/Hate columnChristopher Harrisfantasy football cheat sheets
- ProFootballWeeklyfantasy football
- 2012 draft index
Phone Apps will they help?
Now if any of these sites are not what you are looking for and you insist on not doing the work before the draft you can still use a phone app. Several are available but none are guaranteed to make your team fantasy football champs.
- NFL Fantasy Cheat Sheet 2012 which is priced at $2.99 available on IPhone and Android.This app has been available since its conception in 2008 and is now the official NFL fantasy cheat sheet application.
- The one that received the most positive reviews was Fantasy Football Draft GM 2012 priced at $2.99 available on IPhone and Android. This app was much more customized but sometimes confusing to configure. The app features defensive players as well.
- Easier but not as customizable is Fantasy Football 2012 Draft IS priced at $1.49 available for Android.
Ok if you’re a fantasy novice I would buy a phone app but you may want to try more than one. A phone app can only help you identify better draft picks rather than searching for what positional needs you may require in whatever round you are drafting. If you’re a veteran you may want to consider it but I don’t see it helping you outsmart the competition.
Pay sites should you use them?
While paying for a $3.00 app is something I wouldn’t personally do I don’t think it’s unreasonable either.
However would you spend $20, $30, or even $150 dollars to win your fantasy football league? That sounds crazy right. Yet some people believe that spending big bucks will make you a winner.
While I would like to tell you they’re wrong I myself used DraftSharks.com and won my first and second fantasy football championship (2000 & 2002) in a large payout league. Sites like DraftSharks, Fantasy Guru, and RotoWire all are sites that will do the work for you but offer no guarantee that you are going to win.
The only thing that I don’t understand is why did I start using draft sharks? I played my first season of fantasy football in 1997 and didn’t know much about the game.
By luck alone I made the playoffs just on what I knew about the NFL.
In 1998 I made the playoffs again but lost in the first round.
Then in 1999 I was killing my league going 10-3 and had the top seed in the playoffs but again I was bounced in the first round.
Enter Draft Sharks!
Draft Sharks provided users with “inside information” and “in depth player analysis” as well as a “customized draft program”.
The truth is they stole the “inside information” was plagiarized from local newspapers.
The “in depth analysis” was stolen from newspaper beat writers who covered teams in depth.
However the “customizable draft program” was the key to why I had found success.
The program used value based drafting or VBD and it also was also customized with my leagues scoring system and simply made my decisions on draft day much easier. I wasn’t searching for a pick out of a magazine rather I had the best available picks right in front of me in descending order.
Now while sites like Draft Sharks were ahead of the curve in delivering technology to help you better determine your draft picks in the 90’s and early 2000’s they have been replaced by phone apps. Also CBS, ESPN, Yahoo, and even the NFL who now embrace fantasy football have devoted more resources to the game. They are all free so there is no need to pay someone.
It wasn’t the information that I received from Draft Sharks that made me a better fantasy football GM. Instead it was the tools they provided that helped me make better choices on draft day.
I stopped using draft sharks in 2003 when I went from league champion to second to from the bottom of the league. For the first time since playing fantasy football I had missed the playoffs in my big payout league. Draft Sharks would not give me a refund since they had no guarantees of winning me a thing.
Since that time I have not used one cent on a pay site to help me determine my fantasy football teams as well as never missing the playoffs and I won four more championships in big money leagues.
Which brings me back to free advice and there is no better advice then experience.
Fantasy Football Blogs will help you take your fantasy football game to the next level!
Who is better at giving fantasy football advice then some maniac with a passion for fantasy football and a lot of time to kill? Because let’s face it you have to enjoy something to write about it.
None of us wanted to write in high school because all topics sucked! However if were asked to write something were passionate about we would all would be using correct grammatical context. While my grammar is still a work in progress my fantasy football knowledge isn’t.
Here are some others who are just as passionate and I am not ashamed to admit do a much better job then me.
- DavidGonos.com the best fantasy football blog period. Advice, links, and most of very clever writing. By the way Gonos also writes for Sports Illustrated in the fantasy football section.
- FantasyDouche.com while I can’t figure out if the Douche is a genius or mentally insane I have to admit The Crop Report is a statistical breakdown the likes never seen before.
- Fantasy Football Librarian finds the latest links and fantasy football advice. The librarian also takes the average fantasy football positional rankings of eleven major analysts and compiles them into one single ranking. Click here to the link.
- The Late Round QB is a great site to find out why you don’t want to take that QB too early in your fantasy football draft.
While this is just a handful of the many fantasy football bloggers out there I can assure you that there are many experienced experts with great fantasy football blogs that will help you.
While they’re not as flashy or have the bells and whistles to keep you stimulated as the bigger media sites the overall content is fantastic. However if reading bores you, and obviously if you read this far it doesn’t, the next topic will be for the passive, lazy, and let’s face luckier fantasy football fan.
Can’t I just watch or listen to something instead of actually doing that reading thing.
Ok so your eyes strain when reading the menu at a restaurant or is the reason you prefer McDonalds because of all the nice pictures. While I don’t hate McDonalds I do hate the lazy bastard who walks in on draft day and talks about what he saw on NFL Fantasy Live last week.
The only research they did was listening to Adam Rank, Jason Smith, and Michael Fabiano discusses how Titans quarterback Jake Locker is on the verge of a breakout season. By the way they said that last season and he didn’t even start.
- NFL Fantasy Live is a… show… about fantasy football that has little or no insight whatsoever. It is really pathetic when I turn on a show and confuse an analyst for Andrew Zimmern. Then I change the channel to Bizarre Foods because at least I am going to be entertained watching Zimmern eating something that requires penicillin.
- ESPN Fantasy Football Now is a much more informative fantasy football show. Host Mathew Berry is not afraid to go on a limb with his fantasy football advice instead of always playing it safe. I never see him debating over which fantasy football star is the better pick instead he will debate which is better for a PPR or standard scoring system.
- Fox Fantasy Fix while Mike Harmon isn’t the stereotypical television personality
but putting him right beside the very attractive Crystina Poncher makes him look like he knows what he is talking about. With all kidding aside I like Harmon’s analysis and those attractive ladies beat looking at Adam Rank any day.
- ProFootballWeekly has the great analysis but I struggle with some of the videos with all the graphics overshadowing those analysts. Wow little overkill on the sound effects.
- CBSsports Dave, Jamey, and Nathan Zegura are all great at what they do but what is up with that crappy digital background? CBS drop a dime into production would you!
Now if you’re always on the run and don’t have time to watch videos you most likely would prefer a podcast. Podcast provide much more detailed information rather a brief discussion that is full of rhetoric.
- CBSsports Fantasy Football Podcast is the overall best in content and analysis. Available on ITunes.
- ESPN Fantasy Football Focusis close second but has one serious advantage over it competitors and that is the occasional use of the reporters such as Adam Schefter and Stephania Bell. Available on ITunes.
- ESPN Fantasy Football Draft Special hosted by ESPN writers Christopher Harris and Keith Lipscomb. While not nearly as entertaining as their counterparts ESPN Fantasy Football Focus yet worthy of a listen if you have fantasy a football draft dilemma that needs an explanation.
- The Fantasy Football Guys is entertaining, insightful, and an all around great podcast. Nice change of pace compared to the others! You want to have a beer with them and talk fantasy football.
So with all are information bases covered what else can we do to be ready for this year’s fantasy football draft?
Ok so we’ve read up on all the latest news, analysis, and rumors. We have a draft formula and we want to test our theory for draft day. The best preparation for the draft is to practice your plan in a mock draft.
- Fantasy Football Calculator is the best place to put your plan to the test in a mock draft. They have standard and PPR scoring, with or without a flex position, and leagues with 8, 10, 12, or up to 14 members in them. You can select the position you are drafting in and they also provide you with a link to the draft you participated in so that you can see where you might have reached or waited too long.
- Fantasy Football Calculator also provides another very important benefit. Fantasy Football Calculator compiles all of the completed draft information and tabulates the approximate ADP (Average Draft Position) for each and every player. You know that saying that hindsight is twenty-twenty. Well with an accurate ADP you can predict your entire draft like you have ESP.
- Want to know exactly how long it will take to wait to draft that deep sleeper try the scenario Calculator which will give you an idea of who will be available and when. So your first round draft pick is seventh overall click this link and see how likely Calvin Johnson will slip to seventh overall.
This is the only drafting prep you will need to be prepared for your fantasy football draft. This brings us to the only thing left to discuss about before you have your 2012 fantasy football draft.
Keep It Simple.
So you are in the seventh round of the draft you and need a third running-back and Arizona’s Ryan Williams is sliding to you. However you also have another slide on your hands as Dallas quarterback Tony Romo is falling to the first pick in round seven. While he hasn’t looked so hot in the preseason his numbers still make him a seventh round steal!
What do you do? When in doubt, don’t panic; simply go with your best guess.
If you read the links I supplied, use a cheat sheet or fantasy football draft app to identify positional needs during the draft, and most of all practice a mock drat you will be ready.
Remember the NFL Lockout changed everything and you won’t be the one using an old tired magazine on draft day. Instead you will be ready to have a competitive and even dominant team.