Fantasy Football Strategy Guide 2009: Cheat Sheets and Rankings
With the NFL season approaching, countless armchair quarterbacks are thinking about the 2009 Fantasy Football season. Many seasoned fantasy football veterans have spent years honing their football fantasy strategy. Those of us who have spent who are relatively new to this non-sport may struggle with finding a way to get an edge on the guys in your pool.
Here is a brief guide to Fantasy Football strategy. It's by no means definitive, but rather a good starting point into the world of fantasy football.
Strategy 1 - Keep It Simple, Stupid: Using Fantasy Football Cheat Sheets
Sure, some guys love spending hours obsessing over every detail and statistic in the hopes of getting an edge, then have the whole thing blow up in their face when they #1 pick pulls a groin.
For most novices, the best fantasy football strategy is to keep it simple. Don't feel the need to know everything. It's entirely possible to do well in your league simply by using a few simple fantasy football cheat sheets (here is a NowPublic guide to 2009 Fantasy Football cheat sheets).
As well, you can find one of the countless fantasy football rankings lists out there and use it as your guidepost. If you have the 10th pick, simply choose the 10th person on the chart, then pick the 20th player on the chart with your 20th overall pick, and so on until you're done.
In reality, the guys who make these ranking spend countless hours trying to come up with these rankings. Will they be 100 percent right? Not even close. But they'll do a better job than you could and likely a better job than most of the guys in your pool, so feel free to just keep it simple and use a Fantasy Football cheat sheet. For our money, we recommend ESPN's Complete 2009 Projections.
The problem with simply picking the best player available is that it's essentially passive. In a way, you're allowing everyone else in the pool to dictate the composition of your team. For instance, if everyone starts taking running backs, you end up with weak running backs because the remaining best players were all wide receivers. That could produce a lopsided roster that fails to produce consistent results. As a result, some prefer to take a more active approach, which leads us to...
Strategy #2 - Draft Strategically With Regards to Position
If you're looking to move on from simply drafting the best players available, you start to think ahead and think about drafting by position.
Here's a little more nuanced way to approach the draft:
-In the first two rounds, pick the best players available, be they running back, wide receiver or quarterback. Simply look for guys who are projected to generate the largest number of fantasy points.-In the third round, try to fill the gaps in your lineup, If you already have two quality wide receivers, then start looking for some running back or a quarterback, even a tight end. By breaking away from the best player available strategy, you end up with a more well-rounded roster. In the next few rounds you start filling out your starting roster.
-In the mid to late rounds, look to fill out your bench. Injuries happen, so you'll need to optimize your back-up players.
-In the last two rounds, pick a defense and a kicker. As a rule, the difference between team defenses is negligible. While there are a few quality defenses out there, you don't want to pick them too high. There are simply too many variables at play, making it impossible to predict which defense will dominate. The same goes with kickers.
Strategy 3 - It's All About Sleepers
-Most fantasy football pools aren't won by your stars, but by the guys you pick in the middle to late rounds. Those guys that you took a chance on can end up having a breakthrough year (last season guys like Carolina's DeAngelo Williams helped turn the tide in many fantasy leagues). It's important to look for sleeper picks, guys that fly under the radar and have a good chance of producing big numbers.
You could take the sleeper approach and focus all your time on sleeper picks. You can simply pick the best player available in the early rounds and focus on finding those diamonds in the rough later in the draft. Here's a guide to 2009 Fantasy Football Sleepers.