Football that is! YES! It’s time… It’s finally time to REALLY start talking football! And when we say football, we mean Fantasy, Freaking, Football. See, the beauty of fantasy football is that you get to watch the game of football while being involved in each and every game like the last guy on the bench; except it’s your couch, and the only coach yelling in your ear are your friends, your mother, or significant other. All kidding aside fantasy football involves the player, meaning those in a league, paying attention to a lot of football. The digital age we live in makes it so easy to find the information you’re looking for and there are more games televised than ever depending on your cable package. The point is, it’s easy to play fantasy football, and the key is making the right decisions and adjustments throughout the season. That’s where we come in. My name is James Ferguson, and my GmenHQ.com partner and co-author of many of the articles you will be reading throughout the year is Jeff Ellis. We are the GmenHQ.com voice and opinions for all things fantasy football related. We will bring you as much up to date information as possible, and with the help of the entire staff of GmenHQ writers, will keep you up on top of all things football.
This article is our opportunity to share with you who we are, and how we think. How our experiences, our history, when it comes to playing fantasy football has helped us come to our decisions and recommendations. So let’s go thru an outline of things you should do during the pre-season.
I. Research, Research, Research
There is no better tool than knowledge… Instinct comes in handy, but we’ll talk about that later. Actually knowing who you’re looking at on draft day is like a MasterCard commercial… “Priceless.” So let’s get into places to find this wonderful knowledge. Most Importantly, the best resource is the internet. Your ability to type in a person’s name and find virtually everything about him is very possible. Kinda scary too, but maybe that’s just me. You can do your homework through your favorite sites such as ESPN (if you’re willing to pay to be an insider), CBSSportsline, Rotoworld, Sports Illustrated, etc… Sports shows do a good job of keeping you up to date on the popular players, but are not a great resource for anyone out of the top 100 players. Championships are won with players outside that top 100. I am not a fan of magazines. Typically by draft day, their information is outdated and less important. They can give you insight on players to keep on your radar throughout the season and will also clue you in on players in contract years or other specific circumstances. That info is also accessible via internet if you find the right articles. So fight your way through as much football friendly news as you can, and don’t be afraid to make some notes along the way. It’s about knowing the projections for as many players that your brain can hold. That’s when we get to Step 2.
II. Fishing through the Clutter
How much of the stuff you read do you believe? There are so many prognostications and hype to work through. So who can you trust? I find for myself that the big names like Adam Schefter are in their position for a reason. They have access to information no one else does, so what he and the rest of the NFL Live staff on ESPN says is God in fantasy football terms. Let’s not get this confused, this is not for projections, this is in reference to news and only news. An example would be players coming off an injury. I for one think that local beat writers have some of the best insights to their specific team. They’re there every day; they see as much as permitted by the NFL. They will lead stories about roster changes, and guys who impress the coaching staff, as well as injury updates. Some web sites such as prosportsdaily.com are a great way to access many of this country’s newspaper sports pages.
III. Trust Your Instincts
If you have done your research, and you have a sorted through it, you will find many writers typically agree about players. You won’t find a single person who thinks Adrian Peterson isn’t going to run for at least 1,500 yards this year, but let’s be honest, everybody knows that. What I mean is when you start hearing the same names over and over and with the same consistent storyline, that’s a great way of trusting what you’re reading. Instincts should only influence your decisions. They also should not be based on what players did last year. Teams change every year, and even if they remain virtually unchanged, the teams within their division certainly have changed. As we have mentioned it is not hard to find information, tape and more information about players; just as the rest of the NFL will be doing their homework on how to try to stop their opponents, so must you for your fantasy team. All this means that last year was last year and that it has little to do with how you can choose to pick or not pick players. What you can read from last year are things like consistency, breakout performances, team strategy (run or pass first mentality), and guys who flashed potential. In analyzing these aspects of the game, your instincts should be at work for the next season.
As the season gets closer we will begin to talk about specific players, mock drafts, position battles, etc.. The most important thing you can do now is to start reading. It may be a little early to start working mock drafts, simply because a players position will fluctuate so much from now until when the season opens. Now is the time to keep your eyes and ears open, because what you learn now might be the difference between playing in a fantasy football league and winning. Make sure to keep an eye out for our next article. We will be talking about formats and how a players’ value can change depending on what form of fantasy football you are playing.