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08/02/2006: "The 10 Fantasy Football Commandments"
The 10 Fantasy Football Commandments:
Written Robert Littal
Email Robert Littal
Here is all you need to know about how crazy Fantasy Football can be. I am going to give you an example of 2 leagues I was in last year. The first league thanks to some expert drafting I went 12-0 in the regular season. I was unstoppable and unbeatable. There was no question I was going to be the champion, then BAM!!!! I was knocked out in the 1st round of the playoffs by a 7-7 team. The 2nd league I was in, thanks to the horror of the Donovan McNabb and T.O. soap opera, I limped to an 8-6 record, but made the playoffs. Thanks to Larry Johnson and Ricky Williams (yes that Ricky Williams of all people) I dominated on my way to the championship beating a team that was 14-0 going in. The point of telling you these stories is to let you know that Fantasy Football can be wildly unpredictable and that is what makes it fun, but if you want to have an opportunity to wear the crown in your league you have to follow these 10 Commandments.
Click Here or Link Below to for The Top 10 Fantasy Football Commandments
Top 40 Fantasy Players
Top 40 Fantasy RBs
Top 40 Fantasy QBs
Top 40 Fantasy WRs
Top 15 Fantasy Kickers
Top 75 Fantasy Defensive Players
Top 32 Defenses
Top 20 Tight Ends
1- THOU SHALL ALWAYS STUDY YOUR DRAFT SETTINGS, RULES, ROSTERS & SCORING SYSTEM.
I cannot emphasize this enough, if you donít know the rules of your league you are going to fail. None of the other commandments matter if you have no idea how your league is run. If your league starts 2 QBs then QBs become a premium. If your league gives 1 point for reception, then RBs who catch the ball out of the backfield have to bump up in your rankings. If your Commish only allows 50 roster moves a year, you have to be very careful who you pick up on the waiver wire or how many trades you make. These are just some of the scenarios you have to take into account. Every league is set up a little different, so knowing your league inside and out will help you come draft time and during the season.
2- THOU SHALL ALWAYS DRAFT AS LEAST 2 RUNNING BACKS WITHIN THE FIRST 3 ROUNDS OF THE DRAFT.
In Fantasy Football RBs are Gods. It is as simple as that. It is not necessarily that they are the top point producers (QBs and WRs routinely make it into the Top 10 Scorers); it is that there are very few good ones and even the good ones get injured. Most leagues start 2 RBs and sometimes a flex and to be honest in a 12 team league it is very difficult to find 24 quality RBs and damn near impossible to find 36. While it maybe tempting to use your first 2 picks on Peyton Manning and Steve Smith, it wonít look that great when youíre starting RBs are TJ Duckett and Duce Staley.
3-THOU SHALL NEVER, EVER, EVER, EVER DRAFT A QB IN THE 1ST ROUND
After Peyton Manning threw for 49TDs in 2004, he was going as high as the #1 pick in 2005 Fantasy drafts, which was absolutely crazy. First while QBs are normally top point producers, in most leagues you can only start one, which diminishes their value. Secondly seasons like that are anomalies. Thirdly you can get quality QBs from a fantasy perspective in the 4th, 5th or 6th round. In a fantasy draft I was in last year where Peyton went #2, I was able to secure the services of Carson Palmer in round 7. By the way Palmer outscored Manning in 2005.
4- THOU SHALL NOT WORRY ABOUT WIDE RECEIVERS.
If Running Back is the hardest position to fill, Wide Receiver is the easiest. If you donít have a starting WR by round 4 donít worry because at that point their will still be quality WRs on the board. In one of my drafts last year I did not draft a WR until Round 4 and I still ended up with Larry Fitzgerald, TJ Houshmandzadeh, Rod Smith, Deion Branch, Keyshawn Johnson, Kevin Curtis and Matt Jones on my squad which was more than enough to go undefeated in that league.
5- THOU SHALL ONLY BE CONSIDERED A REAL FANTASY FOOTBALL LEAGUE IF IT STARTS INDIVIDUAL DEFENSIVE PLAYERS.
Fantasy Football is much more fun with IDP because one it includes both sides of the ball and two it involves more strategy from the owners. When drafting IDP the most important thing to remember is know your leagueís scoring system. If it rewards a lot of points for tackles go Linebacker heavy, if it rewards sacks more go Defensive Line heavy. You get the idea. Remember defense wins championships.
6- THOU SHALL NOT DRAFT A KICKER OR DEFENSE UNTIL THE LAST 2 ROUNDS OF THE DRAFT.
I am talking directly to the owner who right at this moment is getting ready to draft Neil Rackers or the Bears D in the 4th round. I have went through drafts not even drafting either one, so I can have more trade bait with position players until the season starts. You canít predict how any kickers are going to be from year to year (or week to week for that matter) and you can always find one on the waiver wire. You can only start one defense; there are 12 teams in a league and 32 teams in the NFL. There is a good chance you will find a good D on the waiver wire. I prefer to play matchups with kickers and D to maximize points.
7-THOU SHALL NEVER DRAFT A TIGHT END TO AT LEAST THE 8TH ROUND IN ANY DRAFT UNLESSÖ.
That TE is Antonio Gates and even Gates should not be taken to the 4th round at best with the 2nd level WRs. TE maybe the most useless position in fantasy sports. Even the great ones are no better than a 3rd level RB. Gates didnít score that many more Fantasy Points than Tatum Bell in most leagues. That pretty much sums up my point.
8- THOU SHALL ALWAYS PAY ATTENTION TO THE WAIVER WIRE AND FREE AGENT LIST.
Every year there is a Willie Parker. A guy that no one has ever heard of and wasnít drafted that burst on the scene at the beginning of the year. Every year there is a Brad Johnson who comes in after the starter gets hurts and lights it up. It is these players who can make or break your championship run. You should always be looking on the waiver wire and the free agent list to find that diamonds in the rough.
9-Thou Shall Never Draft Rookies or Injury Risks Until Past Round 8.
The only exception to this rule is for Running Backs because there are so few quality ones out there. Even then you probably donít want to hitch your wagon to a rookie RB. Even Cadillac Williams and Ronnie Brown last year had tough stretches when they produced little or no points. Rookie WRs & QBs should be avoided like the plague until the late rounds.
Here is a scenario for you in regards to injury players. It is the 5th round of your draft you need a WR to fill out of your starting lineup. The next 2 WRs on your board are Rod Smith and Javon Walker, who do you take? If you are a gambler you take Walker who has the potential to be a 1500 yard 10 TD guy, but if you are smart you take Smith because you are pretty much guaranteed 900 yards and 8 TDs. It is just safer to take guarantee production over hope especially if that hope is tied up in a reconstructed ACL. If you gamble and you are right that is great but the chances are you are going to lose and destroy your roster.
10- THOU SHALL FILL YOUR BENCH WITH RISKS PICKS.
Whereas you never want to use a starter position pick on a risk or rookie, these are great for late round picks. Your bench as a whole wonít get too much use. If it does then your season is probably in shambles because the draft is the most important part of Fantasy. You should have 2 or 3 solid starters on your bench at the RB, QB and WR positions after that take as many risks as you can. I stored Ricky Williams on my bench last year for 11 weeks and never used him, but pulled him out for 1 week and that 1 week made he made a difference in me making the playoffs and eventually winning the championship. Look for rookies who might develop late in the season or veterans who may take over jobs late in the season. This is where you need to be smart on the later rounds of the draft and not just blow it off.