Each week throughout the season I'll highlight key strategies and opinions for Patriots.com readers to consider as you vie for your fantasy football bragging rights.
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I can't believe it's August. Training camp is in full swing and two of my three fantasy football leagues have already selected our draft order. At FFChamps.com, we strongly advise leagues to wait on their drafts as late at possible, ideally holding them between Labor Day and the season-opening, Thursday night NFL game. This way, those of you who truly spend the time preparing have the advantage in the draft room. One of our most important sayings at FFChamps.com is that the season starts at the draft but is won in the weekly trenches. For the first few columns, I will focus on keys to winning on draft day.
Before you enter your draft, you must know by heart the FFChamps Ten Commandments of Fantasy Football. These can be read in full detail here but I wanted to highlight them here. They are the key to starting you on your way to winning your league. The Ten Commandments are:
- Know Thy Scoring System
- Thou Shall Stick to Thy Tiers
- Thou Shall Avoid Players from Bad Teams
- Thou Shall Draft Players From the NEXT Great Offenses
- Thou Shall Wait on Thy Quarterback
- Thou Shall Covet Thy Stud WR
- Thou MUST Draft Key Player's Backup
- Thou Shall Not Draft Two Studs From the Same Team
- Thou Shall NOT Draft a Kicker or Team Defense Too Early
- Thou Shall Start Your Studs.
The most important commandment, as it is a definer of all your strategy, is to "Know thy scoring system." In my three leagues each scoring system is so different that I need three different plans. It is critical to understand both the scoring and the positions. If you're in a league that only gives 4 points for a passing TD or has a passing TD distance bonus, then you need to assess your quarterback differently. If your league awards a point per reception, then this will greatly affect the type of running back or wide receiver you draft. The best players in any league pay a lot of attention to the format and build their team accordingly.
The Commandment that I adhere to the most is drafting players from the next great offense. The NFL is evolving and with it, so is fantasy football. What worked in years past may not work as well today. The easy road as a fantasy GM is to draft based on last season's success and numbers but the key to winning is to look into the crystal ball for this season's studs. The year after Ladainian Tomlinson had his career year, he was drafted with the first pick, at age 30, in one of my leagues. Adrian Peterson went second. The guy picking was scared to take a risk of going young and fast, and LT had his worst year of his career to date and AD exploded onto the fantasy scene.
So, that's easy right? Just pick players from this year's to-be great offenses. Not. It's never easy but here are a few early thoughts...
- I'm concerned about the Vikings offense. AD is pretty much everyone's consensus No. 1 pick but he has an unproven quarterback in Christian Ponder and the Vikings lost their only true playmaker in Percy Harvin (who is also lost to injury for the season for his new team, Seattle). An aggressive move to look ahead might be to take a shot with Doug Martin, the Muscle Hamster, who had an incredible rookie season. I still am not sold on Josh Freeman but Tampa has an arsenal of weapons at WR, and is likely an offense fast on the rise. Martin will be a consensus top 5 pick, but I would take that chance over AD, who will keyed on by every defense all season. Martin is a TD machine with a year of experience under his belt. Knock on wood, he has been injury free and is young and fast.
- Other offenses I am seeing on the fast rise are Indianapolis, Washington and perennial powerhouses Denver and Green Bay.
- I'm concerned about Carolina and Cam Newton, as Carolina has not done much to bolster an aging group of wideouts.
- I see the Ravens offense getting a tad old, although I do like Torrey Smith at WR for his big distance scoring potential.
Bottom line, build your teams around players from those offenses that you believe are ready to emerge and follow FFChamps and this column, as we will point them out as August progresses.
In this column, we always like to take a quick look at our New England Patriots from a fantasy football perspective. Since it is only early August, I'm still going to take a wait and see approach with Tom Brady, normally a top 2-4 QB in the past few fantasy drafts. The running game is super strong and deep, but we all know that there are concerns and unknowns at the WR and TE positions. An aging QB, with only one returning WR, a TE position in flux, and a powerful running game could spell a fantasy football slippage. However, a couple of these rookies look promising and so does the Brady to Danny Amendola connection, especially in a point per reception (PPR) format. I would not expect Amendola to put up Wes Welker-from Brady PPR numbers, however. So we will re-explore this after as we get closer to the drafts and see some of these guys in action.
Next week we will explain FFChamps tiering, Commandment Two. Tiering is what will separate you from the competition and is the main reason that FFChamps members dominate the competition on draft day.
Remember to become a www.FFChamps.com member for next season and get the Patriots.com discount at https://www.ffchamps.com/subscribe/, and to tweet us your questions @FFChamps or visit www.ffchamps.com for around the clock rankings, strategy and 1-on-1 advice, all the way through your Fantasy Football Championship. FFChamps.com: Extraordinary Results for Fantasy Football Dominance.