Fantasy Football Tips & Considerations
Take Your Game to the Next Level
September 8, 2015 by Jake Butler
Some of us play for personal pride. Some play for bragging rights over our friends, family, and coworkers. Others just play for a welcomed distraction. Whatever the reason, NFL fans have practically made fantasy football into a national pastime as its popularity has skyrocketed in recent years.
Whether you’re at home relaxed in your favorite armchair, or you’re overseas on deployment watching on the Armed Forces Network when you get a chance, fantasy football has a tendency to turn even the most boring, uninteresting game into something meaningful – even if it’s only on a personal level.
I’ve been playing for 14 years now so I consider myself something of an expert. So today I’ve put together some tips and considerations for the novice player that could help you get an edge on your competition.
How to Watch
Of course basic cable offers the most viable solution. As an avid football junkie, I prefer the $10 sports package add-on that also unlocks NFL Redzone. It shows live action from every NFL game every Sunday afternoon during the season. Their motto is “Every touchdown from every game,” so even if you miss something, they’ll show you the highlight right away. In most cases, you’ll see each touchdown before the live scoring on your fantasy football site even updates. Best of all, it has no commercials. It’s basically seven straight hours of football, if you can even sit still that long.
If you’re stationed internationally or at sea on a Navy Ship, you’re probably familiar with AFN Sports. They carry tons of NFL games throughout the year. That may be your best alternative if you don’t have access to traditional cable.
If you’re really serious about your football, it may be worth it to invest in Game Pass, the NFL’s official streaming service. It replays all 256 regular season games On Demand in HD, so you can watch them at your own pace. They also have condensed versions, which let you watch a game in 30 minutes or less. Of course multiple devices are supported, whether you’d prefer to watch on your computer, mobile device, or tablet.
Know The Platform
My best advice is to get to know your fantasy football website. You want to utilize all the tools available to you – that includes injury updates, trends and statistics from other leagues, and free advice and analysis.
Of course, it often helps to corroborate information and advice from multiple sources, so get to know some other sites as well. I use Twitter a lot during football season as a sort of dashboard for all things NFL – news, injury reports, and insider analysis. Every bit of information you can get will help you prepare both for the draft and for managing your team afterwards.
Play the Waiver Wire
Games are often won and lost in free agency. Think about how many people last year passed on Odell Beckham Jr., who was a rookie coming off two pre-season hamstring injuries. He was a pivotal player down the stretch on a lot of championship teams – including mine – and he went undrafted and sat in free agency for the first four weeks in most leagues.
Secondly, know your league settings. If yours has a standard waiver wire system, that means you move to the back of the line every time you do a waiver transaction. A good strategy might be to minimize these kinds of pickups until you see a sure thing.
In fact, you should consider waiting until the waivers clear to do most add/drops. Your place in line does not reset on standard free agent transactions. Only utilize the waiver wire if you think the player you’re targeting will be picked up by someone else.
Lastly, a strategy I like that more and more people are adopting is called “streaming” defenses. If your defense has a tough matchup where they might give up a lot of points, consider picking up a unit off free agency that has a more favorable matchup. This requires a little bit of extra effort, but it’s sometimes necessary to get an edge on your opponent. Every point helps!
Consider Weekly Leagues
If you don’t have time to manage a fantasy football team, or you’re not all that invested in playing, but you know you have an upcoming Sunday all to yourself to watch football, you might want to consider a weekly auction-style league. Draft Kings and FanDuel are the two most popular sites right now for short-term play.
These are a little different in that they utilize an auction structure, meaning every player in the NFL is available to you, but each has a specific price tag. You have to stay within a defined budget, so you can’t just stack your team with studs. You have to pick some mid-tier players who you think will have breakout games.
It’s a great alternative to a standard league because it’s so much more flexible. You can play as much or as little as you like. Plus, you can pick a whole new team the next week so you’re not stuck with players you don’t want.
Win, lose, or draw, fantasy football is supposed to be fun. So whatever happens, try not to take it too seriously. It is considered a skill-based game, but when you play it for as long as I have, you realize that it has a lot to do with luck as well. Play the matchups, follow your gut, and have fun! Good luck in the 2015 fantasy football season!