Monday, August 27, 2007

Trade vs. No Trade Leagues

I am currently running a fantasy football league. It's our third year, many of the same cast of characters, some new folks. It's a mixture of new players and grizzly veterans, friends, family, and girlfriends, the potential for nepotism is there. Anyway, I been in several fantasy football leagues over the years, where people are constantly complaining about the fairness of trades.

"This guy can't trade with his son!"
"That guy can't trade with his girlfriend!"
"That's completely unfair!"

The thing I can't understand in leagues that allow trades is that people are so afraid of getting the short end of the stick in a trade that they refuse to trade their players anyway. Especially in a league of newbies, new players are very guarded about being taken advantage of by veteran shysters. So to avoid arguments, accusations, and complaints, my league is traditionally a "No Trade" fantasy football league. If you are coming to my draft come prepared, because the waiver wire is the only way you have to improve your team. The nice thing about a no trade fantasy football league, is that everyone is on equal footing, there are no back door deals, there are no Peyton Manning for JP Losman trades, there are no fire sale playoffs pushes where collusion ensues to screw the entire league as a player with no hope of making the playoffs, unloads his best players for Mewelde Moore, Doug Gabriel, and Travis Wilson. That's not pure ... that's not fantasy football.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Wide Receivers and Kickers get points too

ESPN has some interesting analysts, and for the most part I agree with a lot of what they say in regards to fantasy football, but in their fantasy football draft strategy analysis, when they talk about how the difference between the top wide receiver and the number 25 wide receiver is roughly only four points per game or the difference between the top kicker and the 15th ranked kicker s roughly three points per game, I have to take issue. Now I’m not advocating that during the draft your go out and grab a kicker in the third round or take an early flyer on a top tier wide receiver when Shaun Alexander is staring you in the face, but how many times have you lost a fantasy football game by a slim margin? It happens to me all the time. The extra three points a week I could have gotten from a better kicker, defense or WR could have really helped. As you snake through your rounds on draft day, don’t neglect your backfield, but certainly understand the importance of solid players at these key positions. It’s all about tradeoffs, As you look at your board, if you’re looking at middle of the road running backs on the board versus the possibility of grabbing back to back studs at wideout or quarterback to pair with an average back, don’t be afraid to pull the trigger. I usually take a kicker in one of the last three rounds, but I’m always looking for that one kicker that emerges during the season to give my team the extra three points I’ll need to pull off a close win.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Commissioner's Note

Appointing yourself commissioner of a fantasy football league is highly desirable. For one year you are a fantasy football god! Run your league like a tyrant or a mediator, it's all up to you. Skew the league toward your strengths as a fantasy owner, create a scoring system that gets your juices flowing, toss in the strangest, back-woods bylaws you can think of - It's your league. If they want in (and they do) they have to play by your rules. It's like being the bossy kid on the playground, but if you don't play fair, noone will want to play with you anymore. So I suggest moderation.

But ya know what really chaps my ass? Lots of things that other people do in fantasy football. That's why when I'm commissioner things are different. For instance:
  1. Paying for transactions. I make a lot of moves throughout the season. I'm never happy with my team. Like Jerry Jones, there is always a little tweak here, a little change there that can make my fantasy football team better. I am always the league leader in transactions, and even on losing team, I can't help myself but to try to make it better. In my league transactions are free and there is no waiver wire. If your guy goes down, you're gonna have to beat me to the website for his backup.
  2. Negative Points. I don't care that it's not realistic. I don't care if Rex Grossman throws three interceptions - he threw four TD's and went for over 300 yards to get the Bears back into the game. Those are the points I want on my bottom line! Screw negative points, fantasy football is about scoring. Scoring is the essence of the game. The worst feeling on monday morning is when your backup running back went for a touchdown and sixty-three yards, but you end up with six measly little fantasy points because he coughed it up three times. My leagues have no negative points. No negative points for fumbles, no negative points for inteceptions, no negative points for missed field goals. This is fantasy football people, let the guys in the real world deal with the other stuff.
  3. The season ending FIRE SALE! This one really hurts. I've been in leagues where I drafted the best squad that year. I have an all-star unit that's crushing teams on the way to another championship. It's not my fault you didn't do your homework on draft day. It's not my fault you got bested by the big fantasy brain. Jealousy soon rears its ugly mug and collusion ensues. A couple of guys get together, one sends all of his best players to the other for bench players, and the king is dead. Not in my league! I learned early on that everyone complains about trades. "It's not fair", "He can't trade with his brother/sister/wife/girlfriend/father", my league is a "No Trade" league.

Revolutionize the way you draft!

If you’ve purchased my 2007 premium cheat sheets ($5.00), then you’re well on your way, but take the time to read this post for I will impart upon you twelve years of knowledge for your fantasy football draft approach. To begin, you need to prepare ... buy fantasy mags, scour the internet, buy a cheat sheet, whatever you need to do. I like to go into the draft with three sheets of paper, all one-sided. The first sheet has my overall player ranking, the second has a team depth chart, and the third is my draft tracker. The Draft Tracker is where I write down the players I have selected with their bye week, and where I track the position each fantasy owner has selected by round. I just make a matrix that crosses the number of teams with the number of rounds and fill in a QB, RB, WR, etc. into the box as they come off the board (it’s a lot quicker than writing the whole player’s name down). This will allow you to see where you can gamble with you selections round to round. If you see a bunch of guys are set at one position you can wait another round to address it. After filling in the draft tracker, I highlight the player’s name on each fantasy football cheatsheet. Toward the end of the draft, when others are scrambling to figure out who is who’s backup or what starters are left on the board, it's all clearly displayed on my premium cheatsheet, which can be found, by the way, at Your goal is to grab two top ten running backs, one top five quarterback, and two top ten wide receivers … that’s what you’re shooting for. How you go about grabbing these guys is all dependant upon the flow of the draft. There is no set position per round, it varies from draft to draft, from year to year, but you want to make sure every pick is a solid performer ... a guy that can get you 10 points a week. Stay away from Rookies (unless it’s a highly touted WR in the middle rounds), stay away from guys with nagging injuries, stay away from the running back by committee. Make every pick a good one!