Sunday, September 7, 2008

Who should I start?

Well it's the eve of the NFL regular season. Fantasy draft day is over and your months of research and preparation have netted you an All-Star fantasy football squad primed and ready to deliver a championship. The question is, who do you start? To find out, you've been pouring over the injury reports, listening to sport center, and mulling over the tradeoffs of placing certain players in your lineup over others. This is where the men are separated from the boys. If you can consistently predict what your players will do each week, start 'em when they're hot and sit'em when they're cold, you are well on your way to that elusive championship. Try the tips I've listed below to help you set your lineup each week.

Injury Reports
Keep in mind that the NFL, just like fantasy football, is a game of misinformation. NFL coaches love to keep their opponents on edge and will mask and misinform player injuries as long a humanly possible. Why do you thing Tom Brady was listed on the injury report through the entire preseason with food poisoning? The best you can hope to do is check the injury report on Friday, when teams are expected to post their most up to date report by the league. If a player's not listed on the injury report, that means he is expected to play on Sunday. Probable indicates a nagging injury that shouldn't affect the players availability on gameday (75%), these guys are safe to start. Questionable means the player is generally 50/50 and will probably wait until gameday to try ot waarm up and give it a go (50%). Out means that your player will not be available. Check out my injury report every Friday for the latest. All questionable and out situations should be moitored throughout the course of the weekend. What's most important is to watch the NFL pregame shows for the latest information as the players warm up. They will give you your most difinitive information just prior to kickoff, which will make you decision clear.

Play the Matchups
Fantasy football success is all about matchups. A stud running back going up against a weak run defense should net you some extra points on Sunday. It's the same thing with quarterbacks and wide receivers, if you can exploit a weak defensive NFL matchup, these guys can make winning on Sunday that much easier on you. Paying attention to weak offenses matched up against a solid defense can also net you some extra points from your fantasy D. Each week, obtain a list that ranks NFL defenses against the run and against the pass. Use this list to help determine which players should start for your team and which players need to be benched. The rule of thumb is to always go with your studs at each position, but in some cases if the matchups favor a bench player, it might be wise to switch it up.

Expert Advice
When in doubt, listen to the experts. There are all types of fantasy football start 'em and sit'em resources. Maintain a wathcful eye on what the experts are saying to help make the decision process a little less stressful.

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