It’s the most wonderful time of the year! It is Fantasy Football Season! It is the competitive game that has taken the United States by storm. A projected 74.7 million Americans plan to participate in Fantasy Football in 2015, spending approximately $4.6 billion altogether on their respective leagues! It’s time for you to get a piece of that pie. Unexpected injuries or suspensions can devastate your season early on (shout out to all of the Adrian Peterson owners last year), but if you follow these simple guidelines and have a little luck on your side, I am positive that your Fantasy Football adventures will be fulfilling.
The most important position in Fantasy Football is by far the Running Back (RB), and to succeed you must draft them early and often. A common misconception in fantasy football is that drafters think that the Quarterback (QB) is indisputably the most crucial position on the field. This does not translate to Fantasy Football due to the different scoring system and the depth at each position. 57% of Fantasy Football players desire a QB most, followed by 32% for a RB and 9% for a Wide Receiver (WR) according to the New York Post. This misguided perspective will ultimately put you in the loser’s bracket come playoff time. To support the idea that RBs are the most important position in Fantasy Football, think about this statistic. In 2014, 73% of owners who won their fantasy league drafted a RB in the 1st Round. The next closest position was QB at 11% (NFL.com). As the National Football League (NFL) continues its transformation into a passing league, the amount of sturdy fantasy RBs continues to decline. Last season only 16 RBs reached the 150 point mark. This is the lowest mark since the 2009 season (NFL.com). Knowing that the RB position is very thin in the NFL, drafters should select them early and often on draft day to establish some depth to their roster.
16 QBs reached the 250 point mark last season alone, doubling the number to reach that plateau in 2010. This means that fantasy owners should not feel the pressure to draft this position early because there is so much depth. For example, based on average draft position (ADP), Ben Roethlisberger was the best value at QB — and he was not even drafted until the 13th Round in most Standard Leagues (NFL.com)! WRs are also an important position for Fantasy Football and need to be attacked with a slightly different approach than RBs and QBs. I agree with the opinion of Tyler Shaffner, a student at the University of Florida and avid Fantasy Football participant, who believes it is crucial to, “get the most reliable players and the most consistent from year to year…those are the sure fire bets…” Consistency is key at all positions, but more specifically at WR. To give an example, only Calvin Johnson and Demaryius Thomas have posted top 5 finishes at the WR position for 3 consecutive years (NFL.com). So, although these WRs may not finish the 2015 Fantasy Season as the #1 ranked at their position, drafters can be confident that they have made a safe selection for their roster.
Tight Ends (TE) for Fantasy Football are very simple to deal with. Robert Gronkowski, the Tight End for the New England Patriots, is the best TE in terms of Fantasy Football by a large margin. If you are not able to select Gronkowski in the 2nd or 3rd Round, there is no reason to reach for another TE. Fill out your starting roster for QB, RB, WR, and even a few of your bench players to create some depth for your team before picking a TE. Lastly, the Defense/ Special Teams (D/ST) and Kicker (K) should be your final two picks, respectively, in every draft.. The gap between these positions in terms of points for Fantasy Football is so small that there is no reason to waste an early pick on them. There will almost always be a great matchup for a D/ST or a K on free agency, which you can simply add to your roster on a weekly basis to win those crucial head-to-head matchups.
If you have never played Fantasy Football before, I strongly suggest that you give it a try. The game is more powerful than people may expect. My good friend, Taylor Jenkins, a Fantasy Football participant and student at the University of South Florida, told me that Fantasy Football is, “a good excuse to stay in touch with friends.” Old high school buddies or distant family members can stay connected via Fantasy Football. To put it simply, it is a fantastic medium for keeping in touch and a great conversation topic. If your group of family and friends like to get competitive, follow these rules when building your dynasty and you will be just fine when Sunday rolls around.