I played my first season of Fantasy Football (FF) this year, and have enjoyed it.
Shortly after arriving at Centre Grove in July, I was asked if I wanted to be part of a new fantasy football league made up mostly of guys from the church. I like to watch football and thought it would be a good way to connect with others so I said yes.
Our 12-team league began the year with a live online draft (which happened to be on the first night of our vacation in NJ, so thanks to a wireless internet connection there I was able to participate in the draft!). We each drafted 15 NFL players. Each week we selected 9 players from our roster (1 quarterback, 3 wide receivers, 2 running backs, a tight end, a kicker, and a team defense) to be in our lineup based on who we thought would produce the most fantasy points for us that week (points are determined by their on-the-field performance).
Throughout the season, team owners are able to drop players (who are injured or underperforming) and add other players (from the list of available players in our league). Interestingly, only 6 of my current players were on my original roster (and two of those I had dropped and added again somewhere along the way).
I made the most moves (drops and adds) in our league. Looking back, I think I was always looking for the player who wasn’t on anyone’s radar but surprised everyone. One of my best pickups this year was Steve Slaton, a rookie running back who has played extremely well for the Texans.
It’s been an interesting process and has definitely changed the way I watch football. Rather than simply rooting for one team, I also follow the players on my fantasy team. And you really have to pay attention to injuries (and suspensions) so that you can fill the roster spot if your player isn’t playing!
Our season is coming to an end. In our league, the regular season lasted 13 weeks. Eight teams advanced to the playoffs, a 3-week process that culminates in the championship game. In the championship game this week, I will be going up against the one youth player in our league.
It looks to be a good match-up but it’ll be a long weekend. I have 1 player playing Thursday night (my opponent has 4 — he’s a Colt’s fan!). I have 1 player going on Saturday night and the rest on Sunday. But the week’s not over till my opponent’s last player plays on Monday night.
I’ve enjoyed the friendly competition and the online interaction with guys from church (some of the guys in our league are really good at “smack talk”! 🙂 ).
I’ve also enjoyed researching player stats and reading various fantasy experts for their opinions on each week’s upcoming games. There are tons of fantasy football sites, but these sites tend to be the ones I like the most …
My favorite Fantasy Football resource and the one I follow most closely is ESPN. They do a daily 8(ish)-minute video called Fantasy Focus Football that I really like. A few fantasy experts write weekly columns — my favorite is Eric Karabell’s “Instant Replay” on Mondays which reviews Sunday’s games from a fantasy perspective. They rank players at each position and I find their composite rankings (rankings of 4 experts) helpful. Stephania Bell’s injury reports are helpful, too.
ESPN has a nice fantasy stats section, Points Against, that I like for basic stats. When I want more detail I like FFToday.com.
I like Yahoo! (the host of our FF league), but they’re advice is not quite as extensive as ESPN’s.
Beyond those sites, I will occasionally check other sites if I have time or need a little extra guidance/info, especially advice for player news, player rankings, and sit/start lists, including …
NFL.com especially the blog during the Sunday games.
Fantasy Football Nerd (for composite rankings from around the internet)
Fantasy Football Librarian (for links to helpful resources around the web)
One thing I learned about Fantasy Football is that even after you do all the research and make an informed decision and have a good sense of who is going to play well and produce the most fantasy points, there are no guarantees those players will actually live up to expectations, no matter how good the match-up! Some weeks it seemed that my team was doomed to under-performance.
And having a good team is no guarantee that you’ll win. Most weeks my team was projected at or near the top in projected points, but I don’t believe there was ever a week that my team scored the most points in our league. I take that to mean that I have a team with more talent than consistency. We’ll see how they do this Sunday in the championship game, which gets underway tonight!
So, if you play fantasy football, what have you learned? What sites have you found helpful?