Fantasy Football: Calling All Newbies – Part 2

Calling All Fantasy Newbies – Part 2

By: Mathew Silverman (@MathewSilverman)

So did you remember and digest all of the information provided to you in Part 1 of this article?  Think you are ready to start drafting away? Wrong!  Before you can start picking players, you need to know what positions your league will have.  Don’t do what I did just LAST YEAR and draft without looking at the league rules.  It’s not the best way to do things and usually ends up hurting you in the long run.

Now, I am going to take a leap of faith and assume that you know the basic positions in football.  QB, RB, WR, and TE.  Depending on your league size and rules you may need one, or two, or even three of a position.  Sometimes there is a FLEX.  This is usually a wild card spot where you can use either a RB or WR and maybe even a TE.  Most leagues will also use a kicker (K) and a defense combined with special teams (DST).  Some more advanced leagues use independent defense players (IDP) instead of a full DST.  I do not recommend this for the novice.  I have personally never been a fan of it either.

Each of these positions accumulates different statistics.  The main ones are yards and TDs.  You can score for passing, rushing or receiving.  Sometimes you get bonuses for reaching a threshold (100 yards rushing) or fractional points.  Each league scores differently so check your leagues scoring.  The biggest variation on scoring is what is called Points per Reception or PPR.  This rewards catching the ball, and makes scoring touchdowns slightly less important.  Some people love it, some people hate it.  I usually play in at least one league of each.

Remember my tirade about life after your draft?  I do.  Most teams will undoubtedly deal with an injury at some point in the season.  Or perhaps you drafted someone who isn’t living up to expectations.  Well, the key to winning in fantasy football is to pay attention.  Shocking isn’t it?  Every week someone gets hurt, and someone is the new HOT pickup.  Depending on your league settings you could be able to pick him up instantly or have to wait for a waiver process to run.

Waivers are probably the most complex thing about fantasy football.  As a commissioner, most of the questions that come in are on waivers.  The idea behind waivers is to give everyone enough time to make a decision on which player to add to their roster.  Most waivers work the following way, as soon as a player starts their game for the week they cannot be added, dropped or traded. Once all the games have been played, and a set time has passed, the site runs a process and gives the team with the highest waiver claim priority for a player. The priority can be handled a bunch of different ways, so again, check your rules.

That leads me to trades; I personally believe trading is what makes fantasy football fun.  I know some people that hate making trades. But this is why we play fantasy football.  To be a pretend general manager and make crazy blockbuster trades.  It’s fun, it’s exciting, and it’s risky.  Odds are you are going to make a bad trade or two along the way.  I most definitely have.  The reason is because what looks good in week 3 or 4 may not turn out as you expect in week 10.  Why not have a go at making a trade?  What’s the worst that can happen? You’re potential trading partner says no?  Every league has that one owner who sends 100 ridiculous trade offers.  If you get one and don’t like it, try to get something you do like.  If it doesn’t work, you are in the same spot you started in.

The last subject we will talk about today is byes.  Every team in the NFL has one week off.  That means you need to have a backup for every player. Now if you draft correctly, you can have a backup at each position, or if you are extremely savvy, you can sign free agents or waivers to round out your backups as it gets closer to your bye weeks.  There is no right or wrong answer.  Well, except for playing someone on a bye.  I know it shouldn’t have to be said, but you should always (except for a very rare situation where it could only cost you the week) have an active player at every position.

Stay tuned, in the weeks that come I will talk about draft strategy, position scarcity, and other hot topics to help you prepare for you drafts.


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