Top 10 Tips & Tricks to Help You Win Your Fantasy Football League in 2023

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Can you smell that? That my friends, is the divine aroma of another fantasy football season looming around the corner. It has become an annual tradition for Andy, Mike, and Jason to provide a new set of tips & tricks to help you win your fantasy leagues. On this year’s installment of this beloved episode, the guys presented a captivating countdown: 10 Tips & Tricks to Help You Win Your Fantasy Football League in 2023

Want more fantasy advice for the upcoming season? The team has compiled all of our best tips & tricks into a book available on Amazon, Fantasy Football Unleashed: 55 Tips, Tricks & Ways to Win at Fantasy Football.

10. “Focus on Upside – Upside Wins Championships” -Jason

Securing championship victories in fantasy football hinges on acquiring the breakout players who can make a monumental weekly impact. Jason made sure to remind everyone that he won the League of Record championship last year with Jalen Hurts leading the way for his squad.

This was a perfect illustration of a high-potential selection obtained at a substantial bargain, resulting in great rewards. He also stressed the significance of reviewing last year’s data before diverting focus towards the upcoming season. Drawing from research by Matt DiSorbo on our site,  he found a player’s ebbs and flows of their point distributions is 33-50% more important than raw points scored.

Last year, you could have faced these decisions in your drafts:

In retrospect, these draft day dilemmas from the previous season may appear comical now, but they genuinely posed significant challenges for many during that time. This season, we vow to learn from our previous mistakes and attempt to inject volatility into our lineups. 

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Below are a few examples of safe vs. volatile, high-upside players who could breakout and currently share similar ADPs:

It is important to recognize that not every one of these high-upside selections will unfold exactly as anticipated. Nevertheless, shying away from taking chances in pursuit of potential game-changers is unlikely to lead to many victories. In fantasy football, the ultimate objective remains securing championships, which requires a willingness to take bold swings. While a well-timed bunt attempt might occasionally yield fortunate outcomes, history suggests that infusing your lineups with high-upside volatility significantly enhances your team’s chances for success.

9. “This Ain’t Yo Momma’s Playcalling” -Andy

When you have witnessed a recurring pattern in the past, it becomes increasingly challenging not to anticipate it repeating in the future. However, while analyzing historical team trends, it is all too common to solely fixate on the notion that “this is what they have done.” To better illustrate the situation, Andy conjures an imaginary scenario of a team that typically ranks lowly in pass attempts, has a subpar quarterback, and maintains a lackluster pace of play. Many might assume a similar outcome for the forthcoming season based on prior data. Andy urges you to break free from conventional thinking and stay ahead of the curve by recognizing that each season introduces new opportunities. This could include new coaching personnel who can drastically alter a team’s anticipated trajectory. Consequently, this shift could directly impact the performance projections for the team’s fantasy assets in the upcoming season.

Demonstrating this line of thinking, Andy’s prime example centers on our previous approach to the Miami Dolphins‘ offense prior to the start of last season. With the team bringing in the services of a new head coach and offensive maestro, Mike McDaniel, the majority of the public negligently overlooked the potential for a significant enhancement in the team’s offensive attack and efficiency. However, their oversight proved to be their downfall. In Week 2, McDaniel and Tua Tagovailoa orchestrated an offensive onslaught of six touchdowns against a respected Baltimore defense. Evidently, the team had undergone a remarkable transformation, shedding the mundane Miami offensive reputation that had become customary. Regrettably, by the time most realized this transformation, the window to capitalize on the remarkably low cost of acquiring the offensive weapons from this potent unit in drafts had already slammed shut.

Here are a couple of offenses with new coaching personnel, who can significantly impact their new team’s fantasy assets:

  • Washington Commanders: OC Eric Bieniemy- Former long-time Kansas City assistant, who learned under Andy Reid and coached Patrick Mahomes. In 2022, Washington ranked DEAD LAST in first half pass rate, while Kansas City ranked first. The team is primed to improve in this area tremendously in the upcoming season.  They also ranked 31st in early down passing efficiency. Expect that to spike with Bieniemy maximizing the potential of Terry McLaurin and Jahan Dotson.
  • Baltimore Ravens: OC Todd Monken- Former Tampa Bay OC & consecutive National Champ @ UGA. In 2022, Baltimore ran 3 WR sets on a league-low, 12% of plays. The NFL average on the season was 61%. In contrast, in Week 1 of the preseason, the Ravens skyrocketed to 81% 3 WR sets. Monken is known to deploy offenses with an extremely high pace of play. Due to this, there is currently plenty of room for any combination of Zay Flowers, Rashod Bateman, and Odell Beckham Jr. to beat their current draft cost.
  • Indianapolis Colts: HC Shane Steichen- Former Eagles OC is credited for assisting in the evolution of Jalen Hurts. In 2022, Indianapolis ranked DEAD LAST in turnovers per drive and red zone efficiency. Although he has a rookie quarterback throwing him the ball, Michael Pittman currently provides intriguing upside at his relatively low ADP.
  •  Denver Broncos: HC Sean Payton- Andy stated that he would rather be violently ill than watch another Denver Broncos’ game during the Nathaniel Hackett era. I tend to agree.  In 2022, Denver ranked DEAD LAST in 3rd down conversion %. Conversely, Payton’s New Orleans’ offenses were absolute machines on 3rd downs. Contrary to popular belief, Jerry Jeudy and Courtland Sutton are not dead yet and could present an abundance of upside at their current costs in drafts. Let’s Ride?

Jason wanted to shift the focus towards a team poised to elevate their already stout performance due to a coaching addition, potentially transitioning to even greater heights. The Los Angeles Chargers made a pivotal move by enlisting the expertise of OC Kellen Moore. Renowned for crafting remarkably high-scoring and efficient offenses during his tenure with the Dallas Cowboys, Moore appears to be the ideal fit to fully maximize the potential of Justin Herbert. We are all extremely bullish on this entire offense and the team is oozing with fantasy potential at multiple positions. 

8. “Tiers For Fears” -Mike

Mike highlighted the podcast’s impressive nine-year run, during which the team has generously dispensed a wealth of tips and guidance to their dedicated listeners. With that said, it would be a travesty for him not to provide what he claims to be the most important of them all. He underscores the significance of categorizing players into tiers, based on their similarly projected median outcomes. This practice forms the foundation of the Ultimate Draft Kit. He firmly advocates against relying on a top-200 rankings sheet, noting that while some may hold an affection for such lists, they ultimately lack the essential context required to help you out during your drafts. 

Breaking your positional rankings into tiers can ultimately help you decide which position to take in each round of your draft. Picture yourself midway through the draft, faced with a challenging choice between a wide receiver and a running back, both offering comparable potential. By referring to your tiered rankings, you can discern the risk-to-reward ratio associated with each position. This will help you map out a realistic strategy for draft day that can help you achieve roster balance. Not only will these rankings spare you last-minute desperation during the draft, but they will also bestow upon you an unrivaled advantage over fellow league members who overlook this underrated strategy.

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7. “Wide Receiver wONEnts” -Jason 

What a clever title created by the Big Shimmy. But listen up ladies and gentlemen, this tip is equipped with much more substance than just a catchy pun in the title. We looked at the bottom-5 teams in Pass Rate Over Expectation since 2019 and their corresponding WR1 (based on targets) and how they performed for fantasy football purposes.

Below are the staggering results that were discovered:

  • WR1 averages in that span: 95 targets, 10.2 fantasy points per game, WR35 fantasy finish.
  • The only WRs to finish with 13+ fantasy points per game during this span were Deebo Samuel and AJ Brown. Both players achieved this feat by having outlier touchdown producing seasons.

Counting on anything more than a mid-WR2 season from players who fit this criteria is likely wishful thinking. It is important to point out that this study is not insinuating that these players are “bad”. It is more shining the spotlight on the importance of understanding what their realistic role is on your fantasy team.

2023 WR1s on teams with the lowest projected pass attempts in the UDK:

When the pie is small, it becomes challenging for these players to EAT. While many of these players exhibit considerable upside that can defy this pattern, it is recommended to temper their expectations from their ceiling due to anticipated limited passing opportunities. These players are likely to have a modest floor and average outcomes, potentially outweighing their inherent talent.

6. “Don’t Double Your Trouble” -Andy

This tip zeroes in on avoiding the selection of two “onesie” positions within the initial four rounds of your draft. In the context of a 1QB league, a onesie position refers to a quarterback, while in a 1TE league, it pertains to the tight end position. Every fantasy manager aspires to gain a positional advantage whenever feasible. The potential benefits of having Travis Kelce or a top-tier quarterback on your roster are undoubtedly substantial. However, the issue arises when you attempt to simultaneously prioritize both positions early in your draft. This potentially undermines your chances of assembling a well-rounded team.

Below is an example of how spending two of your first four picks on onesie positions can set you up for failure: 

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While this roster construction might still work in some circumstances, it requires compromising depth in crucial positions. Consequently, this could grant your league peers an edge over your team. Embracing this draft approach leaves very little margin for mistakes. Had this manager dedicated additional effort to refining their tiered rankings, they might have discovered that this is not the most optimal way to build their roster.

Double, double toil and trouble; fire burn, and caldron bubble!

5. “Flexy and I Know It” -Mike

Maybe it is because they are positioned at the bottom of your super flexy roster, but the FLEX spot(s) tend to get ignored by far too many fantasy managers. The challenge with this oversight lies in the undeniable importance of excelling at the FLEX position within your leagues. Mike reiterates the point that stockpiling backup running backs might not be the optimal approach for maximizing roster composition and depth. This is primarily due to the uncertainty surrounding the identity of the true backup in the event of a starter’s absence, along with the uncertain workload they might receive. Mike instead recommends you target “FLEX With Benefits”. These players can be described as running backs who possess the capability to start, yet offer additional advantages if the player ahead of them misses playing time. Essentially, these players can be likened to a 1B option within an offensive scheme that prominently features a 1A choice at the same position.

FLEX With Benefits who you should have on speed dial include: 

While it may evoke a certain unease, it remains crucial to acknowledge that Dalvin Cook and Ezekiel Elliott likely find themselves in a similar classification now. Should one of these 1B alternatives encounter an injury, the anticipated starting running back’s worth would undoubtedly surge. This distinction is what separates Kenneth Walker, who is currently overlooked by numerous draft boards, from potentially providing first-round value. While you are getting flexy this season, it is essential to continue to do so responsibly. Make sure to take out your starting Thursday Night Football players out of the FLEX!

4. “Find Discount Versions” -Jason

Consider this akin to opting for the “generic” brand. In the realm of fantasy football, it is all about assessing opportunity costs. Why pay a premium for the name brand when your mom says that you already have an equivalent, budget-friendly version right at home? Numerous highly skilled players fall off my draft radar every season due to their inflated cost. A prime example often debated on the show is the current draft price of Tee Higgins. While Tee Higgins‘ talent is undeniable, that does not automatically warrant investing a high second-round pick on him, as many are doing. When you isolate specific examples of potential discount versions of more expensive players, the ultimate tip and takeaway is to not invest in the more expensive option.

Illustrating the concept of maximizing opportunity cost, let’s examine the drafting strategy surrounding a premier asset like Travis Kelce this year. Undoubtedly, there is currently not a greater positional advantage in fantasy football than rostering Kelce. However, choosing him within the top-5 of your drafts comes at the price of forgoing the chance to secure elite options at premium positions. Jason believes that Mark Andrews could be seen as a more affordable counterpart to Kelce, attainable two rounds later. Opting for Andrews at his current ADP over Kelce opens the door to selecting a top-tier running back or wide receiver. These players do not grow on trees.

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Examples of potential discount versions of premium players:

  1. Why draft Travis Kelce in the first-round when you can get Mark Andrews two rounds later?
  2. Why draft Patrick Mahomes in the second-round when you can get Justin Herbert three rounds later?
  3. Keenan Allen is a cheaper Amon-Ra St. Brown.
  4. Khalil Herbert is a discount Rachaad White.
  5. Dallas Goedert is a cheaper TJ Hockenson.
  6. Cam Akers (Cameron) is a discount Alexander Mattison.

Just don’t skimp out on quality batteries. The discount ones were born ready to die. 

3. “History Doesn’t Always Repeat Itself” -Andy

Beware of falling into the trap of historical burn bias. Rest assured, Andy is here to provide the soothing aloe vera for your previous burns, allowing you to embark on a fresh start this season. Simply because a player has a track record of certain actions does not guarantee a repeat performance every year. Furthermore, it is crucial to forgive the players who may have caused frustration or pain in the past (although easier said than done). Strive to approach the new season with an open mind, offering these players a clean slate and a chance at redemption.

Examples of players that were able to completely flip the script after 2+ years of failure:

  • Christian McCaffrey: Played in 10 TOTAL games in 2020 & 2021. “He’s gonna get injured… I’m not falling for that again.” CMC was the RB2 in fantasy last season, played in all 17 games, 352 opportunities, he is truly awesome.
  • Saquon Barkley: Played in 15 TOTAL games in 2020 & 2021. “He’s not elite anymore… He is gonna get injured again.” Saquon was the RB6 last year on a monster workload with 371 opportunities. He too is very awesome.
  • Miles Sanders: Solid as a rookie, followed by 2 straight years of disappointment. He’s a trap… He had ZERO TDs in 2021!” Sanders had a huge bounceback in 2022 plus a new, lucrative contract in Carolina.

Candidates for 2023: 

  • Deshaun Watson: He was outscored in total points by Brock Purdy last season, despite both making their season debut in the same week. “Gross… I’m not gonna draft Voldemort (who also happened to stink last year).” He finished as a top-five quarterback from 2018 to 2020. He now has his first full offseason in Cleveland and is surrounded by great weapons on offense.
  • Darren Waller: Has missed 14 TOTAL games in the last two seasons due to injury. “His best days are over… The guy is made out of glass.” Had consecutive seasons with 1100+ receiving yards in 2019 and 2020. He profiles as the top target in his first season with the New York Giants.
  • Calvin Ridley: Has not played on an NFL field in over 700 days. “This guy is so washed… He gambled away his career.” Finished as the WR4 in his last full season (2020). Reports have been extremely positive during training camp and he is linked to Trevor Lawrence.

2. “Early Dome-Field Advantage” -Mike

Mike might be even better at coming up with puns for his titles than Jason. This tip delves into a crucial factor to consider when selecting streaming quarterbacks and flex options. Historically, quarterbacks playing in indoor stadiums enjoy a notable advantage. Over the past five years, during September games, a staggering 54% of the 271 outdoor games played fell short of their point over/under, averaging a modest 45.4 points per game. Teams playing under retractable roofs saw their points per game rise to 47.7, with only 52% of the games failing to meet the over/under prediction. Now, things are about to get steamy. In dome games, the teams averaged a combined score of 50.5 points, with 54% of the games surpassing the over. Mike rests his case.

In our quest for a strong kickoff to the year, let’s spotlight some early-season matchups set to take place within domed stadiums:

  • Week 1: TEN @ NO, TB @ MIN, MIA @ LAC
  • Week 2: SEA @ DET, SF @ LAR
  • Week 3: LAC @ MIN, ATL @ DET

Should all teams play in domes? Does more points mean better football? That is still up for debate. Regardless, you should be looking to capitalize on the fantasy points readily offered by teams that call domes their home turf.

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1.“Know Your League’s Tendencies” -All

This podcast has hooked you up with endless advice to help secure victories in your leagues across a multitude of avenues. However, as much as we would love to be there in person during your draft, we are unable to physically be in the room with you. Your league might have a tendency for early running back selections, or perhaps your fellow managers steer clear of drafting quarterbacks early. It could even be a scenario where you are competing against someone like Owl Borland, known for loading up on players from his beloved Green Bay Packers. Regardless of what your league tends to do, it is absolutely essential to pick up on their unique tendencies and capitalize on this newfound knowledge. Dive back into the database and dissect your previous drafts to identify recurring patterns and tendencies.

And, if the budget allows, enlisting the services of a private detective to discreetly observe and spy on your leaguemates is highly recommended.


Vince Wiscovitch says:

This article is GREAT!!! Thanks so much for sharing these insights in an understandable and manageable format.

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