10 Tips & Tricks to Win Your Fantasy Football League in 2019
A tradition unlike any other…
Every year the Footballers countdown a list of fantasy football hacks and helpful pointers to get your ready to win your fantasy football league. For 2019, the Ballers recently highlighted on the podcast a brand-new set of 10 Tips & Tricks. Here they are counting down from 10 to 1.
#10 RB Depth Looks Stupid Until It Doesn’t (Andy)
RB Depth is so important because things change quickly. In a recent article by writer Matthew Betz, he highlights an Injury History of Round 1 RBs. Fantasy football owners can utilize data from seasons past to look at who might get injured, or how many players might get injured, especially those stud running backs in Round 1 of drafts. There were a couple of key takeaways:
- In 2018, 33% of running backs taken in Round 1 missed time because of injury. Collectively, they missed 14 games.
- Of the six running backs taken in the first round, two running backs were injured. In 2017, 33% of running backs taken in round one missed time because of injury. Collectively, they missed 17 games.
- In 2016, 33% of running backs drafted in the first round were injured. Collectively, they missed 15 games. In, 2015 83% of running backs taken in Round 1 suffered an injury, and as a whole, they missed 32 games.
- Over that four year sample, there was a total of 12 injuries to running backs selected in the first round out of a possible 27 players or a 44% injury rate.
Suddenly the late-round shots on Justin Jackson, Jaylen Samuels, Darwin Thompson, Jamaal Williams, and Dion Lewis start to become relevant. Every year we need to recognize that there are changes in a backfield due to injury, workload, fumble problems, etc.
#9 “A History of Rookies” by Bathilda Bagshot (Jason)
In an ode to Harry Potter, owners need to take advantage of the data we have on how the majority of rookies perform.
- Draft Rookie RBs– Over the last seven years, we’ve had numerous rookie RBs (Todd Gurley, Jordan Howard, Christian McCaffrey, Leonard Fournette, Kareem Hunt, Saquon Barkley, etc) breakthrough and make a significant impact for fantasy teams.
- Don’t Draft Rookie WRs– Apart from the ridiculous year of 2014 and Michael Thomas in 2016, the vast majority of rookie WRs need more time for development.
- Don’t Draft Rookie TEs– Aside from Evan Engram, Jeremy Shockey, and Mike Ditka, rookie TEs take the longest time to adjust to the NFL. Don’t bank on Noah Fant or T.J. Hockenson.
- Draft Rookie Rushing QBs– From Robert Griffin III to Russell Wilson and last year with Lamar Jackson and Josh Allen, rookie QBs with the added element of rushing the ball find a way to be fantasy forces.
#8 Early return on late value (Mike)
There are RB ranked that might not be the hottest names to draft this year but will give you an early return based on ambiguous backfields. An early return on your investment is better than nothing at all and a wasted bench spot.
Find RB rankings that can give you anywhere from 10-15 touches and perhaps earn their way to more as the season progresses. They can be a valuable trade chip or an opportunity to find yourself a cheap RB2.
- Peyton Barber
- Matt Breida
- Devin Singletary
- Justin Jackson
#7 Your Team Isn’t As Good As You Think (Andy)
According to Andy, this is essentially “Don’t smell your own farts”.
Fantasy owners can fall in love, especially with the roster you draft or the players you’ve kept or better yet the guys that gave you huge points in the past. We have our my guys show, you have your “my guys”. This CAN cause us to have biased views of our team
So many owners in leagues I’m in think all their players are the best, no one else’s is good, and turn down advantageous trades because of that bias. A couple of points:
- You don’t get to count last years points this year.
- You don’t get bonus points if you own the player’s jersey.
- You don’t get a head start in 2019 by holding on to last year.
Try your best to be objective, view each season as a fresh one, and start anew. If a solid trade makes sense for your 2019 team, do it. If a player you loved isn’t panning out early, don’t project something that isn’t going to happen onto his next few weeks. Stay water, your team might not be as good as you think.
#6 No Riskit, No Biscuit – And Biscuits Lead to Diabetes (Jason)
Being risk-averse in the first few rounds isn’t about not shooting for players with upside but making sure the foundation of your team is set.
Last year, if you drafted Le’Veon Bell, you were doing so despite the red flags that he was holding out. Leonard Fournette had off-the-field issues and lingering leg problems that at least brought up question marks in drafting him in the first round. Rob Gronkowski had a history of injury issues and contemplated retiring even before the season Doug Baldwin seemed like a value as he slid in draft boards due to injury concerns. However, avoiding risk would’ve allowed you to pass on all these guys and avoid minefields.
#5 Opportunity Cost (Mike)
All players have their draft cost AND their opportunity cost.
It’s not just that you drafted Patrick Mahomes in the 3rd round but what else you passed up in order to draft him. The opportunity cost is what you could’ve used that pick on and how it affects the rest of your roster. Passing on a QB now gives you flexibility if the value comes up on your board. A player you thought would be selected is now a screaming value.
#4 Memories of Now by Duke Silver (Andy)
Don’t underestimate the value of picking up a victory in the present vs. building everything for future weeks. This is not to say you don’t plan ahead; be wise and be smart. There are awesome ways to do that.
There is so much value in the present. I love spending my FAAB early on players that have broken through. I love knowing I’m getting a difference-maker that is right in front of my face, vs. the “theoretical” big signing based on injury down the line.
I’m constantly trying to make trades that benefit THIS upcoming week, these upcoming matchups. Sometimes, if you don’t have a powerhouse, you need to buy weeks. Last year for me, it was big money on George Kittle. I said “Boom, let’s go. I need a tight end. I’m not waffling here, go get ’em.”
No good spending FAAB in Week 10 if you’re out of the playoffs. Consider the future, play for now.
#3 You Don’t Win The Championship At Your Draft (Jason)
This refrain has been sung year after year. However, it needs to be shouted from the rooftops as you start a new year fresh with a fresh perspective. The draft sets the foundation of your team but it is through trading, waiver wire, and paying attention to news and the podcast that you truly find a way to win your league.
Don’t check out because your team performs poorly in the first few weeks. Everybody else will be doing that. You, because you’re a smart person, will come back valiantly, withstand a few victories and end up with a winning team with a #FootClanTitle.
#2 RB Targets Matter (Mike)
We talk often about how a target is more valuable than an attempt. Players not only gain more yards on a target but they also get a bump in fantasy in PPR leagues. But targets matter for a high-end finish as well as game-scripts.
Last year in 0.5-point PPR, ALL of the top-10 RBs had at least….55! Targets.
Here were a few notable RBs that didn’t make the top-10:
- Chris Carson put up amazing numbers (1,150 rushing yards & 9 TDs) but was still 30 points out of top-10 because he finished with only 24 targets
- Derrick Henry had that amazing run at the end of the year to finish with 1,059 rushing yards and 12 TDs. He also finished about 30 points out of top-10 because he finished with only 18 targets.
#1 Get Your House In Order (Ballers)
Get the right owners.
Get the right settings.
Get the right platform. (Sleeper)
Get the right tools. (Ultimate Draft Kit)