Editor’s Note: This article is from a series of #FootClan guest posts highlighting what set Footballers rankings apart.
Creating fantasy rankings is a meticulous and information-based gig that should be left for the experts. There are no better experts in the industry when compiling these fantasy rankings than the guys at The Fantasy Footballers.
The Footballers have a long resume filled with successful player rankings. They have helped fantasy players just like you all around the globe, by allowing those players to increase their fantasy knowledge drastically. In fact, they might even have compiled some fantasy victories along the way. Let’s not forget the times you may have just thrown a guy in your lineup because you trusted the Footballers’ expertise, only to be rewarded graciously.
So how do The Fantasy Footballers continue to churn award-winning fantasy rankings on a consistent basis? It may not be as easy as you may think. Numerous elements go into setting fantasy player rankings. These elements can drastically change where a player sits within fantasy rankings on a weekly basis. Below we examine just a few of the numerous factors that go into creating the best rankings in fantasy football.
Do you think anyone took Jerry Rice out of their fantasy lineup because he was going against Deion Sanders in the upcoming week? Didn’t think so. So why would you bench Saquon Barkley just because his opponent ranks within the top five of total defenses? News alert, you shouldn’t.
The Fantasy Footballers’ fantasy rankings back up these claims by asserting the cream of the crop talents at their respective position at the top of weekly fantasy rankings, on most occasions. However, there are factors that slightly alter a fantasy stud’s ranking, including injury, injury to players around them, or a truly horrendous matchup. Yet, even then the player will likely drop just a single ranking or two to be interchanged with another elite talent at his position.
So much goes into successful play in fantasy football. Don’t overthink the obvious, the Footballers sure don’t when creating their fantasy rankings.
Players on the Cusp
Must-start options are just a select few of the best of the best talent in the world. For the most part, you will build the majority of your lineup off of talent that is second-tier or below.
So how do the Fantasy Footballers decide who to place behind the must-start options in their fantasy rankings on a weekly basis? One element in their decision making is examining players who are on the verge of greatness. These players have constantly shown themselves as viable fantasy options during their time in the league. They continue to grow and improve on a yearly, or at times weekly basis.
A prime example of this would be Antonio Brown. It may be hard to think back on a time when AB was anything less than a superstar, but that time did in fact exist. At one point, it was Mike Wallace, not Antonio Brown, who was Pittsburgh’s number one option in the passing game. I know, crazy right?
Still, Brown showed enough talent and growth when on the field to quickly build a rapport with Ben Roethlisberger, and swiftly worked his way up the team’s depth chart. During this period, Brown was far from a lock WR1 in fantasy, but he was a reliable WR2-Flex option on most weeks. This production helped place Brown within decent, but not top standings on fantasy rankings. This allowed fantasy owners to insert him in their lineup with fairly high confidence while Brown continued to grow as a player.
Check out the recent top-10 WR rankings for 2019 podcast.
There are many factors that go into a player reaching that place of not quite elite, yet reliable. Scheme fit and usage are some of the most prevalent of the bunch. A player can have all the talent in the world, but if they are used incorrectly that player can quickly become fantasy irrelevant.
A player can remain helpful to their NFL team, but if what he does for that team does not translate into points, chances are you won’t find his name atop any fantasy rankings. For the most part, there is a place in the NFL for the player who does the dirty work, just not in the Footballers’ fantasy rankings.
Coming from a guy who won a fantasy championship with a combination of Josh Allen and Dak Prescott as his quarterback, do not overlook matchups. Playing the matchups can be the difference between fantasy gold and fantasy dud.
Editor’s Note: Check out some late-round QBs worth targeting at the end of your drafts.
Talented defenses tend to stake a claim as impenetrable in mainstream media. Yet the more you dig deeper, you tend to see nicks in their armor. The Fantasy Footballers examine every in and out of a player’s matchup.
Just because a defense ranks highly in terms of total defense doesn’t mean they do everything great. The Footballers take into consideration how defenses guard specific position, and how they fair in surrendering fantasy points to that position. A defense may consist of two lock down corners who rank highly in pass defense and shut down the opposition’s number one wideout. Yet that same defense could struggle mightily at covering the tight end position, leading to extreme success for any fantasy tight end that comes their way.
Don’t be scared away by perceived dominance. Instead, look to The Fantasy Footballers’ fantasy rankings to help you get a better understanding of how a defensive unit can be attacked.
Football is a high-impact, high-collision sport, that is unkind to most players’ bodies along their NFL journey. Unfortunately, the NFL is a cut-throat league, and if you can’t suit up on Sundays the team will find someone else who can. Fantasy rankings can be construed in a similar fashion. The Fantasy Footballers’ fantasy rankings are based off of finding the players most likely to produce the greatest success in a given week. If question of lingering injury clouds a player’s availability, their fantasy ranking will suffer drastically.
Believe it or not, Sam Bradford at one point in his career made for a viable fantasy option at times based off skillset and projected production. Sadly, that production always stayed “projected” because he rarely made it to halftime before sustaining an injury that would knock him out for the rest of the game.
Bradford’s questionable ability to remain healthy damaged his placing amongst other QBs with similar or less talent. Injuries would take Bradford from a player who may have ranked within the top half of QB fantasy rankings, to readily being a bottom feeder in rankings.
Don’t get stuck with your one-size-fits-all fantasy rankings when constructing your team. The Fantasy Footballers do fantasy rankings right, by providing separate rankings for each available scoring format.
QB scoring: 4 Point vs. 6 Point
While the majority of fantasy football leagues have landed on the system of four points being rewarded per passing touchdown, others still operate on a six points per TD basis. The settings your league institutes can have a major impact on which QBs will be viable fantasy options.
6pt-QB fantasy rankings tend to favor the quarterbacks that do most of their damage from the pocket. Your Peyton Manning and Tom Brady types will reign supreme in these scoring formats. While 4pt-QB settings would take three touchdown passes to accumulate 12-points, QBs operating on the six-point setting would only need to toss two TDs to gain the same point total.
4pt-QB leagues put less emphasis on the touchdown pass, leading to mobile quarterbacks having more chances at fantasy success. While a QB will only be granted four points for throwing a touchdown in these league types, they will accumulate six-points every time they break the plane as a runner. This means it takes less yardage on the ground than through the air to gain a fantasy point. These statistical settings make it much easier for players like Cam Newton, Lamar Jackson and other less precise passers to find fantasy success. In return leading to higher placement amongst the Footballers’ fantasy rankings.
Standard vs. PPR
Players’ specific attributes weigh heavily on where they are placed within the Footballers’ player rankings. Even more important than attributes is the scoring format. Chances are, a diminutive receiver who rarely lines up on the outside, struggles to stretch the field, and is never targeted in the red zone, is essential unplayable in standard leagues. However, switch over to PPR scoring, and now that player who was sitting the depths of the free-agent pool in standard leagues becomes a viable fantasy starter, shooting up fantasy rankings.
The same concept works for the running back position. Modern-day NFL features a plethora of multi-talented playmakers who don’t fit the same old mold of what you perceive a running back to be. Back in the day, if a running back only touched the ball ten times in the ground game that would be portrayed as an utter disappointment. Nowadays, with the shift in NFL concepts and the existence of PPR scoring, that same running back can be in for a productive day. With receptions counting towards either a ½ or full point per reception if a running back possesses the ability to be a threat in the receiving game, his chances of placing highly in fantasy rankings increase tenfold.