Many of you have been asking tons of great questions and the advice is flowing. Us self-proclaimed gurus don't always have the right answers or predictions and many are in complete opposition. However, there is one thing in common with successful managers who win more often than not and that is dilligence.
I was going to respond directly to my man DRoyce, who had noted that FFL is all about LUCK anyways, but I had too much to say in a reply.
Here you go, Hope these tips help.
Sure luck is a variable,,, but surprisingly a small part, especially if you're playing over time. I've been involved with Fantasy Football since 1989, just about when it was born. I've been in a very competitive league for 10 years, ran a few myself, and have now joined yet another competitive league. Not to toot my own horn, but I've placed in the money about 65% of the time. When I call a league "competitive" it's because the managers all subscribe to the WORK that's involved. None show up with Fanatsy Magazines, asking "I'll take INDY's kicker" and you'll never hear, "Is that guy still playing?" or "Santonio Holmes is the best WR, did you see that catch in the Super Bowl?
FFL is fun, but there is a business side to it. Being dilligent and taking minimal risks, helps keep you in contention year after year. I've placed in last place before, sure, but I'll minimize the Luck factor by doing a few simple things:
1) track your players each week and monitor trends. You have to know when to give up on your draft picks too. If Tory Holt catches 3, 4, 3 after 3 weeks, he's probably not going to be averaging 6 or 7 catches that you want from your starting WR. You also need to know why, he could be hurt or a QB change, so be patient in those cases.
2) track players you'd like to pick up or trade for. You'll see unknowns have big weeks, but you need to understand why, don't rush to pick up JL Higgins from OAK just because he went 7-110 TD in week 2. Understand why, both starters might have been out or the defense was clearly giving-up a certain play.
3) Don't fill your reserves with all rookies and sleepers. You need guys who get stats for the bye-weeks...you need crummy starters, 3rd down backs and slot receivers. You need stats not potential on your bench. Luck in FFL is usually attributed to BAD Luck and injuries. Draft wisely, so that you don't put all your stock in your 1st 2-3 picks. Get P Manning as your QB, but don't settle on B Quinn as your back up. Get C Palmer/Hasselback/Cutler.
4) Like above, a solid bench accomplishes more than minimizing bad Luck, it reduces what your opponents have. Let the others guys have Quinn and at least you won't be beaten by Palmer. In a 12 team league, get 3 starting RBS and teams will be begging for a trade.
5) Mock drafts are great, but they never mimic your actual league. Get the last few years of drafts if possible. Color code the picks based on position and you'll see the same managers have the same tendencies year after year. Who getsTE in round 4, who drafts 3 RBS first, who likes rookies and sleepers early, who values DEF and K, who lets QB slide to get value later on... Then do a few mock drafts based on "What they would do" and you'll have a good game plan and better idea of what will be there for you.
6) Before you put in your roster, research each player and their matchups. It migt be a good idea to sit R Moss the week they play PIT and play B Edwards VS DET.
7) Be dilligent with injury reports. If your unsure if a player is playing, exhaust all measures to find out. The web has tons of free resources that are more up-to-date than CBS, ESPN, NFL, etc..KFFL for one is pretty good.
8) Never GIVE UP. Despite your 3-5 record, you could be the 3rd highest scoring team in your league. Things can turn very quickly.
9) The Draft is a fun time, but don't get yourself 8 beers in the hole after 2 hrs. Trust me, bad decisions will be made...
10) If your league has division games during the bye weeks, try to avoid drafting players who are OFF for those weeks. You don't want to loose division games! Your opponents are not likely keeping this in mind, so you'll have an advantage. This is not so easy, but if you're stuck between two players it REALLY helps. Keep in mind, usually more than half your games are in division.
11) Don't look at players individually, instead put them in buckets or tiers. You'll see the draft in a whole different light. You'll feel more confident about having to pick from a pool, rather than hoping a single player will be there for you. It also makes your decision precise and accurate, instead of fumbling around with time expiring.
12) I've covered strength of schedule prior, but for now you should keep two things in mind. SOS for the season and SOS for the playoffs. SOS for me pertains more to QBs and RBs because WRs can have a big game against tough defenses because the offense is forced to pass often or from behind. Take your draft boad and begin to note which players have "easy" schedules and "hard" schedules. You might want to move Gore above D Williams. Then look at your playoff weeks, usually 13-17 and decide who best helps you there. Maybe an RB with an "easy" schedule plays BAL, PIT and MIIN during the playoffs... maybe you should take the guy with the moderate schedule who plays KC, DET and OAK in the playoffs. This analysis is vital when making your draft charts but don't get carried away. Go with you gut first and then make SLIGHT adjustments for the schedule.
13) don't buy into hear-say. (DRoyce wanted to avoid C Johnson cause he's a "Fumbler") Get the IDEA that Cris Johnson is a fumbler out of your head quickly,. He had 300 touches and lost 1 fumble... That's all you need to be concerned with. He is a stallion and will be doing his thing for the next 5-6 years. Fumbling can be corrected- and usually is for a guy with his ability. And don't listen to the other managers. Draft talkers will try and dupe you into picking guys they don't want or even make little of recent injuries etc etc.
14) Also, when you make your buckets and tiers of players, make them buy position and then a top 150. Your value really depends on your scoring system so don't rely on a draft board from fantasy magazine or online sources because they do not cater to your specific league. You may value WR higher than QB because they can get you more points. A typically league values RB the most, QB, WR, and TE, K and DEF about the same. Some leagues, which I like, use cumulative points for all your players' stats.
Best of "Luck" with your drafts! :)
(fantasy guys don't forget to REC these to keep the treads alive)