Fantasy owners must remember that championships are usually won by beating opponents on a weekly basis, not by overall points. When you consider your draft and weekly lineup choices, you must make them with a question in mind: How will this help me win my matchup?
It isn’t always simply about touchdowns, passing yards and receptions. This article intends to expand our perspective on how we choose our draft picks by looking at some statistics and factors that might not be prevalent in standard fantasy projections, yet they could be important in getting you a win. Here are seven categories your league’s owners may be overlooking.
You must know your league’s scoring system before a draft, and some leagues award points for return yardage. If you find yourself in this situation, look at team depth charts or do a quick search for the best return men in the league. There are some great options out there who can provide a solid advantage over less versatile flex or fill-in players. If you spend a draft pick on one of these guys a bit earlier than your opponents expect, you can secure a better option than one of their planned picks. Target prolific returners who can complement their value with some rushing or receiving points.
OK, so it is about touchdowns and yards sometimes. If your league awards performance bonuses for high passing, rushing or reception yardage totals, rearrange your cheat sheets accordingly. Look for QBs who consistently throw for more than 300 yards or running backs who consistently rush for more than 100 yards. Compare these benchmark numbers among players at each position, and move the players up or down your rankings to fit your league’s scoring.
New Roles and New Teams
One great way to find value is to focus on players who have new roles or a new team. This category generally applies to running backs and wide receivers. Look for RBs who are seeing an increase in touches, playing a greater role in the passing game, have joined a new team or have moved up the depth chart. Check out WRs who are seeing increased targets, working with a new coach or QB, or have a better supporting cast than their previous team. Past stats may not be a great predictor of future success in the new situation, but it’s something to investigate. Review a player’s stats if he has called several cities home during his pro career. Look for positive trends that occurred when a player switched teams or took on a larger workload. He might be a great value pick. On the flip side, if you see that a player’s stats have suffered when he takes on a new role or switches teams, try to avoid him.
Players in the final year of their contract are always interesting. Some fantasy owners swear that these guys will bust out because they will try their best to land a lucrative deal. Other owners are always doubters. Research how a player has performed in previous contract years. That will be the best predictor. Click here to see more on this issue.
Field Goal Distance for Your Kicker
Your kicker is likely not your fantasy team’s savior, but if you choose wisely on draft day or on the waiver wire, you can end up with value. Review kicker stats and examine field goal distance and accuracy. Look for teams that are not scared to attempt the long kicks and for big-leg kickers who can make them. The extra distance could give you an added point or two every week.
Performance Against Specific Teams
When considering your weekly roster, it is important to check the matchups. Now, you are not going to sit your stud wideout or running back just because he has a history of poor games against a certain team. But when considering your RB2, WR3 and/or flex options, evaluate their past performances against an opponent. Some guys have consistently posted monster games against a certain team, and the stats do not lie. Look for players on your bench with a golden opportunity to light up an opponent as they have in the past.
Home vs. Away
Predictably, there are players who can be categorized as a home- or away-type guy. Again, do not sit your studs because they generally do not perform well on the road, but study the stats of those players on your bench who could make a difference given the right situation. If you are left to choose between a running back who is playing on the road and has disappointing away-game production and a wideout at home who always lights it up on his familiar turf, choose the wideout that week. It’s that simple.
Good luck this season, and remember that every bit of research can go a long way on draft day or when setting a weekly lineup. Those who use all the information available to them can create small advantages that could help them gain a playoff berth, better playoff seeding and maybe even a championship.
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