Fall Fantasy Football
by Logan Troy on Friday, October 2nd, 2015
Once a geeky, small-scale hobby, Fantasy Football has now become a staple of most football fans’ Sundays. In fact, since CBS created public leagues in 1997, participation has grown to over 25 million by the Fantasy Sports Trade Association’s estimate (that’s right, the market is large enough for there to be a trade association).
For those who have yet to experience the joy of the virtual game, Fantasy Football allows fans to select their favorite players to form a team. This team then competes against other teams controlled by other fans, friends, or family members, with the winning team harnessing the most points from its players. In general, individual players earn points for how well they play on game day; they gain points for good plays that produce yardage or touchdowns and lose points for poor plays that result in fumbles or interceptions.
Before fantasy, most fans would watch only their favorite team on Sundays, but now most routinely tune in for multiple games, especially if the game dictates their fantasy team’s fate. Vijay Ramkissoon (II) admits he now enjoys watching Sunday night games if his fantasy studs are competing, even though he used to watch just his favorite team. In addition, many casual fans use fantasy as an excuse to learn more about the game of football. As a result, many end up becoming avid fans after getting hooked on fantasy.
Almost all fantasy participants express that fantasy football is a great way to engage, compete with, and make new friends. With the main goal of competition in mind, here is some advice to maximize your team’s potential so that you can make the playoffs, what most consider the best part of the season.
First, it is important not to overreact to the first three weeks of the season. Yes, your 0-3 record and floundering studs might hurt your playoff chances, but your season isn’t over yet. As tempting as dropping that star RB who dropped a goose egg may be, wait another week or two before jumping ship on the player; if you drop him and he turns his production around, you’ll be kicking yourself all the way to 0-16.
Of course, some great players have sustained serious injuries that cast doubt over their availability for the rest of the year. For example, Dez Bryant’s foot injury should keep him out for about two months, a time span your team might not be able to survive. A few options for scenarios like this one are to trade the injured player to your league’s best team in exchange for a healthy, albeit worse, player. They get great production when it matters most, the playoffs, and you get a player that might salvage your season. If you’re on the other side and your team is crushing the competition, stashing an injured player could give you a great boost later on. Some possible players to attempt this strategy with are Dez Bryant, Arian Foster, and Drew Brees.
As much as trades can upgrade your team, waiver wire pickups help just as much. While the hot players change from week to week depending on injuries, matchups, and by weeks, the key is to both fill holes in your lineup every week and collect lottery ticket players that, if given a shot, could potentially become stars. An example of a good fill in this week is James Starks, a running back for the Packers, who will likely split touches alongside the recovering Eddie Lacy in a high powered offense. Another fantastic waiver wire pick-up is Devonta Freeman, Tevin Coleman’s replacement in Atlanta who scored an eye-popping 37.3 fantasy points last Sunday against the Cowboys.
Lastly, remember that while the competition is great, fantasy is really about having fun. So if your team is truly beyond saving, even with the advice above, just have fun with it. Add the player with the best name in the league, pick up your favorite team’s fullback so you can root for him during games, try to get as many players with the same last name as you can. Do whatever you need to do to make the season enjoyable and memorable.
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