Aug 01

The Ultimate Pre-Draft Checklist

Jamaal Charles led many fantasy owners to a championship in 2013.

Jamaal Charles led many fantasy owners to a championship in 2013.

Winning your fantasy football league championship starts long before those final showdowns in weeks 16 or 17.  It takes planning, preparation and most of the time some luck is involved too (speaking to Jamaal Charles owners from last year who rode his performance in week 15 to the finals).  We’re not able to control the luck portion of the game but we most certainly can plan and be prepared as much as possible.    The following are several tips to help you plan your strategy and be well prepared to ensure you’re hoisting that championship trophy at season’s end. Continue reading

Aug 01

2 Start Free Agent Pitcher Finds: 8/4 – 8/11

Wade Miley

Wade Miley starts twice this week at home. Andy Lyons/Getty Images North America)

The basics: I look at tons of stats and identify the best available options of the pitchers in the free agent pool. My goal is to find pitchers who are scheduled to make 2 starts a week, are available in over 40% of most leagues (12 team head to head), and are in favorable matchups.

Obviously weather is going to play a role in whether or not these guys do, in fact, make 2 starts. I won’t get crazy in depth, but if you ever want some clarity, or need some advice, don’t hesitate to hit me on that Twitter @bryanzane.

So here we go
8/4-8/11

Whole bunch of fantasy goodness after the jump. Continue reading

Aug 01

Fantasy Beware: Don’t Buy into the Hype

Kyle Rudolph

Don’t buy into the Hype of Kyle Rudolph!
(November 24, 2012 – Source: Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images North America)

It is that time of year to start preparing for your upcoming fantasy football draft. Today we are talking about players that fantasy owners need to beware of and the red flags that come with them. Everyone is looking for the next sleeper in the draft to carry their team to the championship. We want to make sure you make the right choice and know what you’re getting into. Don’t buy into the Hype unless it’s worth it!

Continue reading

Jul 31

How 3 Letters Can Make a World of Difference

One of the biggest risers in 2014 has been Cardinals RB Andre Ellington. Guess what, he's even more valuable in PPR formats.

Source: Christian Petersen/Getty Images North America)

No, I’m talking about TBT (Throwback Thursday), but PPR (points per reception) fantasy leagues. Certainly more than a fad, PPR leagues have become commonplace in the world of fantasy football. Whether your PPR league gives .5 points per reception or a full point per reception, there are certain players at running back and wide receiver that should and will shoot up and drop down draft boards. You need to plan accordingly or you will be left in the dust like a NASCAR driver with a flat tire.

Overall strategy:

In PPR leagues, all players that are eligible to catch passes should be valued slightly higher than their respective standard scoring values compared to players who do not catch passes. This will affect mostly only quarterbacks in non-auction draft formats (generally I will always select a Defense and Kicker with my last 2 picks). For those who were thinking about taking Peyton Manning with their first round pick, think again.

Continue reading

Jul 30

Players in your draft that are not worth the Injury Risk

Injury Risk

Jim Rogash/Getty Images

Like a contract that is not worth the paper it’s written on, sometimes it’s a good idea to know which players are not worth a roster spot. Darren McFadden for years was the poster child for this pitfall as drafters kept saying ‘this is the year he stays healthy and leads the NFL in rushing’, only to have those poor suckers at some point in the season scrambling to the waiver wire or their bench to find his replacement. I say leave the ‘trial by fire’ method when drafting these kinds of players for some other owner in your league to get burned.

Unlike McFadden who in past years was taken within the first couple rounds of drafts, my focus is on those players in what I call the ‘meat and potatoes’ part of the draft where championships are won…the middle to late rounds. It’s great if you grab delicacies like Lesean McCoy or Jimmy Graham in the first round…but every single owner without fail will get through the first 4 rounds of their draft and feel as though their team is ‘stacked’. It will be the crafty resourceful owners who can avoid the land mines and grab bench depth with starter upside in these middle and late rounds that are usually in contention to win league championships. Is there luck involved…HELL YES, ask any good poker pro. But like a good poker pro, fantasy owners need to learn to mitigate risk and push their chips in with good gut calls. The one easy way to do this…AVOID PLAYER’S WHO CAN’T STAY ON THE FIELD. Period.

Continue reading

Jul 29

“Two for Tuesday”: A Second Look at Jose Abreu

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images North America

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images North America

A little over a month ago I wrote a piece on Jose Abreu. I tried to persuade owners to lower their expectations for the Cuban slugger. His start had been fantastic, but I tried to convince readers that his peripherals couldn’t keep up with his hefty production. Well, here we are on July 29th and Jose Abreu is still one of the top performers in fantasy baseball. He leads the league with 30 home runs and has climbed up to 10th most valuable player in Yahoo leagues. In light of this, I figured it’s a good time to give him another look.

Continue reading

Jul 29

Change of Scenery – Running Backs

 

Can CJ2K recaptue some past glory as a member of Gang Green?

Can CJ2K recaptue some past glory as a member of Gang Green?

 

The one constant in the NFL is change.  From year to year the league is completely unpredictable.  The Falcons go from a playoff team to 4-12 while the Chiefs go from 2-14 to the playoffs.  You get the idea.  Fantasy Football is no different.  Last year’s stud can easily become this year’s bust.  With each passing season new stars are born and others flame out.  Sometimes all it takes is a little change of scenery to change the fortunes of player or franchise.  Take Marshawn Lynch for example.  His first two seasons with the Bills were decent enough as he averaged right around 1,075 rushing yards and had 16 total TDs in those two years.  But then, in 2009, the wheels fell off and it looked like his career was about to go belly up.  All it took was a trade to Seattle, a highlight reel run against the Saints and Beast Mode was born.

Continue reading

Jul 28

How the Yankees Freed Brandon McCarthy

AP Photo

AP Photo

A few weeks before Brandon McCarthy was traded, I made a point to mention the fact that he might be an attractive trade target for a GM who wanted an upgrade at SP without having to empty the farm system. As it turned out, my guess was pretty good and McCarthy was shipped off to the Yankees. Since the trade, he’s has shown just how good he can be when his approach isn’t messed with.

Hit the jump to see just how good McCarthy has been and what to expect going forward.

Continue reading

Jul 28

How to pick up “Clayton Kershaw” on Waivers

Don't despair, Clayton, just because you're replaceable in fantasy doesn't mean you're replaceable in real life. (July 25, 2014 - Source: Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images North America)

Don’t despair, Clayton, just because you’re replaceable in fantasy doesn’t mean you’re replaceable in real life.
(July 25, 2014 – Source: Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images North America)

We’ve all chased saves on the waiver wire. You hate it and I hate it. It’s a frustrating and annoying task, but it’s also a necessary one.

You’ve probably also trolled for some cheap speed (I’m looking at you, Jarrod Dyson), but there are several valuable assets out there that most people foolishly ignore: The set-up man.

Continue reading

Jul 28

Breaking down a 14 team draft – results (Part 1 of 2)

“The final results”, “the end of the draft” and “your final team”. After weeks of preparation, this is where it is all supposed to pay off, or does it? With every draft, it is important to analyze the team you are developing with each pick. Sometimes, in the heat of the moment, this can be difficult too. I find team owners drafting the best player available, filling out roster positions and depth but sometimes missing the whole overview and big picture of the team that is actually being crafted. Previously, I wrote a five part analysis of a fourteen team slow draft performed June (found here: I, II, III, IV, V). I split this article into two different parts (one of which will be posted to follow shortly) and illustrated the strengths, weaknesses of each team. I analyzed the bench and gave a final overall review of the team as a whole. Most of my individual player stats and feelings on the players picked can be found in my previous articles, the purpose of this two part series is to illustrate the results.

Continue reading