If you are reading this, hopefully congratulations are in order for getting past your opening round of the playoffs! In my nearly 30 years of playing fantasy football, I’ve won countless championships, and only missed the playoffs a few times! In the early years, I’m sure luck played a huge part? As the years went on, well, I had a reputation to protect, and I really developed a hard core philosophy; and I abide by these 5 principles to counteract luck:
RESEARCH, RESEARCH, RESEARCH:
It is easy to print out lists ranking experts top 100 at each position. How did they come up with that list? Is it the eye test? Is it simply looking at last year’s obvious stats? Obvious stats?
How many receptions, rushing yards, total yards and TDs. Obviously important stats! However, what can separate you from your rivals, is looking into the minutia. For example, in analyzing TE/receivers/backs, I like to look at carries and targets, which equals volume! Targets can be an indicator for things to come. It doesn’t take a fantasy genius to project Davante Adams, Keenan Allen, DK Metcalf, Travis Kelce, or Darren Waller as top receivers/TEs to draft. The players that can help you win championships are the Robby Anderson, Michael Gallup, and Robert Tonyan type players. How they are trending this year can help you project next year. I like guys that average 6 targets or more a game. Find the non-star player that fits that trend, and he can be a sleeper on your future team. They will be mid tier on most lists, maybe even bottom tier, but if you see trends in their game, they could be misplaced on those lists. For example, a “high” projection player for me that might be a mid tier for most next year is DJ Chark. He is trending up in targets as the year closes, and coupled with a change in QB next year, he could be a draft steal. Again, not a pick over the obvious elite guys, but a guy to consider as a WR 2, or 3 for sure, and someone to consider in keeper leagues. Another “obscure” guy is Russell Gage. Julio is getting older and this kid is trending upward...a little research can be an eye opener.
Essentially, draft every player with a purpose! Injuries are inevitable, and do you really enjoy vying for the hot player of the week! Have them already on your roster/bench. Before this year who would have predicted Darnell Mooney or Anthony Miller of the Bears at times, out performing Mecole Hardman or Curtis Samuel? I guarantee Hardman and Samuel were higher on all the preseason WR rankings! Currently, the Bear duo have been targeted 71 and 68 times respectively, both a hair under 6 targets a game! Samuel 61 targets at 5.7 per game, and Hardman, 42 total targets and 3.5 targets a game. Hardman and Samuel have 1 more receiving
TD, but my point, volume usually wins out in the end. Make a mental note for both Bear players to climb your draft board next year, especially if Allen Robinson moves on to another team. Yet, I guarantee their names, along with Chark and Gage will be forgotten by many, compared to Hardman and Samuel?!
Remember, this is about preparing you for next year!
For running backs, I need to see carries per game and targets as well. This is a harder category to project. Running backs today can be a 3 headed monster. The Rams killed fantasy owners with the shell game of Henderson, Akers, and Brown. Obviously, your research should conclude Akers to be the back moving forward, but if always a committee system, you might have him on your bench as insurance? The same holds true in Indianapolis with Taylor, Wilkins, and Hines. For fantasy owners in deep leagues forced to play any of the aforementioned players, you hit every 3 or 4 weeks! In regards to teams that have the “Bell Cow” back, like Henry, Elliott, Barkley, Connor, etc., you better know their backup, and handcuff that player as insurance. If I drafted Barkley, you bet for damn sure, I drafted Gallman Jr., in the late rounds! Wayne Gallman Jr. has performed extremely well in Saquan Barkley’s absence. However, when B