If you think playing Fantasy Football is a bunch of nerds huddling together spewing stats and talking about their imaginary girlfriends, you couldn’t be more wrong. Besides, I don’t think Manti Te’o plays Fantasy Football anyway.
Fantasy Football is a great way to begin a lifelong hatred of your friends, and most importantly: it’s an even better way to make that cheddar!
However, you can’t just go into it without knowing your stuff. More experienced players will eat you alive and take your money without thinking twice (and then go on to have intimate relations with members of your family, just to really rub it in).
Here are a few tips you can use to help you to take home the trophy and the cash:
- Be prepared for the draft
- Research Research Research!
- The waiver wire is your friend
- Take advantage of injuries
- Don’t be afraid to trade!
Let’s get into some details…
Be Prepared for the Draft
Think of Fantasy Football as a race. You obviously want to get off to a good start, right? Well having a good draft is imperative to a hot start to the Fantasy season. It can make or break your entire year. The only time I sweat in my life is at the draft; it’s that important. If you draft bad players, your team will suck. Period!
Do the research, know the players, and have a plan. If you know the Quarterbacks are deep this year, then make a plan to grab a Quarterback in the later rounds. Maybe you make a plan to draft a running back the first two rounds because you believe that is the way to a great season. Whatever your plan is, just make sure you have one.
A lot of websites have draft kits you can purchase or download like this one from The Huddle.com. These will include rankings, projected stats, the average draft position of players, and more. They can be really helpful on draft day when it gets a little hectic. Drafting your team is the first step in winning cash. Think of it like you are building a new team of friends. Do you want to be stuck hanging out with 14 crappy friends for 6 months? I didn’t think so.
Research Research Research!
Researching for the draft is a given. You need to be prepared and know which players you want to target. But the research doesn’t stop there. You need to be rifling through web pages every day like your life depended on it. There are plenty of websites that can give you the inside information you need to succeed. Here are a few examples I would recommend using:
These websites have a lot of good free content that is definitely helpful. But the saying:
“It takes money to make money”
…is never more true than in Fantasy Football.
But wait a sec…
Anyway. If you really want all the juicy stuff that will win you your league, you need to sign up for the VIP content. The price tag is usually not that expensive, averaging around $30 for the season. When you consider you could be playing for $1000 or more, it’s a small price to pay. These websites have great reputations for helping people win their leagues. Use the experts! That’s what they get paid to do.
Another good website is SportsWiseGuy.com. They are also on Twitter @SportsWiseGuy1. They actually started following me that’s how I came across them. It seems like they are just getting started but have real quality Fantasy Football information on their website. They are really interactive on Twitter. I have asked them a few Start/Sit questions and they have replied back to me each time and literally in just a few minutes time.
The Waiver Wire is Your Friend
The waiver wire is where all the players are who weren’t drafted. It is very unlikely that the exact team you drafted will be your team at the end of the season. This is where the waiver wire comes in. Normally, you will find one or two players off the waiver wire in the first few weeks that will be starting for you by the end of the season. This is where the research comes back into it! When you are a part of the websites above they will tell you who to pick up and who not to pick up.
Being active on the waiver wire can mean the difference between last place and first place. Even if you drafted an awesome team you still need to have a solid bench for bye weeks. And it is also nice to play a little defense and keep away players that everybody wants from the rest of the league. This past season I started off the season with the Pittsburgh Steelers as my starting defense. After a week or two I realized they were not old and terrible and not going to work out.
I started checking out the waiver wire and which defenses were available. I stumbled on the Seattle Seahawks who had a favorable schedule but were still really young and I didn’t know exactly how they would pan out. It turned out to be the best thing since by the end of the year they were ranked as a top 3 fantasy scoring defense.
Social media is also a good tip for seeing which players to pick up off the waiver wire. One night I was on the Twitter account of Evan Silva who is the senior editor at Rotoworld.com. He is very interactive and every couple days he will answer 50 questions from his followers.
One follower asked him which player he thought would break out over the next few weeks and lead a fantasy team to the playoffs. His answer was Danario Alexander. This was way out of left field since he had just been signed by the San Diego Chargers the week before and had hardly played at all. I picked him up anyway and the next week he had a huge game and became a full-time starter for me.
Twitter is a great place to find out information about Fantasy Football. And since a lot of guys in my league don’t use Twitter, this information was just for me.
Take Advantage of Injuries
Injuries are a part of football. It is what it is. You can either let it break you in Fantasy Football, or take advantage of it.
This past season I was hurting pretty bad in the running back department. I needed to win the final two weeks of the season to make the playoffs. This was the week that LeSean McCoy of the Eagles sustained a concussion and missed about a month. Everything I read said go get his backup, Bryce Brown. So that’s what I did. Brown went on to have monster weeks and carried me to the playoffs guaranteeing that I would win some cash.
You would never want to wish an injury on anybody, but if they go down you might as well turn it into a positive thing. Who knows how my season would have went if I didn’t take advantage of that injury. I could have missed the playoffs and missed out on my $1000 Fantasy Football payday. The injuries are already doing enough harm; don’t let them hurt you too!
Don’t be Afraid to Trade!
People are always very afraid to trade. I guess it is understandable. If you are 0-2 but you feel your team is good and will turn it around you might wait a couple weeks. But don’t want too long! Your season could be over if you don’t make a move. What I like to do is find the weakest person in the league; like a lion hunting antelope. Find that weak-ass antelope and propose a trade.
There is always at least one guy in the league who doesn’t do the research and who you can always take advantage of. The easiest way to find the weakest person in the league is to start a league with your friends. That way right off the bat you will know who is going to take it seriously and who isn’t. If you join a random public league then it might take you a few weeks to determine who your target is. A trade is the fastest way to turn your season around. Oh, and if you are always receiving trade proposals from everyone in the league… you might be the antelope!
So there it is, my steps to making money in your Fantasy Football League. I made $1000 in my Fantasy league this past season by following these tips. If you do the research and listen to the experts, there is no reason why you shouldn’t be able to do the same next season – and by next December you’ll be doing this:
About the Author: Joey Reed is a college student and a veteran Fantasy Football player. Sports aren’t just a hobby, they are a lifestyle. If you enjoy Fantasy sports then visit ShortBurstSports.com for a fun way win prizes while watching sports.