Matchups – As is the case in all fantasy sports, matchups will be very important if not the most important factor. Football is such a team-oriented game, that you have to look at how teams match each other as well as individuals. Last year, for example, you would not want to pick a QB or a WR against the Seahawks at all because they only allowed 186 yards per game and only allowed 17 TDs all year. Even if it’s Aaron Rodgers or Odell Beckham, it’s likely they will not meet their value. Then, for individual matchups say you have a WR going against the Arizona Cardinals. They were 29th in football with 4152 meters allowed so they are an important matchup to choose guys against. But they have Patrick Peterson who will probably be the No. 1 guy, so if you have the Packers against them, Randall Cobb can be a better game than Jordy Nelson even as No. 2. The same goes for all positions, you want to make sure you get the most value for your players, and there are lots of statistics that you can look at to make sure you pick the right guys.
Blowout Factor – It does not happen as often as you say in basketball, but it is still very important to watch when building a team. The first thing you need to do is look at the Vegas line and see how they look at the game because they often have a good idea of how a game will play. Anything over 10 points in my opinion is a game you must be very tired of. Of course, if the Broncos beat the Jaguars 35-0 after the 3rd quarter, someone has to score all those points. The thing is, though, that you only maximize 75% of the game with them and are long-term and lose valuable points. In football, the game is limited to begin with, with teams running only 64 games per game. In that scenario, you lose 16 gigs and even if it is halfway through the fourth, you lose 8-10 gigs per match. The other beliefs like the other packs are at the top of the list, and this is where you will find the most valuable players. Common sense says that the more games you run, the greater the chance of getting points and will get more points with all these chances.
Weather – Just like baseball, and unlike basketball, the weather is a huge factor for football. Since they play from the end of summer, through the winter, you have to deal with the hot and cold weather, snow and rain and all kinds of wind that can appear. Now the usual recipients of the weather happen to be team defense and running backs because teams do not pass the ball at all. This is something that some people do not take 5 seconds to look at and stop costing them. I mean again it may seem like common sense, but if there are 25 MPH winds in a game, why would you risk taking a QB when you know the throws will be much harder. Always take the time to check the weather before forming a team as you can easily cause players to lose value as they do not get in touch with the bad weather.
Injuries – Football is again like baseball where the injury report comes out long before the game. The active / inactive list is usually due 1.5 hours before the game so you know if a guy will play or not. How much he plays can now be in doubt, why it is important to keep track of the guys throughout the week to see if they have trained and how they are doing. Even if a guy is active, but not trained on Thursday (last training day of the week), he is at risk of not playing much to begin with or that his injury appears during the game and sidelines him. It’s also a good idea if guys are injured as usual to target their replacements, or guys who are under them in hacking order. I like examples so a good example was when Roddy White was injured last year, Harry Douglas got a big bolt in production because he became No. 2 receiver and saw many more goals than he normally would. On the other hand, say Joe Haden is after the Cleveland Browns. They may have had the eighth best fitting defense at 225 meters per game, but if Haden goes down it will probably change. Corner No. 2 will protect the No. 1 receiver and No. 3 will protect the No. 2 receiver, which is obviously ideal for the offense. The weather also plays a big factor for kickers as it is not recommended to pick guys in rainy or snowy conditions or places with a lot of wind. This is often what Sunday mornings are all about, and with so many people on Twitter now, it’s not that hard to find out about damage news.
Tournament (GPP) vs. Cash Game (50 / 50’s & H2H) Players – This may seem a bit vague, but it is something that must be seen when forming a team. For cash games, you will choose players who have high floors and who are consistent week to week for the most part. It does not matter if it is a popular player because you only aim to hit half the field and it is not a big deal if he is highly owned. In a tournament, you try to target guys who will not be highly owned unless it is a must play guy. The reasoning is because tournaments are more risky to begin with and you have to beat 80% of the people. Even in tournaments you want to win and not my money. The way to win is to choose guys who are not very owned and do really well. This usually means going towards the most popular matches of the day. Sometimes there is the one who has to play guy, and that’s good, but fill him with less popular guys. The goal is for a guy who is owned to less than 5% to do really well, because then the number of people you compete against decreases. It’s just for tournament play because the low owned guys are not chosen for a reason because they are superstreaky. This generally leads to more even spending for Cash Games and spending big and lower for tournaments.
Stacking versus not stacking – Stacking in football I think is a bit risky and should only be used in GPP way. Stacking in football is where you choose the WRs or TE with the QB you take. Baseball and basketball are much more individual sports not to say that there is no teamwork but A WR depends entirely on QB to get him the ball and QB needs WR open to get him the ball. Now this can pay huge dividends if say that Peyton Manning has 4 TDs and you have Demaryious and Emmanuel Sanders and they caught 3 of touchdowns then you are golden. For cash games, however, you put too many eggs in one basket and if QB stinks, you are basically ready for the week. This is a risky strategy, but under the right circumstances it can be profitable for someone in a big tournament.
How many teams will play? – Now this will depend on your bankroll (check out the article on bankroll management if you ever want to learn more about it), and how much time you are willing to put in. Normally you want 1 cash game team your favorite and then have several entries / teams in tournaments. Now to begin with, you can say 5 1 dollar teams instead of 1 team in a tournament.
Sure, you can be lucky with a team and get huge money, but your odds are obviously better if you have more teams with more players covered. Many people target a certain number of players at each position as 3 QBs they like and 5-6 RBs and they will merge them into their teams so that they have many of the combinations they cover. When you get more money, you can start participating in more teams in tournaments or go up in stakes, but this seems to be a strategy for many of the pros. But cash games, many people have 1 or maybe two teams because you hope your team will either do it in all of them, or it will probably not do it in everyone there in a tournament you can have 4 teams do not but have a team that compensates for the others 4.
Positions and where to spend
Quarterback – For cash games to spend big money on QB is fine, but for GPPs unless the matchup is too much to go, it’s usually not the best move. The best guys are usually quite consistent which is that they are better for cash games, but they do not give as much upside as a WR or RB. Since they are only 4 points for a TD and 1 point per 25 yards (0.04 yards per yard) as a general rule, it is difficult for a QB to get to WR or RB who got 2 TDs and gets 100+ yards. Also with DFS who often integrate PPR into their scores which simply gives them an advantage. The big guys like Brady, Rodgers, Payton, Luck are never bad games because they always give you consistent points, but it is their supportive role that usually reaps more from the reward. For QBs, be sure to look at the defense secondary as you go towards as well as the weather as no QB likes to throw with a lot of wind.
Running Backs – RBs and WRs are generally the area to spend a lot of money on as they have the most potential to get lots of points. It may seem obvious but will want to avoid teams that either have a # 2 guy who gets a lot of touch, or B loses the finish line in an FB type. Even when I choose an Adrian Peterson type, it’s never a bad thing, I like that my RBs should be able to capture the backfield. Normally it is.5 PPR and you get all the passing yards too which makes a guy like Le’veon Bell so valuable that he gets so many features. Usually, you do not want to pick an RB in a team you think may be down by quite a bit in the fourth quarter. Teams that are down will throw to save time and you will lose on valuable points in these scenarios. The durability of RBs is so small that there is usually damage, so most weeks there are backups that can be obtained for cheap that can provide good value.
Wide receivers – this is the place where I love to spend my money because it’s so dependent on them opening and QB getting the ball. At least with a lower price QB, or lower price RB, they are guaranteed to get touch / opportunities, while WRs really are not guaranteed much. Focusing on low-end guys with good QBs is never a bad idea because they can make them want the ball, like Cole Beasley for example. I also love getting guys who get a lot of cash game goals, (fantasydata.com has this available), because you get 5 or 1 PPR for every time they catch it, plus all the yards and touchdowns to go with it. So a guy like Andrew Hawkins is a good game because he was targeted 17.1% of the time last year. Part of that is the lack of weapons, but he gets good opportunities to do well. Then you can really target at home like Odell Beckham or Julio Jones because they can get points in big groups and by saving on the other positions you can get the guys who can really make or break a team. This is also a position that has many players of GPP and Cash games. For example, Desean Jackson is a great tournament game because he can get lots of points because he is a flight path receiver who can reach the value of a catch. The problem is, if he does not get that prisoner, he will probably not meet his value. Overall, I’m where I want to spend the money and try to look for guys who are cheaper with good matchups in the other positions.
Tight Ends – This is a position where I feel that you usually spend a lot on an elite type like Graham, Gronk or Julius Thomas, or you go with a matchup-based game. Sure, there will be the middle of the pack guys who do well, but say you can pick Jared Cook for a cheap price against the Chicago Bears who allowed 10.52 fantasy points per game for TEs. Now that’s something to look for. each position but TE is simply not as consistent as other positions in my opinion. Also look for target groups on teams that get into the red zone a lot. Most TEs will not break super long gigs because they do not have the speed, so you are looking for the 5-20 yard TDs from them. Now most of these guys are on better offenses, so they’s more expensive, but look for defenses that give up a lot of gardens and those that have LBs struggling to cover.
Kickers – There is not much to say about kickers other than that it is very lucky most of the time. Sure, there are guys who are more accurate and can start it up longer, but they are completely dependent on the crime. I usually try to choose guys who play in domes because there is no weather, or choose those who have good crimes because they are constantly entering the FG range. The good thing is that most of the kicks are very similar in price, so even the better ones are not too much more than the “shit”.
Defense – Team defense I think is more of a matchup-based area and not a position that I recommend spending a lot of money on especially for GPPs. The Seahawks or any other top defense / special team is never a bad game, but I always target defenses that play bad offense. This is usually led by a QB who turns the ball a lot, gets looted a lot or has a WR who can not open. Players who are exposed to turnover will turn it around no matter who they play, even if they have a little more success overall. So you focus on a team against say the Jets who have Geno Smith who throws a lot of interceptions, or picks a team against the Vikings because they give up lots of sacks. You need to look and see where you can take advantage of matches as they play good value here every week, even if the price difference between the top end and low final team is not as big as other positions.