Leagues and Draft Strategies

(Based off of a 1qb, 2rb, 2wr, 1flex, kicker, and defense team) Getting married to the game? Basically what ends up happening to most people after they start playing fantasy football. Similar to getting that club card at a grocery store, you only stand to gain from it. Ive heard people when asked if they have ever played fantasy football before state, “I don’t have time for it” or “I don’t know what I’m doing”. While it is true that consistent success in fantasy does require time and effort, drafting a team then setting your line up once a week does not.. Also, for those people who don’t know what they are doing, here are some things to know to give you a better idea.

There are many variances in the types of leagues to participate in fantasy football. Prior to drafting, knowing the differences will be beneficial to your success if this is your first season.

Types of leagues:

1. Standard League: This type of league is the most basic and is recommended if you have never played before. Players are drafted in most commonly a serpentine order, where the GMs draft from the players available. Points are acquired from players by statistics that directly affect the game. For example: Passing yard, Receiving yards, Rushing Yards, Touchdowns, etc. There are also defensive statistics that vary from league to league.This type of league is appealing to GMs who want to have the opportunity to draft from the whole pool of players compared to another type I am about to jump into and that is…

2. Keeper Leagues: This type of league is a little more complex. The first year of your league will be similar to a standard draft, but the following years you will get an opportunity to keep a select number of players from your previous season. Keeping players does come at a cost, essentially giving up earlier picks or additional picks to retain players. Kind of like rent in LA, you pay your first year of rent at a new residence, you like the place and you want to stay, but then the next year the rent goes up in order for you to keep living there.. Im teasing, but really though..

3. IDP Leagues: These type of league can be keeper or standard. It just includes independent defensive player points (hence IDP). It is an added element to your team to increase points. Additionally to your normal roster, you will also have a defensive player from a selected position/team who will acquire fantasy points for you based upon their defensive statistics.

4. PPR Leagues: This is really more of a scoring system than it is a type of league. All types of leagues can offer this type of system, standard, keeper, dyntasty etc. PPR which stands for Points-Per-Reception, is a type of scoring system that awards additional points for receptions made by offensive players on a your roster. The amount of points awards can be fractional or whole. These types of leagues tend to increase the value of wide receivers.

There are also Dynasty and Auction leagues, which I will not be covering. Both of these types of leagues tend to be a little more advanced and I recommend honing your fantasy football acumen before considering joining them. I suggest researching these if you are seriously considering playing in one for your first fantasy league.

Draft Strategies:

Your draft strategy should change depending on the type of league you join. Imagine you are making a cake, well you wouldnt use a ton of flour if you were making a cheesecake, so why draft 3 quarterbacks if you could only play one? Now usually specific cakes require specific ingredients (my favorite being German Chocolate cake) but every baker may add their own little twist to the recipe. The same goes for fantasy football, to succeed you need the right ingredients but you can add your own personal spice. There are so many variations and ways to build a roster, but make sure you have a guideline for how you want your team to be built.

1. Wide Receiver Dominant: This strategy can be successful in a standard or PPR format. It tends to have greater success in PPR leagues because of the points awarded for receiving the ball. Now thats not to say It can’t be successful in standard, but because the demand for running backs is greater in standard and running backs historically score more points, it allows for more holes on the roster.

2. Running Back Dominant: This strategy is my preferred way of drafting. There is no secret there, but mostly because my main league (TOLTM, look it up, its famous) is a standard scoring league. Cons to this strategy: Usually get stuck with middling wide receivers who put up average points and frustrations with line up decisions. Benefits to this strategy: Replacement players incase of injury, Normally higher consistency of scoring, and because running backs kick ass.

3. Balanced Draft: This is the recommended strategy for people new to fantasy. Balance out your roster so that you aren’t one-sided. Typically meaning drafting a top tier wide-receiver and a running back in the first 2 to 3 rounds and then filling out the rest evenly throughout the draft. A balanced draft would be recommended for both PPR and Standard formats. It allows for the roster to more complete and sturdy.

At the end of the day, Fantasy Football is all about fun, competition, inclusion, and friendship. Whether you go undefeated to win a championship or you lose every single game and become a J-Bone (Last Place), you will be happy you made the decision to join a league. Follow me on Twitter @MPFantasysports or email me at Mattpotvin@thefantasywhisperers.com