15 Tips & Tricks to Improve at Being a Fantasy Football Player During the Offseason
By: Johnny Slokes follow on Twitter @johnnyslokes
February 26, 2017
For Most of us our fantasy football season dies after week 16 is over and we go into fan mode for the actual playoffs. But for the most hardcore degenerates of the game, we almost immediately flip the switch into the offseason and start prepping for next season. Some people may elect to take some time off to recharge their batteries and live a normal life. That is the time to capitalize and gain a step on your sleeping competition!! In this article I will be going over some tips and tricks on how to improve at being a fantasy football player this offseason.
#1) If you didn’t win your league, first off, I’m sorry and secondly, look at what the champion did that you didn’t. (Because whatever you did/ didn’t do, didn’t work.) And if you did win your league, then look back at what helped you win it all. Some things to look at are what players did they pick up on the waiver wire? Were they waiver wire hawks? What kind of trades were they able to pull off? How were they setting their lineups? How did they draft, did they have a certain strategy that they used? If they were waiver hounds, then you know who to keep your eye on and have the quicker finger. Looking back at their trades can give you a gauge at how they value players or what their tendencies are when making trades or negotiating.
#2) This one kind of piggy backs off the first tip, but REVIEW YOUR TRANSACTION LOG! This is usually an action that gets overlooked, but it gives you great insight of waiver wire pickups that you either overlooked or weren’t fast enough to act on. You can see when the other owners were most active and keep that in mind for next year. Another thing you can do is look at your draft board and see who you passed over. You can also see other owners draft tendencies if you have been playing with them for a few years.
#3) Actually learn from your mistakes and be honest with your shortcomings. Were you too hesitant on the waiver wire? Or were you too shy to pull off that trade? Be real. Maybe you were just simply starting the wrong players in your lineup. Do you second guess yourself? If you looked back at your draft board, scope out which players that you were right and wrong about. Why were you so low on a certain player that had a great year? All this may help you with your biases.
#4) Another thing that many fantasy football players probably overlook or don’t pay enough attention to is actually learning the game of football. Try learning the ins and outs. This is something everyone should want to get better at. I’m talking about the X’s and O’s of the game. To know the offensive and defensive schemes and how they affect each other, could make statistical outcomes easier to predict. Knowing where the ball tends to go in any given offensive scheme makes targeting players in drafts more efficient. To figure out how one team’s scheme will attack another team’s defense could make it easier setting your lineup with more logic, in terms of game plans. Not paying enough attention to this is how points get left on the bench, and I get it, fluky things happen, injuries happen and teams change up game plans all the time. But it’s still interesting to look at right? It’s always going to be a work in progress.
#5) Get on Twitter. Seriously, why aren’t you on Twitter already? It beats the shit out of Facebook. Some of the best info is on Twitter and you can get it a lot faster there too. If you are not sure where to start or how to go about it, just create a profile and follow your favorite analysts and websites. Then follow who they are following, that’s a great source of information right there, they work their butts off the get their work out as fast as possible. Follow us! @the5thdownff.
#6) Might sound boring or too time consuming, but crunch your own numbers! Figure out some interesting stats or better yet use some websites to dig into some metrics and advanced stats. Wouldn’t it be nice to know who the TD dependency players are? Find out who is getting the red zone looks.
#7) To add on to #6, create your own rankings. Don’t be influenced by any other analysts when you do this, just use your own opinion and brainstorm a list by position and rank them. Afterwards if you wish, you can compare your rankings to some of your favorite analysts and see what they look like. You may find out that you don’t agree at all with some of them. Once you have your rankings, you can compare them to the players ADP (average draft position) and find players that you feel over or under valued. From there, you can create your own position tiers for each position and this will help out immensely come draft time. (We will cover positional tiers in future podcasts, so be sure to tune in!) It may sound like a time consuming task, and that is because it is, but the sooner you do it, the easier it becomes as the summer goes on. News will pop up from time to time; just adjust your rankings and tiers. Eventually you’ll have yourself a nice little cheat sheet come draft time that is up to date and ready to help you dominate!
#8) This one might seem like common sense and that’s because it is. PAY ATTENTION to offseason news regarding free agency, trades and injuries. Don’t be that guy to spend a first or second round pick on a player that has been injured for a month. But in all seriousness, most major sports news will cover all the skilled position players pretty thoroughly, so it shouldn’t give you much of an edge. It’s the news about the offensive linemen and defensive players that could give you an edge. Let’s face it, we might be playing fantasy football, but real football is usually won in the trenches! As a saying goes “A running back is only as good as his line.” That’s true in most cases. As you hear news, adjust your tiers accordingly. Be alert for injuries during training camp, especially if they are of the soft tissue variety.
#9) While we are talking about news, also keep up to date with coaching changes. This can play a big part in changing schemes or philosophies. Is this team going to be more run heavy? That would be nice to know.
#10) Actually watch the NFL draft. Figure out where these rookies are going, because every year they are producing more and more. But also pay attention to where some of these defensive players and offensive linemen are going because often times they can make an immediate impact to a team.
#11) Try to broaden your opinions with as many perspectives as possible. This means actually go out and talk football with people! You never know what you can learn from someone. One of the best ways to do this is to listen to some podcasts! Chat with some people on Twitter. Take their opinions into account and weight them up against your own, each one has its own pros and cons.
#12) I know I touched on this a bit earlier in the article, but seriously pay attention to OTA’s and training camp. Find out who still isn’t ready, as that is a red flag. Who is standing out or making good impressions with the coaches? Learn the depth chart and keep a close eye on positional battles that way when injuries happen during the season (and they will happen) you will know who to pounce on before the rest of your league!
#13) Take a good long look at last year’s stats and then forget about them, kind of. They are fun to look at and might even persuade your rankings a bit but to have a short memory in fantasy football is how you end up with players like Jordy Nelson and DeMarco Murray, LeSean McCoy even. Stay away from your recency biases!!
#14) Did you do any mock drafts last year? Well a little piece of advice: DO MORE MOCK DRAFTS! And do them early and often. Seriously if you don’t basically have the ADP memorized by the time your draft rolls around, then you didn’t do enough mock drafts. You should know the ADP like it’s your second language, have all your positional tiers up to date and a cheat sheet with a little dash of luck and maybe, just maybe you’ll dominate your league!
#15) The most important thing is: HAVE FUN! That’s why we all play the game!! Thank you all for taking the time to read this article and please enjoy your offseason!