It’s that time of the year again, sports fans. Time to pull out the ol’ pigskin, don your favorite jersey, set Â your laptop in front of you and draft your fantasy football team.
This offseason was a grueling six months of not knowing whether we, as fantasy athletes, would even get to play our beautiful game thanks to the lockout. However, the commish, the owners, the players all bro-hugged it out, and now, here we are, staring football in the face.
I started playing the beautiful game six years ago, and since that first fantasy football draft, I have been hooked. In my five years of experience, I have won three championships. Does that make me an expert? Yes.
I realize, though, that some of you might not be as experienced as me, so here are some tips to drafting a winning fantasy football team.
Avoid one-year wonders. Arian Foster and Michael Vick were golden last year, but chances are slim that they will produce those kind of numbers in 2011. Go for more stable guys who have produced year after year like Adrian Peterson, Andre Johnson or Ray Rice. If you do decide to pick Vick, be aware. He is high risk, high reward and is always a threat to injury due to his run-first mentality.
Get an elite quarterback. There are only seven elite fantasy quarterbacks in the NFL right now. They will all give you big time points, barring injury, and are head and shoulders better than the other 25 starting QB’s out there. It doesn’t matter which one you get as long as you get one of these guys: Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Philip Rivers, Matt Schaub and Tony Romo. They can be had in the second or third round, but, don’t wait too long, or you could end up with the wrong Manning.
Grab the Ocho. In Oakland, Randy Moss was a mid-level receiver on a terrible team. In his first year after being traded to the New England Patriots, Moss set the single season touchdown record for receivers with 23 and was a fantasy gem. This same story could happen to former Cincinnati Bengals receiver Chad Ochocinco. Although he is a character, Ocho is a good receiver who was on a terrible team. Now that he is a Patriot with a future Hall of Fame quarterback in Brady throwing to him, he is due for a breakout season.
Know the rookies. Every year, first year players come into the NFL and will have breakout seasons. Some are highly praised coming in, and end up being fantasy busts. The lockout this year impacts rookies more than anyone because they now have to get accustomed to the NFL faster than ever. A couple of rookies I see having an impact this year are receivers A.J. Green of the Bengals and Julio Jones of the Atlanta Falcons. Both were drafted high in the first round and have shown glimpses of their greatness in the preseason. Both should be available in rounds four to six.
Steal a Wildcat. With even more ACU Wildcats in the NFL this year, there is a better chance one could help your fantasy team. Last year, I won a championship with Johnny Knox as my second receiver. If you are looking to add some purple and white to your team, Knox or Edmund “Clyde” Gates could be a late round steal. I also wouldn’t look former ‘Cat running back Bernard Scott, who is one injury away from starting for the Bengals.
With these tips, you too can be a champion. Good luck, and may all of your fantasies come true.