Fantasy Football Philosophies 101

June 4, 2013 in Fantasy Football Projections



By Guest Writer EJ McKinley:

I'm the rookie here around Fanspeak.com so bear with me as this is my first article, of many (I hope), that I am writing. In this inaugural article I want to cover a few of my main philosophies regarding Fantasy Football. So without further ado…

1. Quarterback Is The New Runningback:    NFL: JAN 15 NFC Divisional Playoff - Packers at Falcons

For years the running back position dominated fantasy football. The reason the running back position was so popular is the fact that each 10 yards running backs gain, points are gained. Touchdowns also come at a good rate for top backs. Most running backs don't fumble more than five times a season; this is a plus as well.

In comparison the quarterbacks might gain yards in chunks but they throw many incompletions so the numbers aren't as consistent as running yards generally are. The quarterbacks likewise get a bully magnitude of touchdowns, often times more than the running backs. The only problem with this is the fact that the quarterbacks throw far more interceptions than the running backs fumble; the interceptions drop the QB's score dramatically. For many quarterbacks’ interceptions come at such a high rate (see Manning, Eli) you're better to take the star running back over the star quarterback…

That was the philosophy eight or so years ago. Now the NFL is a passing league. Quarterbacks are getting so good you can begin to truly trust them to carry your team. Add the fact that not only are quarterbacks racking up yards, touchdowns, and cutting the interceptions, but they're running more as well. This makes the quarterback  position a true gold mine for points. Running backs like Adrian Peterson will score more points for your team, than most QB's, 95% of the time. But Aaron Rodgers will score more points than 95% of the running backs, 95% of the time; week in and week out.

2. Knowing All The Facts:

What do we look at when picking a player in the Fantasy Football draft? It’s important to start with past success. Someone who has been a consistent  player week in and week out over most of their careers is generally a better pick than someone who had a breakout season the year before. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

If I was given the choice in this year’s Fantasy draft on selecting either Tom Brady or Robert Griffin I would take Brady in a heartbeat. Griffin is most likely going to be a top five scorer in Fantasy this year but he has had one good season. Brady has been the model of consistency his entire career and I want the sure thing for 20 less points a season. Now by year three or four if Griffin has continued to be a great player then I know he will score the most points as he has shown year after year and gained my trust to be a top pick on my team. Be mindful however that we must also look at a player’s current situation and not have a set our focus on their prior accomplishments.

I made this mistake when I made a major trade for Chad Johnson the year he went off the grid. I didn’t look at his situation with his work ethic or the bad quarterback situation with Carson Palmer. Consider as well the players around the player you pick in the Fantasy Draft. Look at last year’s Fantasy season. Eric Decker would’ve been a healthier pick than Larry Fitzgerald even though Fitzgerald is a greater receiver than Decker. The reason is obvious, Decker has Peyton Manning throwing to him and Fitzgerald had the Skelton/Kolb combo. We must be mindful as Fantasy players to look at the big picture.

3. The Backup:

The backup players on a Fantasy team are a very underrated commodity. The precedent for backups is to handcuff them to actual backup players. For example when you get Adrian Peterson you get his backup Toby Gerhart. However I am a firm believer in three things when it comes to backups.

For starters you want your backup players to be a good to decent point scorer and have a different BYE week than your starting players. This way if your starters go down with an injury or are in a slump you can insert your average backup to get you some respectable points.

Also you want to be able to insert them when your starter is on a BYE week. High risk backup players are an awesome way to go as well. Say you have a guy who is a boom or bust type player. Sitting him on your bench behind a worthy starter is great. This way if the high risk player busts than you lose nothing. If the high risk player does end up being great than you can put him in and have two quality players.

My most favorite type of backup is rookies. I never hinge my team’s success by starting a rookie player or drafting them high. There is just too much risk involved with a rookie. Now I know rookies (especially quarterbacks) have been great in the past few years. That’s why drafting rookies in the mid rounds and putting them on your bench you get a great deal without putting your neck on the line. Backups can end up being a critical part of your squad’s success.