Three Keys to a Championship Season
During my ten years of playing fantasy football, I have witnessed numerous drafting trends and team building strategies. While some trends come and go, I believe that there are three things that must happen for a team to win a fantasy football championship.
Successful Draft Sleeper(s)
With the explosion of fantasy football websites and the exponential growth for the fantasy sports industry, it has become much more difficult to identify true “sleepers” in your fantasy draft. The sheer abundance of information reduces the probability that your targeted player is a true “sleeper”, making it all but impossible to find someone flying under the radar. Despite this fact, identifying early round talent in the middle and late rounds of your draft is critical to building a successful team.
If you play in a league with savvy owners, chances are each manager is going to be able to build a solid team with solid players at each position. The goal is to take flyers on possible breakout players late in the draft, in hopes that the targeted player will be able to provide production similar to an early round pick. This will allow you to in essence have an extra early pick, to either strengthen your team’s depth or replace another early pick that does not pan out. For example, owners who picked Arian Foster in the 2010 draft were able to get first round talent in the middle rounds, giving them a huge advantage over their opponents. The owner who took Foster in my draft was able to fortify his team by trading away some of his depth at running back to improve areas of need, and is currently leading our league and will likely run away with the title.
One or Two Definitive Free Agent Acquisitions
A championship owner will also have one or two solid waiver wire picks throughout the season. These timely free agent acquisitions will be used by the owner to fill in any weak spots in their lineup, or to sure up depth for bye week or injury issues. There are typically 100 or so free agent moves per league each year, however only a few of them turn out to be definitive moves that add significant value to a team. The winning team will likely be the proud owner of the top free agent pick of the year, like Miles Austin in 2009 or Peyton Hillis in 2010.
Timely Performances from All Positions
Hardcore fantasy football players will spend hours each week researching match ups, injury reports, and even the weather to get an edge over the competition. The truth is that for even the most seasoned of fantasy owners, the game is arguably 90% luck. This leads me to the third and final key to a fantasy football championship. Timely performances from each of your players at different games throughout the season are critical to success. Winning a championship is a team effort, and if one of your studs has an off week it is up to your kicker, defense, or #3WR to step up and provide a solid performance. A huge key to winning a fantasy football championship is consistent scoring throughout the season, which can only be achieved the owner gets timely production from each player on their team. Unfortunately there is no way to predict this phenomenon, as it comes down to sheer luck.
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