How to Identify Valuable Free Agents
A timely free agent pick-up can be catalyst that puts your fantasy football team over the top, yet many people fail to pull the trigger for fear of making a poor move that may hurt their team. The goal of this article is to provide a few tips on how to indentify potential free agent studs before your opponents, giving you an edge on your way to a fantasy football championship
When evaluating potential free agent studs, I like to look at the age of the player at the top of a team’s depth chart. The leading running back on the respective team may be playing well, however if that player is over 30 years old he may be a huge injury risk. For example, Clinton Portis began the 2010 season as the starting running back for the Washington Redskins, with Ryan Torain and a few other younger backs below Portis on the depth chart. Although Portis has had a successful NFL career, he is an older back at age 30 and was at a high risk of breaking down from years of carries. As anticipated, Portis went down with a groin injury allowing the younger Torain to take the reigns of the offense. A savvy owner would have identified this opportunity long before Portis’ injury, adding Torain to their bench in anticipation of the pending injury.
Poor Play of the Incumbent Player
NFL head coaches are under significant pressure to deliver results and will make roster moves to ensure that their team can put wins on the board. This is important for fantasy owners to keep in mind when looking for free agent opportunities on the waiver wire. A close study of teams with skill position players who are currently underperforming will help a fantasy owner discern between potential pick ups. For example, Patrick Crayton was not playing well for the Cowboys at the start of the 2010 season, forcing Wade Phillips and the coaching staff to give Miles Austin a chance to start against the Chiefs week 4. Austin had a breakout game and proceeded to string together 12 more solid performances for Dallas on his way to a pro-bowl selection and a new contract extension. For those lucky owners who identified this opportunity prior to the coaching change, Austin proved to be a huge pick-up.
Although Austin was an extreme example of success, there are numerous opportunities each year for unknown players to step out from the shadows to fantasy relevance. Use your empty roster spots to pick up these potential diamonds in the rough. Some will work out and some will be busts, yet those that pay off for you will greatly outweigh those that do not work out. The biggest mistake that you can make is not pulling the trigger for fear of dropping another player from your roster.
Follow Local Beat Writers
One of the best sources for news on possible free agent studs is the blogs of local beat writers. These journalists follow teams closely, including watching the majority of practices for their respective team. Beat writers can identify possible budding stars much sooner than national sports writers for fantasy football websites, and can be a great resource for experienced owners looking for an edge.
For more free fantasy football advice, visit www.kramericasports.com