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The FBG tools I use, and how I use them (1 Viewer)


I have four Zealots teams (53 man roster, 8-man IDP lineup, balanced scoring, no PPR). I do other leagues here and there, but have been backing off to the point where these are the only four teams I consistently field each year.

FBG has a million tools, and everyone probably uses different tools, and in different ways. I think it's worth discussion to see if we can find some killer uses that we're overlooking.

We all have a finite amount of time available, so I know I'm skipping valuable resources... FBG has more available than I can use with the amount of time I've allocated to FF. Anyway, this is the list of stuff I've ended up relying on:


Rate My Team is awesome. It uses the projections that have already been done by the staff to generate a bunch of info about your team, including chances to make the playoffs, scoring projections, and suggested free agent pickups. I think that in the offseason, it's one of the best tools to get a snapshot of your team, and I've been using it on every team of mine since it first came out. Since it's automated based on all the data in the FBG databases, it often ends up working before it's announced. This season, I noticed it's working already if you use the link above. I plugged in my Zealots teams as always, and based on this, I've picked up a couple of end-of-roster upside offensive players. Here's my annual plea to include IDP in Rate My Team. I know everything is always harder than it looks, but it seems like it would be relatively simple to integrate Norton and Rudnicki's projections into RMT and give a full picture of a team's chances and free agents available.

MyFBG page is mainly an in-season spot, but is also useful in the offseason. Zealots uses MFL for its league management software. I link up my teams (I find this a bit clunky for some reason - I must be doing something wrong) and specify the scoring, which is pretty close to the defaults anyway. Since IDPs aren't covered with Rate My Team, where else can I figure out quickly which IDPs the staff recommends that I pick up? VIEW PRESEASON PROJECTIONS (BY POSITION) is where I go, which is accessible from the MyFBG page. I tell it to show me John Norton's projections at LB for one of my leagues, and it shows them with my scoring system, and highlights my players and also free agents. Repeat with DL and DB, re-run with Rucnicki's projections, then move on to the next league, and you've got a great look at the available IDPs that could improve your team this season. Naturally I don't always agree, but it's a great starting point to catch guys you assumed were already on a roster. CREATE CUSTOMIZED DRAFT LIST (PRESEASON) can do the same thing if you prefer that presentation.

Articles are more common now in the offseason. They're not on the weekly predictable schedule created by the regular season, but the content is solid. I tend to focus on the IDP articles, which are pretty much all by Jene Bramel. His positional tier articles are a smart approach since we know very little at the beginning of the offseason, then learn more and more as free agency, the draft, and OTAs develop.

Twitter is the other tool I use - not really FBG-specific, though following @SigmundBloom gives a good overview of what's going on in FF. Following @NFL_ATL fills in with general football news and articles. It can get cluttered if you follow every draftnik out there, but if you follow only those two, you'll be aware of what's happening.

Rookie Draft Pick Calculator is perfect during dynasty rookie drafts... very simple tool that helps as a sanity check when trade offers are flying fast during drafts.

Rookie rankings are a nice thing to read before a rookie draft, or even during one. I use this kind of strangely, I think - as a draft gets later, I'll look for the highest a player is ranked rather than his average. If I see something like Jeff Haseley ranking Jarvis Landry 14th overall, that intrigues me more than Andre Williams being everyone's 25th-ranked rookie.

Dynasty rankings have gotten much more attention than in previous years, but for some reason I don't use them that much. Probably a failing on my part... When I did use them more, I focused only on rankings within a position. To me, that translates well across scoring systems and lineup requirements. Ranking between positions requires much more league-specific information than a ranking list can give.

I'll do in-season later... time to mow the lawn.

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I also play in the Zealots, great work on this post, although I use Rate my Team, I find it to usually be way off, I went to the finals with a team that said I had no chance, and was awful with a team that said I had the best chance, Ha!

Dynasty rankings have gotten much more attention than in previous years, but for some reason I don't use them that much. Probably a failing on my part... When I did use them more, I focused only on rankings within a position. To me, that translates well across scoring systems and lineup requirements. Ranking between positions requires much more league-specific information than a ranking list can give.

I'll do in-season later... time to mow the lawn.
The biggest problem with dynasty rankings, other than variances in scoring systems, is that there is very rarely any sort of commentary to go with it. Rankings in a vacuum don't really appeal to me, it's the individual comments about why a particular player was ranked where they were ranked that truly interests me.

And while not strictly a FBG product, Waldman's Rookie Scouting Portfolio is a good resource, especially if you read it before all the several hype trains gain steam so that you can decide where to be more skeptical or who might be a true gem.

I heavily use the MyFBG page (linked to my MFL dynasty team), but I am intrigued by Rate My Team.

Unfortunately, it doesn't look like there's a way to link it directly to your league like MyFBG does it, and I really don't want to have to type in all 45 names on my roster (we use IDP and a taxi squad). Am I missing something or is that the only way to do it?

Follow the link in the first post to an old post from Dodds on how to link MFL teams to RMT.

If you have a team on MFL, you can click the link for Franchise Information (or select a team, click "Main") and there is a link for Rate My Team there. You only have to adjust the starting lineup and scoring this way.

Whoa, another great feature that is either new or has been well hidden to this point:

If you look at the rankings (in this example, go to http://subscribers.footballguys.com/apps/viewrankings.php?viewpos=dl&type=redraft&howrecent=14), and you have your leagues synched, there's now a box just above the rankings titled Highlight Players, with your leagues listed. Click one, and it'll show all the staff rankings with the free agents in blue.

Very nice - it's not as detailed as using the MyFBG tools, but those tools use only Norton and ARud's projections. This uses everyone's rankings, so you get more opinions. Nice!

I used the Rate My Team feature on just one of my teams last year. It said I had an 8% chance of making the playoffs, but I believed in my team. I got to the league championship, then got crushed by 50 points. Even Cinderella stories wind up with broken heels, right?

I appreciate your perspective Tick...I'm in several Zealots Field leagues as well. It is really hard to cut through the clutter and find solid tools. And your point on finite time is right on, my wife thanks you for pointing it out!!

I agree with your perspective on Jene Bramel's IDP tiered rankings. That is a super tool IMO. I got Waldman's guide this year for the first time, and really felt like I could dominate my rookie drafts, at least on the offensive side of the ball.

In-season, in order from critical to only awesome:

1. 10-second weekly primer. Obvious, but awesome - distilling everything FBG does into one incredible sheet. It's better for offensive players, since there are three sets of projections that you can compare (an ideal addition would be an averager). Still, you can see on one page the recommended starters for every league at every position, along with any free agents that would be better to start than the guys on your roster. That side of it is worth more in IDP than on the offensive side, since offensive free agents are always pretty thin, while matchups can drive a no-name IDP to the top of the list in a week. I'd love to see a study by someone comparing the results of the top 3 recommended free agent DBs each week vs. a combo of roster-worthy DBs like Chancellor/Woodson/Rolle. A second set of weekly IDP projections would make this even more useful.

2. IDP Upgrades/Downgrades. This is from the weekly page, and comes out before the first waiver periods in non-FFA waiver systems. Rudnicki gives an early look at the guys to pick up... Bloom's version for offensive players is great, but offensive players have a lot of information out there. Rudnicki's article is unique as far as I know, giving you IDP waiver recommendations that early in the week.

3. The weekly IDP articles and podcast. Pretty obvious, but Reading the Defense and Eyes of the Guru are my favorites. All the articles are worth your time despite some overlap. The podcast is free and is a good summary of the high points. However, the podcast focuses more on weekly decisions while the articles give more information about full-season and dynasty outlooks. For example, this week's RTD had dynasty stash recommendations for each team, while the podcast didn't mention them. That's a more extreme difference than usual.

4. Custom Waiver Wire Report. This is from your My FBG page, and simply tells you which of the players on Bloom's waiver report are available in your league. Simple, easy. I'd love to see Rudnicki's guys added to this as well.

5. Top 200 forward. This one is strange - if you go there from the weekly page (example: http://subscribers.footballguys.com/apps/article.php?article=2014week12), it takes you to a top 200 forward that only includes team defenses (there's a complex way to get to IDPs through this). However, if you go there from your My FBG page in the Custom Top 200 Forward section, you can get IDPs. This is incredibly valuable - it gives you a look at rest-of-season rankings, which is a great counterpoint to the weekly rankings driving the weekly primer. To give an example, this week Robert Ayers is projected very high on the weekly primer, with Clinton McDonald a noticeable way behind, but still useful this week. If you need a guy for just this week, go with Robert Ayers. But if you're looking for depth for the playoffs, Clinton McDonald is ranked 32nd among DLs going forward, while Ayers is ranked 57th... so pick up McDonald for this purpose.

That's about it for me. I used to read Kickermania, since that's the only kicker info out there, but it gets boiled down to the weekly primer and Top 200 Forward now. I don't find the dynasty articles to be useful since they're too shallow; they always seem to be telling me that a guy is on the rise... but it's one of this year's first round dynasty rookie picks like Odell Beckham who's not available in any league.

I know I should be using the IDP matchup spreadsheet, but I guess that's over my laziness threshold.

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Game day:

http://subscribers.footballguys.com/apps/article.php?article=14bramel_sundayAM_idp_12 Bramel's Sunday morning IDP notes. My Sunday mornings are hectic with church, so I don't always get a chance to read this, but I try to at least scan for the names of players I own and see the latest news.

http://subscribers.footballguys.com/sundayupdate/ Sunday morning updates: last second injury updates all in one spot -feels like I frantically check this on my phone at 12:56 every week, and it occasionally saves my bacon.

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Great stuff Tick... we have several parallels. And the tools are seriously outstanding. Especially the 10-second primer, the top 200 going forward and Jene and Norton's columns. I also like Dave Larkin's matchup breakdown. I'm too lazy to take the time to mess with the more intricate spreadsheet tool.

One small complaint if anyone from FBG's is reading:

The Top 200 going foward has not worked correctly ALL YEAR if you select an IDP position. When you select an IDP position in the Top 200 going forward (the IDP positions are broken out into DE/DT, etc.), it routes you to an overall offensive Top 200. You then have to select the defensive position a SECOND time (this time it's DL, LB, DB) and it works.

Not a huge deal, but a little disappointing that an error as obvious as this has been overlooked this late in the season.

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