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Those Who Consistently Make Playoffs... (1 Viewer)


This year I noticed I had gotten away a bit from my usual decision-making and was listening to pundits more than usual. I had a mid-season lull in both leagues but corrected it by going back to heavy use of stats. I use S.O.S. a lot combined with sorting every which way of player and team stats on NFL.com plus fantasy scoring (both scored and allowed) on FFToday. This approach helped me finish strong and get into the playoffs in both leagues.

I think that each season I am pretty good at managing my roster. As for choosing my starters, I don't think I am quite as solid. I try to look at stats and trends along with knowing both the player and his team's injuries, schedule, level of play, etc. Of course you can't get them all right but feels like I could be a bit more effective in this department. I usually don't leave points on the bench, but seem to make just one error practically weekly and it comes down to that error as far as how my match up goes. I rarely get blown out, but rarely win by comfortable margins. I score 100, I barely win 100-98 or lose 104-100. I score 64 and barely win 64-61 or lose 67-64.

So you owners that consistently win: how to you make your roster decisions? And your starting lineup decisions?

I've been playing 9 years, usually make playoffs and have won 2 titles.

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personally, I don't tinker much with my starting lineup. Midway through the season I try to sell depth for upgrade starters. In a situation where I do have to make a decision, I usually go with who I think the better player is, and if it's close I'll move down to the opponent and any other information (injuries/hot streaks ect.)

But I think mostly go with your best players. Some people may have sat DWIll against TB the other night b/c it was a "tough" opponent, or Turner against Carol (when he scored 4 times). Personally if I'm going to lose I'd rather lose with my best players out there and having them not put up great games than try to guess who's going to put up a huge game and be wrong and lose.

I'd say some of my top ones would be:

1. Be able to express clearly the value that players have in your league so you can make good draft/auction decisions. A system like VBD will help with that, but it isn't all of it. You also need to be able to do things like accurately express what value Brandon Marshall has when he's going to be suspended for 2 or 3 weeks.

2. Don't get caught up in the hype on a rookie or people wanting to declare a veteran as being done or over the hill. Be dispassionate about it and just focus on the value to your team. Leagues are won by identifying good values. Like taking Deangelo Williams in the 9th round instead of Stewart in the 4th. I'm not talking about that being a good value because Deangelo ended up doing as well as he did. It was a good value because at the time those were their ADPs, Deangelo had as good or better a chance to start as did Stewart. When you get early round production out of a later round pick, that's how you win a league. The more opportunities you give yourself the better.

3. Stay up on the news constantly so you can get valuable players before others.

I honestly believe that if I can watch a game... that I can control it with my mind. That is what type of sad lunatic that you are looking at here.

To be honest though... I usually ALWAYS pick up a great running back down the stretch, or a great receiver down the stretch. This year, I got both. Pierre Thomas and Antonio Bryant have done wonders.

I also draft different than what is considered the norm. I never go for the two running backs in a row. Depending on where I am in the first round... I normally go RB first round, QB second round, WR third round... and depending on who is out in the 4th round, I normally come back to running back or another top WR... then grab a top TE in the 5... another receiver in the 6th... ect....

I have always found that my WR's are WAY more strong than everyone else in my league. I also have a top flight QB, a top #1 running back, and then I normally fill the rest of the void at running back by picking up the breakout RB's early... or picking the back-ups when the starters inevitably go down. People put WAY too much stock into the running backs in the draft, and end up with a team that is generally second rate outside of the running back spot. Then, when the backs get dinged up, they are completely helpless. Look at some of the top running backs this year who were drafted rather high.... LT, Westbrook, Addai, Gore, Barber, Bush, Grant, SJAX, Jacobs, now Portis.... how many teams were left high and dry by giving up depth everywhere else hoping that these guys would carry their teams? They find that not only do they have down games like everyone else, but RB's are EXTREMELY injury prone these days. Not only that, but they are very likely to be limited much of the year with all of the splitting carries throughout the league. I have Gore, and he has been good... but dinged up now. Luckily Forte and Pierre Thomas turned out to be studs.

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personally, I don't tinker much with my starting lineup. Midway through the season I try to sell depth for upgrade starters. In a situation where I do have to make a decision, I usually go with who I think the better player is, and if it's close I'll move down to the opponent and any other information (injuries/hot streaks ect.)But I think mostly go with your best players. Some people may have sat DWIll against TB the other night b/c it was a "tough" opponent, or Turner against Carol (when he scored 4 times). Personally if I'm going to lose I'd rather lose with my best players out there and having them not put up great games than try to guess who's going to put up a huge game and be wrong and lose.
I manage my team in almost exactly the same manner. I focus on the best player vs matchups, unless I have two very comparable talents and then I'll factor in the opposing teams a
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Three Tips:

1) Watch players with your own eyes instead of just looking at stats. Definitely the easiest and most important rule IMO.

2) Don't load up on RB's early. In general, there seems to be less churn among the top WR's than the top RB's. I dont mind loading up early on stud WR's and then picking 4-5 RB sleepers in the later rounds with the hope that 1-2 become regular starters. This year guys like Turner, Slaton, Deangelo, Johnson, and Forte have all been top 10 RB's and all were taken in the mid-late rounds. In contrast, most of the top WR's this year are guys who were top 12 receivers last year - grab them early if possible.

3) Pick players on good offenses - Ive been doing this for years and it seems to work more times than not. Of course there are tons of great players on bad teams as well, but I always felt that drafting guys with solid supporting casts was the safer - and better - play.

My main principle is Depth at RB!


Don't be the first to draft a qb. Waaaaait. Do be the first to draft a backup qb. Hello Kurt Warner! Make room for Mr. Cutler.

I am a big believer in SOS and try to gear my team at draft time for playoff matchups where possible. I actually develop a "predictor" spreadsheet at the beginning of the season for what I think will happen in each game in terms of scoring. Sort of an advanced peek at what the weekly cheetsheets might look like. This helps me to find players (especially qbs) who have schedules which mesh well together as well as players who have a softer playoff run.

Don't waste a pick on defense/pk. Let others reach for the Minnesotas of the world. I generally will ride the waiver and play the matchups on these although you usually find great defenses on the waiver early in the season as there are always surprises there (titans for eg.).

Repeat main principle...DEPTH AT RB!

Be antithetical--if your league is RB heavy in the draft, draft a lot of QBs and WRs.

Always advocate for changes in your league--more or less flexibility in starting requirments, adding value to positions like TE or D, shifting the points for yards, TDs, and receptions. Other owners will not adapt as quickly to these changes. 2QB leagues really help to maximize change.

I don't have a strategy that's set in stone, but my most successful teams are usually when I decide to "stack" a certain position and piecemeal the rest of my roster rather than draft a "well-rounded" team. I'm not sure why that is. I think maybe because it gives me a better ability to manipulate my team through trading as well as the fact that drafting that way almost always leaves me with a flex-player that crushes my average opponent's flex.


Get really good players regardless of position. Don't feel like you need to get your #2 RB just because everyone else is. Sometimes it is better to be the first guy to take a QB or a TE. Or, get two WR early. You want elite players.

Starting lineups:

Only use matchups to decide between similarly talented and productive players. If you have three stud RBs start the two with the best matchups. If you have two stud RBs and a guy who splits carries then start the studs regardless of matchup.

In my highly competitive 10-team redraft league, I always have 1 RB and 2 WRs after the first 3 rounds. Always.

Then in Rounds 4-6, I pick up either 2RBs and a WR or 2 WRs and an Rb.

Only then do I start to look at QBs, and I usually take 2 in the next 2-4 rounds. There are enough good QBs and enough good TEs in the NFL right now that you can get some one "good enough" after the first 6 rounds. But it's a lot harder to find someone "good enough" at RB and especially at WR.

Here are the top 10 WRs in my league's scoring system:



Calvin Johnson

Roddy White







If you throw Wayne in there to replace White and maybe Braylon Edwards in for Bryant, you have a close approximation of the first 10 WRs taken (not in order) in my draft. There is no substitute for taking premium WRs high in the draft.

Meanwhile, RBs not in the top 10 of my league's scoring include LT, Addai, Barber, Lynch, Portis, Gore and Steve Jackson -- guys that were going while I was getting top WRs. Top 10 RBs do include: Turner, D'Angleo, TJones, Forte, Slaton and Chris Johnson, many of whom were were still available in Rounds 4-6 while I was picking my RB2 and 3.

I am always looking for more depth, not only at RB, but ALL positions.

Our league stipulates that our rosters must carry 2QB/5RB/5WR/2K/2D

I'm always looking to upgrade my #3,4, and 5's.

This depth allows me to overcome injuries, as well as making trades easier to accomplish.

As a dynasty leaguer, I've had good success over the last five years. Prior to that, I sucked, because I didn't follow any of the below suggestions. There's definitely been a correlation. =) I'll list my team below.

..depth at all positions. This includes not trading people just because they're on your bench, unless you're getting someone of premium value at another (weaker) position. Depth matters. It allows you to play matchups, protects you from injury, and gives you options. Options are good.

..watch for opportunity. I kept Turner for two years, and I'm happy. I drafted Jacobs the moment I heard Barber was rumored to retire, and he wound up netting me my franchise QB in Ryan. I drafted PT hoping by the end of the year the Saints would get smart, and they did. I picked up Hightower, thinking James was..ok, so maybe that one isn't working out. This isn't to toot my horn: It's to emphasize that the important thing is seeing an opportunity, and capitalizing on it, whether or not the player does the same. In my experience, it's rare that a player ACTUALLY "comes out of nowhere".

...watch the preseason with a keen eye to see how actual performance differs from scouting reports. For example, I heard a lot of negatives about Slaton, until I watched him play and noticed he was really running tough and fighting for yards. This led me to value him more highly than some other RBs, and it's obviously paid off. Hixon, Morgan (sigh), Parker a couple of years ago, etc.

...watch the games with an even keener eye. NFL.com has player highlights. Use them. Learn how your players are doing, how their team is working around them. Lynch is a prime example. If you watched his stats this year, it's depressing. If you watch him play, it's like every game he has some amazing run where he breaks 8 tackles and shows why everyone respects his talent. Eventually, talent wins. The opposite to THIS is that if you don't have talent, any success you have is going to be year-to-year at best. Waiting for the light bulb to go on is one thing. Waiting for mental and physical talent to simply appear is another.

...don't own blockheads. Seriously. If you get them in a trade or draft (because they were still the best option at Round X), get rid of them. You can almost always find equitable value, minus the headaches. Let someone else take the chance.

...This also applies to injured guys. Major injuries are unpredictable, but there are trends. When I went looking for a QB, who'd I trade? Jacobs. Why? Because he's a series of nagging injuries. I tried to trade Parker, wasn't successful,and he's been a waste of space this year, even though I like the guy and wish him luck. If you have unlimited roster space, then sure, as free agent pickups they're fine. This year, among others, I picked up Torain, Bradley, Cadillac and Mike Walker. Are they working out? Not really. Would I have actually drafted them in the preseason? No.

..play matchups intelligently. This doesn't mean bench people constantly, but if you have someone facing a top-5 defense, it isn't a bad decision to go with a quality backup. The opposite to this is that football's a team game, and that if your player's team is struggling enough, then they may not be able to take advantage of poor defenses.

...Always plan for next year. You want to win this year? great. Don't mortgage the future while you're doing it. There's always room to take an intelligent flyer.

...Don't fall in love with names. Performance > reputation. If you have to take a chance, make it a change-of-scenery trade (I sent Alexander for Bulger last year, heh). And know when to let go. Holt has been a fixture in my life for years. However, it's time to move on, and as a Rams fan that sucks. Sometimes, your team looks great on paper, but it isn't going to work out. Don't make a series of panic moves; just assess things, and figure out how you're going to turn it around. My WR core looked pretty solid in week 1; now, half of them are useless.

...Walk off your mistakes. You will make them; everyone does. I'm still regretting my Vince Young pick, although after his rookie season I was pretty happy with it.

Current offensive roster:

QB: Ryan, Manning, Bulger, Young

RB: Turner, Slaton, Lynch, Thomas, Parker, Hightower, CWilliams, Torain

WR: Houshmandzadeh, Bowe, Hixon, Holt, Rice, Engram

TE: Witten, Lee

DL: WSmith, JWilliams, JParker, HNgata

LB: Willis, Sims, Bradley

DB: Weddle, Winfield, Harper, Flowers

only trade this year: Jacobs for Ryan, Week 3.

I have only missed the playoffs once in 15 years, and that was a year in which I literally had the worst luck EVER (1994 - set the third highest season scoring mark in league history while compiling a 4-9 record...how is that possible?).

Anyway - know your league scoring system and trust your projections at the draft. At the very least you will come away with at least two or 3 players that are no brainers to start every week (start your studs theory). After 3 or 4 weeks, reevaluate your projections and don't fall in love with a player just because you drafted him and ranked him high at the start of the year. Don't rely on preseason projections when evaluatiing guys you want to trade for. This can lead you to overvalue or undervalue players you are targeting.

Follow the injury reports even for "minor" injuries that could turn into something major. Know the defenses your players are facing - you can find tendencies there. Use your stale projections when trying to sell a guy you are trying to trade - but don't use those stale projections when evaluating the guy you are trading for. The guy you are trading with may be convinced by the stale projections.

Most importantly don't underestimate gut feelings. Those gut feelings are based on your participation in this hobby for many years...don't underestimate what skills you have picked up.

Finally, never trust Hector and Victor. They are liars.

Watch pre-season.

Draft 1 more WR than you think you need.

Draft 2 more RB than you think you need.

Pay less attention to match-ups and more attention to the player.

Set your starters on wednesday and don't make last-minute changes, other than due to injuries.

Draft another Rb.

At the beginning of the year, sort your players into 3 categories:

1) Always Starts (your studs)

2) Matchup Starts (guys you'll want to start against favorable matchups but bench against unfavorable matchups)

3) Emergency Starts (only want to play if you hear last minute that your expected starter isn't playing)

You must leave each player in his category for at least 4 weeks. If your stud looks like a dud after 2 weeks, keep him in there. Chances are, he'll turn it around.

Setting roster becomes a pretty easy process. Trust your decision-making and accept that you will make bad decisions sometimes. The worst decisions I've made are when I out-think myself.

I've been playing for 11 years now and I have never missed the playoffs. I only have one strategy and that's just to make sure I am better than the non-playoff teams. That's all I really shoot for every year. There are gonna be teams you can tell from the get go that are gonna struggle. Try to make their teams worse with trades.

I've been playing for six years. This is my fifth year making the championship (my rookie year I was an idiot - I benched Peyton for Tuiasosopo). There are a few lousy owners (thankfully they're all in my division) but most of the owners are pretty good. I've had lots of luck - anybody who tells you luck isn't a big element is fooling themselves.

My personal strategy is to go with a paper thin team. Basically I trade away every last bit of depth on my team for even the smallest of upgrades to my starting roster. In my opinion too many people sit on a mid level player in a hot streak instead of dealing them off while they're on fire. Sometimes you end up trading away an Eddie Royal or DeAngelo Williams (players who go through a hot streak and never cool down) but more often than not you can pick up a lot of great players if you just stick with a simply buy low sell high strategy.

If an injury hits then I'll make more trades or scour the waiver wire for desperation plays but everything I do is all in an attempt to squeeze as many points out of my starting lineup as possible.

Players I sold high:






Greg Olsen

Ocho Cinco






Some players I bought low:



Jennings (before season started)


Pierre Thomas


Ronnie Brown

It doesn't always work out but despite the times I swing and miss, I end up scoring more points from my starters. It's not a strategy that works for everyone but it's worked wonderfully for me.

I agree with a lot of the other posters - never, never, never, ever, trade away a stud for non-studs. I don't care if you're plugging more holes - do not move your studs. Trade for as many of those guys as possible.

Three Tips:1) Watch players with your own eyes instead of just looking at stats. Definitely the easiest and most important rule IMO. 2) Don't load up on RB's early. In general, there seems to be less churn among the top WR's than the top RB's. I dont mind loading up early on stud WR's and then picking 4-5 RB sleepers in the later rounds with the hope that 1-2 become regular starters. This year guys like Turner, Slaton, Deangelo, Johnson, and Forte have all been top 10 RB's and all were taken in the mid-late rounds. In contrast, most of the top WR's this year are guys who were top 12 receivers last year - grab them early if possible.3) Pick players on good offenses - Ive been doing this for years and it seems to work more times than not. Of course there are tons of great players on bad teams as well, but I always felt that drafting guys with solid supporting casts was the safer - and better - play.
I have to disagree with #2. ..Colston, Edwards, Holt Ocho...all ranked high, did not do much...If you miss with WRs early, then you are also weak at RB and are in for a long year. I grabbed RBs in 1st 3 rounds and I'm in the finals.
DRAFT: Always draft the players who will score the most points.

LINEUPS: Always start the players who will score the most points.

Never make your picks based off magazines/message boards/football sites. It's all retrospective.

Watch every game you possibly can. Learn what elite talent looks like.

Gather every possible piece of information about a player i.e. previous production (career not just last year), contract status, injury history, scheme, intangibles, coaching changes etc. It matters greatly.

Combine this type of information with what your eyes tell you. Ignore all other input.

Make a forecast based off of this baseline. Look forward, not backward.

Stick by your forecast, until proven wrong and then learn from your mistakes.

If you play dynasty, whenever possible trade draft picks for elite talent. Picks are grossly overvalued and a crap shoot at best.

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As a dynasty leaguer, I've....
Didn't want to quote the whole thing and take up lots of space, but...WOW, :goodposting: and a very good read. Many things that we already know deep down, but sometimes we lose sight of.
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I am in an auction league and my key is as follows....

1. Make MY OWN custom projections.

2. Shoot for at least (1) top 5 ranked player at QB, WR, RB, TE

3. ALWAYS make sure I get a top TE (usually one will be a little cheaper). This year I grabbed Owen Daniels and Gonzo

4. My teams is built around consistancy. My team will not usually be the highest scoring for the year, but will be consistant from week to week.

5. Since we have the choice of 2RB & 2WR or 1RB & 3WR, I will go big for the top WRs and let everyone else spend on the RBs. This year I had AJ(protection), Bowe & R White, but also had Jamal Lewis, McGahee, Aadai(protection)

6. Our QB scoring is high on QB rating anf QB %...So it's no wonder I had Big Ben and Chad Penington

7. I rarely make trades...I spend a TON of time planning for the auction and picking players that will be consistant and that have good playoff schedules. so I don't freak out when I get player injuries, I trust the work I did to prepare up front

Playing since 1990 and tinkered with how I do things over the years. Right now I feel I have a solid grasp on how the NFL is being played lot different than when I started and the info is all out there for the taking.

Preseason/Pre Draft work:

1. KNOW YOUR SCORING SYSTEM. Find out what players have the most value Think VBD!!

2. MOCK DRAFT better against other owners. Try different strategies and see what you think.

3. Keep up on all player news and starting battles.


1. Track the draft!! If you are pick 10 and 11 and 12 took a QB already take another posistion on the first pick and get the QB on the swing back. Suprising how many good picks you will get by knowing what everyone has. Done this since year one since I was commish and had to have the rosters. Till this year I always did it on paper, thank you Draft Dominator!!

2. Use VDB Cheat Sheet, DD or some cheat sheet that has your scoring system in it.

3. Dont be afraid to draft differently from the rest of the league. It is YOUR team and no one else's.

Lineups/In season moves:

1. Play the studs early on as they should produce. After week 6 if a stud is not producing I start looking to see if my roster has a better option. Then I start looking at matchups till one of them seems to be the better option for a while. Sat TO over L. Moore this year for 4 weeks.

2. Watch for free agents that can make an impact on team. Example L. Moore this year, E. Graham last year.

3. Look at matchups and trends with all players you can always find players that other owners might not value on their roster or once again free agents.

4 I always set up my lineup on paper. Sure starters on first. Non set spots are open spaces. Then I do my research below with the players and numbers on that page so I get a good look at what I need to make my choices. WR look at all target info and if they are trending down or up. RB go with touches. QB really I look at the matchups if I have two close ones.

Here's my formula for success in standard and PPR scoring redraft leagues with a 1QB-2RB-2WR-1FLEX-1TE-1K-1D or similar lineup:

1. Draft RB's early and often and don't draft busts at RB. You can afford busts at every other position but not RB. It's easy to say but more difficult in practice. Lower Tier RB's with a Round 2 ADP seem to bust more often. I typically go WR in round 2. Check playoff schedules and use that as a tiebreaker for tough decisions.

2. Draft one stud WR in the first 3 rounds and identify quality WR depth in the later rounds.

3. Draft one stud TE in rounds 4-6. Hold out until round 6 if possible and fill up the first 5 picks with RB/WR.

4. Never draft a QB in the first 6 rounds (10-12 team leagues). Never. The first 6 rounds are for RB, WR, and TE only. You will always find a quality QB in round 7 and beyond.

5. Find quality rookie RB running depth in the later rounds. Chris Johnson, Forte, Slaton, and J.Stewart are good examples. I know this is not a typical year for rookies, but there is always a guy to be found. Avoid drafting rookie WR's for the most part.

***Defense and kicker should not be selected until the end of the draft unless your scoring heavily favors those positions. For example, this year I targeted the Tampa Bay D in the last 5 rounds. More often than not, the free agent pool will eventually provide you with your championship winning Kicker. Productive kickers like Matt Bryant were not even drafted in most leagues.

I think most of the key principles have already been stated.


MOCK DRAFT!!!, try different strategies. Learn what will put together the best team, know where guys are going so you can reach when you have to or wait on a guy.
Use DD. VBD keyed to your exact scoring is HUGE!!! I laugh at guys who joke about my laptop. Who is the real joke using cheatsheets printed in June or July???
Work the wire. I had a year where I could not cut bait with guys. Don't wait! Give them 3 weeks, if they aren't cutting it and a guy like Slaton is doing what he did make the move.
Trades, I don't have too much to say because guys in my league never trade. I would say this, I would have been SOL had some of my offers had been accepted. Trade and work the WW for depth. Like it has been said, injuries KILL a season if you are not prepared.Hope this helps. I am on my way to 2 straight titles.

One more thing, limit yourself to 1 or 2 leagues. Anything more leads to confusion and burnout. I tried three and it is hard to keep every player straight. I read that guys on here are in 10+ and that is just CRAZY. It makes it more fun, how fun would it be to win three leagues and finish anything less in the other 7+? The fun is to have one or two shots to win. JMO.

Lower Tier RB's with a Round 2 ADP seem to bust more often.

I agree with this! My first year I was in the 10 spot. Drafted RB RB. Both busted. Ahman Green and someone else I can't recall, but it hurt the rest of the year.

I am in a tough leage and I have been in the superbowl the most out of anybody in my league. This year I made the superbowl as well. Here was my strategy.

1. I first look at RBs. I love drafting players whose teams most likely make the playoffs, and then pick thier strenghts. When I picked my RBs, the teams that I most liked were Tennesee and Carolina. Thus I drafted CJ and DW. I also drafted Jones Drew, Thomas Jones, and Slaton. This year, unbelievably, I drafted 5 RB in the top 9 in my leage scoring. This strategy helped to allow me to concentrate in other positions in the first three rounds. This was the first time that I did not pick a RB in the first 3 rounds. Now I had a lot of people in my draft questioning my strategy, but who is laughing now.

2. After I have my RB strategy, I draft the best available player based on teams most likely making the playoffs, but only drafting the teams strengths.

I think its very important in every draft, to have a RB strategy first. Then everything else falls in place.

Watch as many games as possible, and do your own tiered rankings for each position. Make up a tiered ranking today, then look at it again before the NFL draft, and again when camps open. This helps you keep an even keel rather than buying into hype.

Draft studs at WR with depth at RB or vice versa, then mid to late-mid season trade 3 for 2 or 2 for 1, sacrificing the depth for more talent.

QBs in the middle rounds are always the best value.

Grab the value TE (Cooley 3-4 years ago, Daniels last year, Zach Miller this year, etc) instead of the first tier studs.

Save the last rounds or WW for DTs and Ks, or do it by committee or matchups.

Monitor the major boards for discussions and read all the local papers online in the cities you have players rostered, but DO NOT look at projections - they're just someone's guesstimate, and obfuscate rather than clarify.

Set the lineup by Thursday a.m. and don't change it except for injuries or apocalyptic weather.

Make your decsions based on the player you scouted. Don't sit a star based on a matchup against the 8th best defense or a mild breeze with light rain or his teammate raped and pillaged. Great players perform, period. Of course if it's a weak/marginal starter, you consider more factors, but if you have been riding DeAngelo or AJ then keep rolling him out.

Back to the first point - watch football. Don't overanalyze stats; if you saw Matt Forte, DeSean Jackson, Chris Johnson, or Eddie Royal in preseason or Week 1, you knew it wasn't just hype. Believe and trust what your own eyes tell you.

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As a dynasty leaguer, I've....
Didn't want to quote the whole thing and take up lots of space, but...WOW, :thumbup: and a very good read. Many things that we already know deep down, but sometimes we lose sight of.
Agreed.Here are my tips, particularly in regards to dynasty leagues:1. Stud WR's > stud RB's. Being consistent at an inherently inconsistent position matters. Owning guys like Fitzgerald, AJ, Roddy, etc. that get you points and usually big points week in and week out wins games. In most leagues that require 3 of these guys, trotting out a guy like Welker or Jennings as your #3 vs. your opponents having to put out guys like Ginn or I. Bruce is a huge advantage.2. Studs win championships. Get as many as you can. Overpay for them in trades if you need to. They payout in the end is almost always worth it. 3. Be an active owner. Trade. Use the WW. Particularly in trading, you should have a general principle. In trades involving non-studs, you should be looking to gain value little bits at a time. Then, use that extra value to give up a little bit more for studs. 4. Pick your starters and roll with them. Getting too cute with WDIS, matchups, etc. can cost you as much as it can help you. Pick your guys and let their total points work for you. It doesn't matter if you've got a guy like Turner if you managed to bench him for his big games and started him for his bad ones. Sure you could have gotten it the other way around, but if you plug him in, your overall roster will even it out and work out better.5. If your team is very consistent but not explosive, look to trade a couple consistent guys for those boom/bust guys. Likewise, if your team is too up and down, move a couple of those guys for more consistent guys like Welker or Lynch. Being too consistent without being explosive will get you to the playoffs but not much else. Being too up/down may cost you a playoff spot and is tough to count on 2-3 weeks in a row when it matters most.6. Pay attention to O-lines. They are the keys to real-life NFL success as well as fantasy success. Teams with bad O-lines struggle. Period. It doesn't matter how talented a guy is, if there is no protection or no time, there are no results. Look at Brees in the early part of last year. Look at the GB running game last year. Look at the difference in the NYJ running game. O-lines matter to QB's, RB's, WR's, and TE's.
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On draft day, pay no attention to your own roster - pick the best player on the board, period.

I have a league where I have made the playoffs six straight years and made the title game four of those. It is a 16-teamer, and one thing that has served me well is just having a well-rounded team. I have never had the #1 RB or #1 WR...just good quality guys.

Also, I look extensively at injury history with QBs and WRs. I know more injuries seem to occur @ RB, so I try and avoid taking huge risks @ QB and WR. Somehow this season I had Chad Johnson AND Plaxico Burress and made it in, lol.

Lets face it, the RB position in fantasy is so different than it was 4-5 seasons ago. Almost every team has two guys sharing the load, which make drafting and making lineup decisions @ RB even tougher. So my goal is to be solid @ QB,. WR and TE, and not go crazy if I don't have a lot @ RB. I am in the semi's with Ryan Grant and Pierre Thomas....my starters in Week 1? Grant and Fargas.....I also had to start Maurice Morris a time or two.

I had teams this year where I failed and held Adrian Peterson and Drew Brees -- but jack squat @ WR....and it killed me. I would have been better served having lesser QB and RB and being better @ WR.

I try to target certain players every year and hope it works out.

This year I targeted Matt Forte, I got laughed at when I drafted him a bit early, but I knew the Bears are a "feature" RB team, and I saw Forte quite a bit last year.

I actually think what the OP wrote was pretty close to what I do as well. I will mention a few things to go along with what you have and then something I have learned in the past few years as a n aged FFLer. I will add that I have been playing for about 7 years now and fortunately since we have moved over to MyFantasyLeague I am able to keep a record of how I have done over the years like my drafts, my mistakes etc., at least since we moved to their web site.

1) I do use SoS alot, all year long and constantly compare my ideas to FBG's projections. When I see rankings that I dont understand I will go back and actually try to justify the FBG ranking if I cannot then I stay with my gut. Like you I miss on a few but the majority time the decision is the right one or it is a wash. When yo uhave been doing this for awhile and you have a desire to win you tend to remember your mistakes, With regard to lineups I would never start a QB going against my defense, I just dont do it. I defnitely check out my opponents lineup and will if things are equal try to offset my opponents QB scoring points as long as I feel an advantage there. I ry to stay up todate on the weather, the Vegas point spread and the projected total points in games.

2) I believe in the "start your studs" to a point and that point this year was the Ravens. I basically avoided trying to start anyone against them unless the dropoff between my players was I felt too great. For instnace this year I sat McNab and went with Rogers and even though Rogers is the 2nd leading QB scorer in our league I stayed w/McNabb (8th) as my stud throughout the year. Yes I am playing for the championship ($600) in one league and $300 my other. The reason for the $300 spot was losing this past week when McNabb, Westbrook, DWilliams where pulled and laughing on the bench in the 4th quarter and me losing by 8points to advance to the finals :sadbanana:

3) I tend to spend alot time pre-draft trying to understand the impact of coaching/player changes on the overall offensive philosphy. Here are some of things that come to mind from 4 months ago - one was when Stewart was drafted by Carolina, I know they wanted him to be there #1 guy but I have been watching them so long that I knew if the rookie had any kind of fumbling or missed assignemnts Fox (like Coughlin) would have him on the bench. This was the only reason I took the flyer on DWilliams. A similar line of thought occurred when I heard in Pittsburgh of them going to more 3-4 WR sets I avoided WillieP. When I saw Farve going to NYJ I thought this would open up TJones (who I believed was hustled out of Chicago and has a chip on his shoulder) for better runs since the teams have to respect Farve's down the field throwing. I search preseason for this kind of info. Along with this I really like the OL analysis done here at FBG preseason and spend time reading about how teams have improved or not. I believe alot of FFL guys just focus on the studs and not so much the guys who have to open up the holes around them. Keeping MJD or FredT this year was a bigger risk than I wanted so I looked elsewhere.

4) I also try to understand I cannot win every week and having done this for so long I actully try to predict a certain amount of points that are needed on average to garner a win. Do you know the average number of points needed to win a game in your league this year and last year? Do you know what the average number of points scored at each position was by the teams who won for instance more than 50% of their games? I try to determine where those points can come from my starting lineup. If I score that or more points and still lose so be it. I move on to the next week but I do try to start a lineup that can get me close to this target number. If I feel that one of my studs has an easy matchup then this allows me to think over perhaps other lineup issues especailly if I am going thru bye week hell and considering dropping a guy who I want to keep rostered.

Recent improvements I feel helped:

Dont give up on a starter who has 2-3 bad games in a row. In the past I have given away several players a year that later wound up on the other teams rosters and I wish I had them back. These where not players I may have drafted in the top 3 spots but later in the draft or I picked up on waivers then in a rush to get another of the "hottest stud potential" gave up on them too soon. Defensive coaches are smart in the NFL and get paid alot of money to stop your studs so if you dont see your stud score well against strong teams or teams on the rise dont give up on them especially if you see the coach still trying to get the ball to them. Not scoring at least an average amount of points against a weak team (bottom 1/3 in the stat category) is a bad sign.

Be wary of drafting top WRs from teams that have alot of passing options i.e. NE, NO, Ariz, 'Boys etc there will be key times when your guy will just disappear. I think Roddy, CalvinJ. AJ, S.Smith make better options if you can get them though this changes each year and will change during a year so keep an eye on the pass attempts and targets. Just avoid the Denver RBs until they get another T. Davis. :lmao:

For next year unless M.Turner or AD have an easy RB schedule try to move down in the draft lots of good RB value drafting in the 4-10 spots next year and it will allow you to draft a top 5 WR. Also good value coming back in the 3rd for another RB.

I would up winning the divisions (3 years in a row) and this year fortunately being the scoring leader in both my leagues which have totally different scoring systems - one is ppr the other not, one gives points for return yardage and they have different QB scoring for Tds and yardage so understanding your league scoring while seemly a simpe set of rules is important i.e. the true value of a players position, what is an average number of points for a QB in your league and where can you draft someone alittle better than that in your draft? Spend some time analyzing the season after it is all over as well as during the season to see if a rule change is having perhaps a minor scoring influence you can perhaps use to your advantage.


Oh, here is another big thing that I truly think is overlooked by many.

Identify what it will take to win in YOUR league. This goes beyond the scoring system but is the same principle. You need to be able to see what it's going to take to win for your particular league. So a big part that you often here is knowing your scoring system because they vary from league to league. What is often missed is so do # of teams, starting positions, etc.

If you are in a 10 team league, being well-rounded simply isn't going to cut it. With fewer teams and/or fewer starting roster spots, the team with the most firepower is going to win. This means that it IS possible to have a stud at almost every spot because of the #'s of teams/starters and you need to be the team to have that.

On the other hand, if you are in a 14 team league that starts 2 RB, 3 WR, AND a flex, then being well-rounded IS the key. Reason being, some teams will have to sacrifice depth to get studs and that can hurt in that kind of setup. In this kind of league, being consistent is much more important than being explosive.

After you consider this, look at the actual rosters of the league and see who's at the top? Figure out what you have to do to YOUR team to either compete equally or take over that spot. Are there a lot of equally matched teams? If so, then you're going to have to put together a consistent team as well. Or, is your league top heavy with a few powerhouses and the rest weak teams? If so, then you can get away with having a boom/bust team to try and compete better. I took over a team in a league this year that had tons of depth but no real stars. There was a clear favorite in the league that had studs at every position. I knew my only chance was to try and match that at every spot so I worked trades one spot at a time, trading depth to get studs. In the end, I had a team better suited for THAT league even though the team as it was was pretty good to begin with.

This thread is in the top 3 for me this year. Fellow posters have given me more things to look at when preparing for my drafts next year. Thank you.

Site is has been worth every penny the last two years.

I target leagues with inferior competition. If your competiton basically is guys like LHUCKS and Bostonfred, you've already punched a ticket to the playoffs.

As a dynasty leaguer, I've....
Didn't want to quote the whole thing and take up lots of space, but...WOW, :thumbdown: and a very good read. Many things that we already know deep down, but sometimes we lose sight of.
2. Studs win championships. Get as many as you can. Overpay for them in trades if you need to. They payout in the end is almost always worth it. 5. If your team is very consistent but not explosive, look to trade a couple consistent guys for those boom/bust guys. Likewise, if your team is too up and down, move a couple of those guys for more consistent guys like Welker or Lynch. Being too consistent without being explosive will get you to the playoffs but not much else. Being too up/down may cost you a playoff spot and is tough to count on 2-3 weeks in a row when it matters most.
I'd like to reinforce these two points, which I really liked. A lot of people have a trading philosophy that focuses too much on screwing the other guy rather than building your team. That's self-defeating. Quality nets quality, and overpaying isn't necessarily bad. A 3-for-1 CAN work out great for both teams. A key benefit to scouting players and paying close attention to opportunities is that you can keep your trade mills churning by continually grabbing players who end up useful trade fodder, even if they're not studs.Also, the bit about explosive/consistent is good. Intermingling consistent with explosive will win you a lot of games. There's no perfect ratio or anything, but when the other guy's WR goes off for 170 total yards, you need to have a chance to compete against it, rather than sighing, shaking your head, and looking at how that one player is beating your combination of two 65-75 yard receivers. I speak from experience, here. This is something I only really began to appreciate a couple of years ago. It's true in IDP leagues, too. There are tackle guys that don't do much else, and there are big play guys that can explode for 3 sacks or a pair of picks. Mix, mix, mix. You may hate those 1-0-0 games, but that's why you have consistent guys--to cover them.
It's pretty interesting how many different ways there are to skin the cat. That said, here's the principles I've followed in taking my team to the championship game in 9 out of the last 11 years in my 10-team league (2 protects).

1) As others have mentioned, comprehensively understand the rules of your league. If there are rule changes coming one thing I like to do is figure out what impact it would have had on the previous season. A few years back my league added 1 point per reception STARTING with the 6th reception - only for WRs and TEs. What I found was that while it did move up the numbers for some of the stud WRs, it really didn't do a ton to the relative value.

2) Look at past drafts in the giving league to try and uncover the tendencies of your fellow owners. I ALWAYS make my own labels and bring them to the draft and put them in books myself but great stuff like the draft dominator can serve the same purpose. The main point is that over a number of years you'll be able to look at past drafts and know "This league member almost always takes a TE early, this guy likes to wait on QB". Make a list of all of your draft picks and then figure out how many people at each position were gone by that point in past years. While it's true that you'll find variation from year to year, you'll generally get a much better feel for when and where the runs are likely to occur. It also enables you to figure out you might be your competition for that trendy rookie RB you've had your eye on.

3) If keepers are involved, I always do my best to figure out what the worst-case scenario protections would be from the other teams and plan accordingly. We protect 2 guys, so I already know to bounce anybody rated lower than 21 without a second thought. In practice the line is more like the top 15. Some years it's easier than others. This year I feel like I lucked out as I didn't protect Grant and managed to upgrade to Gore much to my surprise. Again, knowing your opponents' tendencies (so-and-so ALWAYS protects Manning) is again helpful here.

4) I agree with the maxim that you generally be the last guy to take a starting QB and the first to take a back-up QB. There sometimes are exceptions to the rule (especially if you think there's a huge dropoff between, say, the 7th QB and guys 8 through 14) but in most instances I find this to be good practice. I still remember the year I got "screwed" with being forced to take Michael Vick and he went on to play 16 weeks for me and lead me to a title (yeah I lucked out and that was the one good year).

5) I'm a huge believer in hammering the RBs. Much has been made of the increase in RBBC in the past couple of years. While this is true to some extent the simple fact is that WRs are in a committee situation all the time by definition. My leagues happen to have more emphasis on TDs and I just feel much more secure knowing that my lineup will have as many 25-touch players as possible in it.

6) With 5) in mind, targeting the bell-cow backs is also very important! Of the 5 RBs I drafted (all in the first 8 rounds), Gore, Forte, and SJax looked prime to carry the max load. Jacobs and MJD, while in committees, were clear goal-line guys. Clear #1 backs are a lot harder to get on the waiver wire IMO.

7) I personally have found that the sweet spot for WRs is right around the teens. Now in a keeper league I'm used to the stud guys basically always being gone. Beyond one or two guys, it really does become a crap-shoot and I generally don't see a lot of difference between the #1 receivers on about half the teams in the league. Look for good offenses. Look for mediocre teams that have some offensive talent but also may find themselves behind as often as not.

8) I've kicked myself every time I jumped on a "stud" TE being one of the first 2 to take one off the board. Conversely when I waited to the next-to-last round I almost always was pleasantly surprised. This year was an exception as I somehow got Witten as like the 7th TE out of 10 teams. Even with all the other rules I try to go by I must say - NEVER pass on a true talent that has slipped too far. A certainly flexibility helps.

9) I never see any reason to take a kicker earlier than the last round. It's always the easiest waiver spot to fill.

10) Summarizing the above, my typical draft usually sees me taking 3 RBs in the first 4 rounds. A good #1 receiver in the 3rd round. My QB in round 5 usually though sometimes in the 6th. My 4th RB in round 5 or 6 to make sure I get that last starter. My 2nd receiver, generally somebody solid though possibly not spectacular in round 7.

11) I ALWAYS draft 3 QBs even though we only roster 14 in my 10-team league. It's amazing how often this has come into play. Injuries and unexpected busts tend to make it necessary. If my top 2 guys prove dependable enough, this becomes easy cut fodder for any early season pickups I want to make. Palmer and Garrard didn't work out. Good thing Rodgers slipped and I greedily saw his value even though I originally was happy with my top 2 guys.

12) Check the waiver wire every week. The first 3 or 4 weeks are almost always crucial when the unexpected occurs. Even later in the year there will be guys on unglamorous teams that will magically appear who maybe haven't had any one great week but have somehow found the endzone say 5 times in 8 weeks.

13) (This should be higher). Watch the byes and especially keep an eye out for the teams with the attractive match-ups in the last 3 weeks! You'll thank yourself later.

14) Adapt. In some years I've had pretty much a solid 7 where I knew who was starting every single week. I tend to find this ideal as the less active lineup jockeying I do, the better the results seem to be :thumbdown: Sometimes that's not possible though and I know at least one season where I started 7 different QBs and still managed to reach the final game!

15) If things don't work out you can trade guys away for draft picks (or if you are ridiculously deep somehow) but NEVER trade away your future draft picks to get a guy for this year. I hate hampering my future efforts with the quick fix.

16) I won't give up an RB in their prime unless the offer is comically ridiculously in my favor (and it never is). RBs are a paradox. They have the shortest lifespan of any of the skill positions but this makes it of prime importance IMO to have them as my keepers. Super-stud years are to be highly prized and I really prefer riding that RB until his usefulness is truly gone. The key of course is to have the next stud be my pick as my RB3 or RB4 in a given draft and through either luck or pluck I've been able to do it time and again.

Wow that was, uh, long. Hope it helped some :thumbdown:


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I usually tier players and swing for the impact players when I don't think my guy will fall back to me. This year I drafted C. Johnson and S. Smith a bit earlier then they would normally would go.

I normally draft conservatively the first two rounds then swing for the fences after that. If I hit I hit. If not I try to make it up on the waiver wire.

I've been very successful with a simple strategy: Pay $25 to FBG's; follow their advice on draft day and throughout the season; drink heavily and talk constant trash; get lucky.

:lmao: Can someone tell me what the above emoticon means?Thanks.Also, this is a great topic. :shrug:
On the previous board instead of having a white corner to mark a thread that you have posted, it was a black dot. People use this to mark a thread they don't have anything to contribute to thread, but want to follow.

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