As wild and exciting as it were, the NFL 2021-22 season has only just finished, and already we need to turn our attention to the 2022-23 NFL off-season. Finding suitable free agents, drafting well, and tracking key retirements or injuries are all part of the successful fantasy owner’s offseason.
Every year, the free agency period kicks off a ton of wild speculation and expectations about who the next “big team” will be, though rarely do we see it become a reality as we did with the Super Bowl Champion Los Angeles Rams.
There are two ways to play fantasy football, a league challenge, and daily fantasy. Each form of fantasy football has some crossovers and differences.
Traditional Fantasy Football Leagues
In a traditional fantasy football league, how you draft is crucial to building a foundation for a winner.
To draft well, you need to know your league scoring rules, the order of your draft, and have a strategy that you can hold onto and not get caught up in the emotion of the moment, especially as your other league owners make a run on a specific position.
A good draft strategy for traditional fantasy football leagues:
- Go running back heavy in the first two-to-three rounds
- Wide receivers in rounds three and four
- Tight end
- A back up running back or wide receiver
- Later rounds go young, high-upside, and contract-year players
- Kicker and defense last
Typically, a good draft strategy focuses early on skill positions that lack depth, such as running back. This is because running backs offer significant upsides for your team’s overall scoring, regardless of if you’re in a traditional or points-per-reception (PPR) league.
Securing a cornerstone running back before chasing a deeper position such as wide receiver is sage advice, except for an elite tight end such as Travis Kelce or Mark Andrews as the tight end has been the most unpredictable of positions for all types of leagues the past few years.
Your draft should also have some “flyers” in later rounds, players that are young with high-upside, or veteran players in a contract year regardless of their team’s strength they play on.
In addition to drafting well, knowing how to maneuver through the waiver wire is a crucial skill to have and learn.
Many championships are won and lost by owners able to manipulate their rosters through the waiver wire. So whether it’s having critical positions on bye-weeks, losing a player to short-term injury, or simply underperforming, finding gems on the waiver wire is at least as necessary as drafting well.
Developing your own draft strategy is part of the fun of playing in leagues. You can see if your projections match the output by players if you’re able to find a trading partner and whether you can replace players during the bye-weeks and from injury by utilizing the waiver wire to your advantage.
Daily Fantasy Play
The main difference between leagues and daily is that you draft and hold players for the season (or longer in dynasty leagues) with a league. With daily fantasy (or DFS), you can select players on a game-by-game or weekly basis allowing you to scout player matchups that you project to be advantageous to your teams.
Figuring out all the usage and matchups week-to-week is a challenge, even for the most ardent fan. Deciding whether to create a stacked lineup or go with low-risk, high-rewards that are touchdown-dependent can make even the most educated player confused at times.
The strategy behind a stacked lineup is to draft a quarterback and receiver (or tight end) that you believe has a matchup that could produce a ton of points.
Most daily lineups have a problem: you end in a tie if you draft the same players as your opponents. So the best strategy is to have a solid foundation of a couple of high-scorers with a couple of risk/reward players that may be under-the-radar for other teams.
Plotting and figuring out the best NFL DFS strategy can be easier if you use the tools available to you. Finding a website or tool that helps accumulate daily information with weekly matchup trends is the best thing to consider to give your daily fantasy team an edge over other players.
Having a draft strategy that utilizes the league scoring to your advantage, getting foundational position players, and using the waiver wire (in standard leagues) are the tools to build successful fantasy football teams.
Staying on top of the day-to-day and weekly matchups can be difficult but utilizing the available websites and apps to help you will provide a significant edge over your opponents.