Football is big business. It’s the most popular sport in America, for one thing. 37 percent of respondents called it their favorite sport in a 2018 Gallup Poll. That’s way ahead of baseball, which garnered the support of nine percent of people polled.
And since football has such a huge following, fantasy football does as well. If you know anyone who plays fantasy sports, then there’s a good chance that sport is football. It’s a good game for both casual fans and diehards. But if you want to succeed at the game, you’ll need to be a lot closer to a diehard.
Here are some essential fantasy football supplies you should know about before the 2019 season kicks off.
You can’t just go into fantasy football season without looking at statistics from the most recent season. In fact, you need the last few seasons to really get a full picture of a player. A player could have a great 2018, for instance, but that doesn’t mean they’re worth drafting in your league in 2019.
One good season is impressive, and it may help that player get a good contract down the line, but it’s not necessarily going to help your fantasy league. You need to look for patterns, and there’s no better way to do that than by looking at statistics.
Nick Foles is one of the best examples of this. Sure, he’s a Super Bowl MVP, and no one will ever be able to take that away from him. But he’s had a decidedly up-and-down career. He had an unexpectedly good career in 2013, but almost walked away from football entirely a couple years later.
Rankings by tier
It’s fun for football players to argue about who the greatest of all time is. They’ll argue about whether Tom Brady or Peyton Manning is the GOAT. But arguing about the greatest of all time may not be as beneficial for your fantasy football team. Instead, it can be more helpful to rank players by tiers.
A comprehensive fantasy football draft kit can’t tell you if Patrick Mahomes is going to make the Hall of Fame, but it can give you something better: a list of players who are on a similar level as Mahomes. Sure, you can argue that no quarterback is doing quite as well as he is right now, especially since he was named MVP of the 2018 season. But you can use the tiered system to locate players who aren’t that far away from his level of play.
When draft season rolls around, you probably won’t get your top choice. Very few people do. But looking at players by tier will let you figure out your best backup options if the person right in front of you drafts your first choice running back. You may not be able to get Saquon Barkley of the Giants, but you can still get Ezekiel Elliott of the Cowboys.
A clear strategy
This year’s NFL draft will take place in Nashville. You should expect to hear a lot of coaches and general managers say they want the best player available. But the reality of the best player available strategy is usually a bit more complicated.
The obvious example is a franchise quarterback. Let’s go back to Patrick Mahomes. Barring a catastrophic injury or precipitous decline, Mahomes is going to be the Kansas City quarterback for a while. Because of that, it wouldn’t make a lot of sense for the Chiefs to draft a quarterback in the first round this year.
Both NFL GMs and fantasy football GMs need a better strategy than just “the best guy on the board”. You also have to think about the other players available in the draft. You must look at the positions you’re particularly worried about filling. Stats are important, but fit matters just as much.