Fantasy Football 101

Don’t draft Michael Vick! OK, that’s not really a fantasy
football tip. If you did draft Vick, you should be fined by your
fantasy commissioner and suspended indefinitely.
Don’t draft Michael Vick!

OK, that’s not really a fantasy football tip. If you did draft Vick, you should be fined by your fantasy commissioner and suspended indefinitely.

On a serious note, and we all know there’s really nothing more serious than fantasy football, I’m here to rifle off some of my tried and true tips to totally take over and tyrannize your league. Totally.

If you haven’t drafted yet (like myself), good for you. There’s nothing more frustrating than drafting Daunte Culpepper on Aug. 10, only to find out the Raiders are going to start Andrew Walter at quarterback on Aug. 29 (Hey, it could happen. It’s the Raiders).

So there is your first tip: Draft as late as possible. Just think, if you drafted really early you could be stuck with JaMarcus Russell at this moment.

Now, on to the tips!

1. Running backs are crucial. We all know this. Yet, there’s always one guy who takes Peyton Manning WAY too early. Draft a running back in the first round, and then pick up Carson Palmer, or Drew Brees, or Tom Brady, or Donovan McNabb later in the draft.

Manning’s stats aren’t that impressive when compared to Brees or McNabb. In fact, they’re practically the same. But picking, say, Rudi Johnson over Manning, will give you a much stronger starting runing back, stronger than the running back you would have picked after you picked Manning (read: Kevin Jones).

2. If possible, do not pick a defense. Or, don’t be the guy to pick a defense first, unless it’s late in the draft and the Bears are still on the board (This rule also applies to the kicker).

Instead, play matchups. You’re better off drafting another running back and picking up the defense that is playing the Falcons that week. And then, from week to week, just pick up the defense that’s playing the Falcons. If someone else has the defense that’s playing the Falcons, then pick up the defense that’s playing the Raiders. (I apologize to any and all Falcons and Raiders fans).

3. Always be thinking ahead, and I don’t mean picking players based on their bye weeks, although that helps. Instead, pick players that will actually be playing when the fantasy playoffs begin. This is also Reason No. 323 not to pick Manning. In all likelihood, the Colts will be 12-3 heading into Week 17, and Manning will start the game but not finish it, killing his fantasy production.

If possible, find players whose teams are in the midst of a playoff run. They won’t be taken out of the games late in the season, and if they’re must-win games, their production will likely sky-rocket.

4. You already know my opinion of Manning, but here are some other players that I am fond of, or will be glancing over, come Draft Day: I like Brady, but I don’t like anyone else on the Patriots, except for my sleeper pick listed below; I think Matt Hasselbeck will bounce back, but Shaun Alexander isn’t worth as high of a pick as he’s getting (No. 5) with his age and health; Houston’s Matt Schaub would be an interesting pick, but only as a backup quarterback; I think Cam Cameron, the former offensive coordinator in San Diego and now head coach in Miami, may sprinkle some of LaDainian Tomlinson’s mojo on running back Ronnie Brown; Edgerrin James has former Pittsburgh offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt calling the shots, and we all know what Pittsburgh liked to do (Psst! Run the ball!); Do not draft Denver’s Travis Henry, unless you and Mike Shanahan are golf buddies, and you know who’s starting at the back position from week to week; and pick Rex Grossman if you hate yourself.

If you’re a 49ers fan, draft Frank Gore, Vernon Davis, Alex Smith and Darrell Jackson in that order. If you’re a Raiders fan, pick another team to mirror your fantasy team after. If that’s not going to happen, draft Culpepper, Ronald Curry, Zach Miller or John Madsen (whoever is the No. 1 tight end), and keep an eye on back Michael Bush late in the season.

Breakouts and sleepers: Matt Leinart, Jerious Norwood, Wes Welker, Daniel Graham, Brandon Jacobs, Santonio Holmes, D.J. Hackett, Vincent Jackson and J.P. Losman.

5. Finally, the final tip of the day, the tip that could win you a championship. Do not draft Vick. I have a pretty good feeling on this one.

Contact Andrew Matheson at [email protected]

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