Basic Scoring

Fantasy Football "Basic Scoring" Definition

Bench players are important on a fantasy football team. Some owners find it problematic to have good bench players, because they might have trouble figuring out which players to start every week. There's nothing worse in fantasy football than benching a quarterback the week he throws for four touchdowns, then losing because you didn't start him. Still, when injuries happen, it's good to have a solid roster of bench players in fantasy football.

Drafting Bench Players

In the middle to late rounds of fantasy football drafts, you will be drafting your bench players. There are different strategies you can use when drafting bench players, so you might give some thought before your fantasy football draft which draft strategy you want to employ.

Some teams want to draft solid veterans who have performed before, so they have a player they (believe they) can depend on for bye weeks and injuries. Because these veterans have fallen into the second half of the draft, there is some reason (usually low upside or injury history) that they aren't considered elite fantasy football players. Other team owners want to draft potential "difference makers", so they draft sleeper receivers and talented backup running backs as their bench players. These difference makers could break out and have huge years if given the opportunity, but they might still be a year away from any significant contribution and therefore they could be useless to start in case of injuries. A third type of fantasy football owner will try to draft their own start players' backups, a process which is called "handcuffing" players. Essentially, you handcuff your star player to his backup all season, so you know you have a starter, even if injury hits. The classic handcuff player is a backup running back.

Bench Player Strategy

Most fantasy football teams will employ some combination of the three strategies above. For instance, if they drafted Ladainian Tomlinson in the 1st round, the wise owner will make certain to grab Darren Sproles early in the middle rounds. But that owner doesn't want only backups, because they need someone to cover in case of injuries to non-handcuffed players and bye weeks, so they might draft a few veteran bench players like Isaac Bruce and Kevin Faulk to fill in if their younger bench players don't pan out. Finally, the owner is likely to draft a couple of young running backs, like Donald Brown or LeSean McCoy at RB or Mike Sims-Walker or Josh Morgan at receiver.

Bench Players and Free Agency

Some teams sit on the ineffective players they drafted too long, refusing to give up on the guys they think were steals in the summer drafts. This hurts them in free agency, because the first month of fantasy football free agency are where some of the breakout NFL players go every year. Adding a handful of players in the first few weeks of the NFL season is almost always a good idea, because there are inevitably a few players who slipped through the cracks in the preseason or who get a battlefield promotion due to unexpected injuries. Once they first month is over, the fantasy football free agent pool is a little picked over. Grabbing a couple of the most promising free agents after you have a few weeks to evaluate their fantasy value lets you build up your bench players for the long season to come, or even add a valuable breakout starter to your starting lineup. What you should know is that free agency is the best way to make your bench players stouter, because you can evaluate NFL players in real-game scenarios to see which ones offensive coordinators and quarterbacks trust the most.

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