Fantasy Football Tips

Fantasy Football Help and Tips

This fantasy football tips article is the 2nd part of a series of articles that began with Fantasy Football Advice. None of these tips are carved into stone, but they should help.

Fantasy Football Draft Tip #3: Draft Consistency

Peyton Manning isn't the consensus #1 quarterback because he finishes first among passers every year. He's the #1 quarterback because he's been among the top 2-3 finishers every year for the last five years.

You look at the other top quarterbacks over the same period and you'll see a whole lot of turnover at the position. But year after year, you see Peyton Manning towards the top of the list.

There are similar players at other positions, too. For instance, Torry Holt and Marvin Harrison have been remarkably consistent at the wide receiver position. Receivers tend to be inconsistent, so if you can draft a guy who you can assume will be a Top 5 or Top 10 player at his position, then you want to place that guy on your roster.

Fantasy Football Draft Tip #4: Beware Injury Prone Players

Fantasy Football TipsFootball players are like other people; some of them are healthier than others. Sure, they're all world class athletes, but some world class athletes' bodies are better able to hold up to the strain of professional football than others. Maybe some have been luckier than others. Often, though, injuries are cumulative, so beware the player who is often injured.

Another reason to draft Peyton Manning is because he never misses a snap. Manning has the quickest release in the National Football League, so he rarely gets sacked. Many years, he takes 10-12 sacks. He doesn't get hit as much as many quarterbacks. More than most any other player in the league, you can depend on Peyton Manning to play every one of his games. He's like Dan Marino used to be.

Of course, every NFL player eventually misses a start. After Marino's ten year streak of consecutive starts, his body began to break down. It will happen to Peyton Manning, if he plays the game long enough.

And then there's the other end of the spectrum, the injury prone NFL football player. The injury-prone player is not a fantasy football help.

For instance, Bryan Westbrook is a remarkably productive running back when he's on the field. The Philadelphia Eagles lean on him as much as any other team in the NFL leans on one player. But Bryan Westbrook has a long history of injuries: both nagging injuries and season-ending ones.

Bryan Westbrook is a 1st round talent, but you never know when he'll start any given week. Now, all running backs are like that to a certain degree, but Bryan Westbrook is more of a risk than most. So he usually slides a little bit further in fantasy football drafts, given his average game numbers.

Eventually, it becomes worth the risk to draft an injury-plagued player, because the risk/reward factor begins to balance out. When drafting a player like this, remember that you need to draft his injury replacement.

Fantasy Football Draft Tip #5: Handcuff Your Starting Running Backs

On a related subject, you can take certain precautions against injuries.

To draft a "handcuff" is to draft your star running back's injury replacement. Running backs get the ball a lot, so they get injured a lot. If you draft a start ball carrier, that pick helps you only so long as he stays on the field. But if you draft his backup, even if he goes down, you still have a replacement until your star returns.

Don't just religiously follow these tips. Players have to use their judgment when handcuffing players. If you can't be for certain who the backup will be, then you might be wasting a pick. If your star runner is a rare talent or the backup isn't very talented, then you may be better off drafting some other player. The drop off in production might be too much to warrant a draft selection.

But if your star runner's offensive line is good, or that player's overall offense is good, then the dropoff in production might not be that much, especially in the short term.

I've seen plenty of cases where a little known runner comes in and has some productive games, even when he was expected to stink. From the middle of the season on, defenses start to get dinged up and worn down. So even a less talented running back with fresh legs might come in and put up big numbers. This happened with Julius Jones three years ago, with Samkon Gado two years ago and with Maurice Jones-Drew last year.

(By the way, when one of these running backs comes out of nowhere and has a 6 game stretch of production, don't go overboard in next year's draft. Football seasons are a lot like single football games. It's a whole lot easier to come in and dominate at the end of a game/season, because everyone else is tired. But back to my regular advice.)

You just never know about a backup running, so it's usually better to handcuff one or two of your team's runners, just to be sure.

You can find more fantasy football tips and more fantasy football help in the next article in this series, Fantasy Football Help.

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