Thursday, August 29, 2013

Fantasy Football Draft for 2013

I realize that I have been neglecting my blog for the past year or two. Sorry about that; this season I plan on changing that. I have already completely redesigned my website and have all of the current stats, rankings and advice updated.

Most of you have probably already drafted by now. I have already done this for the 3 leagues that I am in this season. If you haven't drafted yet. I suggest that you take a look at my site here. I have a cheetsheat for a small fee, but I haven't had many takers as I have offered my overall rankings and rankings by position for free.

What I did for the rankings this year was different than the other years that I have updated the Fantasy Football Manager website. Before, I just created my own lists based upon who I thought would be good in the upcoming season. This was basically a fact finding mission where I gathered the statistics from the previous year and combined that with the offseason upgrades that each team made.

This year, I decided to go with the experts whose job it is to put out these rankings. I know that sounds like a cop out, but I didn't just take the rankings from one expert. Instead, I took the opinions of roughly 30 experts and created an average based on all of their rankings. This will eliminate some of the biases to one team or one player that I have seen.

An example of this would be RGIII, who I saw ranked as high as 25th overall and as low as 108 overall. My rankings showed that he is 58 on average. There are a lot of players who were very similar, especially some of the wide receivers such as Pierre Garcon, Eric Decker, Mike Wallace, etc.

Yahoo Fantasy Leagues

Two of my leagues use the Yahoo Fantasy Football website. I like it for a couple of reasons. During the draft, you can see all of the relevant information about a player such last year's stats and bye week info. You can create your own pre-draft rankings to enter into the draft board. This is helpful because Yahoo doesn't update their draft board; Dennis Pitta, Percy Harvin, Danario Alexander and even Aaron Hernandez was left in the top 100.

I like to use my list in coordination with the Yahoo list (which is still available even if you update the pre-draft rankings) and the Average Draft Position (ADP) to see how far down the board a player I am targeting is located. If they are far enough away, you can often leave that player and they will still be around in the next round. This can burn you however, as it did when I tried to leave Kenbrell Thompkins (who got drafted way to high in my leagues).

Your draft team is readily available, but you can check out other managers with a simple click to see what positions they are likely going to select. You can also put players into a queue which will allow you to target a few players without having to see the entire draft board.

They had a neat feature which they started this year. About an hour after the draft was over, each player receives an automated Draft Grade which is powered by Automated Insights. They combine the projected points, any bye week issues, and your rank by position to receive a grade. I received a B+ in my first draft (2nd overall next to another person who also had a B+) and I finished with an A+ in my second draft (only person with an A of any kind).

My first draft includes the following players (5th pick overall) - 1. C.J. Spiller; 2. Aaron Rodgers; 3. Demaryius Thomas; 4. DeMarco Murray; 5. Dwayne Bowe; 6. Tony Gonzalez; 7. Ahmad Bradshaw; 8. Rashard Mendenhall; 9. Cecil Shorts; 10. Shane Vereen; 11. Anquan Boldin; 12. Kenny Britt; 13. Brandon Myers; 14. Joe Flacco - then a couple of throwaways and an average kicker and defense. This is my risk vs reward team and I think that the B+ was a little generous.

My second draft was much better (1st pick overall) - 1. Adrian Peterson; 2. Brandon Marshall; 3. Julio Jones; 4. Hakeem Nicks; 5. Lamar Miller; 6. Rob Gronkowski; 7. Ryan Mathews; 8. Tony Romo; 9. Montee Ball; 10. Chicago Defense; 11. Eli Manning; 12. Knowshon Moreno; 13. Antonio Gates; 14. Blair Walsh; 15. Justin Blackmon - then three throwaways. I was happy to see an A+ since only two other people in either draft even received a B+.

I'm not really a fan of picking up handcuff RBs unless it is a situation like Denver or Pittsburgh. You are probably going to drop them anyways if the starter doesn't get hurt or demoted in the first 4 weeks.

Betting on the NFL

As a fantasy owner, one of the things that I like to do is hedge my bets. That's why I specifically excluded the top 6 picks from my first draft when I was making selections for my second draft. One other way that I can hedge that bet is by betting on the Player Props at some of the Sports Betting websites that I am signed up at.

Let's say I am playing someone who owns Drew Brees and they are playing at home against Carolina that week. I will check the prop bets and place a $50 bet on Drew Brees to throw for 3+ TDs. This won't pay out much higher than 1 to 1, but I feel good either way by winning $50 or by winning that week in my fantasy league. I will do this once or twice per week with the opponent's top players. I don't like betting on my own guys because then I will feel like crap when I get the double whammy.

When it comes to betting on the spread, it's all about betting selectively and shopping the NFL betting lines.

In order to bet selectively, take a look at the games being played at 1:00PM ET. There are usually between 8 and 10 games available. Rank them in order of confidence with the spread from lowest to highest. Then, I will take the top 2 and place a $50 bet on those two games. Regardless of how I do, I will check the 4:00PM ET games; there are usually 3 or 4 of them. I will rank them in confidence and place a $50 bet on the one I am most confident with.

Bankroll management is of key importance here. I have a bankroll of $1000 that I keep for betting the spread. I bet $50 early because I don't wager more than 5% of my bankroll on any one bet. If I lose 15% of my bankroll (I.E. all three games), I'm done for the week. Period. End of story.

If I win on all three games, I will place a $100 bet on the Sunday night game. If I win either 1 or 2 games, I will place a $50 bet on the Sunday night game. If I lose the Sunday night game, I don't bet on the Monday night game. If I win the Sunday night game, I will place a bet on the Sunday night game. It's that easy.

When it comes to shopping lines, it is very important. Let's say I'm betting the favorite at -7.5. I'm going to try to find a sportsbook that offers a -6.5 or -7 line. If I am betting on the underdog, I'm going to look for a sportsbook that offers an -8 or -8.5 line. There are several good sportsbooks out there. You just need to do some work and look around.

If you do all of that and follow my advice, you will have a pretty good chance of winning money and not going broke. It's all about discipline.

Upcoming Season on Fantasy Football Manager Blog

I am planning on doing at least weekly updates as far as waiver wire pickups and injuries are concerned. If I have time, I will tell you some of my own personal stories about fantasy football and the games that I am watching or betting on. Stay tuned and come back again!