Fantasy Football: Some great tips to dominate your league


Aug. 24, 2013; Glendale, AZ, USA: Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald (11) runs the ball in the second quarter against the San Diego Chargers during a preseason game at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

I must admit, I am a huge fantasy football fan and player. I’ve played in fantasy football leagues for about 10-11 years now and I’ve run my own league for about nine of those years.

My league is a free league but it’s extremely competitive and tough to win. We have a core of eight players now and seem to shuffle in the last two players each year. We have tried to do it as a pay league but it just didn’t feel like the same when money was on the line.  The best thing about fantasy football is that it puts your focus not only on your favorite NFL team but it adds a ton of interest in the entire league.

Would anyone really want to watch a Tennessee vs. Arizona game unless you were a fan of those teams? However, what if you have Kenny Britt as your No. 2 receiver or Larry Fitzgerald as your No. 1? All of a sudden, your eye keeps wandering to that game and you cheer just a little when your player scores a TD.

This is what makes fantasy football so much fun, I am invested more in the entire NFL and it’s even better when the Steelers aren’t playing at some points. One of my favorite things to do when the Steelers are on a bye week or play a late game is watch the NFL Red Zone channel and have my fantasy football stat tracker up on the computer.

Winning any fantasy football league requires a few very important keys and I’m going to give you tips to win whatever type of league you are involved in. The first key to winning your league is the draft; this is your first chance to load up your team with as much top talent as you can, plus find those sleepers that maybe no one else has found yet.

Sometimes, it’s a game of “how long can I wait to draft this player before someone else takes a shot at him?” It doesn’t really matter where your slot is in the draft, you can have pick No. 1 or pick No. 10 and you can find quality players all day long. One major tip here is to study your league’s scoring settings. Some leagues are very biased towards running backs while other leagues are biased towards quarterbacks. If that is the case, load up your team with the proper position first.

Aug 25, 2013; San Francisco, CA, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson (28) stands on the sideline against the San Francisco 49ers in the fourth quarter at Candlestick Park. The 49ers defeated the Vikings 34-14. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

In most conventional leagues, running backs are taken in the top six or seven picks; however, my belief is that if I’m picking fourth and my top running backs are gone, I’d much rather take the top QB at No. 4 and get a secondary-ype RB with my next pick. In most cases, as long as you’ve loaded yourself up with a QB and a RB with your top two picks, you are doing decent.

Some players will take a chance on the top wide receiver with their first pick, but WR points generally are scored lower than both the QB and RB positions. One other thing to note with RBs: remember they also get points for receiving as well so it’s not just all about the rushes.

I am a huge believer in trying to outduel the other guy and trying to draft the best available player or defense before anyone else. That takes some guess work and maybe reaching a bit early. Be the trendsetter, not the follower as much as possible.

Another area that a lot of people don’t follow as much as they should is the waiver wire. If you are in a league that has only a few bench spots available, you will easily find some great waiver-wire opportunities to fill your bench and spot-starter types. This will help the depth or options of your team.

One last note to winning your league would be to pay attention to matchups. Sometimes, people are too set on their starting lineup during the duration of the season. However, if my No. 2 RB has a weaker match up than my bench RB, I’m playing my bench and sitting my No. 2 for that week. Play the matchups, use players against weaker defenses who are prone to giving up tons of yards and/or scores.

Don’t be afraid to make big trades either. If you are noticeably weak at WR but have three strong RBs, trade your second RB for a top WR, working with a team whose needs are opposite yours. Make trades just before the halfway point of the season so they help you for the long term, not just a playoff run. Of course, you may not make the playoffs if your team can’t win games.

Don’t make a move too early though, be smart about it and try to make the move sound attractive to your trade partner. Good luck!