and Jon Millman
Last Updated: Aug 02, 2011 4:22 PM
Fantasy Football University – Class IV
Prepare For Your Draft
You learned what you need to know and how to prepare for a fantasy league in Class II, now it is time to brush up for your upcoming drafts.
Player and Coach Movement and Their Impact on Fantasy Football
Often a player can benefit from a coaching change. For example if a running back is limited in a pass-happy offense, and then gets to play in a more balanced or run-heavy attack –- then his fantasy stock will undoubtedly be on the rise, as he will be touching the ball more and utilizing his talent.
The reason that you evaluate talent is easy, it is because you want to be able to make a rankings list or “Cheatsheet,” so that you can bring it to your draft. We think there are two things to consider above and beyond figuring out how the core group of players is going to perform. What I mean by “core group” are the guys that everyone else knows about.
The first is players to avoid. After you rate the core group and figure out what players that you want to avoid, you have to uncover the sleepers. They can make or break your season. This may sound like a lot to figure out, here's the good news… here at CFG we do ALL of this for you! We have the EXACT same cheatsheets our staff of pros use at their drafts available for you to print and they are updated daily.
We also have our C3 (CollegeFootballGeek's Customizable Cheatsheet) so you can use our projections and plug in ANY type of scoring system to get a custom Cheatsheet.
However you create your Cheatsheet is up to you, but the key is to have one ready to go for your draft.
So here is what we have:
Ranking the Core Group
We all know who the core group of players is -- what we don't know is which player is going to perform the best and which player is going to perform the worst. There are many factors that go into evaluating the players. Let's take a look:
3 Groups - There are three groups of core players. They are Superstars, Rising Stars, and Solid Players. For the purpose of ranking your players this will give you a good outline at the beginning. Superstars are first, Rising Stars are second and Solid Players are third. Obviously this isn't set in stone and you will end up with the groups meshing a little bit.
Spring and Fall Camp - Training camp will give a small insight into how the season will unfold. Players will get injured, players will emerge, coaches will talk about players (good and bad), players will win and lose starting jobs, etc. It is important to follow the news at CFG to see what is developing.
Sleepers are what we fantasy geeks live for. What we are concerned with right now is how do we spot them? They will begin to reveal themselves when you are looking over personnel changes and watching what happens in spring, and especially fall camp.
We are always looking for personnel changes and players on the rise. These types of situations will unfold if you do your homework. They all won't work out but the ones that do will pay huge dividends.
How will you spot the Sleepers?
Easy, we'll tell you! Right on our Cheatsheets we denote sleepers with an asterisk (*). In addition to that we post our annual “Big Sleeper List” with plenty of sleepers at each position and we continue to add to that list right up until September. It's all available right in the CFG Draft Kit.
When targeting players, look for players that work in efficient offenses, like Houston or Oklahoma. A No. 2 receiver on a good team could be far more valuable than a No. 1 receiver on a mediocre one.
Taking players from the next great offenses is also ideal in winning at fantasy football (see the 10 Commandments for Winning at Fantasy Football).
Lastly, look for running backs that operate in a run-heavy offense, and receivers that work in a pass-heavy system.
Players and Teams to Avoid
This is a tough area because they have to appear on your draft board. What happens if there comes a time in your draft to take this player? It is up to you, you are the one that wanted to avoid him in the first place. We usually skip that player unless the value is too good to be true. There are a few factors in figuring players to avoid.
1. Quality of the team - If the team is really bad the chances are that the fantasy production will be really bad.
2. Injuries – You need to be very careful before pulling the draft day trigger on a player who is damaged goods.
3. Spring and Fall Camp - Like I said before, this is the time that players and coaches will give you insight as to what is going to happen during the season. You will see situations arise where you say to yourself, “I don't want that guy on my team”.
In order to rank the aforementioned core group, you start out with the three sub groups. You rank the players as to how you think they are going to perform. Then you spend some time looking over number 2 & 3. When things stand out you make the proper adjustments. Then for the next month or two you have to follow what goes on in college football and make decisions on what you see and hear. It is important that you make these changes. If you don't adjust your rankings they can never get better.
Also, don't be afraid to be wrong. Everyone will be wrong sometimes; the object is to be wrong less than the other guy. Now, while you are checking out personnel changes and coaching changes you will start to see players that have a good chance of having breakout years, you will also see some players and teams that you want to have nothing to do with. This is how we come up with the other two categories.
This may all sound a lot, but it's the work you need to put in to win your Fantasy league. The good news is we do all of this and more for you! If you want to do it yourself, by all means go for it, but if you're OK with teaming up with the winningest experts in College Fantasy Football, check out the CFG Draft Kit.