How refreshing is it to just kick back, put your feet up and think ahhhh, fantasy football is back?
Such beautiful words. Such a wonderful time of year.
But as much as we enjoy our fun and leisure this time of year, we also think about fattening our wallets. Most of us – if we are serious about the craft – don’t just come for a participation trophy. We’re here to win. And there are specific ways to do exactly that.
I liken it to the world of poker – look, there are “specialists” out there. Often, there are No Limit Texas Hold ‘Em specialists who focus entirely on that game. Lately, in the nosebleed sections, there are “Short Deck” (aka “Triton Hold ‘Em”) specialists who devote all their energy to that game.
And the same thing can happen in our fantasy football world. Often we hear of Redraft specialists, or Devy specialists. But why put all of our eggs in one basket? Why limit our potential upside, across the board?
The best poker players in the world are “mixed game” experts. And the best fantasy football coaches can win in Standard, PPR, Dynasty, Devy, Bestball and IDP. So let’s talk about building up that versatility (one quick strategy per section).
Happy to have my Aaron Torres Media teammate JB Barry on hand for this one. Don’t forget to follow JB on Twitter @FantasyCoachJB!
One-sentence explanation: The “OG” of the fantasy football world; no points per reception – no frills, traditional scoring across the board, we start with a new team every year.
Tip to help you win: Don’t do the obvious. This is the obvious move in Standard leagues – we don’t get points per reception, so let’s devalue PPR specialists in our drafts. And sure, that seems logical, right? But if everyone does that, you start to gain value in doing the opposite. This is a sneaky way to leverage the field. Let me give you some examples from last season:
WR Cole Beasley is widely considered a PPR specialist, but in Standard leagues he finished with more fantasy points than Cooper Kupp, Tyler Boyd, DeVante Parker and DJ Chark (guys who were routinely being taken well before him).
Same for JD McKissic at the RB position – an obvious “PPR guy”. Well, that PPR guy outscored Devin Singletary, Leonard Fournette, Cam Akers and Joe Mixon. Crazy when you consider ADP.
Of course, I’m not advocating this strategy as a steadfast rule, but my point is obvious – don’t write guys off in Standard if you are hearing the phrase “PPR Guy” in the back of your mind. Think deeper than that. Play it relative to value point in your particular draft’s runout.
JB Barry’s Take: When deciding between players that are similar, lean to the one with the highest opportunity to make big plays and score touchdowns. In 2020, Chase Claypool had 62 receptions but scored 9 TDs where Dionte Johnson had 88 receptions and scored 7 TDs. Claypool finished 12 spots ahead of Johnson in standard league scoring.
One-sentence explanation: Similar to Standard in other categories, but when it comes to receptions, we are getting points this time around (half-point or full-point, depending on Commish and league).
Tip to help you win: Late in drafts, take fliers on pass-catching backs. Everybody loves to do the “handcuff” thing – taking your earlier RBs backups - but again, we are looking for unique ways to leverage the field, here.
So, toss aside the handcuff idea sometimes.
Look at the results McKissic, Nyheim Hines and Chase Edmonds put together last season. This year those guys could be Jamaal Williams with the Lions, Jerick McKinnon with the Chiefs and/or Michael Carter with my Jets.
Let’s be creative out here. Let’s gain little advantages.
JB Barry’s Take – Pay attention to preseason news and clips. If a QB is developing a good rapport with a particular receiver, that could be because that receiver is earning his trust. When that QB has to make a play, it will likely be that receiver who he looks to. That rapport will earn that receiver more targets, leading to more receptions.
One-sentence explanation: We are retaining our players from one year to the next; thus, attempting to build a “Dynasty”.
Tip to help you win: Buy-low on sophomores who struggled as rookies and/or are currently undervalued.
At running back that could be A.J. Dillon, Darrynton Evans, Josh Kelley, Anthony McFarland or La’Mical Perine. Speaking of value plays, Dillon’s over/under on DraftKings Sportsbook is only 690.5. Remember that Jamaal Williams is out of the picture.
At WR that could be Henry Ruggs, Jalen Reagor, K.J. Hamler, Bryan Edwards or Van Jefferson. (Reagor’s over/under on DraftKings Sportsbook is only 675.5.) Throw some stuff at the wall to see what sticks. Don’t give up on players after one quiet or disappointing season.
JB Barry’s Take – Don’t write off the veterans. Often times in dynasty leagues everybody is looking only at the younger players, and you can find significant value on “older” players. Remember, you still want to win now and if you can get a 28-year-old Mike Evans at a discount you take it!
Tune in next time for Bestball, Devy and IDP!
Catch up on John's other articles, as he previews:
John Frascella is a published sports author and Senior Fantasy Analyst for Aaron Torres Online. Follow him on Twitter @LegendSports7 for all things fantasy football.
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