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Fantasy Football Made Real Easy

By Tim Bearden in News on Aug 28, 2011 6:45PM

Photo by Flickr user jlurie.
Sports fans, football season is finally upon us, no matter how bleak it looked in the off-season, but, more importantly, that means fantasy football season is about to kick-off.
This concept may be second nature to some people, but to others it's like trying to understand Mandarin, especially if you don't understand football. Have no fear, this entry is for you.

Fantasy football started coming around in the late 90s when the first tech boom was beginning. It has since given football fans the ability to prove themselves as amateur coaches and has resulted in a hit TV show on FX, which is an over-dramatic representation, yet also sadly accurate. To be truly successful at this game you must do hours upon hours of research and meticulously adjust your line-up at least once a week for maximum optimization. To beat those who are successful, you need to be an average Joe who gets lucky in the draft and understands the basic fundamentals.

The draft is the trickiest part of Fantasy football. "Who do I pick?" you ask? Start with the top 50 players. All of the websites who offer fantasy football have a ranking system. Whether it's,, Yahoo! or they already have done a lot of the work for you. Top names/picks this season include: Arian Foster (Running Back), Adrian Peterson (Running Back), Michael Vick (Quarterback), Green Bay Packers (Defense/Special Teams) and Chad Ochocinco (Wide Receiver).

But don't let the rankings fool you either. There are some sleeper players who didn't quite make it to the top 50 because of their stats last season. One in particular is Reggie Bush (Running Back), who's now with Miami. Bush was injured for a good chunk of the season last year and wasn't able to put the stats up he normally does. Now that he's on a team that helped make Ricky Williams (Running Back) a household name, expect big things from him this year.

Another question this season in drafting had to do with the new NFL kick-off rule. For those who don't know, the NFL has implemented a rule that moves the kick-off up five yards, making kicks deeper and threats like Devin Hester (Wide Receiver) almost irrelevant. But a common misconception is the individual player is less valuable. This is wrong. Devin Hester is no less valuable than he was last season. The Bears' defense, however, now is. Since defense and special teams are tied into one stat, the Bears' defense will most likely be far less effective in fantasy play than they have been the last few seasons. This is a quandary a lot of players are struggling with this season, whether to pick up the defense for its defensive stats or its special teams stats. It's no longer as cut and dry as it once was. But you can never go wrong picking a defense/special teams off of the defensive stats, especially this season. The Pittsburgh Steelers, Green Bay Packers and Baltimore Ravens are probably your best bets this season.

Now that the housecleaning is out of the way, let's get down to the important part of the draft, editing the pre-draft rankings. Do it! That cannot be stressed enough. It makes the draft go quicker, making the league happy, and it is there for safety just in case you miss a round. Each league is different with the amount of players it allows per roster, but at least pick the top 20 you would want on your team. This also helps secure certain players if you set your picks properly, but it's not a science. It's mostly blind luck and placement in the draft.

Once your draft is done, congratulations, the real work is still ahead of you. Your roster still isn't set. You have the required number of players, but perhaps you're not happy with some of them. There's an awesome function on most sites called Add/Drop players. Depending on the league owner this can usually be done all season. Always go through this after your draft. Sometimes you can get some good players who just got lost in the mix. This is also good in case of injuries. Every site has breaking player news for every player. Keep an eye on the health and standing of your players and use the Add/Drop function as needed.

After that, let the trash-talking begin. Adjust your roster at least once every couple weeks based on bye-weeks and player performance and start belittling your fellow league members. This is supposed to be fun, not work. It may seem like a lot of work to begin with, but once there's a flow, it's all fun and games.