A touchdown on fantasy football

Tips and tricks to give you an edge in your league

Zach Cutler, Staff Writer

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School has started. Students are being bombarded with homework in every class. The summer heat is fading. Days are getting shorter. For many students and teachers, this means that summer is over and we are back to the grind. However, there is something to be excited about at the end of summer because football season is right around the corner, which means one thing: fantasy football.

Right now everyone is rushing to draft their new fantasy teams for the 2019 season. Last year was a revolutionary year not only for the National Football League (NFL) but fantasy football as well. 

With the emergence of young stars such as Patrick Mahomes and Saquon Barkley, how will this change where and when players are drafted in leagues this year? How will Aaron Rodgers do with a new coach and new offense? Will Carson Wentz stay healthy this year? Is Le’veon Bell worth taking in the early rounds of the draft after not playing all of last year? While I may not be able to answer all of these questions, I do have some great drafting tips that are worth keeping in mind.

First, running backs should take priority over any other position early in the draft.  While it may be tempting to draft wide receivers like Deandre Hopkins or Michael Thomas midway through the first round, try to draft a running back first, such as David Johnson, as they score the most points consistently for your team. 

Matthew Berry, a fantasy football expert, stated in a piece he wrote for ESPN, “wide receiver is really deep this year…..just wait on a wide receiver regardless of who is available”. 

Next, wait for a quarterback. After last year, Mahomes will be going as early as round three in some drafts, but unlike a running back, drafting a quarterback early is not needed to have a quality starter.  In fact, according to ESPN, most quarterbacks aren’t drafted until rounds seven through eleven. Players like Cam Newton and Russell Wilson will be drafted during this time. 

Moving on, consistency is key in fantasy football. I don’t care how much one player can score in one week. If they aren’t consistent, they are not as valuable as a player that is. A stellar example of this is Mike Evans. Last year, Evans scored 1.6 points in week 9 and 5.1 points week 10  before scoring 24 points in week 11. He repeated this trend throughout the year. On the contrary, a wide receiver like Davante Adams scored 10 plus points every week but week 2 and week 16 in which he didn’t play.

Finally, hit the waiver wire after the draft and every week during the season. Believe it or not, injuries and sudden retirements happen, *cough cough* Andrew Luck. Players that are out for the year have no place sitting on the bench when there are quality players on waivers. In fact, some of the best players come from waivers. A great example is Alvin Kamara. Nobody knew who he was at the start of the 2017 season, but he was picked up via waivers in almost every league by week 4. In general, players that added Kamara to their roster scored more points every week.

According to sleeper fantasy, Alvin Kamara scored 10 plus points every week after week 2 except for weeks 6, 14, and 16. 

In addition to hitting the waiver wire, do research before the draft and weekly research during the season by reading fantasy football articles and watching fantasy football videos. The Fantasy Focus podcast, articles by Michael Fabiano, and Bleacher Report fantasy football are all full of helpful tips that will give you an edge over everyone else in your league. They also will help you decide who to pick up on waivers and who to start, especially if you are on the fence about two players. 

At the end of the day, remember this, “At  a fundamental level, the key to fantasy football success is minimizing risk on a weekly basis to give yourself the best odds to win,” Berry said.

This is the year to play fantasy football, especially for those who have not played before. With the emergence of young stars and the league catering more toward offense, there has never been a better time to play! Start a league with some buddies, family members, or join a public league. And as always, happy drafting.

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