Thursday, August 12, 2010

TSF Fantasy Football Preview

It’s mid-August. That means a few things are for certain. The weather is hot, the Cubs are far out of playoff contention, and football season is around the corner.

For those football fans, this means one special thing. It’s fantasy football time!
Fantasy football drafts are being organized, marking a special day for every football fan, because as all fantasy football players know, the draft is half of the fun.

But with football season fast approaching, one might feel overwhelmed by the changes in the NFL. Favre might retire? Well, you probably knew about that already. But there are other subtle changes that may have gone unnoticed. This could create a problem in your fantasy draft.

Fear not! TSF has your guide to a successful fantasy football draft. We’ve got your must-get players, sleepers, busts, and more for your fantasy draft. Here are ten tips to a good draft and a good fantasy football season.

Titans RB @ChrisJohnson28

1.) Draft Chris Johnson!: Each year, there is that one player who’s the no doubt can’t miss. This year, he’s Chris Johnson of the Tennessee Titans. He is the undoubted #1 overall pick in your fantasy draft. Johnson has uncanny speed and power, which makes him an unstoppable force. More importantly for fantasy owners, he is a threat for rushing and receiving points. His 503 receiving yards in ’09 put him second among running backs. Take Chris Johnson!

2.) Stick to running backs in the first round: Usually, running backs go high in the first few rounds. This makes sense, they bring in the most points and have the most fantasy value. But often, there is one quarterback who stands out, and can be taken in the first round. This is often Peyton Manning, Drew Brees or Tom Brady. This year, no quarterback stands out as a first round selection. Take a running back in the first round, and then go for a quarterback or receiver in the second round.

3.) When drafting a QB, think of the interceptions: In most leagues, a quarterback will be penalized for interceptions. If you’re in a league that doesn’t, you’re lucky. When picking a QB, it’s important to think of who’s prone to throw interceptions. The ultimate example of this was Jay Cutler, who killed fantasy owners with his 26 interceptions in ’09. Be cautious when picking a gunslinger, because he may just shoot you.

4.) Avoid the “problem child” wide receivers: We all love to watch the antics of guys like Randy Moss, Terrell Owens, and Brandon Marshall, but the fantasy reality is, it’s a risk taking these players. For example, owners who took Marshall highly were forced to ride out the suspension with him. Be careful when taking a cocky, problem wide receiver. Proceed cautiously, or you may just find yourself in trouble as well.

Colts TE Dallas Clark
5.) Think QB when taking a tight end: The key to drafting a good tight end is to draft a tight end with a good quarterback. More importantly, a quarterback who throws to his tight end. Some QB’s are more prone to throw to their TE than others. The ultimate examples are Tony Romo and Peyton Manning, who often utilize Jason Whitten and Dallas Clark. That’s a part of what makes these guys successful. When picking a TE, think of who their quarterback is.

6.) Don’t jump for a team defense: Drafting a good team defense is always important, but you have to do so carefully. No defense is THAT good where they need to be taken in the early rounds. Let somebody else be the first to take a team defense, then follow suit. No defense is worth taking so early, so wait back and fill the important needs, then when somebody else makes a move, you do the same.

7.) Don’t intermix bye weeks: This is an important thing for all fantasy football owners to remember. Never take players with the same bye week. This means a few things. Don’t draft a starting and backup player at a position who has the same bye week. This is especially important for quarterbacks, because if you have two QB’s with the same bye week, you have to draft a weak free agent. Also, don’t take too many players from the same team. For example, if you’re a Bears fans, don’t take Cutler, Forte, Hester, and Olsen. When the Bears are on a bye week, you’re in big trouble. Be careful during the draft. Always look for that bye week.

8.) Take rookies: The average Joe who plays fantasy football is thinking of the star players and guys who remember watching last season. You’re not the average Joe, because you’re reading an article on how to draft well. Think of the newcomers! Taking a rookie is a low-risk move with high rewards. My top rookie available is Ryan Matthews, the starting running back for the San Diego Chargers. He could be the biggest sleeper of the draft. I would advise taking him if available in the second round. Think young and you will be rewarded!

9.) Draft sleepers:
Matt Leinart- The southpaw is entering his first season as “the guy” with the Cardinals. With Kurt Warner retiring, Leinart will be the starter, and he will have Larry Fitzgerald and company readily available to throw to. Leinart could be a steal. Take him as a backup, but chances are, he could be “the guy” on your fantasy team as well.

Jimmy Clausen- I should add that I’m a huge Notre Dame fan, so you can take this however you’d like. But, Jimmy Clausen will most likely beat out Matt Moore for the starting job. Clausen has an NFL cannon, and he’s been ready to be a starter. He could be a late round steal for your team.

Tim Hightower- He was a sleeper last year, but was overshadowed by his impressive cast in the desert. This year, Leinart and the Cardinals may need help from a strong running game, and that’s where Hightower comes in. He had a great year last year, and don’t be surprised if he has another great season in 2010. Take Hightower if he’s on the board, and you won’t be disappointed.

Johnny Knox- Knox had a breakout season in 2009, and became a big target for Jay Cutler. He should see an increased role in 2010, and that will make him a solid choice in a fantasy draft. Take Knox with a late round pick, and he will reward you.

10.) Draft busts:
Chicago Bears RB @chitownforte22
Matt Forte (@chitownforte22)- Forte followed up a tremendous rookie season with a terrible sophomore slump. This year will be a big challenge for the young running back. The Bear brought in Chester Taylor, and are hoping for competition in the backfield. Forte was the only guy counted on last season, but if he struggles again this season, Taylor will be the starter. Avoid Forte with a high pick, and choose a more reliable back.

Tim Tebow- He is talented, we all know that, but he’s not worth being drafted in a fantasy draft. Tebow will have a reduced role with just a few plays per game, much like what Michael Vick did in ’09. Unless you’re related to Tebow, do NOT draft him.

Darren McFadden- He’s an above average player on a bad team. That makes him a bad player. We all know McFadden has potential, but it doesn’t matter if he has nothing else around him. Avoid McFadden, because there is no reason to expect anything better from him.

Terrell Owens (@terrellowens)- It seems like a perfect situation for TO in Cincinnati, but he hasn’t proven himself to be a top-tier receiver again. He will rank third or maybe fourth in stats among the Bengal’s receivers. Carson Palmer can only do so much. Take Owens with a late pick if anything, but don’t take him highly, it’s not worth it.

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