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2010 Fantasy Football Compendium

•    1. Don’t gamble. In the same way that it’s a good idea to take at least one or two starters whose play you enjoy watching or who play for your team so you can look forward to watching your fantasy team, when you don’t get money involved, you can watch your real team without worrying about losing money. Whether you are watching your real team or your fantasy team, you should enjoy it. Maybe everyone has to cook a tailgate feast for the owner or maybe put some sort of candy stash as the prize. The point should be to enjoy watching football, not to win money, unless you like fantasy football more than real football or you are OK with gambling.

•   2. Draft after the third preseason game. This is important because you should go with your eyes and those of others based on what is seen in training camp and in preseason games when it comes to veteran quarterbacks coming off a bad year. While Jake Delhomme shouldn’t enter even your back-up conversation in most sane leagues, he did have Tommy John surgery before last season and is more healed now. Many projections disregard this fact. But what makes Carson Palmer, Matt Hasselbeck, their weapons and Arizona’s weapons potential sleepers is the lack of faith people have in the offenses rebounding. Decide for yourself which positions you think are thickest this year and if you want to wait until late to get bench receiver, your quarterbacks, or a defense. I don’t think tight ends are ever deep.

•    3. Pay attention to Best Player Available. This is especially good if you know where the good sleepers are. You can end up taking a fourth running back before some have taken their third. Running backs still rule, and if you enter round 4 with only one, you should take a second one and prepare to take another in round 5 or 6. You could end up taking two quarterbacks or two tight ends before anyone else by going “Best Player Available” but you can make the kind of rosters that are injury proof, match-up savvy and stacked with trade bait.

•    4. Start runs rarely. You may think you are duping people into reaching at same position as you just drafted in but this doesn’t work very much and you better make sure you are getting good value at your pick. Don’t take the first tight end if it’s not Antonio Gates in round 5 and don’t take the first defense if it’s not the Ravens or Jets in at least round 8. By doing twenty mock drafts each year, I get a good idea of when the best time is to start a run. Maybe as vital as having stats and schedules with you is having the greenest Average Draft Position data with you on draft day.

•    5. For wide receivers, go for top targets first, effectiveness of offense second. Generally, the only stats you really need to see when you are drafting are targets and touchdowns. If you get a lot of guys who are on teams that spread the ball a lot, it can be even worse than having a running back who is platooned.

•    6. Make logical sleeper choices, and try not to reach. Matt Ryan could be a low-end starter in fantasy leagues but he’s been branded a sleeper by so many, even with losing one weapon in Michael Jenkins. People are afraid to draft Hasselbeck, when he’s now got Golden Tate, a healthy Deion Branch, Anthony McCoy and Leon Washington to add to Housh, Carlson, Butler and Forsett? All he is missing is Nate Burleson. “Experts” think Matt Stafford is an excellent sleeper choice because he has the second strongest arm in the NFL behind Cutler and he has Scheffler, Burleson and Best. Scott Linehan still calls the plays, the offensive line isn’t much improved and he will throw picks because they’ll be playing from behind.

•    7. Don’t double dip. Don’t draft two receivers on the same team, two quarterbacks with serious injury concerns, five running backs stuck behind new offensive lines, two quarterbacks with new coaching staffs and schemes or three receivers who receive from weak quarterbacks.

•    8. In deep leagues, get three defenses based on opponents. For instance, you think Kansas City or Buffalo will struggle on offense. Whether for lack of scoring or for making turnovers with their youth and deficits, you should feel good about having New England’s defense and Miami’s and get multiple games against that offense. You would likely take San Diego and Denver to combat Kansas City, as well as a third one that is a better fantasy defense. Just make sure that the matchups are happening before your fantasy season is over.

•    9. Don’t draft any rookies not named Jahvid Best, Dez Bryant or Mike Williams. Ryan Matthews will be drafted too early in most drafts and the same goes for CJ Spiller. With his home-run ability and indoor home stadium, Best is a good fifth-round pick. Dez has been seen as late as rounds 10 and 11. Mike Williams sometimes goes undrafted and he’s a #1.

• 10. Try the 2 for 1 trade before picking up a kicker in free agency. If you are allowed to, don’t draft a kicker if you can stack your roster from top to bottom. Then you can combine a great starter with a would-be starter on your bench to probably get a better starter.

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