One of the mistakes many NFL fantasy football participants make is to use last season’s YEAR-END totals as a guide. One man’s 1000-yard season is NOT the same another man’s 1000-yard season. And often do you defeat your opponent using year-end totals?
What you actually want to investigate is his week-by-week numbers. How consistently did he turn in big-time fantasy performances? Or was he one of these guys who had a huge week followed by a wasteland of inactivity?
Here is my sample to use. I continue to go old-school when I prepare. I go to one of the few remaining book stores in my area, and I find a magazine with the week-to-week stats for top players. This year, it was Fantasy Football Index. Then, I circle every big performance (for RB’s and WR’s, I look for 10+ points per week – you figure out for yourself what a big scoring week is in your leagues). It’s a useful exercise because eventually you’ll start to see big-time performers you never knew about… and you’ll see how devastating some guys can be if they’re stuck on your starting roster.
Brian Hartline, for example, turned in a 1000-yard season last year, but he only had four games where he contributed 10 or more fantasy points (non-PPR). T.Y. Hilton had fewer yards last year, but he turned in five games of over 10 fantasy points. But it was HILTON who turned in more dud weeks. Hartline at least gave more decent efforts.
This year – for example – two running backs really surprised me through this process: Pittsburgh’s LeVeon Bell and San Diego’s Ryan Mathews.
LeVeon Bell’s reception yardage was far more than I’d expected, and even though he missed the first three games of 2014, he turned in nine weeks of 10+ point performances. That’s amazing consistency, and he’ll likely not be drafted in the first round-and-a-half of most redraft leagues. I love his value at the end of the second round.
Ryan Mathews won’t sneak up on as many people given his year-end total of 1255 yards rushing. But his history is working against him with many drafters. Mathews turned in 11 weeks of excellent fantasy production. And he really only had two lousy performances all year: against Oakland and Washington curiously. Every other week, he was helping his fantasy teams significantly. I see great value in taking Mathews in the 2nd round.
Here’s another late-round flyer to consider – and he revealed himself through this process: Sam Bradford!
I know, he can’t stay healthy. That’s absolutely true. But if he can, he seems to be a stud. He threw 14 touchdowns last year to 14 interceptions, and he had a 60+ completion percentage. And that’s with a very young receiving corps. Now, they’re one year more developed.
In three out of his six complete games, Bradford turned in great fantasy numbers. And in two of the others, he was above average. Add to that the fact that Sam Bradford is basically in a make-or-break year with the Rams. There’s no way they’ll spend another $13 million on him in 2015 if he flops again this year.
If you believe in that sort of motivation, you could intuit that Sam Bradford is in for a big year. And likely, he’ll be available in the final round of your draft. If you’re a gambler, you could forgo the backup quarterback position until then and take a risk on Bradford.
If you’ve got the patience for this technique, it’s worth it. You’ll see things you’ve never seen before. You’ll see how out in front of the pack Peyton Manning really is. Football Fantasy players wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald still has great value. But on the other hand Roddy White’s just about done. But check out the hidden value in DeAngelo Williams, Andy Dalton, DeMarco Murray, the Lions running backs, and loads of others.
Everyone knows how to draft in the first round; use this technique to boost your chances everywhere else.
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