Fantasy Football Tips To Stay Sharp This Offseason (Pyro Collaborative April 4th, 2017)
Posted by d-Rx on 04/04/17
Offseason strategy by The Hartbeat:
There is no offseason for the NFL, immediately after their Super Bowl campaigns Bill Belichick turned straight to Free Agency and shook up the foundation of the team, spending $40 million on a new CB1 to replace the two starting Super Bowl Champion cornerbacks who departed the team (or is expected to in the coming days). Mike Shanahan flew out to the Bay Area and joined new GM, John Lynch, as Head Coach of the rebuilding 49ers that had a complete void at the quarterback position. Just like the NFL, your fantasy football rivals, otherwise known as friends, are also gearing up to kick your ass in the upcoming season too, as a wise man once said “Those who hesitate, masturbate”. You don’t want to be sitting around in December as your fantasy team actively shits the bed with your genitals in your hand waiting for something to happen.
This is the time of the year where you put in the research to figure out how you are going to put your team together in a way that will allow you to succeed. From the time you get your post Super Bowl hangover until the time that the NFL season kicks off with new fantasy action, this is the time to identify who are going to be your guys that you will roll with in the upcoming season. Figuring out who are going to be your guys, the core of your team is simple, who do you like routing for? Having players that you genuinely like on your fantasy team makes a huge difference, these are going to be the guys who you follow on twitter and Instagram to try to get a better idea if their minor foot injury is going to be inactive, play through the pain, or just go out there and be a decoy the whole game. Plus it makes fantasy a hell of a lot more fun when you are routing for the guys you like and they’re winning you money from your friends.
Once you know the guys that you are going to target then you have to figure out where you can grab them in the draft. Also, please be realistic. You’re not going to be able to draft Le’Veon, David Johnson and Zeke Elliot so it doesn’t make sense to entertain that idea. In order to figure out where you can grab these guys you have to mock drafts in order to get an idea as to how they will be valued. Go to http://draftwizard.fantasypros.com/football/mock-draft-simulator/ and have the ability to see where guys will fall. If you are in a recurring league where you will know your draft position this is just an added bonus as you can select where you want to draft from and in what league format applies best to your league.
Offseason tips by Waz:
I consider the offseason to be the most important, and exciting, time of the Fantasy Football season. During this time, NFL teams are either negotiating their players’ contacts, letting their free agents walk, or engaging in trades. For my season-long leagues, the offseason presents a fresh canvas to be painted, whereas, in my dynasty leagues, I look forward to the rookies being divvied among myself and other owners via a draft. While NFL teams are busy either cutting or shuffling their decks, many owners are doing the same for their Fantasy Football teams.
After the Super Bowl, the first thing I begin to focus in on is the Combine. It’s not at the start of the Combine where the focus begins, but it is the weeks that lead up to it that I devote most of it. Every offseason, I devote hours watching the tape of Combine invitees on DraftBreakdown. I don’t take a lot of notes, but I take some. Often, I find a prospect that stands out among his peers. When I find one of those players, I find every scouting report that I can on them, study it, and cross-reference each one against the rest. I do not intend to align myself with the opinions or, at times, natural bias within the reports. Instead, I bounce my opinions off of them and question either why they align, or most importantly, are not aligned with theirs. Regardless, I put the work in and I strengthen my opinions by understanding the opinions of others.
After the Combine, my opinions are either slightly strengthened or weakened with each player’s measured metrics. Yet, I will not let a poor 40-yard dash time drop a player that I like off my radar. Trust what you have learned in the tape and don’t let the numbers be the say-all. At this stage, my rankings show signs of rigidity, although they continue to remain fluid. Additionally, Combine results may shine a light on players that I may not have focused enough time on yet.
After the Draft is where my offseason analysis, rankings, and projections become even more rigid. From here, you get an idea of which rookies will have an immediate impact, which will have an impact in one-to-three seasons, as well as how the situation looks for veterans. Some veterans will drop in value while others will rise. Offensive schemes will come to fruition and from projecting and understanding those, you will be able to develop analytical and methodical opinions that will act as the backbone for your own finalized tiers, rankings, and projections.
Furthermore, I join a dozen or more MFL10 best ball leagues that give me an understanding of average draft position (ADP) and similarly-related drafting trends. Getting a head start on consensus ADP and being able to monitor habits of drafters gives you an advantage when it’s time to draft for your season-long or dynasty leagues. Gaining insight of how the drafts fall, whether through the repletion of MFL10s or mock drafts, should pay off dividends.
In the end, if there’s one piece of advice that I can give to people during the offseason, it’s that while you are faced with a plethora of opinions, rankings, and bias, do not lean too heavily on them. There will be many fronts and paths that you will be faced with and could follow. It will become overwhelming and you could be left in a stressful situation come your league’s draft since everything you’ve read or heard is all over the place. If you want to avoid situations like these or have a platform that you can trust for continued success, put in the work and lead by example.
PK Ripper’s Offseason:
I approach the offseason the same way I always do during the fantasy football season because for me there is no offseason. I am a fanatic my wife thinks I'm nuts (until I bring home the $poil$) and my friends who are league mates are always scrambling late August into early September to catch up to speed.
So where to start? Well picture this super bowl is over so is the previous season, now is the time to look back at your fantasy teams and see what you did wrong and what you did right, then look at end of season tiers and stats and look for team tendencies and retain that knowledge and keep tabs on free agency, coaches movement and the NFL draft. You can never be too prepared you must have the foresight to know which players will be next man up if a situation occurs and make sure you are ready to take advantage. Run mock drafts, (A LOT OF MOCKS!) at least one a week, so you can be familiar with ADP and try to build your teams different every time go RB/WR in one draft then go WR/WR in another and so on. Keep switching it up the point is to find which types of teams you feel good about ex: balanced, RB heavy or zero RB or QB & TE strength based this also will help you to be able to adapt on the fly when you draft and certain players you hoped for come off the board without panic.
Remember failing to prepare is preparing to fail.....
Stagg Party’s Offseason Tip:
One thing I am focusing harder on this offseason than any other is the team stats, not only for selfish reasons like wanting to be an NFL coaching staffs stat resource, but also it is really the first layer of fantasy football rankings and projections. When I talk about team stats I am not just talking about last year, but typically a three-year window for a team, what does said team like to do? Where do they like to throw, when do they like to throw, how far do they like to throw, in which direction do they like to throw, who plays receiver in that direction, etc, until the end of days. Team stats are so deep and varying, from formation usage to play calling when trailing, it can teach us so much about the game and lead us to better decisions in fantasy football.
Here is an example we know a team can only run a certain number of plays in any given game, and they typically run a range of plays near their average number of plays over the course of time, we can use this to figure out the likely number of plays in a season. Hypothetically we can also know that when a team is in a competitive game they will run the ball nearly as much as they throw it (50% run 50% pass). We now know what is likely to be the quarterbacks passing attempts. Using ball distribution by the quarterbacks over the last three years, we can then get a pretty strong idea of how many targets will go to the running back, wide receiver, and tight end positions. This allows us to make much more informed projections and rankings based off of what the numbers say.
There are so many interesting numbers and tendencies to look at on the team level, and gathering and digesting as many as you can, makes your decision making even more accurate. The applications understanding the team at the highest level are constantly progressing, and I like to stay with those trends.
d-Rx is tippin' better than Pippen:
The NFL has done a remarkable job of never letting forget that it is the most popular league in America. It seems like they never sleep, they don’t want to give the NBA or NHL even a fighting chance at grabbing fans from the NFL during it’s offseason. There is no offseason for the NFL, and you have to take the same approach if you want to become a perennial champion in everything fantasy that you due in any given season.
Our Twitter bio reads: “Winning fantasy football championships is a year-round process. We cover the relationship between human beings & the NFL, year round.” – and it’s a way life for us here at Pyromaniac.com. I’d say using Twitter religiously and making sure you are following all the beat writers, players, team handles and figureheads in the fantasy football industry is a terrific starting place for you to stay on top of it all from a most recent news standpoint. But on top of that, there are amazing people that are posting great charts, fantasy concepts and thoughtful really deep fantasy mindshare on Twitter. Stagg Party (@PyroStag), The Hartbeat (@pyro_hartbeat) and Waz (@WazNFL) are a couple of them, and here is a list of some other folks and outlets on Twitter that you should follow and will certainly learn a ton from:
@Cianaf, @FantasyADHD, @CDCarter13, @friscojosh, @MikeTagliereNFL, @ProFootballTalk, @RapSheet, @AlbertBreer, @FO_ScottKacsmar, @FO_ScottKacsmar, @Pat_Thorman, @AdamSchefter, @FFesq, @MikeReiss, @SharpFootball, @beerswater, @ScottBarrettDFB, @PFF_Fantasy
Anyway, you get the idea – follow us and those and our boy Waz is coming up with a terrific directory of people to follow on Twitter and sites to use to help bring your fantasy football prowess up to the next level.
Start ‘em early and refine ‘em often. Listen to our podcasts on the subject, watch our videos, read our Tiers pieces and see our updated version – but make them your own. Do your first version of tiers before or just after the NFL draft and then massage them throughout the offseason, preseason and training camps leading up to your draft – this exercise alone will have you prepared for your draft. We’ve all heard it many times before from people in our leagues – “I haven’t studied at all” – guess what dumbass, I’m about to tool on your like a Killer Whale does a seal - I created my first round of Tiers in April 5 months ago. Get it going early, be prepared - be ahead of the game, not a Picasso level cram job artist.
Monitor Offseason Moves by NFL Teams:
I like to look at offseason moves that each NFL team is making at a high level, and especially tend to pay attention to the offensive line. Who are teams signing, what void does that player fill, and how will it effect other players already on the team the upcoming season. Draft choices are important at many positions, it shows what a team thinks it needs thus who they have faith in and who they don't. Which players are returning from injury, will they be full-go in training camps, have they participated in OTAs - are they gonna bite you in the ass if you pick them in the third round (I'm looking at your Jamaal Charles). Coaching changes can be huge obvoously -it can change an offense so much, alter the confidence and timing of even the best players in a huge way, I mean look at Matt Ryan in year 1 under Shannon vs. what he did last year, in his second in that offense. Pay attention to all of these things - and use the intel to help you define your tiered rankings.
ØC's Offseason Tips and Trix
Create your Beat Writer list on Twitter to follow the most recent transactions throughout the off-season. Keep a few main stream guys like Ian Rapoport or Adam Schefter, but following specific writers on specific teams is the best way to get news straight from the source.
Off-Season League Involvement
Stay on top of your league. Not only does this keep everyone involved throughout the off-season (which makes it go quicker), but it will also nullify the drop-out rate. Fun ways to determine draft order can be incorporated in your “dawg days of summer” plan. For example:
My friends and family league (going on 6 years) has seen one person drop out. I believe this is due to the “extreme vetting” processes I put these people through as well as keeping them engaged throughout the year. For determining draft order, we utilize other fantasy platforms for the March Madness tournament, Masters, and NHL playoffs. A point system for how everyone performs in each determines the order in which someone gets to choose their draft position. So from early March to late June, all the league members are actively involved and working towards improving their draft position. There are hundreds of ways to choose draft order, but only a few keep you engaged year round.
It goes without saying, everyone should watch the draft to determine current players that are getting pushed out or forced into a competition. Are you looking at a sleeper QB this year? Glennon for example? What if Chicago drafts a top quarterback? Immediately, Glennon is under pressure to perform with a popular rookie breathing down his neck. There are always consequences from each draft pick to consider.
Using the Pyromaniac.com draft kit, anyone can create and update their own tiers. I like to start my tiers in July right before training camp due to the ridiculous amount of movement throughout the league. Then, I can begin to perfect my rankings based on camp battles, injuries, trades, releases, etc. Remember to keep on top of your tiers weekly and base said revisions on YOUR evaluations. Use the eye test and reports coming from each camp. Try to steer clear of the hive mind or trends that seem to inflate certain players for sometimes benign reasons. Stay true to what you believe and use the tools at hand.
Mock, Mock, Mock
Do at least one mock draft per week until August (with 4-5 mocks per week leading up to your draft) with the tiers you’ve created. Don’t believe a word of the “Post Mock Analysis” bull shit Yahoo or ESPN spits out. Those are based on their own projections that sometimes include Madden stats. Notice the trends and players who tend to shoot up the ADP list based on conjecture. Oh, Sam Bradford is having an “excellent” camp? Is he really worth the inflated 7th round draft price based on a coach’s opinion? Dont fall into the trap of drafting the way the other managers draft.
If you’re struggling between players to keep on your “love” or “watch” list, make sure you know what kind of scheme or offense the coach tends to favor. Also, a skill position player on a team with a stout defense will mean more offensive opportunities for them. It’s always great to know the parameters in which said player is limited to or working within.
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