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Fantasy Football Advice

By Zac Schon
On September 14, 2010

As the first week of the NFL season has concluded, and the carnage of men battling for a starting job and veterans avoiding injuries, comes to a momentary halt, the faithful fantasy football players sit at their computers with their eyes peeled on ESPN to see stats, injury reports and the analysts singing songs of praise to Brett Favre and reminding us that he is "just like a kid out there having fun." It is more than likely that first time fantasy players will begin a new obsession. As a previous winner of a few leagues, there are a few things to look for to win a league.

1) There are no perfect teams. As I looked over my draft picks and compared them to the AFC All Star team that my friend had built, I instantly felt panicked. How can my team, let alone any team, beat him? Well, the answer is that about a third of top tier players get injured, have a bad season, or get an offensive line that couldn't contain a four year-old, so don't worry. You may feel as if your team doesn't look as strong as others.

2) The first week of the fantasy season is the most important week of pickups. Within the first couple of weeks, a few stud players emerge. Many of these players come out of nowhere to become league leaders, like Miles Austin, Steve Slaton of 2008, and Eddie Royal of 2007. To win your league, or at least make the playoffs, sit on the couch and watch all three time slots of games on Sunday and Monday Night Football for week one.

3) Players change teams. Last year Thomas Jones was a beast, but this year he will play in Kansas City, a city famous for nothing involving football. He may not perform as well as last year with the New York Jets, and has marginal value compared to last season. Think of Jay Cutler going to the Bears, Matt Cassel to the Chiefs, or anyone that goes to the Raiders. Certain team systems are not known for making plays, let alone producing yards. More or less, they need to fill rosters to sell seats and have people unqualified to be sandwich artists calling the offense. Look to see where the player was playing when he had his monster season.

4) Cut your losses. I drafted Brandon Jacobs, Matt Forte and Jake Delhomme last season. Needless to say I finished horribly, as my top round picks were more concerned with anything off the field rather than playing football. If you have a player that has been not producing for more than three weeks and is going to be facing even more difficult competition, cut him. A first round pick that you give up on in three weeks hurts, but the players you stick with after horrible game after horrible game is a tear jerker.

5) Last but not least, know when to draft Steven Jackson. At one point in time, Steven Jackson was going to be the next Adrian Peterson fused with Walter Payton and wear an "S" on his chest. However, as the previous seasons have shown, he is a middle-of-the-road running back with an extensive paycheck. Somehow, he is always ranked as the 5th to 8th overall pick. Steven Jackson will never be a top tier running back again. He plays on the Rams, and they will never produce any coverage outside of Rush Limbaugh trying to buy them. If he is available in the fourth round, he would be a quality investment, but don't doom your team with reliance on him like the Rams have.

Fantasy football is overwhelming at first, as one tries to learn who is who and who is producing good numbers. It requires you to at least look around for more than 10 minutes a week and keep up with current trends. However, the thrill of watching the numbers add up during the games, and the trash talking after is something that you can't put a value on.

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