So, it’s May. If you’re a fantasy football fan, what do you do?
Training camp is still too far away and pre-season? Forget it. Well, unless you happen to have season tickets to a NFL team, then you’re probably about due for another payment on your ticket plan.
Can you start doing your homework now? Sure, especially if you are in a keeper or dynasty league – if you’re in a complete redraft league, this article may not be as helpful, but hey, you’re not paying to read this article anyway.
One thing to keep in mind, this article concentrates more on qualitative analysis, as opposed to quantitative analysis. Qualitative analysis differs from quantitative analysis in that it is not a pure math analysis. Most of what we fantasy football owners do in June, July and August is quantitative analysis. This consists of comparing players using rankings, projections and any other statistically based guesses (they are guesses, you know?) we find in various publications and websites (including this fine website). Qualitative analysis is an analysis that’s …well, not math based.
So, what can you do?
Free agency can tell you a lot about the fate of the players on your roster. Did your team pick up a skill position player who may directly compete with your guy? While this happens less with running backs, any moves made for a running back in free agency can have an immediate impact on a guy you may have on your roster. A team picking up a wide receiver who will be on the opposite side of the field from your player, could help your player, especially if the other wide receiver is a guy who may command some attention, and the team’s quarterback is competent.
Did one of your players move in free agency? If so, look at how that team fares in rushing/passing under that coach’s tenure. If, historically, the team does well under that coach in rushing for a RB or passing for a WR, that’s a good thing to know. One caveat to the above sentences, I personally do not like taking WRs who have moved teams, unless that WR is a superstar (see Terrell Owens last year).
If you have a player who has a new coach – you could also research the coach’s history. Does he run the dreaded West Coast Offense? If so, your QB may do better. Is he a smash-mouth football coach? A defensive coach? Your RB may be happy with one of these coaches. Is he a Run-N-Shoot coach? If so, he’s Jerry Glanville, Wayne Fontes or June Jones.
Besides skill players, look at other acquisitions. Did your team bulk up on defense? Your RBs should do better than they did the year before. I’m looking at you Vikings RBBC and Julius Jones. Did your team get some quality offensive line help? Then any offensive skill players should do better (and no, Cowboys fans, Marco Rivera doesn’t count – sorry I couldn’t resist).
Trades are happening with a little more frequency it seems than they had in the past. Trades, to me, are more indicative of a team’s needs and efforts to fix deficiencies. Trades involve a team giving up more than cash for a player, when a team trades for a player; they are giving up a player or a draft pick to fix something wrong with their team. So watch trades, especially if a skill player is involved, teams don’t give up players or picks easily – if a team trades, they expect quite a bit from the player they are trading for. I’m looking at you, Lee Suggs owners.
The Draft, the lone beacon of NFL light in that most miserable season, Spring. Ugghhh, spring – the worst season for us NFL fanatics. Flowers blooming, birds and bees getting it on. The Sun? Please. Spring is overrated. We football fans love autumn, or as I like to call it, Fall. Stuff is dying everywhere; small animals are getting fat, November rain and snow, and football action on Thursdays, Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays. Great stuff. I feel like writing a haiku, where’s Gregg Easterbrook when you need him?
Sorry, I got distracted, like I wrote, spring sucks. But the Draft is always interesting. Look at who your teams of interest draft. Apply some of the same rules I wrote above about free agents, but apply those rules carefully. A rookie’s impact on a NFL team is tricky, especially if that player is a skill player. Unless there is no competition for that skill player on a team, be wary of rookie skill players.
Now, if you have a player who finds new competition from a rookie make note of it and watch this competition during the summer. Obviously, if your team of interest (TOI) drafts a high pick to directly compete with one of your players – that player may not be worth keeping. This is more true of a RB than a WR, because WRs take a little longer to catch on (get it?) as a rule.
Mock drafts are starting up now, including one Tony Holm, Chris Dolfi and I participate in, the Fanex Analysis Draft. This is another free resource, and each pick has a couple paragraphs analysis from the owner and a guest analysis. This particular draft can make for informative reading; this year’s draft starts May 13th. www.fanexfootball.com OK advertisement over – there are a number of other sites that host mock drafts, go check them out and get involved.
Check out your TOI’s local paper websites. There probably aren’t a lot of stories about the team now, and honestly, no team looks bad in May, but the local papers are good sources of scuttlebutt. A lot of times beat reporters are mouth pieces for the front office, so there’s a lot of spin, but that can be valuable too.
Speaking locally, you could see that Jeremiah Trotter was not going to get a big contract and most likely leave the Eagles a full year before it happened. Beat reporters would reference his injury history and how he was out of position on a lot of plays, etc. This would be written even though he had great stats. The beat reporters didn’t pull a lot of what they wrote out of thin air, they were fed this stuff from the front office. Reading local papers can be very informative, this is a good time of year to check them out, and because you may not have time to do this once more fantasy information is released.
Of course, visit this site and especially the message board. The Shark Tank boasts a number of very knowledgeable fantasy football minds. They know their stuff, and the Tank is always active.
Last, but certainly, not least. Spend some tme with your family or significant other.– get in some quality time. Besides the obvious reasons, you need to build some credits for football season!! Going to games or staring like a zombie at the Networks during the NFL season can erode goodwill; build it up man (or woman)!!!
Anyway, before you know it, there will be a fresh avalanche of fantasy information out there. Use this time to get a leg up on your competition, who says fantasy football has to be a 5 month hobby anyway?