Fantasy Football: Anatomy of a League Champion

Fantasy Football results often feel like they are largely outside of our control. Star player injuries and unpredictable player performances can make winning your fantasy football league feel like a crap shoot. From observing the trends of league champions for the past few years, it has become clear that luck plays a much smaller role in our success or failure than is obvious to the casual player. To get a better sense of how this plays out, we are going to identify a few of the common player types. Which type of player are you?

Completely Clueless. This is the minority of players to be sure so we won’t spend much time discussing this type. The very fact that you have stumbled across this article proves you are not this player. This guy doesn’t even really follow football. He’s only playing fantasy football to fit in with co-workers or fill in a final roster spot and is only playing in the free leagues offered by the big sports media companies.

Solid But Casual. Most players fall into this group. These are your hardcore watch football in the internet  who like to test their knowledge against their fantasy football competition, whether it be family, friends, co-workers or even strangers on the internet in fantasy football money leagues. This type of team owner will start hitting the player and fantasy news sites a few weeks before the first draft. He watches Sports Center and listens to sports news to stay up to date on the player value trends, and, more importantly, listens to the views and rankings of the “experts”. This guy is serious and is often indistinguishable, at least for the first few weeks, from the next category of player. What mostly differentiates this guy from the league champion is time. This player doesn’t quite have the commitment level required to win on a consistent basis. He tends to start strong and fade as the season progresses. Not the recipe for winning.

The Fantasy Football Money League Champion! This team owner does his homework and takes the draft more seriously than everyone else. Due to the proliferation of expert ranking lists, this player will probably not stand out as the person to beat on draft day. The realization that this guy will be the eventual champion begins to emerge after the first couple of weeks. This owner is the most active on the waiver wire. While most of his pickups may not pan out, getting the one or two huge free agent pickups is the primary key to winning your league. This owner is also the most active in offering trade proposals. He will make a proposal to every team owner in the league. He makes proposals that no idiot would ever fall for. Don’t take it personally, he’s just trying to exploit the “Completely Clueless” types and he knows it’s a volume business. He only has to get one lopsided trade past the league commissioner to make it worth his time.

The most important aspect to becoming the eventual champion is investing the time required to fully manage your team. The draft, and even injuries, are not as big of factors as we make them out to be. You have to be really committed to competing on the waiver wire and through trades if you want to win your leagues on a more regular basis.

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