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Friday, August 29, 2014

Fantasy Football Tools (with links!)

Here is an overview of a few things I've found while looking around.  Fantasy football tools that I use:

My Rankings - I've developed my own Top 400 rankings that I use.  It's got the VAST and VEST metrics that I came up with... Available only by signing up for the never-spam list.  (You can click that link or.... See that box at the top of the page??)

3P3Z - Read the book (Amazon has it on sale both for Kindle and Prime-shipped physical copy) or get "The Program" to understand.  Devilishly simple, and simultaneously brilliant.  #selfpromotion

Fantasy Pros Rankings - I'm honored to be one of 122 experts who provide rankings for FantasyPros.com.  The beauty of this site is that it tells you what ought to be happening in drafts based on the best possible view of the value of players... Not just the value of them on the one site on which you are drafting.  More than that, it is a composite ranking so any individual biases are washed out.  Sometimes you do see values increase or decrease for various reasons, but the swings are much more subtle and rational than they would be in one person's individual rankings.

Fantasy Football Calculator - This is where most of the pros that I've spoken to go for their ADP rankings.  The results are always up-to-the-minute since the default setting is to give you results from the previous two days.

Fantasy Gameday Spreadsheet - If you are more of a spreadsheet person and you'd like to be able to see the data and slice-and-dice it yourself, look no further than the ADP and Scarcity Report from FantasyGameday.net.  They have done a ton of research for you and even broken players down into tiers for you.  The best part?  It's only three bucks.  Check it out!

Podcasts - I am a podcast junkie.  The information is fresh and there is a ton of it.  I'm loving "Living the Stream" with my man JJ Zachariason.  Awesome stuff...  He wrote "The Late Round Quarterback" which takes my "back-to-back-quarterback" strategy to the extreme.  You also cannot go wrong with The Football Guys - both The Audible and On the Couch, plus their individual team breakdowns and interviews with beat writers.  Awesome stuff.  Also, you really ought to listen to the ESPN Fantasy Focus show because it is the most popular one out there... Chances are that there are people in your leagues that are listening to this so it is good to have as a baseline.  It's also entertaining.  The advice can be hit or miss, but it's a good place to get a feeling for prevailing wisdom.

PlayerLine -  I love, love, love the clean interface of the PlayerLine app.  (I'm not sure what to put for a link... I use it for iPhone, so if you have one too you can just search for PlayerLine in the app store.  It's got a red logo with all lowercase letters.)  Do you want to know what news is available on players in the NFL?  Of course you do!  PlayerLine is just an app that simply lists news for you in a stream.  You don't have to sort through promotional stuff or filler or anything else.

League Apps - Man, the app for your league has come a long way.  How do I know where you play?  Doesn't matter.  Yahoo, ESPN, CBS, NFL.com, and MFL have all updated their apps extensively and they are all quality.  In fact, I find MFL's app to be more user-friendly than their website (too much stuff on the site makes it hard to navigate for me).  You may not believe this, but check it out, I did an entire ESPN draft on their app last night.  No foolin'.

Magazines - I'm not contractually obligated to list this one because I write for the RotoWire magazine.  I do, but I'm not.  There is an interesting thing about magazines and one where you can take a perceived weakness of the format and turn it into a strength.  People that play a lot of fantasy football look down on magazines since it is dated information.  And it is true, those magazines were written 3 or 4 months ago.  However, they are a time capsule of information for you and I think that can give you an edge on the "group think" out there.  If you think about it, what has really changed since the NFL draft?  Other than injuries, not much.  We've seen a few pre-season games, but that stuff is really hard to use for player evaluations. (Except Emmanuel Sanders... go get that guy.)  I say it is very powerful to look at certain players and how their value has changed over the past three months.  Was there any reason why, or is it group think?  If a player has shot up in value for no real reason you may want to avoid him.  And the opposite for one that has dropped... maybe that is good value?  I believe that in the right context this information is invaluable.

Site Rankings - The very best thing you can do to prepare for a draft is to take the rankings for the site on which you are drafting and compare it to a composite rank like Fantasy Pros or the composite ADP in Fantasy Football Calculator.  People default to what they see on their screen.  Even the best fantasy players won't scroll down too far to find one of their guys.  In other words, if ESPN ranks Andre Ellington at #46 but Fantasy Pros ranks him at #26 for the same format, you've got yourself a buying opportunity.  You could take Ellington anywhere from #27-#45 and get some extra value.  Obviously the opposite can be true as well.  Peyton Manning may be ranked #8 by ESPN and #21 on Fantasy Pros.  If you stay away you won't get stuck in a trap.