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News Flash: Ryan Braun is not available in your fantasy football draft.
You can probably skip this slide if you have no idea what rotisserie chicken has to do with fantasy baseball.
Fantasy baseball and fantasy football both come from the same concept of translating real sports, players and results into a fake competition between fake GM's. That is where the similarities end.
If you still play in a rotisserie fantasy baseball league, this is probably pretty obvious. However, it's still true even if you play in a head-to-head fantasy baseball league.
Fantasy baseball rewards statistical balance and totals. To be successful, you must be competitive in all (or at least most) of the set stat categories. When those stats are collected doesn't matter, as long as you have them at the end of the week (head-to-head) or the end of the year (rotisserie).
If Ryan Braun hits four home runs during a week, it doesn't matter if they come all in one game or if he hits one in four different games. And if Braun never steals a base while hitting for a low average, then those four home runs are much less valuable.
Yes, fantasy baseball does reward consistent performance from game to game. Yes, fantasy football does reward single-game breakouts and well-rounded players.
However, a fantasy football player just needs to score points. Rushing 15 times for 60 yards is exactly the same as rushing one time for a one-yard touchdown.
Fantasy football players are also more valuable if they consistently score game to game rather than all at once. Each week you tailor your roster to win that specific week. How roster moves affect your team in the long term is still a thought, but it is just an afterthought and not the main focus.
To illustrate this difference, I'll defer to ESPN's Matthew Berry.
The difference between trying to win every week and trying to win every season is the difference between Steve Smith's and Roddy White's seasons. Smith scored 176 points. White scored 173 points. Both played 16 games, so essentially, Steve Smith was 0.18 points better than Roddy White every week, right? Wrong. In fact, White outscored Smith in 8 of the 15 weeks in which they both played. So which one actually had the better season?
Great, so how does that change how to draft in fantasy football?
Don't look at end-of-the-year point projections. Target players that consistently score a valuable number of points each week. Avoid players that run the risk of putting up dud weeks. In general, go after consistent stats like targets and yardage totals while putting less stock in volatile stats like touchdowns.
This isn't rocket science. ESPN's Tristan Cockcroft provides a great tool to help you get started.