If there's one thing that defines football, whether it's in the reality or fantasy realm, it's unpredictability. Step into a fantasy draft, and you will see one pick in the top five that is unexpected and throws everything else into chaos.
However, before you start throwing your draft board into shambles as a reaction to what someone else did, keep your wits about you and follow a few simple tips on the best strategy to help you win your league.
We will get to those tips shortly, but before we go any further, another aspect of fantasy football is coming up with a creative team name to show off your sense of humor, love of a player or team and maybe even distract your opponent in the draft room so they take the wrong player.
Here's a brief collection of creative team names to use in your fantasy league. In fact, you can use more than one of them, because who plays in just one fantasy league anymore?
|Revis and But-Head||New England Patriots CBs Darrelle Revis and Malcolm Butler|
|Insane Clowney Posse||Houston Texans DE Jadeveon Clowney|
|Kaeptain America||San Francisco 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick|
|Turn Down For Watt||Houston Texans DE JJ Watt|
|Geno 911||New York Jets QB Geno Smith|
The first thing that everyone should know when drafting in fantasy leagues is not to reach. There is no reason to go overboard for a player, especially for an injury-prone star, even if you are really sure that this is the one year they will remain healthy.
However, in three years, Murray has yet to play a full 16-game season. Last year was as healthy as the 26-year-old has ever been, starting 14 games and finishing with 1,121 yards and 10 total touchdowns.
The one advantage to having any Dallas player on your roster this year, as noted by Jon Machota of The Dallas Morning News, is the team will have to score a lot of points to win games this year:
Get Tony Romo, Dez Bryant and DeMarco Murray on your fantasy teams, folks. Cowboys are going to need to score a lot this season— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) August 23, 2014
Murray can put up big numbers in a short amount of time, but the lingering question of his health pushes him out of the surefire RB1 category, even in a PPR league when he also caught 53 passes last year.
While those names were once appealing, the temptation to bet on past glory is too great when you consider what is needed to win in the future.
Another valuable tip, offered up by ESPN.com's Matthew Berry, is asking the right questions in your draft war room:
The most common preseason question in fantasy football is 'Who's going to score the most points this year?' And that's not the right question, either. We don't play a game in which whoever has the most points at the end of the season wins. We play a game in which the goal is to win a series of individual weekly matchups. Remember it, repeat it, Snapchat it to a friend. It's a weekly game.
If you are simply trying to build a roster constructed around who will have the most points at the end of the year, you are setting yourself up for failure. Consistency from week to week is infinitely more valuable.
Which injury-prone player will have the most successful fantasy season in 2014?
For instance, Knowshon Moreno finished last year No. 5 among all running backs in standard scoring leagues, according to ESPN.com. Yet when you break the numbers down by week, he had five games with less than 10 total points, including fantasy playoff Weeks 15 (four) and 16 (nine).
On the other hand, San Diego running back Ryan Mathews finished 11th in standard scoring leagues but was more consistent down the stretch with four 100-yard games from Weeks 11 through 17 and six double-digit scoring games.
Which player has more value to your roster?
You can't expect to win a fantasy league with one pick, so loading up on players who end the year near the top of their respective position in points isn't an effective strategy. Look for players who maintain consistency each week and have favorable matchups down the stretch, when you are trying to win a title.
There are an infinite number of strategies you can use to win in fantasy leagues, all of them with their own merit, but the two most important to remember are that the player's health history and stability are vital.
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