There will be many more 2011 Fantasy Football Rankings and features in the late spring and summer, including tons of 2011 Fantasy Football Mock Drafts and Player Rankings. I'll also have an extensive 2011 NFL Fantasy Football Preseason Stock Report. Follow me @walterfootball for updates.
2011 Fantasy Football - Various League Strategy (July 18):
I've received several e-mails from people asking questions like, "How should I adjust your cheat sheet in a two-quarterback league?" or "Should I make changes to your big board if I'm doing a keeper league?"
I'm going to use this page to discuss different kinds of leagues and how you should treat your cheat sheet. As a reference, normal leagues start: 1 QB, 2 RBs, 2 WRs, 1 flex, 1 TE, 1 DEF, 1 K.
2011 Fantasy Football League Strategy - 3 WRs:
I'm in a league that starts two running backs, three receivers and no flex, so I'm very familiar with this format. Last year, I had the option of drafting Frank Gore or Andre Johnson with the fifth pick in the first round. I had Gore ahead of Johnson on my board, but went with the latter because of the three-receiver format. That decision got me into the second round of the playoffs.
I'd recommend moving each receiver up a few slots on your big board. Wideouts become scarce in 3-WR leagues, and you're much less likely to land a prized free agent receiver because many of them will already be rostered already.
2011 Fantasy Football League Strategy - 2 WRs, no flex:
I'm also in a league that starts two running backs, two receivers and no flex. In this scenario, receivers lose value. I usually refrain from drafting a wideout until Round 4 or so unless an elite receiver falls to me.
I don't need to tell you that you need to draft two quarterbacks fairly early in a 2-QB league. There are 32 starting quarterbacks in the NFL, yet there will be 36 of them chosen if all of the teams in your league roster three signal-callers (one as a reserve or bye-week filler). This presents a huge problem if you wait for a quarterback; you'll have to spend a late-round pick on someone like Jon Kitna, Shaun Hill, Blaine Gabbert or Chad Henne. Blegh.
When drafting, you can probably look at a standard cheat sheet and slice all of the quarterbacks' rankings by half for 2-QB leagues. For example, if Philip Rivers is 34th on your standard board, he should be around 17th in a 2-QB format.
2011 Fantasy Football League Strategy - Very Deep Leagues (16 or more teams):
I've been in several 20-team leagues over the years. It's tough. If you have, for example, the fifth pick, you don't go again until No. 36, which would be the final selection in the third round of a 12-teamer.
Since every roster in a 20-team league is going to be very thin, you absolutely can't afford to pick busts or players who will miss an extensive period of time. Thus, you need to take safe players only unless someone of great value presents himself later than expected.
2011 Fantasy Football League Strategy - IDP Leagues:
I have never played IDP fantasy football. I hate the idea because the best defensive players don't translate as the best IDPers.
For example, Nnamdi Asomugha and Darrelle Revis are the top two corners in the NFL. However, they suck in IDP because they don't rack up tackles and interceptions.
IDP fantasy football feels way too superficial. I'd rather just play with offensive players.
2011 Fantasy Football League Strategy - Keeper Leagues:
I'm often asked: "Why don't you have dynasty or keeper rankings?"
My answer: "Because there are way too many damn variations."
There are keeper leagues where you can retain one player. In some leagues, two players. In others, three. In my friend's league, he can keep everyone.
So, there's that. There are also PPR keeper leagues, 2-QB keeper leagues. 3-WR keeper leagues, IDP keeper leagues, auction keeper leagues, yadda, yadda, yadda.
Just use common sense when drafting for a keeper league. If you can keep most of your team, don't waste a selection on an old player. If you can keep only one or two players, there really shouldn't be that much of a difference between your standard board and your keeper board.
2011 Fantasy Football League Strategy - Auction Leagues:
Having a balanced team comprised of numerous very good players is much better than having a top-heavy team. If one of the elite players on your top-heavy team suffers an injury, or struggles in a tough matchup or bad weather, you're probably going to lose.
For that reason, don't overbid in auction leagues. Prior to your auction, grab a big board/cheat sheet and assign dollar values to each player. Don't bid more than a dollar or two past your limit, or you'll have one of those top-heavy rosters.
One thing you should do during your auction is to keep track of how much money you've saved bidding on players. For example, if you're willing to bid $23 on Jonathan Stewart but get him for $19, you now have an extra $4 to overbid on another player.