How Weather Affects Fantasy Football

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Once your fantasy football team reaches week 12 or so, which roughly corresponds with late November usually, weather is something to keep in mind.

High winds, for instance, can adversely affect the long passing game and the kicking game.

For an excellent breakdown of various types of inclement weather and their likely effects on football performance, take a look at Fantasy Football Shark's feature Lab Test: The Weather by Sean Vostinar.

Fantasy Football All Out Blitz

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FFToday.com's All Out Blitz feature, written by TJ Thomas, is one of my favorite regular fantasy football columns.

I like his philosophy, which I will quote here:

"Aggressiveness is a characteristic that tends to reward fantasy owners more times than not. In the NFL, an offensive line will sometimes hold up long enough to give the quarterback enough time to beat man coverage down the field and make the defense look foolish against a fierce pass rush. More often than not, though, when a defense brings the heat and forces the action, crisis management becomes the name of the game for the opposing team.

In that same vein, I hope to apply that same kind of pressure to the owners in all of my leagues by beating my opponents to the punch in regards to personnel moves. Sometimes, reaching a conclusion about a player too quickly is much like trying to blitz Peyton Manning – dangerous and painful. However, coming to a correct conclusion two weeks or two minutes quicker than your opponents is considered foresight. Fantasy owners can be a uneasy lot, knowing that one two-or-three-game losing streak can wreak irreparable damage to his/her team’s chances to make a visit to the fantasy postseason. But just as it is in the NFL and in life, it’s hard to land the big prize by playing scared. Thus, I will strive each week to help each of you become a smart blitzer, so to speak."

I have subscribed to this philosophy after years of observing successful owners and not-so-successful ones.  Also, based on my own experience, being aggressive is the way to go.  So give the columns a whirl; even if you disagree, they do provide some good facts and opinions.  This week's column is especially useful as it does a very good job of vetting all the new fantasy football starters that have emerged from the carnage of Week 10, 2009 (just at the RB position Michael Turner, Ronnie Brown, Cedric Benson, and Julius Jones were injured and Dwayne Bowe was suspended for substance abuse).

Top Fantasy Football Advice and News Websites

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One of the keys to being a successful fantasy football owner is to keep up with football news and fantasy football advice and analysis. Here are some useful fantasy football advice and news sources:

All Kickers Are Not Created Equal: Dubunking a Commonly Held Fantasy Football Belief

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I've always been in the camp that tries to maximize each spot in my lineup, including the kicker position.  While I don't put the same amount of effort and research into my kicker as I do RBs and WRs, I do research prior to picking up a kicker.

So when I came across a Wall St. Journal article about the importance of kickers in fantasy football, I read it eagerly.  I recommend that you do the same.

Fantasy Football 101: Fantasy Football Terminology

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Fantasy Football is like any other hobby – its enthusiasts use a lingo all their own.  When reading fantasy football publications, websites, and forums, you will see many acronyms and terms sprinkled into the writing.  Anyone new to fantasy football should learn what these acronyms and terms mean so they can benefit fully from their reading.  Knowing the lingo also will enhance the quality of your interactions with other owners.

Here are some commonly used fantasy football terms:

Average Draft Position (ADP) – This refers to where a player tends to be taken in a draft.  Many owners like to know this information so that they don’t take a player too soon or, conversely, wait too long to take a player during a real draft.

Dynasty – This is a league format where the entire roster is carried over from one year to the next.  Owners will want to carry at least a few young, promising players to keep their roster strong for the next couple of seasons. An owner will have to manage this sort of team all year long, not just during the regular football season.

Don't Underestimate the Importance of Stats When Managing Your Fantasy Football Team

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While you have to look beyond statistics while playing fantasy football, you ignore stats at your peril.  It is imperative to have some familiarity with stats if you want to make sound judgments.  As an MBA, I love to analyze stats from a million different angles, and fantasy football is no different.

Here are some very useful sites for fantasy football:
  1. NFL.com - Yes, real football stats like team pass defense and team rush defense are very useful.
  2. FFToday - My favorite for FF stats because of the clean presentation that includes targets.  A big plus is that you can sort the data many ways, unlike at many other FF stat sites.
  3. FootballOutsiders - Takes stats to a whole new level; definitely worth a look.  Use the dropdown box at top to view other positions (link directs to QBs).
  4. Pro Football Focus - Another site that goes the extra yard (sorry for the pun) when it comes to football statistics.

Using the stats found on these sites will improve your fantasy football decision making.

Who Should I Start? 60 Things to Consider When Selecting Your Fantasy Football Team's Starters.

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If you hem and haw when deciding who to start if presented with a few attractive options, then go over this checklist to help you make your final choice. Remember, you want to reduce risk as much as you can.

Quarterbacks
  1. Is the game indoors or outdoors?
  2. Home or away?
  3. High powered offense or conservative offense?
  4. Run or pass-oriented game plan?
  5. Scrambling abilty.  Can the QB tack on a few extra points by gaining yards on the ground?
  6. Is there a propensity to throw INTs? This is especially important if your league levies a large INT penalty.
  7. In yardage heavy leagues or those with a bonus for big plays, take a look at the yards per completion.
  8. Look at the quality of the QB's receivers.
  9. Does the QB's team have a strong enough run game to keep defenses honest?
  10. Extreme weather.  Very high winds can put a big dent in the passing game.
  11. Injury prone or returning from injury?
  12. Is your QB skating on thin ice and liable to be benched?  Then stay away.
  13. Are they playing hot or struggling?
  14. Strength of the pass defense your QB is facing.
  15. Strength of the offensive line.
  16. Number of sacks taken.
  17. Does your QB have a short week to prepare because of Monday Night Football or Thursday Night Football? 
  18. Is your QB coming off a bye week that provided more prep time? 
  19. Is your QB old or young?  Experienced or inexperienced?
  20. Is your QB accurate?