Fantasy Football Strategies for Every Stage of the Game

“Hope is not a strategy.”

That quote is used in many a context.  Why?  Because it’s true, especially in fantasy football. That’s why there are many strategies in fantasy football.  Which you use depends on the context. Below is a quick overview of some of the most prevalent ones:

Fantasy Football Drafting Strategies
Unsurprisingly, there are all sorts of strategies when it comes to drafting.  

Zero Running Back
This strategy advocates taking zero running backs in the first several rounds of your fantasy draft.  It’s premised on the tendency for running backs to get hurt the most frequently of the positions you draft for your fantasy team.  Instead, with this strategy you’d concentrate on drafting elite wide receivers, tight ends, and quarterbacks.

Running Back Heavy
This is probably the old fantasy draft strategy. It’s the converse of the zero running back – because RBs touch the ball so much, they are extremely valuable.  Because they get hurt so often your best bet is to get the best and load up on them early.

Which fantasy football draft strategy should you use?  Depends…here’s an article that analyzes the two approaches.

In-Season Fantasy Football Strategies
There are many strategies touted by experts to employ during the fantasy football season. 

Streaming Defenses
The strategy here is to wait to draft a defense late in your draft, discard it early after it’s served its purpose, and then stream defenses with favorable weekly matchups by picking them up from waivers.

Bye Week Starting Lineups
There are two schools of thought concerning how to handle bye weeks. The first one advocates spreading out bye weeks throughout the season if possible so as to keep your team from being thinned out badly in any giving week.  The other approach says you should bunch up your bye weeks insofar as possible into just a single week or two to limit the impact of bye weeks on your team’s season.

Fantasy Football Playoff Strategies
Of course there are strategies for wining the fantasy football playoffs.

Strength of Schedule
This strategy says you should try to pick up some players from NFL teams with favorable schedules for use during your fantasy football playoffs.

Handcuffs?  Yes. You read that correctly.  That means you should pick up the backup for your team’s key running backs.  For example, if you owned Pittsburgh’s Le’veon Bell  as your top running back, you would’ve insured yourself some production in his slot by owning his backup, DeAngelo Williams. You only handcuff top players and only do so when the backup is likely to produce at a high level.  Also, you usually only handcuff running backs.

Daily Fantasy Football
The above strategies apply to season-long fantasy football leagues.  There is now a new kid on the fantasy football street, daily fantasy.  This is where you draft a new team each week while staying under a salary cap.

Star Players
In this approach, you’d spend most of your cap allowance on a couple of star players in the hopes that they’d propel your team to victory with large point totals. 

Best Value Players
Under this strategy, you would try to maximize the point scoring potential of each position on your team by signing cheap players facing soft defenses.

Fantasy Football Survivor Games and Betting
Many players participate in fantasy football to win money.  There are several popular games played for money

Football Squares
During the Super Bowl, offices and parties abound with football squares games.  As this article shows, “predicting favorite-digit-7 and underdog-digit-0 has been the optimal strategy”

NFL Survivor Pools
How to come out on top in survivor pools? Go with home teams, keep the Vegas point spread  in mind, and shy away from bad teams. For other tips, see this article.

Picking Winners and Playing the Point Spread
If you’re playing the point spread and picking winners, your strategy should be to analyze matchups for everything from defenses to weather and don’t discount the underdog, especially when the point spread is in play. You can use this strategy to increase your odds of winning at sites such as

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