Welcome to the 2018 Fantasy Football Season everyone! Especially my fellow Razzballers, shot-callers, brawlers who be dippin’ in Benz with the spoilers. Something-something-benjamins, by P.Diddy. Puff-Dids. Puffy-Dude. Whatever. Yeah, an old school reference, but I spend all day thinking about Drake thinking about Drake, so I wanted a change of pace. So there you have it. Ahem, rankings… it’s time. I mean, it could have been any time, since it’s a flat circle (alright, alright, alright), but this is the time for my rankings. And what makes my rankings so special? Well, my mom always said I was special, so there’s that. And right after the jump I’ll go over my gravitas in that regard, only because the root word of gravitas is “gravy” which we can all agree with is amazing. But before we get started, I wanted to emphasize that this amazing piece of content won’t necessarily contain specific bits of analysis on my rankings. (Feel free to ask any question in the comments section though!) Don’t worry, we’ll be spending the preseason going over that, my loves, my hates, my infatuations but they restraining order probably because I love them too much… all of them. We’ll go over how my rankings stack up against the triumvirate of Disney-owned (or soon to be owned) sport sites like ESPN, Yahoo, and CBS. We’ll even go over my tiers (I’m a sensitive soul), all before the first official snap of the NFL. What I want to accomplish with this post is to not to just release my 2018 rankings, but also to get the ball rolling on what Fantasy Football is all about. (So DEEP.) If you’re one of the above mentioned “Razzballers” or a Fantasy Football veteran (thank you for your service), you’ll probably recognize a lot of what’s to follow. But for those of you who are new visitors, the uninitiated, the initiated, and… actually I think I’m describing the League of Shadows, but whatever, think of this as a welcome guide, even moreso a “beginners guide” to the greatest (at creating ulcers) fantasy sport known throughout the human-explored galaxy. (I mean, we just don’t know what the trending fantasy sport is in Alpha Centuri, do we?)
The TL;DR is: Rankings, Beginners-Focused Content, Ur Mum. Here we go!
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What exactly are you going to cover with this post? Rankings, and then a short beginner’s guide to Fantasy Football.
What are you ranking? Everything! You get a ranking, you get a ranking, everybody gets a ranking! You’ll find my Standard, Half-PPR, PPR, and IDP rankings below. (My Dynasty and Rookie rankings will be released as a separate post.)
What are my rankings bona fidas? Well, there’s finishing in the FantasyPros Top-10 Draft Accuracy (7th Place) in 2017, Top-25 Weekly Accuracy (23rd Place) in 2017, Top-5 Draft Accuracy (3rd place) in 2016, Top-10 Weekly Accuracy (10th Place) in 2016, Top-25 Weekly Accuracy in 2015 (21st Place) and on average we’ve finished in the Top-10 Draft Accuracy (9th Overall) and the Top-20 Weekly Accuracy (18th Overall) for the past three years. Sean Koerner, Jake Ceily, and myself are the only Fantasy Football analysts (I prefer not to use the title “experts” because it doesn’t have the word “anal” in it) to finish Top-10 in Draft Accuracy the past two years. I’d like to think we’re pretty good at this stuff…
What does the word bona fidas mean? According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, bo·na fi·des \ ˌbō-nə-ˈfī-ˌdēz , ÷ˈbō-nə-ˌfīdz \ means 1 : good faith : sincerity, 2 : the fact of being genuine —often plural in construction, 3 : evidence of one’s good faith or genuineness —often plural in construction, 4 : evidence of one’s qualifications or achievements —often plural in construction. On a separate note, I think it would make a great name for a cat.
What’s my ranking process? I’ve actually written about this in the past, and instead of working hard for new and enlightening content, I have chosen the more efficient (lazy, ahem) method and dropping in a link to that post here. Honestly, my process hasn’t changed much at all (the ole “don’t fix what ain’t broke” proverb comes to mind) and so my “A Day in the Life of a Fantasy Football Ranker” story still remains relevant to this day. (The TL;DR is: I’m ghetto as fudge. Well, I mean the other “f” word, but I’m hungry.)
How should I use your rankings? The same way your mother does. Which actually makes no sense. (Unless your mother is in the running to always finish top-3 in your Fantasy Football league. And if that’s the case, say hello to her for me.)
ADP – Average Draft Position
Welcome to Fantasy Football: A Beginner’s Guide, Brought to You by the Letter Jay
What this picture presupposes is, maybe it should be?
Welcome to what could be called the “second volley” of our 2018 Fantasy Football Season (the rankings above being the first), if, you know, you like catapults and sh*t. And yes, I know, I post something like this every season, but that’s only because the game of Fantasy Football is growing faster than your mom’s waist line. (BURN.) The new player influx makes this post relevant every year, and our future strategy content will benefit all and help prepare you for Draft day, and will likely also be filled with an assortment of snacks ranging from TWIX® candy bars and FUNYUNS®, basically what I like to call “breakfast”. And don’t tell me why they’re written all in caps, that’s their official “name”, so I can only assume that we are meant to shout it out every time, which, now that I think of it, seems totally natural.
Q: “What are you hungry for?”
A: “TWIX® MOTHER F*CKER!”
See what I mean? Regardless, this second salvo of content (everything sounds better when it fits a catapult theme and is weaponized) found in this post, like I mentioned above, is focused for those of you who have no idea what Fantasy Football is or what it does. And listen, don’t be afraid of being the “noob”, that’s not a derogatory title for me. It can be derogatory, but for those who do use it as a negative descriptor, just remember, they were noobs once too. We all have to start somewhere… Which is probably your mom’s basement. And if that’s the case, you’ve completed half the journey, some would say.
So, you want to play Fantasy Football? Well, what are you waiting for? Let’s go!
One thing to remember, if you’ve played Fantasy Baseball, or if this is your first foray into fantasy gaming, Fantasy Football, on the surface, is not an intricate game to play. One can remain a casual NFL fan and still just be as informed as the die-hards, like these fine ambassadors of the human race:
10-out-of-10 pooping face on the right. Bravo.
Yeah, you’re right, the casual fan is probably more informed than these guys… but the truth is, there are just a lot less moving parts compared to it’s peers (sans custom leagues). Just know that when you are contemplating the deciding factors of whether or not you should play, the time-investment can be whatever you’d like it to be. Whether that’s an hour everyday or an hour for the entire week, you’ll be able to field a competitive roster for the entirety of the season. All you have to do to get started is follow these helpful bullet points I’ve prepared for you. (See, I’m telling you, weaponize everything bro. EVERYTHING. Even eggplant.)
- Right now, this very instant… This is your information gathering stage. While the methods used are generally driven by you, as a first-time player, that may be the one thing holding you back: Where do I begin?. The question can be a huge mountain to climb. (What you’re doing near a huge mountain is anyone’s guess though.) There really is no wrong way to do this, but I will say the first action that I take is to check out how the preseason rankings are looking. Razzball, of course, produces rankings that are one of the industries best. But to get a true idea of how players are trending for the upcoming season, you’ll want to find a general consensus to lean on. And FantasyPros does a great job doing all the legwork for you. Their ECR™ (Expert Consensus Ranking) provides you a way to see what all the experts are thinking. Or only what some of them are thinking, depending on how you want to set up your viewing options. Getting a general idea of who will make up the first-half of your draft is the first step of our mountain climb. Which at this point, could use more Sherpa.
- Next up, you probably want to start bringing social media into this shindig. While I (@jaywrong) won’t tweet out breaking NFL news, mostly because I find bad jokes, political soap box statements, and pictures of food I cooked more valuable to my followers (they call me: philanthropist), there are accounts that will keep you caught up with the latest news that could be the difference every Sunday. Rotoworld Football is a good example. And if you’d rather not become a Twitterer? Tweeter? Tweeties? Whatever you call it… if you don’t want to be one those, just find your own news sources that can help you keep tabs from this point on, and add it to your internet bookmarks.
- Know your league format (number of teams, type of draft, scoring, etc.). This may seem like a job for Captain Obvious, but it has to be stated. The most common size for leagues can range anywhere from 8 to 16 teams. With an 8-team league considered “shallow” and a 16-team league considered “deep”, 12 is usually the general landing spot for the majority of leagues, and is what Razzball will mostly tailor to (the same size as our Razzball Commenter Leagues, which you can join tomorrow!). One term you’ll likely run into is “PPR”. PPR stands for Points Per Reception (not be confused with Pee-Pee ride, which sounds like a really not fun ride, unless you’re Donald Trump), and was probably created by a person who hated seeing the first five rounds of a draft be nothing but running backs. So probably a receiver. As is stated in the definition, in leagues that feature a PPR mechanism (either 0.5 or 1 full point), you’ll see more value be attributed to receivers, tight ends, and pass-catching running backs. And just like in Fantasy Baseball, there are keeper and dynasty formats, which implement a way for teams to keep a specific amount of your roster going into the next season. There are also IDP (Individual Defensive Player) leagues. The majority of leagues use the team’s defense as a whole, unlike the offensive side where you have individual players. IDP simply balances both sides of the ball out and allows you to draft individual defensive players. As for drafts, most leagues use a Standard or “Snake” format, where shortly before the draft, a randomized order will be determined as the teams will draft 1-10 for the first round, then 10-1 for the next round, rinse and repeat. Less common are Auction Drafts, where any player can be drafted by any owner based on a budget (usually anywhere from $200-$260), until all of the roster spots are filled. Essentially, just know what you’re getting yourself into.
- This will sound self-serving, because it is, but here at Razzball, we’ll offer many ways to get you prepared for the draft and the season as well. But one thing we don’t have is a mock draft system. If I were you, which seems impossible because of my amazing hair, but let’s just pretend for this example, I would try to do a few mocks before draft day. If your league is with ESPN, mock over there. If it’s with Yahoo, be sure to mock there. Why? Most players will draft based on the rankings provided by those sites. A mock draft at ESPN will go completely different than a Yahoo’s mock. On top of that, you’ll get comfortable with the draft room, it’s functions, and start seeing trends. Sure, there will be other drafters who might muck it up, if so, just leave and get into another one. Your goal here is just to get comfortable with the environment while keeping an eye on where players are going based on whatever rankings you have chosen to use.
- As alluded to previously, you could probably put little effort into your pre-draft routine and still be okay. While I wouldn’t recommend it, you have to remember that it’s a game. Whatever you put into to it, that’s what you’ll get out. Which makes it sound like a “Tooth Fairy” type of scenario. That being said, you don’t really want to be the one person who shows up to the draft and either holds up every draft pick, or selects an injured player, or drafts a defense in the second round. Try to come in as prepared as you can and don’t stress out. All the research you’ve done, all time you’ve spent has all culminated into this event. Have fun with it. Always keep in mind that you’re roster building. Watch how the board is developing; is everyone drafting wide receivers this round? Maybe you should too? Or maybe you should grab another position while everyone’s focusing elsewhere. Stick to your plan. What’s that? You don’t have a plan? That’s okay, stick with us, as we’ll be providing different draft strategies for different formats throughout the preseason!
Remember, if you feel lost, confused, or sad, alcohol usually helps. But so do we! Razzball is one of the few sites out there that takes interaction with our readership very seriously. And we’re proud of that. You guys got questions, we got answers. We won’t always be right, we won’t always be wrong, but we’ll always try to help. So if you’re a beginner, we’re here for you!