Guide to Fantasy Football Drafts

The Basics 

More than 30 million U.S. citizens play fantasy football every year. And no matter how popular fantasy football is, there are still the first timers out there who need a concise guide to conquer the world of fantasy football drafts. This article is an attempt to resolve this problem and guide enthusiasts, so that, they can play with confidence. Fantasy football is a virtual game where players make up fake teams with real football players, primarily based on their performance in the field. The fake teams compete with one another, and the fake team, which scores highest points, becomes the winner. Both luck and strategy play a big role when it comes to winning the fantasy league. To come up with a strategy, the players need to have a proper plan in place. Players spend on an average twelve hours in a week to prepare their fake teams. Over this, they also need to keep up with any situation that would require modifications to the team structure.

How to Play

As the competition is fierce, seeking out advice is vital to winning at this game. If a player doesn’t know simple rules and is unsure of how to begin with selecting football players, then it becomes necessary that a new comer learns the ropes of fantasy football quickly and master the moves. Some people work for ESPN, CBS Sports and other major sports websites who track and analyze the football player statistics. Other independent researchers rank players, on the basis of their performance and predict their future performance. For guidance, enthusiasts can follow these experts and select players accordingly. But keep in mind that speculations decide the rankings. There are websites like fantasypros.com, which provides the average of all experts’ rankings on football players. Narrow down on the analysts and websites that provide rankings and choose the football player based on data points provided. Another important thing is to keep track of players; bye week. When a team is on a week off from the field, the players cannot score with those football players in the fantasy football game. Above all, practice is the key and breaking few rules to check what works is essential. Players should prepare themselves to take the risk along if they intend to win. To make things easy, one can use apps to play the fantasy games such as DRAFT. The apps are a great way to keep track of opponents and make playing fun and intuitive.

Fantasy Football Trends for 2017

The training camps for fantasy football have started by July, and many players are doing mock drafts week after week. Players who want to have maximum exposure are playing against fantasy experts. PPR is the choice of format for mocks among the players.

For 2017, the predictions point that the quarterbacks are deep and hence players should avoid picking them early. To pick quarterbacks the safest time is after the third round. For 2017, there is still uncertainty with running backs. It did not work for 2016, and same holds true for this year as well. Therefore, before selecting running backs make sure of addressing quarterback and tight end first. Deciding on the kicker and the defense early on will bring good results for the year 2017. Placing these players appropriately will stand as a good strategy. There have been some injuries off and on fields. Hence, the players need to keep an eye on the health of football players before selecting.

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NFL Division Longshots to Consider (or Not)

Although long shots do not pay off very often – there’s a reason they’re long shots, after all – it’s worth it to consider which ones might beat the NFL odds in 2017. Last year, those who were paid off the most by betting on a long-shot division winner had the Atlanta Falcons to win the NFC South at +450. Of course, much of the credit for Atlanta’s division title does have to go to the Carolina Panthers who fell from a 15-1 mark in 2015 to a 6-10 record.

Longest of Long Odds

Two teams enter the 2017 campaign at +3300 to win their respective titles, the Cleveland Browns (AFC North) and New York Jets (AFC East).

One positive for Cleveland is that, barring a winless season, there’s nowhere to go but up after the Browns went 1-15 in 2016, the team’s worst record in its storied history. But the focus for us is whether they can shock football fans and win their division. One plus is that the Browns have basically torn apart their playbook in the offseason and started over as that sometimes leads the way for surprises to occur, which will be necessary, especially from the quarterback position; Cody Kessler is tentatively leading that battle.

Now, the New York Jets may appear to have a few steps on Cleveland as their 2011 record was a bit better at 5-11. However, they have to overtake the New England Patriots to win their division title, which will likely be a much harder hurdle to overcome than anything Cleveland has to face. In fact, the Patriots have the shortest division title odds in the NFL at -500. And, like the Browns, New York is in rebuilding mode and hoping that all of the pieces end up going in the right places and that career seasons come from unexpected sources.

Long Shots

Three more teams have double-digit odds against them winning their respective division titles: the Chicago Bears (+1200), Los Angeles Rams (+1200) and San Francisco 49ers (+1800).

Chicago is another team coming off of a horrible season as the Bears were 3-13 in 2016, their second-worst record in history. Can that be turned around so much that a NFC North title is in the works? Of course, the Green Bay Packers (-140) falling to the pack is as necessary as an unexpected Bears turnaround for that to occur. As far as the Bears go, they are expecting more of the same after little change in starting personnel and a questionable draft. However, they should have some depth behind what appears to be mediocre starters.

The Los Angeles Rams and San Francisco 49ers are also hurt just as much by the strength of a division rival, the Seattle Seahawks in this case (-350), as they are by the relative lack of quality they appear to bring.

If Seattle does falter, the Rams will need to see a dramatic improvement under the tutelage of 31-year-old Sean McVay, the youngest head coach in NFL history. Of course, a positive that can be taken from not knowing what to expect from an unproven coach is that the potential for an unexpected positive outcome is there as well. Wade Phillips joining the Rams staff as their defensive coordinator is a good sign as well as he recently helped the Denver Broncos to a Super Bowl title.

Conversely, will the 49ers be able to rise up and take the crown should the Seahawks fall back to the pack? It’s unlikely, especially when you consider how much turnover the team has experienced over the last few years, especially at the head coaching position. Kyle Shanahan will be San Francisco’s fourth head coach in the past four seasons. However, the front office did take advantage of all of the cap room that the team had to sign players such as Pierre Garcon, Kyle Juszczyk and Malcolm Smith.

Best Pick

Of the five long shots to win their division this year, I would go with the Los Angeles Rams. The added energy of such a young head coach in McVay will help them exceed expectations while the 70-year-old Phillips will bring some stability too with all of the knowledge that he’s bringing to Southern California. Of course, much of the success of this bet will have to do with Seattle faltering too, but that’s possible, and it’s important to remember that long shots like this don’t have to pay off that often to be good bets.

The Run for World Series This October Just Got Interesting!

Everyone knows the two favorites this year are the Houston Astros and the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Dodgers have Kershaw at the head of their rotation, and he’s the best pitcher in baseball. Their team ERA is 3.15, which is among the best. The Astros are scoring touchdowns worth of runs and have a team batting average of nearly .300. Their team slugging percentage is .500 … including pitchers in National League parks. Do you want to see a comparison in World Series odds? The 1927 Yankees hit 158 home runs in their season and scored 976 runs. The Astros are on a pace for 960 runs and 269 home runs.

There are, however, some teams that might make some noise down the stretch. How about a team that is two games over .500 but has been outscored by more than 60 runs? The Minnesota Twins are gutty, gritty, and do whatever they can to win. Their uniforms are always dirty from sliding, diving, and putting forth extra effort. They are finding ways to win when they need to win and have a good shot at winning the American League Central, particularly if they can pick up the pace at home. They are already 10 games over .500 on the road this season. This is a far cry from losing 109 games last season!

The Milwaukee Brewers are the Rodney Dangerfield of the National League. Only one team has hit more home runs: the slug-o-matic Houston Astros. Although their defense is suspect, the Brewers are doing the same things the Twins are doing to win. Domingo Santana, especially, has worked on his patience at the plate, raising both his batting average and on-base percentage 40 points in 2017.

The Arizona Diamondbacks are in an even less enviable position than the Brewers. While the Brewers get no respect, the Diamondbacks are hardly even noticed. Just check out their best player: Paul Goldschmidt. Who? Goldschmidt just hit .312 with 20 homers and a league-leading 73 runs scored. Guess what? He didn’t even start in the All-Star game even though he had a better on-base percentage than Ryan Zimmerman of the Nationals, who did start. Zimmerman is a poor fielder, too, when compared to Goldschmidt. The Diamondbacks aren’t going to catch the Dodgers in the regular season, in all likelihood, but they have a terrific shot at the wild card and have Zack Greinke, Zack Godley, and Robbie Ray headlining the rotation. Anything can happen in a seven-game series too.

Is it likely to be the Astros and Dodgers in the World Series? Yes. It is not a foregone conclusion, however, and they will have to be on the lookout for good teams with great character who are gunning for them.

Red Sox Trying To Contend Again

SOXTwo years ago, the Boston Red Sox were starting off a championship campaign. They were able to go all the way to the World Series thanks to a number of guys stepping up. Unfortunately, they fell apart in 2014, and that led to quite a few changes over the winter. They enter the 2015 season very confident that they will get back into contention. The question is, can they actually win a World Series title with the team they have assembled?

The two main pieces Boston brought in over the winter include Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval. These two players were National League rivals last year, but both help out one of 2014’s worst offenses in baseball, as most of the other talented hitters on the Red Sox had started to show their age.

Boston is also expecting some more things out of their youngsters who will get a chance to play on a consistent basis. Xander Bogaerts was unable to turn that corner in 2014, but he is still considered to be a future All-Star. Mookie Betts could get to that level as well, as he brings some much needed speed and defense to the roster. He is considered a sleeper in fantasy baseball heading into the season.

Pitching is the biggest question mark for the Red Sox, but a lot can change between April and October. For starters, a pitcher or two on the current roster could exceed expectations in fantasy baseball. There is also a chance that Boston will decide to go after a few different options in a potential trade down the road. They are not afraid of all to be active at the trade deadline if that means an opportunity to win.

Boston probably enters the season in the as the favorites American League East with the Toronto Blue Jays. Overall, the division is not a strong as it has been in the past. If they can get into the playoffs, Boston certainly has the firepower to go all the way.

International Roadtrip – NHL Playoff Style

Bruins-CanadiensBoston Bruins vs. Montreal Canadiens. If you’re reading this website you probably don’t need to be told what that means but just in case, I’ll sum it up for you in three sentences: We hate them. They hate us. This is going to be awesome.

After opening up with the first two games in Boston, the series heads north of the border for games three and four on Tuesday, May 6th and Thursday May 8th. If a game six becomes necessary it will be back in Montreal on Monday May 12th.

Our boys could use the support for those road games and seeing how Montreal is just a five-hour drive from Boston, the circumstances make for a perfect guys’ getaway. If you’re going, here’s a guide for what to do, where to go and what to bring.

What to do: Drink Good Beer

Where to go: The Dieu du Ciel! is one of the most popular microbreweries in a city that loves its microbreweries.

What to bring: Your liver.

What to do: Go to a strip club

Where to go: Montreal is known for two things: Habs hockeyand strip clubs. There are hundreds, but here are four of the more popular places with all the details.

What to bring: Canadian currency. The Canadian dollar comes in both bill and coin form, giving you the option of making it rain or hail.

What to do: Gamble

Where to go: The Casino de Montreal has tables for poker, blackjack, keno, baccarat, craps and roulette plus slot machines.

What to bring: A poker strategy guide and this (although the dealers may not be too fond of it).

What to do: Eat Poutine.This local cuisine is poutine, a hot mess of french fries, gravy and cheese curds.

Where to go: If you’r looking for poutine, La Banquise is the place to do it.

What to bring: An empty stomach and an open mind.

What to do: Ice skating

Where to go: C’mon, this is hockey playoffs! Get in the spirit and lace ’em up at Atrium Le 1000, located in Montreal’s tallest building.

What to bring: Your Bruins jersey and skates (although rentals are offered).

Oh, and don’t forget your passport. You might need that too. Go Bruins!

Red Sox Return to Baseball’s Fall Classic

Picture Courtesy of boston.cbslocal.com

Pennants and Playoffs: The Boston Red Sox have clinched the American League East division title for the first time since 2007 and will make their first post-season appearance since 2009. At 95-62 (as of September 23rd) the Red Sox continue to hold the M-L-B’s best overall record as well as a league leading home record of 53-28.

The Sox also top the majors in nearly every batting statistic. Boston is in first place in total runs with 812 and slugging percentage with a .443 average, meanwhile the Sox rank second in the league for batting average with a .275 and on-base-percentage with a .348.

On a pitching end, Boston’s staff remains rock solid ranking in the top ten or higher in two of the four major statistical categories. Currently the Sox hurlers rank third in the league in quality starts with 94, eighth in the majors with a batting average against of .246, 11th in ERA with a 3.72, and 13th in WHIP posting a 1.29.

With just a few games left in the 2013 regular season, Manager John Farrell has been hard at work finalizing the 25 man roster for October play, so let’s take a look at who will likely make the cut, and what’s in store for the bearded beasts of the east.

Picture Courtesy of ESPN.com

Fall Ball: Here’s a rundown of what the Red Sox 25 man roster should look like once the playoffs begin: (roster information is accurate as of September 23rd according to 25manrosters.com)

C Jarrod Saltalamacchia

C David Ross

C Ryan Lavarnway

DH David Ortiz

IF Dustin Pedroia

IF Mike Napoli

IF Stephen Drew

IF Will Middlebrooks

IF John McDonald

IF Brock Holt

IF Xander Bogaerts

OF Jacoby Ellsbury

OF Sahne Victorino

OF Jonny Gomes 

OF Daniel Nava

OF Mike Carp

OF Jackie Bradley Jr.

OF Quintin Berry

P Clay Bucholz

P Jon Lester

P Ryan Dempster

P John Lackey

P Jake Peavy

P Koji Uehara

P Junichi Tazawa

P Brandon Workman

P Allen Webster

P Franklin Morales

P Craig Breslow

P Matt Thornton

P Steven Wright

P Felix Doubront

P Rubby De La Rosa

P Brayan Villareal

P Drake Britton

The list above contains 36 players, meaning 11 of them will not make the cut. The obvious choices of Ortiz, Pedroia, Napoli, Gomes, Drew, Ellsbury, Victorino, Saltalamacchia, Middlebrooks, Nava, Ross, and Carp come as no surprise to anyone. However, with Farrell wishing to carry 11 pitchers in to the post-season, (according to ESPN.com/Boston) who he deems worthy of the final two position-player spots will be interesting.

With De La Rosa, Wright, Britton, Villareal, Webster, and Doubront all likely being left out of Farrell’ 11 man pitching posse, and Holt, Snyder, and Lavarnway missing the positon-player party, this leaves four players fighting for those final two spots: Bradley Jr. vs. Berry and McDonald vs. Bogaerts.

As far as who Farrell will choose, this has yet to be determined, but it’s really just a matter of choosing which type of role player the Red Sox will need.

In the Bradley Jr. vs. Berry case, it’s quite simple, Farrell will pick Bradley Jr. because of his defensive skills and potential plate presence to sure up the outfiled, or go with Berry becasue of his base speed and glove work. Either way the Sox will have a solid player added to the 25-man roster.

Then in the case of McDonald vs. Bogaerts, Farrell has the choice between the more seasoned McDonald, or the up-and-coming Bogaerts who has turned heads with his defensive work on the left-side of the field. Again, like with Bradley Jr. vs. Berry, either way Farrell goes, Boston will have a deep depth chart on the left side of the plate defensively.

Picture Courtesy of boards.sportslogos.net

Final Thoughts:

Given the surprise success the Red Sox have had this season, it would not be farfetched to say that this year’s squad has what it takes to storm into the World Series and walk away as the winter classic champions. While the A-L competition will be fierce with the likes of the Oakland Athletics and Detroit Tigers standing in their way, history may repeat itself this post-season.

The last time the Boston Red Sox won the A-L East (2007) they went on to win the World Series Sweeping the surprising N-L Pennant winning Colorado Rockies. How far do you think Boston will go this October? Leave a comment below.

Selfish

The “cool” thing to do the past couple of seasons has been to take pay cuts in order to build a team that can contend. LeBron did, Bosh did (even though he does not deserve what he makes now), Wade did it, Garnett did it, and Tim Duncan did it. Even Dirk offered to do it, but no one wants to take him up on it. Kobe Bryant’s salary next season is going to be worth a total of $30.45 million and he won’t take a cut. He said the following to Lakers Nation:

I’m not taking any at all — that’s the negotiation that you have to have.For me to sit here and say, ‘Oh yeah, I’m just going to take a huge pay cut. Nah, I’m going to try to get as much as I possibly can.”

I mean, how much money does this guy need? He already has to be one of the richest around, and he’s about to play for a team that is too scared to rebuild and that will fight to make a playoff spot since Howard bolted. This guy is selfish and deserves every single loss that is coming to him. Lakers suck, so does Kobe.

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