Isolate the Facts from the Noise
Journalists are constantly searching for something about which they can write. Head coaches are required to speak to the media. The correlation of these two facts result in many articles that can mislead fantasy owners into believing a player’s talent or role is larger than it actually may be. The careful fantasy football league owner must be prepared to sift the important information from articles that engage in an elevated level of hype. Coaches will frequently praise the hard work of lesser-known players. However, unless that the coach is also talking specifically about his intention to increase a player’s role in the offense, it is vital that owners do not blindly believe the hype. Some coaches are more full of hyperbole than others, it is important to get to know the coaches that you can trust and the ones that never reveal their true intentions.
Keep the Faith
One of the biggest mistakes fantasy football league owners make is dumping their early round picks based on mediocre results in the first few games. More advanced fantasy football players know that pouncing on slow starting players released by impatient owners is one of the easiest ways to increase the talent level on their rosters. Consider this, would you rather have a slow starting player picked in the second, third or fourth round or the running back handcuff you selected just before your place kicker? There are many reasons a player has a slow start to the season. Perhaps he is coming back from an injury and is playing tentatively in his first real competitions since he was hurt. Maybe the player is on a team that faced one of the league’s most staunch defenses. Watch the transactions carefully and as often as possible and be ready to grab the players you should still have faith can deliver the goods.
Count Targets and Carries Rather Than Fantasy Points
It is extremely easy to fall in love with the unheard of rookie or veteran scrub that started the season with a ton of fantasy points. While it is certainly possible that you have just discovered the next fantasy superstar, it is far more likely that you have just witnessed a temporary aberration. If you watch carefully you will notice that throughout every season in every sport on every team there will be games where a player has an unexpectedly great performance. In the middle of the season we tend to accept these things as what they are – flukes due to luck or a temporary circumstance. It is perfectly okay to pick these players up after their fluke performances but owners need to be careful not to over value them based on small sample sizes without any evidence of a larger circumstance to provide a reason for increased expectations.
The best way to find players with developing talent is to track the targets and carries of players on the waiver wire. When you spot a player that seems to be receiving an increased opportunity or a player that is seeing a consistent uptick in production pick them up if you have either an open roster spot or if you have a player on your roster with little real value. Use your media sources to confirm what you are seeing in the statistics. You may have found a key to your late season success and next year’s fantasy darling.
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Jon Williams writes for a variety of fantasy sports websites.