Here are the Top 10 Fantasy Football Tips to give you a massive advantage in your leagues. These tips are tried, tested and proven to work. Implement them in your fantasy football draft strategy and your overall approach every single year. You will see great results I assure you!
1. Load up on Running Backs!
I had to put this as the number one fantasy football tip because it should be heavily weighted. Rb’s that get a lot of volume are really hard to come by in fantasy football. Time and time again we see coaches implement a RBBC (Running back by committee). Having another player taking away touches from your workhorse RB can really take a toll on your fantasy team. You want to avoid this at all costs and really load up on this position early on.
Load up on Rb’s
What has worked for me is drafting at least 2 Running backs in the first three rounds. Ideally, I like to use the robust RB strategy and draft 3 Rb’s in the first three rounds. Why do I do this? Well because like I just mentioned, I am obsessed with my main running back getting the bulk of the attempts. You have to make sure that you are selecting the RIGHT RB’s in those early-rounds though. You can’t just pick what the mainstream is suggesting. I have a whole fantasy football draft strategy article on how to select the right player. Check that out.
The bottom line here is that Running backs put up serious points if given the volume, put in the right situation, and blended with a talented athlete. You can never have enough depth at this position. My suggestion is that you draft a proven workhorse in round 1. In round 2 of your draft, you want to aim to get a 2nd or 3rd-year player that has shown some promise and has the upside. We have seen players break out near the end of the season and are prime pickings for the next. In round 3 of the robust Rb strategy, you want to consider a rookie that is in a position to succeed. What do I mean by that? Well, you have to look at his talent and of course the depth chart and team he is landing on. If a player is elite, you might want to grab him before anyone else does.
In later rounds, I like to grab a few more rookie Rb’s and add more depth to my roster. Typically in a 2 RB league, I like to have 4-5 Running backs. I am all about the depth at all positions, especially this one. The draft strategy varies depending on the talent that is available for that drafting year. Approach with caution. If you want to play it safe, make sure you check out my 16 Rounds Draft Solution to get my picks for each round every year.
2. Wait on Wide Receivers
Wait on Wide Receivers
Abundance is the word to explain wide receivers in fantasy football. There is a lot of them! You can afford to wait a little bit to get one, and don’t be in a rush to get one! Don’t ever waste a first-round draft pick on a WR.
A perfect example of wasting a pick in the first round for a WR is Odell Beckham Jr. The mainstream sheep suggested you draft this bust in the first round three years in a row! Are you kidding me? Odell busted from the years of 2017-2019 and continues to be valued high simply because of his over-hyped name.
Here are OBJ’s fantasy stats and finishes amongst WR’s from 2017-2019
- 2017 – Drafted in the first round – Finished 83rd in PPR amongst Wr’s
- 2018 – Drafted in the first round – Finished 15th in PPR amongst Wr’s
- 2019 – Draft in the First Round – Finished 25th in PPR amongst Wr’s
If you were one of the suckers that fell for the Odell trap, I am hoping this is a big eye-opener to you. My mission is that you don’t make the same mistakes year in and year out. Being aware of the potential pitfall of investing in Wr’s too early is half the battle. The other half is knowing when to draft a wide receiver and making sure you get the right one.
The problem with this position is that people want to draft a wideout based on flashy performances and the name. You are better off getting an Rb early on and waiting on this position. There is so much depth at WR that waiting makes a lot of sense. Studying the depth charts and looking at potential volume is a great indicator of success. Another thing to look at when targeting a WR is the QB that is throwing them the ball. Remember Qb’s make Wr’s great and not the other way around. Volume and the Qb throwing the ball are factors that cannot be ignored in the draft strategy process of a wide receiver.
Wait till at least the 3-4th round before you pull the trigger on this position and add depth later on.
3. Wait on QB’s
Now this title can be modified to wait on QB’s BUT not for too long. Listen, when it comes to Qb’s I like to wait as long as possible while still anchoring my team with an ace. What I mean by that is, I will not spend 1st or 2nd round capital on a QB, but will do my best to lock down a TOP 5 potential guy as early as the 5th round. This varies from year to year based on the talent available and when they are being drafted.
We saw what happened to Patrick Mahomes back in 2018. He had a perfect season and was being drafted in the fantasy drafts in the 3rd round in 2019. He ended up finishing 7th (287.04 PPR points) amongst QB’s by the end of the 2019 season. Not bad, but definitely not worth a 3rd round pick. That same year Dak Prescott was being drafted after the 8th round and finished ahead of Mahomes by ranking 2nd amongst Qb’s with 337.89 PPR fantasy points. This shows that investing too early on a QB is a waste. This is only one case study, and you would be sitting here reading all day if I gave you more examples.
Wait on Quarterbacks in your fantasy football draft
The beauty of the quarterback position is that you can spot trends and consistency a lot easier than you can with other positions. I can almost say that what you see is pretty much what you get year in and year out. There is variance at times and injury comes in to play to alter statistics. Overall though you can spot trends and see less volatility at Qb.
From my experience, I would hold out until at least the 5th round and try your best to anchor your team with an ace QB. Another rule of thumb is that you should always get 2 QB’s in a 1 QB league and get 3 Qb’s on your roster in a 2 QB league. Depth is important here to not only cover your by weeks but also cover yourself for possible lack of performance from your starter.
4.Study Depth Charts
Easily one of the most undervalued fantasy football draft tips is studying the depth charts. I see it all the time in drafts where drafters pick up players simply because of past performance, love for that team the player is on or just a big name. This is a big mistake as you have to study the talent around the players you pick up. Where a player lines up on the depth chart will give you a good indication of what type of volume he may see. New rookies come in, there are coaching changes, player changes, etc. These are all factors that take place on a daily, monthly or yearly basis. The depth charts are constantly changing and you need to be on top of it. When I am doing my drafts, I am always aiming for players that are highest on their depth charts. I want the player that will get the most points and the most volume.
You have to have a good idea at the volume your player will be getting.
The depth chart will vary from time to time. You can go to the NFL team pages to get the updated depth charts and see if the players you own or are considering drafting is going to be higher on the chart. One of the D’s in my CUDDY system is depth charts and is an important criteria I always look at when I am drafting. One thing to note is when you are looking at the depth charts, is to take a look at the surrounding talent as it could affect your players production. For example, if your WR1 has an elite WR lining up beside him, he may lose a lot of volume. I look to draft the most talented player on their NFL team. To keep this simple always aim high in the depth charts.
5. Balance Your Roster
What do I mean by this? When you are drafting your team you have to make sure you have a good balance of players with upside and players that are safe. Safe meaning consistent and have been proven to perform. As you know there are no guarantees in fantasy football, so you have to always cover yourself with a diversity of player types. This is why I am so high on rookies coming in and I can afford to be. I protect myself with high volume getters and load up on upside rookies that could eventually break out.
A balanced fantasy football roster is crucial to your success.
I like to call it safer players vs high ceiling players. With safer players, (aside from several every season) you will get a guy that was proven last year and put up high numbers and remained durable. With some rookies, you could potentially have a higher ceiling because you don’t know what to expect. I love a diverse roster mixed with safety and uncertainty. Ironically, what happens every year is the “safer” players end up being the guys that crap the bed, while the long shot wildcards end up doing amazing. When your draft you can’t predict this, so you draft your safer players early on and can take some risks later on. I tend to take risks early on rookies I believe in and see that upside with.
6. Add Depth at Each Position
I always live by the belt and suspenders strategy, and always cover myself in fantasy. I never want to be reliant on making a trade or the waiver wire. I believe trading and waiver wire pickups can be important, but I just don’t want to have to rely on them for my success. You should always draft with the frame of mind that you don’t need any help from anyone and your roster can carry you the whole season. Yes, you will have to still stay sharp on the waiver wire which we will talk about later in this article, but you have to draft with depth. Belt and suspenders all the time.
Here is a quick story on when I didn’t have enough depth and I got screwed for a week in one of my dynasty league. It was a two QB league and I ended up only drafting 2 Qb’s. One jerk in the league decided to hoard 4 QB’s on his bench after the draft was done. Do the Math, it was a 12 person 2 QB league and technically 32 are startable. There just weren’t enough Qb’s to go around because of what this guy did. I ended up starting 1 QB on my bye week as I had no choice. Luckily, my quarterbacks were healthy all season or I would have been screwed. After this lesson, I learn to always have a lot of depth on my roster at each position, and would never let someone else in my league control the fate of my point production.
You have to be obsessed with winning and care about your team, especially with money and bragging rights on the line. As a rule of thumb here are some tips to consider adding depth to your team.
- Always have two quarterbacks in a three quarterback league
- Always load up on Rb’s. In a league that starts 2 Rb’s I usually have 3 on the bench
- In a league that starts 3 wide receivers, I try to have at least 3 Wr’s
- Make a point to your commissioner that you want more bench spots. I like 6 bench spots if possible, as I store depth and potential breakout guys.
- I never add depth at Kicker or defense. I usually stream these positions and never waste a bench spot on them
7. Stray Away from the Consensus Fantasy Football Rankings
I like to call the mainstream rankings the “Consheepsus”. The reason I came up with this name is becuase many people follow the herd and the advice given to the masses is garbage. Literally what the mainstream fantasy football analysts and networks are doing is taking last year’s top finishers telling you to draft them again in the order they finished. This cookie-cutter mentality will not help you win your leagues. You need to be aware of this and think outside the box. The fantasy football magazines, the consensus rankings, and the fluffy fantasy football podcasts are not here to do you any favors. All these sheep analysts are doing is giving you cookie-cutter rankings from last year.
I believe awareness of this and becoming the lion in your league is the most important fantasy football tip I can offer. So many people genuinely draft on ADP (Average draft position). I created my own fantasy football draft kit to combat this. Well, it’s actually a draft solution, but draft kit a more commonly understood term the mainstream has created. My 16 Rounds draft solution will open up your mind to deal with late-round sleepers, potential breakouts and of course the best options to draft in each round.
There is a simple rule to fantasy football, and this applies to like as well. If you do what everyone else is doing you won’t get ahead. Don’t follow the herd and stray away.
Stray away from the mainstream consensus rankings
Why do the mainstream analysts copy and paste rankings from the year before?
The answer to this is very simple, the don’t want to look bad. Being around the industry of over 5 years, I got to meet many analysts and personalities in the field. Many are nice while a majority, based on my experience was very ego-driven and narcissistic. The mainstream is fearful of looking bad with there predictions. They always play it safe by suggesting you draft last year’s top players and basing their rankings fully on last year’s stats. Many networks are there just to meet a quota and read off a sheet of look at there prepared notes. They don’t care if you win or lose.
My mission is that you WIN and I’m obsessed with you winning your leagues. I do my absolute best to make sure your roster is optimal and you have everything in your arsenal to not only win your leagues but absolutely dominate.
8. Stay Sharp on the Waiver Wire
When you are looking at the top 10 fantasy football tips, you have to look at the entire year-long picture and go beyond the draft. The draft is a big portion of your success, but what you do with your team throughout the season is very important to the success of your team.
You have to stay laser-sharp on the waiver wire. Listen, I have been in some super competitive leagues and I learned the hard way that if you sleep on a waiver wire pick you will lose it.
Stay Sharp on the waiver wire
If you are not sure what a waiver wire pick is and you’re new to fantasy here is the definition
What is the waiver wire?
The waiver wire is the process in fantasy football to acquire players who currently are not on any other team’s roster in your fantasy league. You want to target players who had a good week with fantasy point production. You put in a “claim” on the free-agent players in hopes to acquire them. Each league has a waiver priority and this can be predicated on the success ( Win/lose) of the previous week. Some have a dedicated blind bid FAAB system (Free agent acquisition budget) that lets you acquire players as well. I always suggest you try to claim a player that will address your needs.
For example, if your QB went down with an injury, invest in acquiring the best possible Qb. You have to note your roster size limits, so if you wish to add a player you’ll have to drop a current player to make room. (The current fantasy football league platforms will let you know by default)
Check out my How to win fantasy football article for more information on this.
Going back to staying sharp on the wire, you need to be watching the games and seeing what players are doing well that week. You have to look at your waiver wire priority and if you are eligible to gain that player of fantasy free agency that week. If you have a FAAB budget then you have to have a good sense of what you want to spend. Don’t spend your entire budget in the first week, think long term. You also don’t want to overpay for a player off free agency, because some player breakout for a week and do nothing the entire season.
The key takeaways here are that you need to do some homework on who you will consider picking up each week and not miss out on the opportunity to grab them. Another bonus fantasy football tip is that you want to address your needs! If for example a WR got hurt on your team, you might want to pick up a wide receiver that week and no the top scorer of the week.
Use common sense when picking up your waiver wire pick and stay sharp!
9. Kickers and Defenses can Wait
Just wait on these positions. Most league commissioners are doing away with these positions and adding an extra flex option. You can actually dominate your leagues simply by just streaming them.
One rule I have created is that I aim to draft a Top 5-10 defense ideally. When I see the first defense come off the board, which is typically after round 9, I look to possibly consider grabbing one. When it comes to kickers, I literally wait until the last pick. I am too busy stashing my bench with rookies and potential upside players to be worried about a kicker. When you do grab a kicker aim to get one that is on a higher octane offense. I visualize the kickers getting in the red zone as often as possible. More red zone area, more kicker points.
If you are in a league with IDP, it is sometimes literally a crapshoot. I have vowed not to be in leagues with Individual defensive players because they are very volatile. There is not much skill that goes into selecting these IDP’s. You could have the best roster and the guy your playing against’s DB gets three interceptions and runs them back and outscores your cause of a lucky game. Try to stay away from leagues that have these.
Again, I wait as long as possible for these positions and don’t put too much weight on them.
10. Start and Sit the Right Players Each Week
Sometimes I have learned that starting your starters each week is not always the best strategy. Each week you have to look at every matchup your players are up against. Some weeks your running back could be facing the best rush defense. Some weeks your wide receiver could be facing one of the NFL’s top corners. There are many variables that you have to look at week in and week out to ensure you start the right person. We do a full start and sit preview every Thursday before the week to get your fully prepared, but it’s up to you to take action and do some extra research.
You have so idea how many times I have seen hundreds of points left on the bench from my fans and them being upset about it. I have left a lot of points on the bench myself and I really hate it. Sometimes have too much good depth is a problem. When your team has two ace Qb’s and one is on the bench which one is the one you start? Sometimes you can start em on matchups or just gut feeling.
You need to maximize your roster each week and do your best to make sure you start the guys every single week because every point matters.
Some bonus tips and suggestions
These Fantasy Football tips above will significantly help you get the edge in your leagues. I want to add that whatever you do in your league you should act with confidence, from the moment with draft your first player to the last week championship match. You have to go with that lion mentality and believe in yourself and the research you have done.
Now go out there and implement these tips to crush your leagues! Lion mentaility!