Try these 5 sneaky-smart fantasy strategies your leaguemates won’t see coming

Draft DeAngelo Williams even if you don't have Le'Veon Bell. Take your starting QB in the 11th round. More ideas for winning your draft.

| 1 month ago
(AP Photo/Don Wright)

(AP Photo/Don Wright)

Try these 5 sneaky-smart fantasy strategies your leaguemates won’t see coming


It’s becoming increasingly difficult to be a smart fantasy football player. Or rather, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to be a smarter fantasy football player than your leaguemates. You think Sterling Shepard is a sleeper? Well heck, so does everyone else — that’s why he’s going early in the eighth round these days.

With the proliferation of analysis and data and information, everyone has access to everything. Zero-RB was once innovative, but now it’s de rigueur. The smart fantasy players all know to eschew kickers, to load up on skill players, to pick up the backup when the starter gets hurt.

Which is not to say there isn’t still room for innovation in fantasy. There is. Below are five strategies that offer varying degrees of innovation for the 2016 season. You won’t be able to implement them all, but one or more of them could be the thing to set you apart from the rest of those smart drafters. Don’t be a smart drafter. Be a smarter drafter.

1. Wait as long as you can on quarterback, then hang back another round after that. Then draft Tyrod Taylor or Andy Dalton

Drew Brees and Cam Newton are fun to own. In the right week, they’ll win you your matchup even if the rest of your team lays an egg. But frankly, Tyrod Taylor and Andy Dalton could do that some weeks as well.

You’ve heard it by now, but quarterback is so deep this year they could use it for free diving events. The more running backs and receivers you can take early, the better your depth. And with guys like Taylor (going in the 10th round) or Dalton (11th) or, heck, Ryan Fitzpatrick in the 13th, there’s no sense in burning a pick on a bound-for-regression guy like Newton.

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| Fantasy Editor

Daniel Kelley is the fantasy editor for Pro Football Focus. He has previously appeared at SB Nation.

  • BlueNSilver

    Can’t say I agree with all of them but I see the logic. I like the first idea and that has been my strategy although I have Stafford as my target first ,and if he somehow gets snagged then Taylor or Cousins would be my next targets.

  • CBurns

    BlueNSilver, good choices for QB’s. I also think the first option works best for me.
    Good luck this season.

    • BlueNSilver

      CBurns, Thanks good luck to you as well.

  • JSmoove

    Yeah, I don’t agree with any of these. Three tight ends is a terrible idea.

    • Daniel Kelley

      I … didn’t suggest three tight ends.

  • Paul warned me

    Great article! Really good stuff there.. I’m considering implementing a few of these in big tourneys

  • goose

    The bounceback thing seems rather overstated/confused.

    The guys you mentioned as the “top bounceback candidates from last year” were not valued anywhere near as high as Cobb and Murray are this year, and for good reason.

    More importantly, the whole notion that bounceback candidates are somehow inherently undesirable or that people should avoid them in general is just plain bad advice. Do you have evidence to back this up or are you just, you know, throwing this out there as a contrarian argument? I get that NFL careers are short, especially for running backs, but of course there’s time for someone to be good, have ONE bad year, and still be good after that. And yes, Martin, a running back, is the most recent example of that. Eddie Lacy is in a very similar situation this year–are you telling people to ignore him? Forever? Have you forgotten LeSean McCoy’s 2012? Receivers have longer careers and their production is bound to fluctuate–Brandon Marshall? Michael Crabtree? Should we ignore Keenan Allen?

    You go on to say that bouncebacks will, at least, “never be common”… Well, sure, OK, but that’s vastly different from telling people to not even bother trying to predict them, or that they should ignore a player for the rest of their career if they have one bad season… They don’t need to be common, they just need to happen as much as they actually happen–which is plenty.

    The bottom line is that there is a lot of potential value to be had in targeting bounceback candidates, exactly because a lot of people are doing what you are telling them to do and ignoring good players after one bad year–Maybe you just really like Murray and Cobb and you’re trying to single-handedly lower their ADP? And ya, a lot of them aren’t going to pan out–I’m obviously not saying people should target every bounceback candidate–but it’s just like selecting a player for any other reason, if you are good at fantasy football, your instincts and research will lead you to players that will reward you for trusting them.

    People are looking for ways to find value in their drafts, and players who are usually good but are coming off one down year just obviously present a good opportunity to do just that. Scaring people away from the entire concept of that strategy in general is just downright irresponsible as a fantasy writer. How is ignoring bounceback candidates a “sneaky-smart strategy your leaguemates won’t see coming”? Seems more like an amateur strategy that absolutely no one will notice.