Beginner Series Section V: Tools of the Trade
By Chris Smith
May 17th, 2012

"The will to win is meaningless without the will to prepare!" -- Joe Gibbs

Once you have a good understanding of your league rules, it is time to begin the early prep work for your fantasy draft. It can be very daunting for a new fantasy owner to come up with a great set of fantasy rankings. However there are excellent tools, features and articles at your disposal that will help you succeed in this endeavor. This section will illustrate some of those features on Footballguys.com. As these features are added in the coming weeks, links will appear throughout this article..

Expert Staff Rankings

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For the owner that doesn't want to put together his own set of rankings, Footballguys.com has a great feature to utilize. The expert staff rankings take the opinions of many of the site's writers and post them to the net. Each person compiles their selections of the top players at each position and the picks are then uploaded to the site in an easy to use format that allows for sorting and comparisons. The feature also takes the average ranking of each player and it is easy to sort the rankings by the average, the site's rankings or by your favorite writer's rankings. It can save a fantasy owner a lot of time to simply take one of the rankings from this feature to use as his own.

Offensive Projections

For owners who want to do their own rankings based on projections but don't have the time to compile their own projections, this is the feature for you. Footballguys.com spends countless hours poring over past history and analyzing each team's potential to come up with a strong set of projections. These projections are tweaked often and it is a simple task for an owner to take these numbers and adjust them according to his thoughts on each team and player. This is a solid feature for owners wanting some hands-on action with their rankings but not having the time or energy to devote hours and hours to the task.

Average Draft Position (ADP)

ADP is a great tool to help owners anticipate when a player will be taken in the draft. It is very helpful when an owner has a player ranked 7th in his rankings but the ADP of the player slots him as being the 27th player taken at his position. Knowing information such as this can really help an owner determine when to draft a player and when to hold off for another round or two.

Sortable Target Numbers

For the owner wanting to do all of his own projections, the sortable target numbers is a handy tool. It breaks down how many passes were thrown to each player on every NFL team. Knowing that WR Marques Colston had 109 passes thrown his way while TE Jimmy Graham had 148 targets really helps when it comes to accurately projecting statistics.

News Blogger

Our news page is an invaluable feature that tracks all of the relevant news for each NFL team. There is no danger of drafting an injured player, a retired player or even a deceased player if you visit the Blogger on a daily basis. Using the Blogger is a must if an owner wants to maximize his chances of success each season. It would take an owner 50+ hours of research per week to keep on top of the news in the same way as the Blogger does.

Offensive Depth Charts

Just who is the third receiver on the Baltimore Ravens? Which running back will back up LeSean McCoy in 2012? If you have questions such as those, you can check out our news page or you can click on the Footballguys.com depth charts which is updated frequently.

VBD Applications / Draft Dominator

"Try not to become a man of success but a man of value." -- Albert Einstein

The Draft Dominator is the perfect tool to have a successful fantasy draft but we will take a look at it in more detail when we get to Section VII - Dominating on Draft Day. The VBD application tools are an excellent help for owners looking for an edge on their competition. For those of you who aren't familiar with the term VBD, let me fill you in on the best thing since sliced bread. Here are Joe Bryant's thoughts on the idea of VBD:

...This method is something I began evangelizing to the public way back in 1996 when guys like Keyshawn Johnson, Eddie George and Marvin Harrison had yet to play an NFL down. It's called the Value Based Draft System (or VBD for short) and today, you'll find it's the hot ticket among serious FF Owners. Even among other writers. They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Lets just say I'm flattered and leave it at that. But my system has gained wide popularity for one reason: It works.

With my VBD System you'll be able to finally place a tangible value on these players that makes sense to you. Always before, no one really knew if a QB throwing 22 TDs / 3000 yards is more valuable than a RB scoring 9 TDs / 1000 yards or a WR posting 7 TDs / 1100 yards. Now you'll know.

I'm here to tell you that success in your Fantasy Football Draft is all about understanding "Peer Pressure". And I'm not talking about being the last guy on the planet to get a tattoo (that was last year) What I'm talking about is the surest way I know of to accurately place a value on Fantasy Football Players for your draft.

In it's simplest form: The value of a player is determined not by the number of points he scores, but by how much he outscores his peers at his particular position.

Think about it for a moment. The goal is not to score a ton of points. You can score a ton of points and still lose. The goal is to outscore your competition. In other words, the goal is to distance yourself ahead of the competition. How do you best do that? You do that by selecting players who outscore their peers, not necessarily the players who score a ton of points as you fill a roster with a specified number of players at specified positions. This is extremely important. Copy this and paste it somewhere prominent. It's the key to success in this game...

You can read this excellent article here.

Draft Slots Study

Taking the time to look at and breakdown a fantasy draft can really help to prepare for an upcoming fantasy draft. Our Draft Slots feature does the heavy lifting on this for our subscribers, looking at many different types of leagues including 8-team, 10-team, 12-team and 14-team leagues all featuring different scoring variations and breaks down particular draft slots within that draft. Many different strategies are explored for the different picks and taking the time to peruse these articles will leave you feeling prepared and ready for anything the draft can toss your way.

Other Tools and Features

In a nutshell, anything you may need you will likely find within the Tools section of the Footballguys.com site. If you need strength of schedule, past statistics, top 300 lists, dynasty rankings, rookie rankings, team reports, and/or articles on fantasy football strategy, all you have to do is sign up and reap the benefits of having a large staff of fantasy fanatics doing everything to help you succeed in this hobby.

In Conclusion

Whether you simply want a list to draft off of or whether you wish to do all of your projections/rankings yourself, Footballguys.com has all of the tools and features you will need to make your fantasy season a successful one. Take the time to visit all of the features we have to offer and determine which ones you will need to help you get ready for the fantasy season. The next feature Section VI will give you the secrets on how to prepare for the fantasy draft.

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