Over the last decade, we have seen high stakes leagues explode in popularity. Several high stakes leagues have come and gone in that time span, but the Fantasy Football Players Championship and, its online sister, the Footballguys Players Championships are alive and well. While many maintain fantasy football is far too luck-oriented, there are several players that consistently perform at a level above the average participant. We've asked them to give us some insight into how they approach the high stakes leagues.
Name: John Rozek
Occupation (when not playing fantasy football): CPA
Family life: Single
Years playing fantasy football: 22
Do you prefer drafting live or online? Why? Live. Nothing beats a live draft.
Name two players that you expect will be undervalued in most fantasy drafts this year. Explain why you think these sleepers could drastically outperform their ADP.
Name two players that will not be on your roster at any draft position. Explain why you think these busts could drastically underperform their ADP.
Give us a snapshot of how you prep for a fantasy draft once you know your draft position? Once I know my draft position I'll start looking at my rankings to get a feel for what players are likely to be there with my first pick. I'll then look at some ADP's to start putting together some hypothetical teams based on where players are going. I'll continue to follow news updates and tweak my rankings up until the draft.
How do you go about evaluating talent that you will add via the waiver wire? I'll put these in 2 categories, waiver pick ups for need and speculation. If I have a significant injury to one of my players I'll go after someone who can give me regular production on a weekly basis. For sleepers, I'm looking for someone who can break out later in the season or if an injury occurs.
How much of fantasy football is skill? How much is luck? Of course there is luck in fantasy football just like poker. You may have the perfect draft, make all the right pick ups and still not win your league title (there's a chance). However, a well prepared owner can reduce the luck factor and put the odds in his favor that he will win a league in any given year.
What advice would you give a player taking a shot at high stakes for the 1st time? Without giving away all of your secrets, how can a newbie get up to speed quickly in the world of high stakes? I would tell anyone that's thinking about playing high stakes leagues to take the plunge. There is nothing like being in a live draft room with a few hundred other fantasy football players. There are a couple mid-range leagues to enter as well if you're not ready for high stakes. There is so much information available on the high stakes leagues websites which make them a great place to start. You need to fully understand the impact of the scoring systems and other rules and there are plenty of discussions on their message boards.
What is your favorite high stakes format? (Main Event, Draft Experts, Dynasty, Auction, etc). Why do you prefer this format? My favorite format is an auction league. You're involved in every player being nominated and can build your team however you want and don't have to worry about draft position. That said, I also love the atmosphere of the main event drafts.
To TE or not to TE? With the FFPC dual flex (and awarding 1.5 points per reception for TEs), this position is extremely valuable. Do you generally pay a premium for a top 5 TE or do you seek value at RB/WR and look to grab your TE later? I'll often pay a premium for a top 2 or 3 TE but usually see a drop off after them. If I don't get one of the top 2 or 3 TE's early, I'll wait and see who falls to me later.
Give us your top 6 picks in the FFPC Main Event:
- Arian Foster
- Ray Rice
- LeSean McCoy
- Calvin Johnson
- Ryan Matthews
Many of the best players in the FFPC wait on their QBs. But with the NFL moving more and more to a passing league (and guys like Rodgers and Brees putting up ridiculous totals), when will you be looking to grab your QB in the Main Event? I'll be one of the last teams in my league to take a QB unless one of the top QBs fall into the 3rd round. The NFL is changing but you don't necessarily need to draft one of the preseason top 5 QBs to end up with a top 5 QB at the end of the year.
Make a case for why someone should come to Vegas and participate in some high stakes events. There is nothing like the main event with a few hundred other fantasy football fans drafting at the same time. I've also met many friends thru the various high stakes events that.
What's the biggest mistake you see high stakes players make? Not fully understanding the scoring system and it's impact on some players.
Aside from the obvious payout and competition level, what's the biggest difference between high stakes leagues and regular leagues? The payout and the competition level are really the biggest differences in high stakes leagues. There will be very little dead money in the high stakes leagues meaning, most everyone in your league knows what they are doing which requires you take it up another notch.