Footballguys continues to advance the world of fantasy football. With several additions to their offerings last year, the much heralded Best Online Content Site for 2009 joined the world of High Stakes Fantasy contests and made an instant splash. Joe Bryant and David Dodds teamed with David Gerczak and Alex Kaganovsky of the Fantasy Football Players Championship (myffpc.com) to create the first annual Footballguys Players Championship contest in 2010 and by all measures it was a huge success. Now the FPC and FFPC are back again for their third season, ready to knock it out of the park once again in 2012.
By studying the rules of both the FFPC and the FPC along with some of the history and previous performances by FPC players, insights can be found that will help many players to not only compete well in both contests but also to be in a position to win their league and be in the running for a top prize in the championship round.
As the summer rolls on, I will continue analyzing many aspects of the Footballguys Players Championship and the Fantasy Football Players Championship. Through these articles I hope to provide extra help with fully understanding how to best build a top notch fantasy team within the contest. As someone who has competed against the best players in the world and in several contests much like the FPC and the FFPC, I fully understand how every possible advantage and extra edge can make all the difference in the world.
The Waiver Wire
Under the microscope this time around are the special Waiver Wire / Free Agent Rules for additional player pickups after the draft. According the rules of the Footballguys Players Championship, the scoring rules for Free Agents are implemented as follows:
Free Agents: Free Agents: The Free Agent process is via blind bidding. Each team will be given $1,000 blind bidding "dollars". The free agent time period is extended beyond the 11-week regular season into weeks 12 and 13 for all playoff teams. All teams NOT qualifying into the League Playoffs will have their rosters locked at the end of Week 11 and will no longer have the ability to make free agent moves. There are no free agent moves for any teams in Weeks 14-16.
Additional details for these rules can be found here.
So how do you figure out this process, especially if you are new to blind bidding? First of all, as with any league or contest, you must read over the rules a few times and try to understand all of them. For example, it is important to understand that for the majority of teams, free agency is over after Week 10 of the NFL schedule (prior to Week 11 of the FPC), and at the latest it will go is just two more weeks for playoff teams.
A quick discussion of the basics is in order. Every owner has $1,000 mythical dollars to bid on free agents. The bids can range from $1 to $1,000 in $1 steps, and for each bid there must be a designated player to be released. Multiple bids are permitted each week but if a team wins more than one bid then they will have to have two different players to drop (this is where one version of conditional bidding would be wise).
To go over all the different implications and nuances of conditional bids would take quite a bit of time, so I will stick to the simpler versions of advice for understanding waivers. Instead of an add/drop waiver wire where either you get new players in a "first come, first served" or in a pecking order manner (waiver priority), the playing field is level for all teams. That is actually a good thing for teams that start off the year well, as a 4-0 or 3-1 fantasy team would have next to no chance to get their hands on a hot pickup in Week 5.
Suggestions and Tips
Here are a few ideas to keep in mind for managing Free Agency in the FPC contest:
Do not be afraid to spend early. These drafts are pretty deep (12 teams and 20 rounds = 240 selections) so you would think that the pickings would be pretty slim. Often there are few gems that slip through the cracks, especially in the first week or two. Remember Anquan Boldin in Week 1 a few years ago in Arizona? How about Marques Colston? Peyton Hillis or Michael Vick, anyone? Of course, how about Victor Cruz? The point is that a few stars will burst onto the scene in September and getting them early could take your team up 1-2 notches, giving you that extra boost to win your league.
Odd dollar amounts are a good idea. Bidding an even $100 amount on a player may cost you that player simply because another owner bids $101. Of course there is no way in telling what the other owners will bid, but human nature is to favor even dollar amounts. Ending a bid in a "2" or "3" instead of a "0" might get the job done.
Kickers and defenses rule the bye week pickups. Most teams are going to conserve roster spots by only drafting one kicker and one defense. Know this going into your draft and plan accordingly. It might serve your team best to get one or both with later bye weeks, and it certainly is a good idea for their byes not to match if you plan on keeping your drafted defense or kicker all season.
Roster freezes are important rules to understand. In an effort to prevent collusion or dumping players, any player cut after Week 10 cannot be added to a team. Keep that in mind if you are dropping a Packers or Redskins player for example (especially a kicker or defense) and hoping to grab them after their bye week. That will not be allowed.
Unspent dollars do no good. This one sounds simple, but it is often overlooked. Teams have until Week 11 to spend all of their dollars unless they make the league playoffs - and then they only get two more weeks. Spend all of your $1,000 mythical dollars and be sure you get players you want or need for the postseason.
Getting a second kicker for the playoffs. While I can understand going with one defense for Weeks 14-16, going with one kicker is risky. Believe it or not, kickers are human and they can and do get hurt. Do not give up a championship season because you did not have a backup. Pick one up for a few bucks.
One week early is far better than one week late. This is where a site like Footballguys can really make your season. The price of free agents skyrockets in the event of an injury or a starter change. If you see that a player is possibly one play away from being a starter, grab him if you can before he earns that role. A $5-10 gamble is much, much cheaper and safer than a $300-500 feeding frenzy for the next starting running back in the NFL.
Rosters are deep, so do not be afraid to hold a couple for free agents. While the FPC does require 10 starters, there are 10 bench spots for depth and other purposes. One of those uses is to have 1-2 roster spots reserved for bye week help and for free agent speculation. Once bye weeks start to come you will be adding and dropping anyway, so use the first three NFL weeks to decide who your first cuts will be when that time comes. Be willing to give up a sixth or seventh wide receiver that rarely gets 3-4 catches in favor of grabbing potential starters.
Training camp battles are a good thing. This is a nice way to find a starter and also create that extra room on a fantasy team roster. If you grab two players who are battling for touches or starter snaps during your draft, odds are that a clear winner will emerge no later than Week 3 of the NFL schedule. Here is where you can cut the loser and free up that coveted roster space.
Every fantasy league and its rulebook is a little different. For the FPC and the FFPC, the free agency period and the waiver wire process is possibly the biggest activity that will happen for your team after your league draft. Learning all the different ways in which the addition of new players can help your team to win your league and hopefully push towards a strong December push towards the overall prize is a key factor in managing your team during the season. Hopefully some of the ideas presented above will help you to manage your team better and give you that extra advantage you need to win your league.
It takes a little time to get your mind wrapped around a new contest with a new set of rules, but the time spent is often well worth it if the goal is to field a competitive team. Giving a little bit of effort to get a greater understanding of the twists and turns to the rulebook can give turn a good fantasy player into a great one and a great player into a dominant force. Knowledge is power - so be as powerful as you can!
Questions, suggestions and comments are always welcome to firstname.lastname@example.org.