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Large Bench Leagues

How to plan for a league with a large bench

Quite often I get asked the same questions over and over by Footballguys subscribers (and non-subscribers too, but I answer the subscribers first of course).  When that starts to happen, I think about how I can help more people – and usually that is how the idea of an article is born.  This article is another example of just that circumstance.

Fantasy football leagues vary – we all know this to be true.  Some leagues use PPR, some don’t.  Some like to avoid kickers, while others use two quarterbacks.  Despite all of that variation, I try and find a few commonalities across different formats to give some truths and advice to help as many people as possible.

One common situation is a fantasy league with a "large" or "deep" bench  I put that term in quotes, simply because many fantasy players often argue about the depth of a league.  Some hardcore fantasy leaguers play in 53+ roster spot IDP Dynasty leagues – that’s great, but that’s not our focus here.  We are talking about a fantasy league where there is 220-260 players selected during the draft in which the bench is deep and the roster spots are plentiful, robbing the free agent pool of a ton of valuable players.

For the purpose of this discussion, I am going to define a deep bench as eight players or more, but 10-12 is not unreasonable either.  If the league does not use a kicker, I would have to adjust that statement to 7-11 spots for a large bench.  Unlike in the other article (Short Bench Leagues), league size does play a part here as we are talking about the total amount of players drafted.  If there are 10 teams in the league and 20 roster spots, that represents 200 selections, so the depth of the free agent pool is not too bad.   If we go up to 16 teams with the same roster spots (20), now 320 players (and defenses) are gone, so now the benches can definitely be ruled to be deep.  That's why we need to consider the total amount of draft picks in your league's draft.  Anything over 220 selections (200 or more if no kicker) means that we are talking about a deep bench, so we need to plan accordingly.  Note that I am only discussing non-IDP leagues, as IDP leagues make for different viewpoints.   I will discuss IDP later in the article. 

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