This time of year, we get a lot of first-time subscribers. If you’re one of them, congratulations and welcome! We also get a lot of curious fantasy owners wondering what all the fuss is about. If you’re one of them, then thanks for taking the time to stop by.
I firmly believe that a Footballguys is the best value in all of fantasy football. Yes, I’m probably biased by the fact that I write for them, but I was a paid subscriber for 12 years before I wound up on staff. It was one of the few automatic purchases I made every year.
As a former subscriber, I understand how daunting the variety of resources can be. With over 60 staff members now providing projections, rankings, team information, and strategy articles covering redraft, dynasty, daily sports (for both the NFL and college football), and a host of other topics, trying to keep up can be a bit like drinking from a firehose.
My goal today is to provide a “quick start” guide to help you get the most out of a Footballguys subscription. This isn’t a comprehensive list of everything we offer— I could easily go on for 10,000+ words on that subject. Instead, it’s a quick tour of the features that, in my opinion, are going to get you the most mileage in your quest to win your league.
First Things First: MyFBG
There are a lot of fantasy football sites out there vying for your attention. What makes Footballguys different? I think our staff are among the best in the industry, but in truth, there are a lot of really smart, talented guys outside of Footballguys.
Our projectors frequently win industry awards for accuracy, but there are lots of other really accurate projectors out there, too. I think we’re often on the cutting edge of fantasy strategy, but we certainly haven’t cornered the market on innovation.
In my opinion, the best feature Footballguys offers— the “killer app”, if you will— is MyFBG. MyFBG piggybacks on everything else Footballguys does and acts like a force multiplier. It takes every other feature on the site and it makes it better. MyFBG can be accessed on the far right side of the navigation bar at the top of every page, or by clicking this link.
In a nutshell, the purpose of the fantasy football advice industry is to help you win a league. MyFBG takes it one step further; its purpose is to help you win your league. Instead of giving generic advice meant to apply to a broad selection of possible leagues, MyFBG allows Footballguys to give you direct advice, specifically tailored to your actual, individual league. And, as long as your league is hosted on a compatible site, (ESPN, CBS, nfl.com, RTSports, FleaFlicker, Yahoo, FoxSports, Fantrax, or FPC/FFPC), MyFBG will pull all of that information automatically, making things as painless as possible for you.
Without MyFBG, waiver wire articles give you a list of the best guys who might be available in a lot of leagues. With MyFBG, waiver wire articles tell you the best guy who is actually available in your league. Without MyFBG, projections tell you who the best players are in generic leagues. With MyFBGs, projections look at your specific rules to tell you who is actually best for you, in your league.
MyFBG takes some useful tools to help people win their leagues and it transforms them into indispensible tools to help you win your league.
Setting up MyFBG is a three step process. First, you create a league profile. Second, you link a league to your account. Finally, you pair the profile with the linked league. To get started, go to your MyFBG page and look for a link titled “Create a New League Profile”.
From there, spend five to ten minutes filling out your league’s scoring system, size, and lineup requirements. Give it a name, (the name is cosmetic, so pick something to help you remember which league is which), and then click submit.
Afterwards, you will be taken to a page that asks if you want to link your new profile to an existing league. You can either say yes now, or you can return to your MyFBG page in the future.
If you do not do so now, the link to pair your profile with a league is visible in the first screenshot I posted under “[Link to an online league]”.
Provided you’re on a compatible league host, linking a league is easy as pasting a link to the league into the text box when prompted to do so. After that, MyFBG will automatically pull all of the rosters from your league. If your league is hosted on a site that is not compatible with MyFBG, you can also click the second link to add players to your team manually.
Finally, MyFBGs will prompt you to pair your newly-linked league with your newly created profile, like so:
After those 5-10 minutes of setup time, you’re done, (unless you want to link up more leagues, of course). So what do you get for your time investment?
Here’s what I mean about MyFBG being a force multiplier. I just linked up my team in the staff dynasty league. Since we’re dealing with dynasty, let’s go ahead and take a look at the staff dynasty rankings. Let’s say I want to peruse the wide receivers.
The first thing you might notice after linking a league in MyFBGs is a new box that says “highlight players”. Let’s go ahead and click our Staff Dynasty profile and see what happens.
Suddenly the box expands to include a list of every team in the league. I can click specific team names to highlight those teams in pink. And as for the rankings themselves…
The orange players are guys on my roster. The pink players are rostered by one of the teams I highlighted up above, (in this case, Mr. Jeff Tefertiller). The blue names are guys who are not rostered by anyone, (obviously we haven’t held our rookie draft yet).
This is incredibly useful. It lets me assess my team strengths and weaknesses at a single glance. It is invaluable for coming up with potential trade offers that make sense for both parties. I can look for positions where I am deep, look for other teams who are shallow at that position, and see if I can find something that works.
And this is just one of the ways that MyFBGs interacts with the content already on Footballguys to tailor it specifically for your league. Footballguys’ renowned projections, for instance? Yeah, all of a sudden they start putting out projected point totals based on your league’s specific scoring rules.
Footballguys’ news blurbs? Gone are the days of wading through 8 blurbs about players you don’t own just to find the one you actually care about.
I already mentioned the weekly waiver reports. Gone are the days of guessing who might be available. Instead, MyFBGs knows exactly who is available and tailors its reports to that specific information. All of these, and more, can be found on your MyFBG home page. Just scroll down until you reach "In-Season Features".
But for my money, the single greatest part of the single greatest feature on Footballguys is something called the “10 second primer”. I'm sure you see it in that last screenshot with a giant red box around it. That red box is there because the 10-second primer is magical, and we want to make extra-super-special sure that you don't miss it. If you don't want to go through the extra two or three clicks to get there, a direct link is available right here for you to bookmark. (And if you just decided to really save yourself some trouble and just make it your home page... well, I wouldn't judge you.)
The 10-second Primer is your 1-stop link for everything you’ll need to run your teams. If I could only visit one web page a week, it would be my 10-second primer, because it condenses all relevant information down in one place. Here’s what it looks like. (Please note that the current projections in the primer are from week 1 of last year, lest you judge poor David and Maurile too harshly. They'll be updated with 2015 projections once the season is close enough to know who will be starting this year.):
The 10-second primer takes the numbers from every set of weekly projections, translates them into your scoring system, and makes start/sit recommendations from every one of FBGs’ weekly experts. Players in blue are available on waivers in your league, meaning the Primer also serves as a great tool for making waiver decisions and finding injury / bye-week replacements. Those little blue circles with the "i" inside will pop up additional notes on injury and usage, meaning there's no need to troll through the news looking for updates. It does that for every linked league, all on one page.
Before MyFBGs, I probably spent an hour a week on mundane league management stuff- checking waivers to see what particular players were available, looking up start/sit recommendations in various places, checking the news, and various other day-to-day minutia. It was more accounting and paperwork than anything.
With MyFBGs, I estimate that this time expenditure is cut to 15 minutes per league. I had five leagues last year. If MyFBGs and the 10-Second Primer saved me 45 minutes per league, that works out to 3.75 hours a week. Over a 16-week season, that translates to 60 hours.
I feel I might have even been a bit conservative in those time estimates. And I know that five leagues isn’t really that many in the grand scheme of things; in my decidedly-more-reckless youth, I managed up to 20 leagues a year. I still know owners with even more than that.
This is why I say that MyFBGs is the “killer app” of Footballguys. What could you do with an extra 60 hours every year? Whether you choose to spend that time with family, devote it to other hobbies, or even just re-invest it back into fantasy football, that’s a huge leg up.
What Else Does Footballguys Offer?
Hopefully I’ve managed to convince you that MyFBG is the coolest thing you never knew you always needed. It makes everything else on Footballguys that much better. But it’s also not all there is. As I mentioned, covering everything Footballguys offers in detail would be a small book in and of itself, but here’s a brief list of highlights to get you started.
1. Projections, Rankings, and ADP
From the very beginning a decade and a half ago, the foundation of Footballguys has always been projections. Back in 2001, Joe Bryant wrote
“Projecting Stats. The hardest part is the first part. In order for the Value System to work, it requires a firm set of projected stats for every player in your draft pool. Don't give me grumbling about how unpredictable football players are or the whining that usually follows player projection discussion. If you're going to dominate this draft (that IS your goal, isn't it?), it's absolutely essential that you have all the pertinent stats for your league projected for every player for the entire season. Project these numbers for every player that you expect to be drafted, not just starters.”
It’s been the bedrock of Footballguys since day one. The staff has earned multiple industry awards for accuracy, (including a first-place finish by our own Bob Henry in FantasyPros’ expert accuracy contest last year). To access Footballguys’ projections, go to the navigation bar at the top of every page and hover over “Forecast”, or just click this link. Available are four sets of offensive projections, two sets of IDP projections, and two sets of kicker projections.
Also under the Forecast tab are the staff rankings. For redraft, there will be between 18 and 20 sets of rankings. While the projections offer a much greater degree of detail and sense of the gap between players, the rankings serve as a phenomenal “wisdom of the crowd” tool, offering a dizzying array of different perspectives.
The ranking tool is fully sortable, and will display the mean, median, and AAV of all available rankings, (AAV is the mean after the highest and lowest ranking are excluded). In addition, if there’s any set of rankings you don’t like, there are checkboxes to exclude them from the averages.
Finally, under the forecast tab is Footballguys’ Average Draft Position data. Gathering ADP is difficult, because each individual site is going to have its own biases. MyFantasyLeague drafts, for instance, tend to skew a bit more heavily towards receivers than ESPN drafts. And every site’s ADP will be heavily influenced by the order it chooses to rank and display players in its drafting software.
Footballguys gets around that conundrum by compiling ADP data from five different sources, and additionally using its expert rankings as a sixth source, giving an aggregated ADP that does a better job of representing the true, cross-site market consensus.
When you are preparing for your draft, there is probably nothing more valuable than Footballguys projections, rankings, and ADP data. Especially if you first set up MyFBG and allow it to act as a force multiplier.
2. Training Camp Reports
Early August is the most important time for fantasy football. The fantasy landscape is changing dramatically from day to day, and even from hour to hour. All 32 teams report to camp to begin installing their offense. Position battles play out. Vital information breaks every day. Keeping up with all of that information would be a full-time job. It's simply not feasible for most people.
Fortunately, Footballguys ensures that you're never out of the loop during this critical stage with its annual training camp reports. Footballguys gathers all of the information from every team, separates out what is truly important from the offseason hype, and distills it down into a single document. Camp reports are released weekly throughout August to ensure that, while your leaguemates might be operating on last week's news, you never are.
The first thing many subscribers notice, (and the perfect illustration of the “drinking from a firehose” mentality), Footballguys offers a huge selection of articles covering every topic imaginable. From redraft to dynasty, from NFL daily games to college sports, from nitty-gritty player evaluations to high-level conceptual strategy, Footballguys probably has multiple articles covering any question you would think to ask, (and quite a few you wouldn’t).
Sifting through that pile can be daunting, so I’d recommend starting with the article search page, instead. It allows you to narrow articles by category and/or search by keyword or author.
During the season, each week will be given a separate page, and a list of scheduled articles will be posted. As the articles come in during the week, the names will be replaced with links.
4. Historical Statistics
For the owner who likes doing his or her own research, Footballguys offers a deep and accessible pool of historical statistics just waiting to offer undiscovered insight. If you mouse over the “Stats” drop-down in the navigation bar, you will see the full list of available tools.
Footballguys has historical fantasy points dating back to 1996 in a variety of pre-set scoring systems, with the option to use MyFBG, (of course), to add any other scoring system you see fit. If you want more specific stats than that, there is the Data Dominator and the Historical Data Dominator. These simple-looking queriers are deceptively powerful tools.
The Data Dominator encompasses all data since the 2002 season, and allows users to look up very specific game situations. Let’s say you want to know how awful LeGarrette Blount is in short-yardage situations. The Data Dominator lets you find a complete list of all backs with at least 25 carries since 2002 on 3rd or 4th down with 1-3 yards to go. Here’s that list, sorted in order of descending first downs gained. If you’re looking for Blount, he’s all the way down at 151st.
The Historical Data Dominator cannot break results down by specific game situations, but it has two big advantages over the Data Dominator. The first is that it goes back all the way to 1960. The second is that it allows you to compare two stats against each other. Say, for instance, that you wanted to know what tight ends had scored the most fantasy points per game since 1960, with a minimum of 7 games played.
Also under the Stats tab, among other things, Footballguys has historical target data going back to 2002, a Game Log Dominator to search for individual games, and an IDP matchup analyzer that will tell you how certain positions have scored against certain offenses.
5. The Draft Dominator
All of this is fantastic stuff to help you prepare for the draft, but the aptly titled Draft Dominator is the tool to help you dominate the draft itself. One of the first drafting tools for the computer, and still one of the best, the Draft Dominator is a free download for everyone, but for paid subscribers it will constantly update with the latest projections, news, depth charts, and ADP.
6. The Shark Pool
Footballguys is also home to one of the largest football message boards on the planet, known as “The Shark Pool”. The Shark Pool features many of the brightest and most passionate minds in fantasy football, and is where many current staff members, (including yours truly), first began writing about the hobby.
7. The Subscribers’ Contest
The Subscribers’ Contest is a very fun, totally free little extra open to all subscribers. In all, $35,000 worth of prizes are awarded, with the winner walking away with $20,000 and a lifetime subscription.
It would probably defeat the purpose of a “quick start guide” to go over the contest in detail, but suffice it to say that the entire premise is very cool, extremely deep, and highly strategic. There are subscribers who tell us they no longer even play in fantasy football leagues, but they still subscribe every year solely so they can participate in the subscribers’ contest. The contest opens at the beginning of August, and those subscribers who "catch the bug" might spend the entire month researching, optimizing, and tweaking their lineup. If you've changed your lineup more than five times, you know you've caught the fever.
The annual Subscribers’ Contest thread is always one of the most active in the Shark Pool, with experienced owners debating strategies, commiserating on tough breaks and congratulating on big wins.
8. The Staff
There are plenty of other features I haven’t even had a chance to touch on, and I’m sure you’ll discover many of them in the coming season. When I ask people why they subscribe to Footballguys, it seems everyone has a different favorite reason. Some come for the subscriber contest or the articles. Some come for the projections. My personal favorite was always the statistical databases. The truly wise come for MyFBGs and the extra 60 hours a year of free time.
But the last resource I wanted to highlight is one that is easily overlooked: the Footballguys staff. The staff is over sixty experienced fantasy football experts with expertise in a broad range of subjects.
Footballguys exists to help you, the subscriber, win your league. That’s our sole reason for being. We win when you win, and the staff embodies that mentality. The majority maintain an active presence on Twitter and are happy to answer any and all questions you may have. A Twitter list of Footballguys staff members has been compiled here for easy reference.
Additionally, with one exception, any staff member can be reached at (surname)@Footballguys.com. (The exception is DFS expert John Lee; if you email Lee@Footballguys.com, it will instead wind up in the inbox of Austin Lee. Though Austin is a pretty swell guy in his own right, and I suspect he’d be happy to forward your message to John.Lee@Footballguys.com for you).
Have a question about an article you read, or a suggestion on how to improve it? Need suggestions or guidance navigating a tricky subject? Want recommendations for things to read, strategies to try, or places to eat? Or just want to reach out and give a quick “attaboy” or “congratulations” on something you particularly enjoyed? We'd love to hear from you.
You want to win your league. We want to help you do that. We’re thrilled you’re around, and hope this is the beginning of a long and fruitful relationship.