Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Three Tight Ends You'll Want to Pickup Now

So you missed out on one of the top tight ends in this year's fantasy draft? Don't sweat it! This year is going to have one of the deepest groups of tight ends we've seen in a long time. As the majority of teams are going to a pass heavy attack, there will be more opportunities for tight ends to put up big numbers each week. Here are a few tight ends you'll want to add to your roster this week:

(Christopher T. Assaf, Baltimore Sun)
1) Dennis Pitta (Baltimore Ravens) - Anyone that watched Monday night's game between the Ravens and the Bengals could easily see the changes made to the Ravens offensive strategy. They ran a lot of no huddle and had a throw first mentality. Ray Rice only ran the ball 10 times! (really?!) Pitta was targeted 9 times on Monday, 4 more times than anyone else on the team. He caught 5 passes for 73 yards and a touchdown. His bread and butter was the play action pass where he was able to slide behind the linebackers.

Bottom Line: Pitta is on a team that has now gone to a pass first attack. The receiver options in Baltimore aren't the best in the league and defenses will always have to focus on Ray Rice. Pitta will become a high end TE2 option with the possibility of being a mid-low end TE1.

2) Martellus Bennett (NY Giants) - Martellus Bennett who has had a disappointing start to his career with Dallas has now found a new life with the Giants. Bennett has unquestioned athletic ability but his work ethic and inconsistency on the field has been his down fall. Bennett is in a great situation in New York where he is complimented by one of the great quarterbacks and one of the top receiver cores in the league. Bennett had 4 catches for 40 yards and a touchdown in the season opener vs. Dallas.

Bottom Line: With all of the weapons New York has and its pass first offense, I see Bennett continuing to get a lot of opportunities. If he can limit his drops, he will continue to earn the trust of Eli and Coach Coughlin and will thrive in 2012. Bennett is someone you could fill in now as a viable TE1 option.

3) Scott Chandler (Buffalo Bills) - Scott Chandler isn't a guy that is going to wow you with his athletic ability, however, the 6'7" tight end is a huge target for a team that is lacking other options. The Bills just lost their starting running back (Fred Jackson) and number two receiver (David Nelson) and are hurting for other options. With CJ Spiller coming in as the starting running back, look for this team to open up the offense more and throw the ball. Chandler had 4 catches for 38 yards and a touchdown last week against one of the better defenses in the league.

Bottom Line: Chandler's size gives him a huge advantage in the red zone. He will continue to get looks near the goal line and may see some added targets due to the loss of Nelson. If you have a roster spot and aren't desperate, pick up Chandler and stash him for a week or two before making any long term commitments.

Who do you think will have the best 2012 season of these three tight ends?

Monday, August 6, 2012

Draft Prep: Know Your League Setup

It's the first week of August and if you haven’t started prepping for your upcoming fantasy football drafts, you are already a step behind the competition! What are you waiting for? Lucky for you, a fantasy nerd like me is going to help you get up to speed on how you can quickly prepare for your draft. While you won’t win your league by your draft alone, you can certainly make it extremely difficult for yourself if you don’t prepare.

In this week’s series of posts, I’ll give you tips on how to prepare as well as give you the best resources for your preparation. Grab your case of Red Bull, get focused and take notes!

Tip #1 -Know Your League Setup

I can’t stress enough how important it is to know how your league is setup. You don’t want to be the guy that is laughed at during your draft for continually reaching for a player too early do you? Some of the most important factors to review in your league setup are:

Scoring Rules

There are key things to look for when reviewing your league scoring system:

- How many points does your league award for passing touchdowns? (typically 4 or 6 points) This will help you determine how valuable quarterbacks are. The higher the points per touchdown, the higher QB’s should be on your draft board.

- Is it a points-per-reception (PPR) league or standard format? PPR leagues will make wide receivers more valuable as well as running backs that catch the ball a lot.

- Others Scoring Options to look out for – Each league is different and you may run into leagues that have non-traditional point structures. Some examples may be; return yards, touchdowns only, number of carries and number of targets.

Take a close look at the scoring settings and adjust your draft cheat sheets accordingly. It is common for beginner fantasy football players to utilize standard draft cheat sheets out of a magazine but be drafting in a league that awards points-per-reception. This simple mistake could be very costly yet is very easy to avoid.

Roster Limits

Pay close attention to the roster limits (Minimum / Maximum / # of Starters) at each position. A general rule of thumb, the lower the number of starters, the lower the priority of drafting. While this isn’t the only thing to take into account in regards to your draft priority, you will have less difficulty drafting a player in later rounds at a position that only starts one than you would at a position that starts multiple players.

Example: In leagues where you can start two QB’s, you’ll want to draft your quarterbacks early because overall, they score the most points consistently and they are limited in numbers. In leagues that start one quarterback, once a team selects a quarterback, they are most likely not going to select another one for several rounds, which allows you to wait until later rounds to pick one without missing out on a solid starter.
Another key roster item to pay attention to is the flex position. You’ll need to know the number of flex positions, which positions are included in the flex position and the maximum you can draft at each position. This will may give you the option of drafting more players at a specific position or “loading up” (I.E. Running back or Receiver).

Other Rules and Settings

In general, you simply need to be aware of how your league operates. Some other rules you’ll need to understand may be: keeper rules, tie breakers, and anything else that we haven’t already thought of.

Each year commissioners try to get creative and add their own flavor to their home leagues. If you want to compete at a high level in your league and save yourself from embarrassment at your live draft, the most important thing is to understand how your league operates.

What rules have you seen in your leagues that have altered the way you drafted or have killed you during your season because you weren’t prepared?

Guess Who's Back?

It's been a long time boys and girls but I'm back and better than ever! I've taken some time off but based on your feedback I have recently decided to rededicate myself to this blog community.

Tailgate City has so much in store for the 2012 football season and beyond. We'll start the year off with a heavy dose of fantasy football to get you ready for the upcoming season. To kick things off right, we are going to launch the "Fantasy Draft Preparation" series to get you ready for your upcoming drafts. It will include strategies, tips and resources to get you ahead of the competition.

I'm extremely excited to be back and look forward to all of the trash talking, debating and participation from everyone!

What are you most excited about for this upcoming NFL season?