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By Eric Charbonnet @ECHARB10

Football season is upon us and with that comes America’s new favorite pastime, Fantasy Football.

With millions of Americans playing across all corners of the country, the game has really become so much more than a game, it’s become a lifestyle, a culture and a nation wide phenomenon.

The best part about fantasy is the fact that there are so many different types of leagues and options to modify those leagues that it becomes player friendly for virtually anyone to play, even if they don’t know that much about football.

The only parameters you really have to be looking for when trying to find a league that works for you would be the difficulty of the league, or how dedicated and knowledgeable the other participants are.

A fantasy football league with your friends who really only follow baseball will be exponentially different than a league filled with strangers who pay for the NFL Sunday Ticket and play fantasy for money.

One league for instance, may play for a 500 hundred dollar grand prize, a trophy that is shipped between states, including Arizona, and a pink license plate frame for the worst team owner that reads, “I suck at Fantasy Football”. This for instance, would not be a league for beginners or the faint of heart for that matter.

Once you’ve found a league that fits the mold that you want you’re ready to draft your team and start your season. There is no specific or guaranteed formula when it comes to drafting and everyone who thinks they know the game will tell you something different.

The reason this specific formula doesn’t work is that you can never accurately guess who will be left on the board every round. One would have to be telepathic in order to do this.

Even with an advanced knowledge of the game and the fact that more often than not quarterbacks don’t go in the first three rounds, you can never account for the guy that takes Cam Newton, quarterback for the Panthers, in the first round.

Being that there really aren’t any guarantees in fantasy football, save for Antonio Brown going number one overall in your draft, I’ll try to introduce a few popular drafting strategies to you.

One prominent strategy that has really emerged in the last decade in tandem with the changing of the game of football is a more run-and-balance-based offense opposed to a pass first aerial attack.

The “No Running Back” strategy is one in which you take the three best wide receivers on the board in your first three turns before looking for a highly targeted tight end in the fourth and your quarterback in the fifth.

By doing this you’ve basically ensured yourself that the top fifteen runners on the board are already gone. In the later rounds you’re just looking to fill out your bench and land two productive runners who might have slipped into the seventh or the eighth like Melvin Gordon or Ryan Mathews.

People who have completed their draft like this most likely end up spending their time scouring the waiver wire for handcuffs that weren’t drafted or for streaming options every week.

Another popular strategy to consider, more so if you’re an experienced player, is the idea of monopolizing the tight end position and using them as trade collateral as soon as the draft ends to fill out the rest of your roster. This method is usually better used by those who have played for a few seasons and are confident in their drafting abilities and the depth of the running back and wide receiver positions.
n this method, you’re taking the best tight end on the board in the third and fourth round, your quarterback in the fourth, and then another top tight end available on the board in the fifth.

Once you’ve completed your draft and filled out your remaining roster slots with players you think will have a good year, or sleepers (players who aren’t supposed to have a breakout year but you think they might) you go about trading the tight end you took in the fourth and the one you took in the fifth for a star wide receiver or running back depending on what you went with in the first two rounds.

Again, this strategy is one that you should only do if you feel really confident in your drafting abilities and the appropriate tight ends are on the board. If it doesn’t look like you’ll end up with two of these three guys in the third and fourth (Jordan Reed, Greg Olsen, Travis Kelce, and Delanie Walker) abandon the strategy and move into the final and most basic strategy, the best player on the board strategy.

This strategy is exactly what it sounds like. In this drafting style you just look for the best-rated player at each position you need as you need them and draft that player.

Hopefully you’ll engage in the playing of Fantasy Football this upcoming season and if you’ve played before, hopefully you’ve done your studying and prepared yourself the best you can for a successful fantasy campaign.

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