More Fantasy Sports Sections: Fantasy Basketball Picks | Fantasy Baseball Picks

100% Signup Bonus

Weekly Leagues

Season Leagues

Position Articles

Learn From Winning Players

Weekly Fantasy Football Advice: Learn From Winning Players
By Lootmeister of

We all want to win. That's why we play the game! But what makes some fantasy football players win more than others? Popular weekly fantasy football website Draftstreet posts high point scorers and the big winners for the week and you'll often times see the same names popping up on a regular basis. How can this be in a game that many view as unpredictable? Do these guys have inside info? Do they work for ESPN or Fox Sports? Are they NFL employees? The answer is NO. These are ordinary average Joe's, just like you and I. They just do more homework than most... and it pays off handsomely.

There are a number of different variables that factor into winning weekly fantasy football leagues. Some are more important than others. We're not going to get into that in this article. There are countless articles on the site offering tips, strategy and advice. Instead, let's get down to the real reason that I'm writing this article.

The real purpose of writing this article is to give you a tip that is so simple and obvious that most fantasy fanatics don't even think about it, because this opportunity usually only arises in defeat, which your state of mind at that time is clouded, flustered and maybe even angry, blocking this wonderful angle from reaching your intelligence.

I'm going to give you this info for free. Well, kind of. It is going to cost you an up front fee, but I won't be the one collecting the loot from you.

Ever heard of reverse engineering? Reverse engineering is the process of taking something that is whole and breaking it down to figure out what it's comprised of. With that being said, I'm recommending that you make a small in scission on your fantasy buttocks and jump into the shark tank and play a head to head salary cap game (2-man league) against one of those players whose name you always seem in the winners circle at the top of DS.

Luckily for you, this will only cost you $11 or $22, as many of those "sharps" have started playing low stakes games in search of low hanging fruit (you). Don't look at this as wasting your eleven or twenty two bucks. Look at it as an investment. The beating is not going to kill you, it's going ot make you stronger. Yes, you will get beat. Make no doubt about it... You're the bug and they're the windshield. If you do happen to get out of the ring with their loot, run and don't look back. Don't think that you're tough and can beat them in a rematch either. Your foolish pride will cost you. These guys are good. Anybody can poke a bully in the eye once and run. Most get destroyed trying it a 2nd or 3rd time.

Most new players at Draftstreet receive a standard 20% signup bonus. RotoPicks readers can get a whopping 100% bonus by signing up at Draftstreet and entering promo code: ROTOPICKS!

Here's what you do... Go to the DS homepage and look for head to head salary cap games. Look for head to head matchups and mouse over on the leagues showing 1/2. By mousing over the league, it will show you the opponent (Shark) who is waiting for you (the chum) to join. Look for usernames of guys who live at the top of the leaderboards. Out of respect for people's privacy, I won't name these guys. The info isn't hard to find as leaderboards are listed publicly on the DS site for all to see. Once you've found one of these guys, join the league, pick your best team and say goodbye to your cash.

Now for the fun and educational part... Once you've mourned the loss of your coin, print off a copy of who your opponent drafted. Repeat this process for 2-3 weeks. This is going to end up costing you in between $33 and $66 bucks, a small price to pay considering that it equals a couple stock purchase commissions to your broker, one meal out with your unappreciative wife or any other number of wasteful things you do with that loot on a regular basis. This may be the best loot you've ever spent!

You now have some valuable intell!

Now start analyzing the shark's roster. Don't get overly caught up in which players this guy drafted. That has absolutely nothing to do with how they won. What you need to be looking at are the players salaries and which teams they played against.

By looking at player salaries you're going to realize that you don't win by taking 5 of the best players on the board and then fill in your roster with worthless tiny salaried players and a crappy defense. You're going to get school on balance here. Balance is key in all aspects of life, especially fantasy football. You simply don't need stud players to win in this great game. All it takes is a well balanced roster of players who will return approximately 1.5 points per $1000 spent and you'll be sitting pretty, winning more matchups than you lose (long term).

By looking at the opponents of the offensive players the shark selected (the teams that were on defense against the QB's, RB's, WR's and TE's the shark had on his roster), you're identifying which teams the shark thinks have problems defending the pass or rush. This is golden information.

Now for the harmonious part. More times than not, the shark will have moderately priced players opposed to the high dollar Superstars of the NFL. I definte moderately priced as:

Quarterbacks $13K or less
Running Backs of $12K or less
Wide Receivers of 9K or less
Tight Ends of 8K or less
Defenses don't really apply here. It's ok to spend on defenses because the variance between a really good defense and a really bad one can be huge. This is debatable of course. Then again, when you try to go on the cheap and end up spending 2k on a team that gets you minus 2 points and your opponent "blew" 6500 on a defense that scored 27 points, you will quickly side with me on this one!

Most weekly fantasy football sharks don't have 18k QB's, 16k RB's, 14K WR's, or 13K TE's on their rosters. These salaries make it impossible to have a balanced team, which is key.

You'll hear some novice guys in DS chat saying that they're taking this superstar and that superstar and then "punting" (basically filling a roster spot with a worthless player that may end up getting 1 or 2 points) a category or even two categories. This is a surefire way to destroy your bankroll. Stay away from the big name players unless there's some backup running back or wide receiver that you can get for 2k that is guaranteed to start due to injury and that you know is going to get 20 touches or 8 receptions. These situations are rare, but do happen a few times throughout the season. Otherwise, stick to medium range salaries and go with a balanced team, having no holes. As a general rule of thumb, take guys who can score 1.5 points per $1K in salary cap money.

Example: (Using a 2012 Week 5 player) SD Chargers RB Ryan Mathews was going up against a poor New Orleans Saints defense. His salary was only $10K and change. In order for him to meet value, he'd need to score 15+ points. I figured he'd get 80 yards (8 pts), a touchdown (6 points) and 4 receptions for 30 yards (5 pts). If you add that all up, my expectation of him was to score 19 points. He ended scoring 22.9 points and as you can imagine, I was ecstatic!

Another way of looking at salaries is like this... A game is only 60 minutes long. Teams only have "so many" possessions. If you draft a guy at 18k, his 1.5x necessary value would be a whopping 27 points! Sure, it's possible that he may hit this, but is there any upside? NO! It's HIGHLY unlikely that the 18k player is going to score more than 1.5x his salary.

Now let's look at a guy like Mathews who was a great prospective start in which I was only looking to hit 15 points and I'd have been happy. Because his salary was low, this left room for upside (scoring more than 15 pts) which he did. He blew it away scoring me an extra 7.9 points.

Football is a game of inches and fantasy football can be a game of "tenths", as in a tenth of a point. In fact, I've actually lost head to head battles by less than a half of a point!

Getting back to analyzing winning players, this is great advice for everyone from the novice weekly fantasy player to the pro. Spend the loot, reverse engineer, figure out why the leaderboard player took the guys on his roster, learn from it and then go out and perform a role reversal in which you're the windshield and some other unsuspecting weekend warrior is the bug.

Good luck with your leagues!

- Loot

Fantasy Football Betting

Draftkings - Get a special 100% signup bonus up to $600 in FREE CASH when you register through our link and use promo code ROTOPICKS. Offers salary cap leagues, 50/50 leagues, survivor leagues and more! Earn points which are redeemable for league entries and swag!

Fanduel Weekly Fantasy Football Leagues

Featured Articles

Building a Winning Salary Cap Lineup - Adam gives great advice on how to turn that empty roster into a winner using positional point targets.

1.5 Points Per $1000 Strategy - Adam shares the secret sauce that many professional fantasy football players use to help them achieve success in salary cap leagues and guaranteed prize pool tournaments.

When Do Running Backs Decline - Rob takes an in depth look at some studies of current and past players to determine that magical age when running backs become non serviceable.


What is Fantasy Football? - We explain how the game works for those of you looking to get into the action!

What are PPR Leagues? - Ray explains what point per reception leagues are and how they work.

Daily Fantasy Football Rules - If you're going to play the game, you've got to know the rules! Elliot sets you straight on everything from salary cap leagues to snake drafts to survivor tournaments.