Enhance your enjoyment of this great game by increasing the depth and difficulty of your league.
1 TE/WR/RB FLEX
Unless you are in a 16 team league, the above configuration could possibly leave running backs like Frank Gore, Steven Ridley or Terrance West on the waiver wire. Riley Cooper, Golden Tate and Julian Edelman could all go undrafted in such a shallow active leagues.
That’s not even to mention the quarterbacks, where Philip Rivers, Tony Romo and Andy Dalton would be unemployed in a 10 team, single QB format.
We’ve already addressed the virtues of using a multiple QB format in such leagues, but it’s worth discussing the benefits of going deep at all positions.
Moving from beginner status
If you have a 10-team league as described above, it’s not the end of the world. In fact, it’s a good way to get your feet wet if you’ve never been in a fantasy football league before.
But at some point, in all games, you eventually have to stretch yourselves and increase the difficulty of the game you are playing to challenge yourself and, in turn, gain more enjoyment from the hobby.
If you are ready to move forward, feel empowered to move off of the fantasy football baby bottle and move on to the delicious, medium-rare steak of deeper, more challenging leagues.
Part of the problem with shallow leagues is that it becomes nothing more than all-star teams and which star will play better come Sunday than the other star your opponent is playing. It becomes more a game of chance than strategy than that of the importance of skill and a complete, deep talented roster. It becomes an on-the-field dice game where you hope that Drew Brees, LeSean McCoy and Calvin Johnson can outslug Peyton Manning, Jamaal Charles and Eddie Lacy.
Increasing the minimum starters at positions will bring in more players like Darren Sproles, Shane Vereen and Danny Woodhead and begin to challenge you to see value in the many roles today’s NFL uses for its players.
You think that Brandin Cooks will be a sneaky rookie playmaker and fantasy scorer for New Orleans? A deeper format will allow you to act on that belief, roster the rookie and beat your unbelieving competition.
The Joy of Discovery
Almost every joyful moments of the leagues I’ve long participated in have come in the discovery of a player that was drafted late and became a star. In one such league in 1999, Kurt Warner was a late round pick. In another, Cam Newton, and yet another, Alfred Morris. In shallow leagues, such deep research and drafting isn’t necessary…simply take the best of the best and let it ride.
But in deeper leagues with more players off the board, the importance of depth, strategy and yes, alright, luck, in taking players in your draft becomes greater. There is nothing like filing away the knowledge that Player X has been the most impressive RB in camp, plucking that guy from the player pool late in a draft and then watching as that guy quickly becomes the starter and suddenly you have a third round value that you drafted in Round 18 or later.
The lottery ticket drafting that in shallow leagues might have included a running back like the Browns rookie West now becomes a much deeper look with maybe Tre Mason, Carlos Hyde and the like.
Last season, Zac Stacy was buried on the depth chart behind Daryl Richardson, Isaiah Pead and Bennie Cunningham. Few running backs scored more than Stacy the second half of the season. If you were an owner that selected Stacy based on preseason scouting, you must’ve walked around all fall like you were scoring multiple touchdowns every week. Spikes included.
What’s the point?
Maybe the most competitive, challenging league isn’t the reason you’re playing fantasy football this season. Great. By all means, participate in standard leagues like the one in the opening and sit back and enjoy.
However, there are plenty of folks that are ready to graduate from that level of play. If you are one of those, make every effort to convince your friends, co-workers, clergyman, whoever….and expand your league to dive deeper. Start more players, have more reserves, have more fun.
If you do go deep and you find you don’t get more out of the game, then by all means downshift, find the format that satisfies and helps you enjoy the game the best.