I never get tired of drafting, but there comes a time when enough is enough and we should just get on with it. So here it is. No more Combine, no more March free agency moves, no more NFL Draft, no more OTAs and minicamps, no more July contract deadlines, no more training camp and no more preseason games.
We are finally here. The regular season for 2016. We can now put our drafted fantasy teams to the test.
It begins on Thursday with a Super Bowl rematch between the Broncos and Panthers. This game should really do the trick for all of us starved for a meaningful NFL game. The Panthers will be out for respectability and some revenge; the Broncos to prove that their defense can still shutdown an offense no matter how powerful.
In fantasy, it's time to check that we have all of our tools and necessary pieces to keep on top of all our teams. Multiple fantasy teams can be a handful to manage, so here's a few suggestions to make your journey through 2016 a pleasant one.
Top-11 Fantasy Football In-Season Tools
No. 1: Make a Watch List
You should always tick the little star or flag in your fantasy players list for potential waiver targets. They might not be worth grabbing right now, but keeping tabs on them makes a huge difference. This way you don't have to commit as much to memory - when just clicking that little flag does it for you. It only takes a second and having those players handy on the quick will ensure two things. First, you can access them quicker for a race to the waiver table if breaking news surfaces. Second, you can keep these players noted and make comparisons with others when deciding who to pick up or drop.
Don't overload the watch list. Keep it reasonably small; a dozen or so at the most. You want to consider it a high end table of fantasy prospects - not a clutter of players that just come to mind. You want just enough on the list so you can keep up with the latest in the player news tab.
No. 2: The FantasyPros Playbook
I can't say enough about this set of fantasy tools. You can sync your league with their database and get all sorts of fantasy information and evaluation. You can see your team strength and weakness. You can see how your players stack up on their NFL game matchups. You can compare your roster in the cheat sheet to easily see who is available in your league quickly. There is so much more there that I could exhaust myself writing about it.
Whether you are a deep and serious fantasy player or a casual office leaguer, I cannot express enough the enjoyment you will get out of using this remarkable set of fantasy tools. In fact, it would be more accurate to call them instruments, as they are like using a precisely calibrated fantasy apparatus.
No. 3: NFL Fantasy Live
Fantasy punditry can be fun as well as informative. The show is online and can be watched 4pm ET weekdays free at NFL.com. It is hosted by James Koh, Michael Fabiano, Adam Rank, Akbar Gbajabiamila - with numerous other guests and panelists.
The show is lighthearted and humorous, yet stacked with interesting and informative fantasy nuggets. Some segments just cannot be missed, Like "IT'S A TRAP!", "THAT HELPS NO ONE!" and "DANGER ZONE!"
It's a great fantasy show and very enjoyable for fans of every stripe. The analysis is terrific and thought provoking. The team acknowledges their triumphs and errors in equal measure, so they check their egos at the door. Well, except maybe Michael...
No. 4: NFL Redzone
If you've been living in a cave since 2009, then you won't know what RedZone is. It's the way many people watch football these days. Fantasy leaguers who prefer watching their home team should give it try at least once in a while.
RedZone is fantasy friendly. They provide continuous updates of standard fantasy point totals within the frenetic pace of an NFL Sunday. Scott Hanson does a great job updating and coordinating the constant shifting of games from one to the next. NFL fans, fantasy involved or not, are entranced by this use of television as a utility.
There's little on television that compares with it. RedZone is a pure McLuhanesque type of telecast. The complete and total seven hour spectacle is an exhausting pleasure and fantasy viewers get a most unique media buzz.
If you have it available, give it shot. You may never go back to watching football the conventional way again.
No. 5: The Fantasy Six Pack Hour and The Fantasy Edge
Shameless plug here. We work hard on our shows to ensure you get the best news, views and stories about fantasy football.
Joe Bond and AJ Applegarth on The Fantasy Six Pack Hour provide mid-week analysis of all the fantasy sports. They will give their take on the fantasy football week ahead. You can catch their program live on Wednesdays 8:30 PM ET.
Richard Savill and Kevin Huo on The Fantasy Edge give a Thursday Night Football recap and also opinions on the upcoming weekend action. You can catch the show live on Fridays 10PM ET.
These podcasts are filled with information to keep you ahead of the competition during the NFL fantasy season. Both podcasts are available on-demand.
No. 6: NFL.com Fantasy Genius
Apprehensive about a trade? Not sure which player you should drop? Can't decide on who you should start or sit?
Take a poll! Poll the entire fantasy world! This tool is great for those who want to test what the fantasy universe thinks about your player moves, lineups, trades, etc. You can create custom poll questions. The responses are surprisingly heavy and you yourself can donate your own fantasy expertise to help others too. A very active community of fantasy enthusiasts go there.
No. 7: Practice Squad Tracker
For deeper leagues, keeping an eye on the practice squads of various NFL teams is not a bad idea. In most fantasy cases it is surplus to requirements, but is a handy place of reference from time to time. Injuries will happen in the NFL and practice squad players often get a call up. Stay ahead by keeping the site bookmarked just in case you need it.
If you do not use these sites already, where have you been? I wasn't going to even bother mentioning them because these sites are a fantasy leaguer's best friend. They are just too well known and inescapable because sites like Yahoo and ESPN use them frequently as fantasy news sources. RotoWorld and RotoWire are virtually the same, but their short takes on the news items may differ.
No. 9: The Pro Football Reference
No other site gives you the complete stats of the NFL than the PFR. Bookmark this site to get all trending stats you'll need to examine throughout the season. You can query the database easily and find statistics you may want to add into your evaluations for game matchups, etc.
No. 10: KillerSports.com
For those who play survivor pools or pick 'ems as part of their fantasy league challenges - this is a site for you. You can use their SDQL database free to find out billions of trends. You are only hampered by your imagination using this unique tool. Although it focuses heavy on pointspread analysis, there is some fantasy application. There are free downloads at the site to help you learn and create effective SDQL queries for your individual needs.
No. 11: Fantasy Six Pack
Us of course! Our website has rankings, analysis, start/sit tools and a whole lot more. This site is well worthwhile keeping bookmarked. We have complete information for every week of the fantasy season. Every year, our team is committed to providing the best analysis. We want you to win your fantasy league and we're dedicated to that goal. If you are into daily fantasy, we also accommodate those seeking good DFS strategies and lineups.
Good luck with your fantasy adventures this NFL season!