Fantasy Football Information: Moss Exit Makes Burleson a Star

Here's fantasy football information that fantasy football nuts should print or write down immediately. Do not worry about the Vikings suffering on offense, due to the loss of Randy Moss. In fact, you can outfox your opponents, because of the Moss trade. You see, most fantasy football people will still value Moss to the point…

Here's fantasy football information that fantasy football nuts should print or write down immediately. Do not worry about the Vikings suffering on offense, due to the loss of Randy Moss. In fact, you can outfox your opponents, because of the Moss trade. You see, most fantasy football people will still value Moss to the point of spending a high pick on him, which may or may not work out, with Moss being a raider. What most fantasy football owners will also do, which will be a deadly error, is de-value other Vikings, because of the loss of Moss.

So, the fantasy football information that most of the fantasy football books will likely overlook is to place a very high rating on Nate Burleson and Marcus Robinson. Watch the running back situation, too, because head coach Mike Tice says the Vikings will emphasize the run next season. Of course, Daunte Culpepper will continue to be a fantasy football stud.

Burleson, though, will be the true steal of your draft. Burleson is entering his third season, when many wide receivers begin to figure out NFL defenses. He went from 29 catches his rookie year to 68 in 2004. His yardage more than doubled from 455 to 1006. Best of all, especially if you're in a basic scoring fantasy football league, Burleson found the end zone 10 times, while playing second fiddle to Moss and Robinson for most of the season.

Consider that Burleson did not become the number one receiver until about week ten, and his value increases even more, as it is clear that he'll be the new number one, with the departure of Moss. Fantasy football players can expect 80-plus catches, 1,200-plus yards and 10-14 touchdowns. Note, the fact that Burleson returns punts increases his chance to reach pay dirt.

Nate Burleson is a true fantasy football thoroughbred. Most fantasy football owners will under this value fine young receiver, assuming he'll be available in rounds three or four or even later in smaller leagues. Armed with this powerful fantasy football information, you now know not to wait too long on Burleson. Grab him early, let others scoff at your selection, then sit back and ride his performance all the way to the Fantasy Bowl.

The Essential Guide to the Fantasy Basketball Cheat Sheet: Part II

As I mentioned in Part I of this article, preparing for a fantasy league draft is a lot of work. Part I of this article discussed how to make a scoring category Cheat Sheet, but the real work is in making position based Cheat Sheets. In Yahoo Fantasy NBA your roster consists of a Point…

As I mentioned in Part I of this article, preparing for a fantasy league draft is a lot of work. Part I of this article discussed how to make a scoring category Cheat Sheet, but the real work is in making position based Cheat Sheets.

In Yahoo Fantasy NBA your roster consists of a Point Guard, Shooting Guard, Guard, Small Forward, Forward, two Centers and two Utility players. Each roster spot plays a full 82 game schedule. Additionally, you chose three bench players.

Obviously, you have to come up with some sort of draft order by position. This involves ranking your players by position using last season's statistics. I consider every single scoring category when making my position Cheat Sheets. I make a simple grid with the players name and statistical scoring categories for every player I would consider drafting. For the non-percentage based sampling categories I try to use per game rates to make it a little more clear what each player is going to give me every night.

For example, my Power Forward Cheat Sheet starts out with Shawn Marion – http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/players/3332 whose averages last season were: FG%: 47, FT%: 83, 3PM: 1.4 per game , Points: 19 per game, Rebounds: 11 per game, Blocks: 1.5 per game, Steals: 1.4 per game, Assists: 2 per game and Turnovers: 1.5 per game. If a player is in the top 5 statistically for a scoring category for that position, I try to circle or high light those specific numbers. A player like Marion has lots of circled and highlighted numbers. I also try to highlight especially bad numbers to consider, like Allen Iverson's Turnovers or Shaq's Free Throw Percentage. I do this for every player that I would consider drafting.

It is an exhausting exercise, and may lead to certain levels of alienation from your significant other (ie wife or girlfriend), but it's what you have to do to win.

Once you have your grid made, you need to use it to decide on a depth chart for your choices of who to draft. This is the equivalent of the Draft Board that real NBA teams use when drafting. My Power forward list starts with Kevin Garnett and makes it's way down to Mike Sweetney … I do not just use last years numbers in deciding this order, you have to take into consideration all the variables for the coming season: potential for injury , player age, a new coach, off season trouble, the impact of free agent acquisitions orraftees on that players minutes and gut instinct. It's important to know the numbers, but not be a slave to them.

Once I have each Cheat Sheet made by position, I start pre-ranking all my players for the draft, using the cheat sheet as a guide. I try to “spy” on some other Yahoo Fantasy drafts to get good estimates on what round each player will typically be drawn in to rank players. (See the Article “Spy on Someone Else's Draft” to find out how to do this.) Make your Pre-ranking list completely exhaustive, because the draft will go over 140 players deep.

On draft day I have my Statistical Cheat Sheet and Positional Cheat Sheets close by for reference. The best part about spending all the time making Cheat Sheets, is after putting in all the time to make them, you do not even have to look at them that much, because you have learned what each player offers by creating them.

Good Luck. Now get to work!

Fantasy Football Tips

It's no secret, the most important day of your fantasy football league is the draft. If you mess this up you basically have very little chance to win. However, if you draft to perfection you'll probably be successful. The big question is weather you draft the player with the best value or the player at…

It's no secret, the most important day of your fantasy football league is the draft. If you mess this up you basically have very little chance to win. However, if you draft to perfection you'll probably be successful. The big question is weather you draft the player with the best value or the player at the position that you need. Example, you have 4 wr and 1 rb on your team so far. You see a great WR available, but in reality he would be no help to your team because odds are you'll only need 3WR so starts. Of course you could get the WR just in case of injury or you could trade the player. Below are my 5 tips to make your team unbeatable.

1) Do not miss the draft. If you do this then the computer will pick for you based on there rankings which means your opponents could predict your picks which is a big disadvantage.

2) You must be active. If you never make trades or pick up players you'll never get any of those players that were unexpectedly good. Example after week one you could picked up willy parker or indianapolis defense who were definitely available. If you were active you could have gotten 2 steals.

3) Look at the scoring system of the league. What position does it favor? Default setting are typically 50 pass yard = 1 point, 20 rush or receiving = 1 points, and touchdowns worth 6 points. This favors running backs and is a disadvantage to quarter backs. However other settings could favor QBs. So this means you do not draft players the same way for every league.

4) Make sure you have a quality bench. If you do not then when you have weeks with a lot of players with bye weeks, then you'll probably loose. If you have a bench to just plug in you'll rack up some important wins.

5) Do not give up. Even if you're in last place after a few weeks, a few wins can get you back in the race. The regular season does not really matter. Making the plays in last position is basically the same as making the plays in first place. A standard league has 10-12 teams with the top 4-6 qualifying for the playoffs.

Start Your Own Baseball Fantasy League

Over the last ten years there has been an incredible increase in people participating in baseball fantasy leagues, and fantasy sports in general. There is really only one rule for those involved, and that is they must have a real and ongoing interest and appreciation of the game of baseball. Starting your own fantasy league…

Over the last ten years there has been an incredible increase in people participating in baseball fantasy leagues, and fantasy sports in general. There is really only one rule for those involved, and that is they must have a real and ongoing interest and appreciation of the game of baseball. Starting your own fantasy league is easy following the simple steps below and you will quickly have a league you can enjoy through the season.

Fantasy League Step # 1 Get your teams together

The first step to creating a baseball fantasy league is getting your teams together. You need to find between 8 and 12 friends to participate and create their own team. Why 8-12 teams? This is the range of numbers that will give you a competitive league, which you will need for it to be as enjoyable as possible.

Fantasy League Step # 2 'The Commish'

Just like Major League Baseball, someone needs to be in charge. Elect a responsible and committed Commissioner to manage the statistics weekly, and is someone who has the opportunity and resources to distribute them to each player in the fantasy league.

Fantasy League Step # 3 One League or Two?

One of the oldest questions in baseball do we need both the American and National Leagues? Your group will need to decide whether to play with the traditional favorites, or establish a single league.

Fantasy League Step # 4 Player draft or auction

Teams need players, and the group will need to decide the best way to individually acquire players. Both draft and auction methods work, but whiche method you choose, stay with it through the season.

Fantasy League Step # 5 Rules

You can not escape rules, even in a fantasy league. Accumulation of points and recording statistics need to be done consistently and to a standard. Agree the rules, and ensure all teams are aware of the compliance requirements, and what happens when they do not follow them!

Fantasy League # 6 Enjoy yourself

Americans in their millions play fantasy league baseball to win money, trophies or simply for the sake of it. No matter what your reason, make sure the final prize is agreed by all as this gives you every player the best chance of enjoying themselves.

Fantasy Baseball and that Sweet Electronic Candy

The 1992 Summer Olympics were the first to feature NBA players, and the squad from that year was known as the 'Dream Team'. Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, and Larry Bird are just three of the legends that played on that historic and unbeatable team. Although Fantasy Baseball, Football, or even Basketball did not begin in…

The 1992 Summer Olympics were the first to feature NBA players, and the squad from that year was known as the 'Dream Team'. Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, and Larry Bird are just three of the legends that played on that historic and unbeatable team. Although Fantasy Baseball, Football, or even Basketball did not begin in 1992, these thrilling and interactive pastimes do carry on the tradition of that squad. By trying to assemble the best line-up of players from the game in any given year, and seeing how they would match up, fans can rearrange the leagues as they see fit and pretend to be owner, coach, and player all at once. Now, this may sound like a recipe for insanity, but it's actually a lot of fun – and it gives you some control over the game, even if only in your head. Fantasy Baseball is one of the more popular games for people to play, and there are even draft kits to help players navigate through the draft and auction process.

A draft kit? Is assembly required?

Ouch! Now, back in the olden days, before the Internet became the venue of choice for fantasy baseball enthusiasts, you had to keep track of your teams and players with a newspaper. Plus, you had to keep in contact with the other members of your league to keep tabs on who was winning the pool. Now, the Web keeps players from around the world connected, and brings a level of intensity to Fantasy Baseball and other such leagues that was not there before. To navigate through the maze of statistics and player data, the serious fantasy fanatic needs a Fantasy Baseball starter kit to best position himself for the upcoming season.

So..I get a Fantasy Baseball Draft Kit to use on the Internet? Do I actually get anything?

This is the Information Age, my friend, and that is rather what you are getting with your Fantasy Baseball Draft Kit. Every kit is filled with “electronic candy” to fuel your dreams and propel your team to success. Analysts who live the dream of getting paid to study, breathe, and live baseball devote hours of hard work and energy to bring you:

– strategy to use during the draft and auction

– a list of potential “sleepers” who are just waiting to take their game to a new level in the next season

– predictions about who is going to falter and fade in the coming year

– the best rookies to bring to your team

– cheat sheets filled with the must-know facts to be successful on draft

day.

Some Fantasy Baseball draft kit options include a mock draft for “newbies” to the game, and a host of other useful tips, to position you to bring home a championship – and hopefully some of that “play money” that everyone shared into a pool at the beginning of the season!

Hey look, if you like baseball, you are going to love Fantasy Baseball. Players and coaches change teams more often than lovers on some silly soap opera, so it is hard to be loyal to “traditional” teams. But, with Fantasy Baseball, you can build your own 'Dream Team', and bring an exciting new element to a classic game. If you are new to the process, or just want an edge for the next season, a Fantasy Baseball draft kit is just what you need.

A Quick Introduction to Fantasy Professional Football

Whatever you already know every professional football team and player like the back of your hand, or you just want to learn enough to look less blank when conversing with friends, family or coworkers, fantasy football can enhance your NFL viewing experience. As a lottery commercial says, “you have to be in it to win…

Whatever you already know every professional football team and player like the back of your hand, or you just want to learn enough to look less blank when conversing with friends, family or coworkers, fantasy football can enhance your NFL viewing experience.

As a lottery commercial says, “you have to be in it to win it.” In order to join the fun, you have to pick a “host”, select your preferred NFL players, and join or start a league.

You have a ton of options when considering where to host a fantasy football team. Some of the most commonly played “hosts” include CBS Sportsline, SportingNews, YahooSports Fantasy Football and CDM Fantasy Sports.

Depending on the host and league, you'll play one of several formats. One requires an upfront payment to enter your league, but does not charge you for players you pick up during the season from a free agent or “waiver” pool. Generally, the higher you pay as your upfront fee, the larger your prize if you win your league for the season.

The second format is free to join, but will cost you for most or all players you claim waivers or as free agents after the initial draft period ends. Generally, trades with other players are free of charge. Be careful, though! Those trades can be costly in another way to you if you give away too much to get that must-have player.

The most common formats allow you a team made up of one or more quarterbacks, one or more running backs, one or more wide receivers, one or more tight ends and one or more defense / special teams (DST) units. Depending on the league, you may play all of your players at once or pick some players as “starters” and assign others as “reserves”. Only your active players (starters) earn you points for that week. You get points for their league-defined achievements each week.

Now you need players on your team, so it is time for you to “draft” some football players. Using your basic understanding of football, and drawing on your NFL savvy, or some of the free information sources to review, you'll rank real NFL players before your league draft. You may also be able to use the players as “pre-ranked” by your host.

You'll also need to decide whether you want the excitement and time commitment of a live draft, or the relative ease and less time offered by an automated draft. If you are a beginner, the automated draft is highly recommended.

During the season, there are “BYE” weeks, during which an NFL team and its players get the week off to recharge. Real players also can be injured, so you lose their productivity. On the other hand, you and your team do not get any time off, so you'll probably have to make trades and perform waiver wire moves to ensure that you have a full, strong team playing every week.

Those are the basics. Now, it is up to you to apply your special knowledge, instinct or hunches, and “Win one for the Gipper”. Before your draft, you might want to challenge friends, family members or co-workers who have similar skills to yours to join your league. Some healthy competition can make your fantasy football experience even more enjoyable.

As with any game, keep in mind that it is only a game. You will not become rich or popular dependent upon how well you play. It is mostly purely entertainment. If you keep this in mind and do not take yourself or the game too seriously, you will have a great time. It is a great game and you should have no trouble finding others with your passion and skill level. Have fun and good luck!

2006 NFL Draft: Strategic Fantasy Football Forecasts

Free agency has changed much of the NFL draft projections. Additionally, the scouting combined changed the fortunes of many prospects, dropping some and moving up others on draft boards. Even though there will be many changes between now and April 29th, Todd Lokken, President of Strategic Fantasy Football has taken a look at the top…

Free agency has changed much of the NFL draft projections. Additionally, the scouting combined changed the fortunes of many prospects, dropping some and moving up others on draft boards.

Even though there will be many changes between now and April 29th, Todd Lokken, President of Strategic Fantasy Football has taken a look at the top ten picks in this year's draft. “Many players coming out of school still have a chance to improve their position through individual workouts, while others could bottom out with poor results at the same workouts”, says Lokken. Therefore, with a month to go, here is a look at the top 10 picks:

1) Houston Texans: Reggie Bush, RB – USC. No way Houston trades this pick, and Bush has been the target since the middle of the 2005 college season.

2) New Orleans Saints: D'Brickashaw Ferguson, OT – Virginia. “The Saints need a tackle, and Ferguson is the best on the board right now”, says Lokken. However, do not be surprised if the Saints trade this pick and try to get Ferguson later in the top 10.

3) Tennessee Titans: Matt Leinart, QB – USC. Lokken says, “If Leinart had come out last year, he would have been the top pick”. However, number 3 is not too bad, especially with Steve McNair on the downside of his career.

4) New York Jets: Vince Young, QB – Texas. “Ok, so the Jets traded for Patrick Ramsey.” He is not a long term solution. “, Says Lokken. Look for the Jets to still take a QB this year, and imagine Vince Young in the big apple!

5) Green Bay Packers: AJ Hawk, LB – Ohio State. The Packers have had some shoddy defense for some time. Those in Packer country know that the Mike Sherman era allowed the Packers to get worse and worse on defense every year, so this pick is a great start to rebuilding the defense.

6) San Francisco 49ers: Vernon Davis, TE – Maryland. Since they traded top receiver Brandon Lloyd, the 49ers will be working to surround Alex Smith with quality receivers, and Davis fills that role. “Look for him to make an impact fantasy wise in his first year”, says Lokken.

7) Oakland Raiders: Haloti Ngata, DT – Oregon. Oakland would clearly love a QB in this spot, but it is doubtful that Young or Leinart will still be available. While Jay Cutler may be a possibility, it is more likely that Oakland try to trade up (possibly with New Orleans) to grab a QB.

8) Buffalo Bills: Broderick Bunkley, DT – Florida State. While Buffalo would love to have Ngata, Oakland will grab him before Buffalo. “However, if Oakland does move up, then Buffalo may certainly wind up with Ngata”, says Lokken.

9) Detroit Lions: Michael Huff, DB – Texas. The Lions need defensive help, and Huff brings instant credit to the NFL. This should not be much of a surprise.

10) Arizona Cardinals: Jay Cutler, QB – Vanderbilt. While Dennis Green and the Cardinals in general have a history of surprise at the NFL draft, the current rumor suggests the Cardinals will go with a QB here. That rumor should ring true, as Cutler should be available.

“Free agency is still in full swing, and couple that with draft workouts, the first round, especially the top 5, is in tremendous flux”, says Lokken. “Look for many things to change before April 29th, and expect many surprises even on draft day.”

Strategic Fantasy Football provides fantasy football analysis and strategy for players of fantasy football. For more information, contact Todd Lokken at 847.985.8566.

This article may be reprinted in full so long as the resource box and the live links are included intact. All rights reserved. Copyright 2006 Strategic Fantasy Football.

Fantasy Baseball Helps Your Handicapping

There are a lot of fantasy baseball leagues and players around the country. Drafting and analyzing players on a day to day basis is an excellent tool for handicapping baseball games. The fantasy players need to examine each player's stats and injury status to see whether they should be in the lineup or not. Players…

There are a lot of fantasy baseball leagues and players around the country. Drafting and analyzing players on a day to day basis is an excellent tool for handicapping baseball games. The fantasy players need to examine each player's stats and injury status to see whether they should be in the lineup or not. Players go into slumps, get hurt, or do not needlessly match up well against a particular opponent on a given day, therefore they can be left out of the lineup by the fantasy manager.

Keeping up on players for fantasy leagues provides the manager with an excellent knowledge of individual players and how to best utilize them. A player like Johnny Damon, for instance, has switched teams, going from Boston to New York. Notice that Damon has not lost any of his offensive prowess on the young season ,itting .400. Simply put he still appears to be a catalyst atop the order. Damon's teammate, Bernie Williams, on the other hand has picked up right where he left off last season: Playing poorly! Williams is hiring .154 on the young season, with a poor .144 on-base percentage.

The fantasy player keeps daily tabs on the performance of players, but that can carry over and help you in your daily handicapping. If a player has a nagging injury, like a hamstring pull, the fantasy player would often know about that because they are tracking their small circle of players. Then it could be time for the manager to rest that player and bring in someone normally on the bench. Again, this helps the fantasy manager in handicapping because it better explains the reasons why a particular player is slumping or ineffective.

Therefore when you examine games from a handicapping perspective, you can better understand why a team is in a slump. If a great leadoff hitter like Damon is hurting, maybe the Yankees insult slows down for a few games, going 3 straight under the total, for example. Or if a pitching staff is forced to go with relievers of Triple AAA pitchers as starters because of a double-header, anyone tracking those players in a fantasy league would have a leg up on most handicappers.

Another area where this can come into play is the ballpark. With so many new stadiums in baseball the last few years, it's imperative to keep a daily count of how hitters and pitchers fare in these parks. We've seen new stadiums in Seattle and San Diego with large outfields that have become excellent pitcher's parks. When fantasy offensive players go into those parks for 3 games, for instance, their offensive production may tail off. Or, a pitcher making the jump from a good pitcher's park to a home-run friendly field, like the Ballpark In Arlington, Coors Field, or the new parks in Cincy and Philly, would probably fare very differently.

For example, Randy Johnson a year ago went from the NL to the AL, and his production was significantly considering the first half of the 2005 season. The time spent in fantasy leagues can be very productive for handicapping purposes, as long as you now what to look for and how to use it.

Fantasy Baseball – Is It Time To Give Up On Your Draft Busts?

Chances are if you drafted Mark Teixeira, Richie Sexson or Felix Hernandez for your fantasy baseball team this season, you're not doing very well. Many players who were projected to have big numbers this year have struggled. The key to salvaging your season is knowing whether to stick with these guys and hope they turn…

Chances are if you drafted Mark Teixeira, Richie Sexson or Felix Hernandez for your fantasy baseball team this season, you're not doing very well. Many players who were projected to have big numbers this year have struggled. The key to salvaging your season is knowing whether to stick with these guys and hope they turn it around, or cut your losses and take what you can get for them.

Baseball is a six-month grind, and all players go through slumps and hot streaks. In the end, star-caliber players off to slow starts typically recover and reach or exceed their career rates.

The biggest bust so far has been Teixeira, who was a good preseason bet as AL MVP. The Texas slugger was expected to put up triple crown numbers and was a high first-round pick in most drafts. Heading into this weekend's games, he has five home runs and 23 RBIs, putting him on pace for 17 HRs and 79 RBIs – numbers that pale in comparison to his huge 43 HR, 144 RBI-season last year.

Many expect Teixeira to bounce back and hit 35-40 homers. I do not see that happening. He's not a streaky hitter; he has been a model of consistency the past couple of seasons. Even during his monster 2005 season, he never hit more than nine home runs in a month.

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram says that the Rangers offense has transformed itself from “bashers to scratchers.” “It's a different offense,” Teixeira said. “Last year, we had David [Dellucci] leading

Thus, it looks like Big Tex is in for a year, by his standards. He still will command a high price tag in a trade at this point of the season, so unload him now.

Sexson, meanwhile, has been hovering around the Mendoza line all season. The big Seattle first baseman is batting .208 entering this weekend's series with Minnesota. He's never hit for a high average as his career .267 average indications, but he always has had good power numbers. He belted 45 home runs in both 2001 and 2003 with the Brewers and had 39 last year with the Mariners. So far this season? Just six.

This is his second season in Seattle. In his second full season in Cleveland and Milwaukee he hit a rather pedestrian 31 and 29 homers, respectively. That's particularly where he'll end this year. If you can afford to carry his low average, he might be able to help you in home runs and RBIs. Do not shy away from trading him, however, if the right deal comes along.

The two most disappointing pitchers so far have been the Yankees 'Randy Johnson and the Mariners' Felix Hernandez.

Johnson looks to have lost his confidence. Thanks to the Yankees insulting averaging nearly eight runs a game in his starts, he has been able to post six victories. But his 5.89 ERA and 1.45 WHIP are frightening. He only has 49 strikeouts in 62 2/3 innings, well below his career average. In his past five starts, Johnson has surrendered seven home runs. He'll continue to get some wins and will have the occasional dominating performance, but do not expect the Randy of old to return. He's pitching more like Old Randy now.

While Johnson's career is about over, Hernandez's is just taking off. His slow start, his stuff is too good for him to continue this way. He's averaging more than a strikeout an inning even though his ERA (5.59) and WHIP (1.56) are out of control. Stick with Hernandez and expect his ERA to come back down below 4.00 and his WHIP down to the 1.30 range. Pitching for a bad Seattle team will hold his win total down, however.

Stick with these guys also: Bobby Abreu – The Phillies outfielder has his average up to .284. The home runs will come soon, and he plays in a great hitter's park; Aramis Ramirez – Like the rest of the Cubs, Ramirez has felt the loss of Derrek Lee. He will raise his .247 average to finish near his .275 career mark. He's on pace for around 31 homers, and when Lee returns in about month the RBI opportunities will return as well; Dontrelle Willis – The 24-year-old Marlins lefty is coming into his prime. He's still a solid pitcher since his high ERA and WHIP so far this season. He will finish close to his career numbers, 3.45 ERA, 1.27 WHIP. Also, there are rumors that he could have traded to a contender at some point, which would only help his value.

Try to deal these guys: Jimmy Rollins – Everyone was high on the Phillies shorstop as he came into the season with a 36-game hitting streak. The streak ended at 38 games, and Rollins has not done much since. He is a career .271 hitter, but look for numbers close to his 2003 season: .262, 8 HRs, 62 RBIs, 20 steals; Jon Garland – He had a breakout season last year, but before that he was no better than average. Garland has allowed 13 home runs and may at some point be in jeopardy of losing his spot in the White Sox rotation to Brandon McCarthy. If you can not trade him, you might want to drop him; Brad Lidge – He's not been the same since Albert Pujols hit that mammoth homer off him in the NLCS last year. Lidge has lost his confidence and is in danger of losing his job as the Astros closer. He still may accumulate a decent amount of saves, but he'll hurt you in ERA and WHIP.

It's no time to panic, but at the same time, do not be afraid to pull the trigger on that deal that could get you back on track.

The Essential Guide to the Fantasy Basketball Cheat Sheet: Part I

If you want to win your fantasy basketball league, you have to do your homework now, BEFORE THE DRAFT. The easiest way to do this is to make a Cheat Sheet. In the past, I've used two methods for making my Cheat Sheets: 1.) I use large Post-It Notes to display my information and stick…

If you want to win your fantasy basketball league, you have to do your homework now, BEFORE THE DRAFT. The easiest way to do this is to make a Cheat Sheet.

In the past, I've used two methods for making my Cheat Sheets: 1.) I use large Post-It Notes to display my information and stick them to the shelf above my computer screen in an easily viewable row; or 2.) I make the old fashioned 8 “” by 11 “blank sheet of paper cheat sheet. Which ever you pick is just a matter of convenience to you. The important part is the information you put on those cheat sheets.

The first Cheat Sheet I make is for each statistical category that is ranked in the league. Standard Yahoo Fantasy NBA scoring categories are: Field Goal%, Free Throw%, Three Pointers Made, Total Points, Rebounds, Assists, Steals, Blocks and Turnovers.

Every category is important, so you have to be aware of who the leaders are in each and who the Deal Breakers are in each category. It is virtually impossible to win your league and be in last place in any of these scoring categories. You can not always be strong in every category, but you have to be at least average in them.

The essential tools for compiling this information are:

The sortable stats found under the “Players” link in every Yahoo Fantasy NBA league;

Yahoo Sports NBA Sortable Stats http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/stats/byposition?pos=PG , SG, G, GF, SF, PF, F, FC, C; and

NBA.com's Statistics web page http://www.nba.com/statistics/

Using these tools, it's simply a matter of making lists. You need to use all of these tools however in making your lists for each statistical category to get every angle on how these players actually accrue those statistics. Before the draft, the “Players” link of Yahoo Fantasy NBA only has last season's total collected statistics. Both Yahoo Sports NBA statistics and NBA.Com's statistics give you more understandable game per games rates that tell a more complete story for last season when a player had a lot of games off for injury or suspension.

One of the best tools for compilation categorical statistical lists is NBA.com's Statistics per 48 minutes. Projecting statistics for last years young rookies, inexperienced or injured players, who will get more time this season can best be done with per 48 minute statistics. It shows you what kind of impact those players had when they were in the game, despite their lack of playing time.

In making my Cheat Sheets, I try to list the leaders in each statistical category that I know I would draft, from the category leader down to the better than average players in that statistic. I give greater weight in the shooting percentage categories to the players who shoot and score the most. It's best to use Yahoo Sports NBA Statistics to see who the true statistical users are with shooting percentages. This helps eliminate players that barely rarely scored or shot last season from the percentage rankings.

It's also important to find players that will hurt your chances of winning a statistical category. I call these players the “Deal Breakers”. Oftentimes a Deal Breaker is great in most statistical categories, but is absolutely horrid in one category, horrid enough to keep you from winning your league. The All-time largest Deal Breaker in Fantasy Basketball is Shaq. Shaq shoots more free throws than any player in the league and shoots a miserable 53.1% off the free throw line. He might actually miss more free throws in one night than the rest of your starting 5 might attempt … Find the Deal Breakers and exclude them from your draft list.

It's also good to look at statistics like assist to turnover and steal to turnover ratios. NBA.Com's statistics will give you access to this information. Assist to turnover ratio can be a very valuable tool in picking point guards to draft. Any player with a high steal to turnover ratio is a solid pick for your draft as well.

I always try to focus on the shooting percentages first when drafting, but I've also found that players that get a lot of steals are always ranked very highly in Yahoo Fantasy leagues. Steals always seem to lead to more assists, high percentage shots and lots of free throws.

Turnovers are the most ignored statistical in Fantasy Basketball. People tend to go for the highflying, high scoring players when drafting for fantasy leagues. I have found that I have more success winning fantasy leagues by drafting solid, less spectacular players, than superstars that are fun to watch. Some of the players that lead the league in turnovers are the games superstars: Allen Iverson, Dwayne Wade, Kobe Bryant and Steve Francis. A more successful Fantasy basketball alternative to these players, with regard to turnovers might be: Donyell Marshall, Michael Finley, Raef LaFrentz and Shane Battier.

In part II of this article we will look at putting together a draft board Cheat Sheet.