A week of preseason football is complete.   At this point, every fantasy owner should be in the books – doing their homework.  Yes, homework.  Too often, fantasy owners with “some” experience tend to believe that they have all it takes to win their league based on experience alone.  But that experience must always be bolstered by research and analysis that are current and relevant.  Without it, fantasy owners subject themselves to the illusion that experience trumps homework.  And that is a recipe for fantasy disaster and embarrassment.

Every season in recent memory, ESPN’s Matthew Berry publishes his Draft Day Manifesto.  Again, some of you may not be fans of Berry’s work.  I get that.  But he is very good at what he does.  So even if you do not necessarily agree with his conclusions, his thought processes are worth a look.  My recommendation is that you go read his 2015 manifesto: Matthew Berry’s Draft Day Manifesto 2015.  In there, you will find some gold nuggets,  In particular, three of his points are worth seriously considering.  The first two have to do with his suggestion that you seek fantasy players with high floor and/or with high upside.  That is correct.  All of your fantasy players should either have a high floor for fantasy points or a high potential upside every week for scoring lots of fantasy points – or both.

The other point I would focus on in Berry’s manifesto is the section titled “First or Last”.  I almost wrote something along these lines for 2015 before I changed the tone of my blogs.  This season, instead of following the traditional fantasy football draft strategy of running backs first, wide receivers second, etc., fantasy owners would be wise to recognize the wide gap at each position between elite players and the Tier 2 players at those respective positions.  It is huge!  Subject to specific league settings that may deviate from the norm, fantasy owners in 2015 should aim for the elite players from all offensive positions before moving into Tier 2 of any of those positions.  As Berry advises, be the first to draft at one of those positions, or the last to draft at those positions.  It is a different construct than most seasons, but very advisable in 2015.

Another piece of reading I recommend to all fantasy owners is FantasyGuru.com.  In their site, you can read John Hansen’s draft manifesto.  Now, for my part, I don’t really care for it.  It is too long, and he tends to stick with the same strategy every season.  BUT… he is good at what he does.  So, his manifesto is worth a read for your own education’s sake.  Bounce it off of whatever you are thinking of using as a draft strategy this season.  Also, he walks his readers through his thinking as he moves through a draft.  That is a very valuable exercise in and of itself.  Perhaps most important, though, is that you peruse the fantasy projections for 2015 in FantasyGuru.com.  There is no other site that consistently mirrors my projections like theirs does.  In my opinion, their projections are pretty spot on – certainly worth a look (and the membership cost) as you prepare for the upcoming season.

Finally, as I mentioned last preseason, fantasy owners that have the time and money ($15) should look into obtaining a copy of the Football Almanac from Football Outsiders.  This book will walk you through each NFL team, with in-depth supporting research, on how they are likely to fare (and why) during the upcoming season.  Although this book is intended for NFL enthusiasts at large, it provides fantasy owners with a reality check on their perception of each NFL team and the potential (or the lack thereof) that they carry with them and their players going into the 2015 season.  A highly recommended 554 pages worth of reading (footballoutsiders.com).

So there you have it folks – a good bit of focused homework for fantasy owners everywhere.  May the time and effort you put into preparation for the new season pay high dividends to each and every one of you.  Barring unforeseen injuries and circumstances, it usually does pay off to do your homework.  May the fantasy gods be with you as you put you preparation into practice on draft day.

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