The League

Fantasy Check

New commissioner, new rules


Patrick Marshall, a self-described "longtime lurker on fantasy chats," e-mailed me the following other day:

"I'm in a league with friends that has been going on for years, and in the past I have been very successful, with a few championship seasons under my belt. Recently, our commissioner retired from the league, and a new commish took over. Suddenly, my previously successful strategies have failed me. Typically, I draft proven players, RB's first, and draft for good depth so I am never desperately searching for bye-week replacements, or unable to cover for injuries.

"But the new commissioner has made changes in the league. We went from 12 or 14 teams in the league to 10 teams. We have smaller starting rosters, 2 flex spots, and a shorter bench. There is a much greater supply of available free agents.

"Is it time to revise my draft strategy to forget depth, and start looking for a high risk/high reward stud for each spot without worrying about backups? And do I start chasing the waiver wire this season and picking up the hot new player without regard to my bench?
How do you revise your strategies each year for different leagues? How do I break my old habits and return to the top? I'm losing to people's girlfriend's who signed up just for fun. It's embarrassing."

First Patrick, thanks for the question, but before I get into the answer, I want to let readers of this blog know the Fantasy Live Chat is no more for now. Fantasy players still have a pipeline to me via e-mail at

I've mentioned this recent development in an earlier post, but I want to give chatters time to get your e-mail questions to me this week, so I'm reminding you again.

Now back to the question.

In 10-team leagues, the draft strategy should be to take the best player available regardless of position. You're basically looking at an all-star fantasy roster for just about every team, so it doesn't really matter if you wait to fill a particular position.

So for example, picking Peyton Manning first overall is perfectly sound strategy, and you certainly don't want to adhere to the RB-first doctrine that had been standard operating procedure for fantasy junkies for so many years. This year's lack of production from first-round running backs has all but blown up that blueprint for fantasy success.

Also, your bench is really not an issue in 10-team leagues because you'll be able to add viable starters off the waiver wire virtually every week. I avoid joining smaller leagues because a lot of the study that goes into picking sleepers and long shots isn't required. What fun is setting an all-star lineup every week?

As far as losing to people's girlfriends, all I will say on that is that it's good to know more women are joining fantasy leagues.

Best of luck the rest of the season, and keep hope alive my friend.

By Gene Wang  |  October 20, 2009; 3:00 PM ET  | Category:  Fantasy Football Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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great website:

Posted by: L | October 20, 2009 9:27 PM

We've had at least 2 women in my fantasy league the last 3 seasons. Last year we had 3. We're back to 2 this season. My wife and my friend's wife like football and take fantasy seriously. Both have won the league championship.

Posted by: Shock | October 21, 2009 11:29 PM

Thanks for the tips Mean Gene. I didn't mean to slight female fantasy players, just players who join leagues on a whim. But I'm with you, no more leagues that don't require study and planning for depth.

Posted by: pmarshall | October 22, 2009 9:29 AM

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