Fantasy Football: What You Need to Know

Fantasy football has quickly grown to be a favorite activity among sports fans. Leagues of 10-12 teams pop up everywhere on campus, whether it be within a sports team, dorm hall or just a group of friends. Friends compete for an ultimate prize; months and months of bragging rights. Fantasy football is a challenging competition that tests the knowledge and intuition of all players. However, the National Football League (NFL) tends to be an unpredictable league with plenty of surprises, some pleasant and some shocking, throughout the fantasy season.

“Even when you know, you never really know,” said Thom Hennelly, first-year.

Although fantasy football seems to be a very calculated game, much of the time it’s following hunches that may pay off greatly. Following your gut feeling is appropriate at times. It’s still important to use plenty of logic and analyze the statistics, structuring your team in a way that will theoretically score the most points on a consistent basis.

You’ll have a lot of opportunities to modify and hopefully improve your roster throughout the season. If your roster isn’t getting better, it is probably getting worse.

Per my philosophy, the most important aspect of building a competitive team is the waiver wire. New value is constantly emerging from the free agent pool throughout the fantasy season and taking advantage of this is the most effective way to make your team better, fast.

Here are the players I’d suggest grabbing via the waiver wire for week three:

Dion Lewis, running back (RB), New England Patriots

Lewis has come into the Patriots offense as a replacement for Shane Vereen. Though he has had plenty of opportunities to rush the ball, Lewis’ value primarily comes from his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield, which he has done 10 times for 149 yards throughout the first two weeks. Though coach Bill Belichick makes it hard to predict who will be productive from the Pats’ backfield on any given week, Vereen always managed to be productive on a consistent basis, and as Lewis assumes the same role upon Vereen’s departure, I think he will remain consistent as well.

Rishard Matthews, wide receiver (WR), Miami Dolphins

Fourth-year quarterback Ryan Tannehill keeps getting better. This means that the Dolphins offense will have more fantasy value to offer. Matthews is a young, talented player who seems to be finally gaining a regular role in head coach Joe Philbin’s offense. Tannehill has targeted Matthews 13 times thus far, and with the run game in Miami struggling, I’m guessing Miami will lean heavily on Matthews to pick up the slack in the coming weeks.

Dorial Green-Beckham, WR, Tennessee Titans

DGB was the top WR prospect in the nation coming out of high school and arguably the most talented receiver in this year’s draft. At six-foot-five inches and 240 pounds, DGB has the natural athletic ability that few football players are lucky to possess, even at the professional level. Last week, he showcased his talent, beating pro-bowler Joe Haden and snagging a pass out of the air for his first career touchdown. Given his playmaking ability, Green-Beckham is likely to ascend in the Tennessee depth chart in the coming weeks. DGB has absolutely massive upside. I would suggest claiming him now before he is claimed by one of your opponents.

Matt Jones, RB, Washington Redskins

Jones came out of nowhere last week, rushing for 123 yards two of touchdowns. Jones seems to have earned a role in this offensive line, at least for now. Although he will have to share the workload with starter Alfred Morris, Washington’s run-heavy offense will likely offer plenty of opportunities to both backs.

James Jones, WR, Green Bay Packers

Jones has returned to Green Bay, where he made a name for himself. The Packers are without their top WR this season after Jordy Nelson tore his ACL. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers is great at spreading the ball around the offense, typically meaning that the Packers top 3 WRs all achieve some level of fantasy value, so Jones’s spot on the depth chart behind Cobb and Adams will not hinder his opportunities. Jones has proved his value already this season, scoring three touchdowns in two games.

Hopefully these suggestions will help you score a few extra points this coming week. To everyone who will be pursuing fantasy glory this season, I wish you good luck. If you remember to be constantly taking steps to improve your roster and build a championship-caliber team, you will have a good chance of succeeding this season.

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