The 2013 NFL season is just about here and that means it’s primetime for fans across the nation to scour the Internet, thumb through magazines and talk with friends in search of the latest player news ahead of their fantasy football drafts.
According to the Fantasy Trade Sports Association, more than 26 million people in the U.S. and Canada played in at least one fantasy football league last year.
Dave Del Grande, a longtime sportswriter who’s currently writing for the SportsXchange and has covered the fantasy beat in the past, too, said the key to a successful fantasy football season is draft day preparation. “Draft day is the most important day of the year in fantasy football, you don’t have to go crazy and dedicate a lot of time during the season, but you need to do your homework before the draft.”
Del Grande began playing fantasy football in the late 1970s when information was culled from newspaper reports and stats boxes. He said access to information on smartphones and the Web makes it easy for even casual fantasy players to gather the data needed to put together a successful team. But with so many options available, information overload is possible.
If a player only has time to review a few websites or apps, Del Grande recommends checking out ESPN and NFL resources. “ESPN is clearly the frontrunner in fantasy football. They seem to always add a new element or two to stay ahead.”
Del Grande said his favorite ESPN feature is the average draft position option. Using that tool, players can see a consensus list of the average draft spot for the top 200 players according to where they were picked in ESPN Fantasy Football online drafts.
“I find that much more insightful than the rankings of one expert,” Del Grande said, adding that it gives another source of data to determine those you are competing against might select a particular player.
NFL fantasy football resources, including NFL Mobile, are another source for information. Del Grande said for fantasy football fans, the NFL’s strength lies in the number of writers and experts it has committed to providing daily insights on players for the upcoming season. The NFL mobile app features a fantasy football section that includes expert analysis from multiple sources. It also provides access to other items such as a player comparison tool.
For fantasy football novices and veterans, technology can ensure players have the best information to get an edge on the competition.