Its fantasy draft day and you’re on the clock with the No. 5 overall pick in your 10-team league, and right now you’re torn between selecting Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell or New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski. The first fills maybe the most important role in all of fantasy football, while the second could be poised for another historic year and might wind up as the highest scoring receiver in any league format.
Every fantasy owner’s been in this position before and many will simply select the highest ranking player listed on their host site. But rankings vary from site to site, and thus owners may still be unsure of what to do.
If the proposed scenario were held on Yahoo’s system then Bell would be the pick at the No. 5. The outcome would be the same on CBS’s fantasy hub, but on ESPN the pick would actually be Seattle Seahawks rusher Marshawn Lynch and Gronkowski wouldn’t even be selected until No. 16 overall.
That’s why owners need far more than one or two lists to fully flesh out their draft and season strategies. Owners know they need every edge possible in order to win the league championship, and there are several tools and websites devoted to helping players at every fantasy skill and experience level excel.
Here are the six best and essential sites and tools to better your chances of claiming a fantasy league title this season.
An incredibly useful tool that owners should check before and during their drafts and throughout the season. This USA Today-hub keeps up-to-date depth charts specifically for fantasy leagues. Before selecting any player, no matter the position, owners need to know whether their taking the starter or backup in order to maximize fantasy production. For those willing to invest in their team, the site also offers a full access to its analysis and “Insider” injury reports for $29.95.
First and foremost, FantasyPros provides owners the official and evolving rankings all around the from top fantasy sites ESPN, Yahoo, CBS, and the NFL. This allows owners to compare and contrast rankings all on a single webpage and perhaps figure out which players represent greater value in late rounds. Fantasy Pros also offers its “Who Should I Draft” tool, which directly compares players and provides the consensus choice from the best minds in fantasy sports.
This site has several excellent tools that will make the draft a much less arduous process. If you’re in an auction-draft league, NumberFire provides each player’s full value and their price range. It also has “risk profiles” for those owners who prefer to rely on the more dependable fantasy studs. But perhaps the best tool is the draft “Tier Sheets,” which separate or rank players by tiers. Essentially, according to NumberFire, if Matt Ryan and Russell Wilson are both available, then Ryan is the stronger pick because he’s in Tier 1 while Wilson’s next up in Tier 2. This allows players to maximize value rather than reaching or taking a chance on a player in a much lower tier.
One of the fantasy bastions, RotoWire’s premium service gives owners every bit of research and team news they could ever need. Their team profiles are in-depth and clear, and could be equally understood by first-time fantasy players and appreciated by fantasy veterans. It’s a premium service with subscriptions ranging from $14.99 for one month to $129.99 for two years, but any subscription gives owners access to Rotowire’s draft software, an invaluable program that allows players to craft and plot their drafts in any format well ahead of time.
For those unwilling to shell out too much money, RotoViz is a cheaper alternative that provides high-quality fantasy analysis and rankings. A one-day pass costs a buck, and $30 gets owners seven months of access to unique perspectives, draft strategies, rankings, and a swarm of apps. The apps include detailed analysis and similarity scores for every fantasy position, as well as a draft optimizer and player career graphs.
Fantasy Football Today
A cleanly-designed, straightforward site, FFToday might be most useful to novice or slightly experienced fantasy owners. The site’s most valuable tool might help owners when it comes time to select a defense in the draft or when their torn on which defense to start from week-to-week. FFToday breaks down which defenses play the best and worst against each position.