The first key ingredient to winning your fantasy football league is not screwing up at your fantasy football draft. As the saying goes: You can’t win your fantasy league at the draft, but you certainly can lose it there. It’s true. Dig yourself a deep enough hole with enough lousy football players, and you’ll spend the entire 2009 fantasy season trying to climb out of it. It happens in the NFL (see Lions, Detroit), and it applies to fantasy football as well.
The solution is to show up to the draft prepared. Whether you do a live offline draft or an online slow draft, you’ll need some information in front of you on which to base those tough fantasy general manager’s decisions. This, at the very least, should include a ranking sheet, also called a cheat sheet.
For your convenience, below is a list of numerous places to find rankings for fantasy football for the 2009 fantasy football (and NFL) season. They include a brief review of each, including how informative the page is, whether it’s clear and easy to decipher, and whether it’s conveniently printable. If you’re a hardcore fantasy football GM, by all means select several and compare them to form your own composite rankings.
You may not be able to lock up the title in August, but you can certainly make sure that you don’t cement your role as league doormat even before the week 1 kickoff.
ESPN, as always, is highly informative. Their fantasy football cheat sheet is clear, simple, and includes bye weeks in the player rankings, as well as a convenient bye week chart in the bottom corner that makes it easy to tell at a glance which teams share the same bye week. Just bear in mind that the rank number in front of each player is their overall rank, not their rank at that position. This may be beneficial if you’re trying to decide between two players at different positions, but it can also be confusing if you aren’t paying attention.
Fantasy Football Diehards
This is a unique tool that allows you to customize a cheat sheet to your fantasy football league’s scoring system. Enter your email address (or any email address, I suppose-no other registration is necessary) and then fill in the scoring parameters and starting lineup spots for your league. Presto-you get a printable, customized cheat sheet. In addition to players rankings and bye weeks, you can also print a sheet that includes scores for value-based drafting. As long as you generally agree with how the players are ranked within each position, this is possibly the most useful fantasy football cheat sheet available.
This site claims to be able to allow you to print a customizable fantasy football cheat sheet based on your own personal player rankings. Take their default settings, or adjust them to suit yourself. The catch? You have to register (free) to take full advantage of the tool.
Hawk32 (AC Contributer)
I would be remiss not to mention the fantasy football cheat sheets available from contributors right here on AC. Hawk32 has links to several types of fantasy football cheat sheets with player rankings, including with bye weeks and without. At the very least, check out what he has to offer.
ESPN’s cheat sheet: http://games-ak.espn.go.com/s/ffldraftkit/09/cheatsheets/cs090803.pdf
Football Diehards’ cheat sheet creator: http://cs.footballdiehards.com/index.cfm?requesttimeout=400&fuseaction=SplitPage&Xref=http://www.footballdiehards.com/
War Room’s cheat sheet creator: http://www.cheatsheetwarroom.com/fantasy-football/cheat-sheet-creation/my-player-rankings.aspx
Hawk32’s cheat sheets: http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/1939822/2009_fantasy_football_free_printable.html?cat=14