Fantasy Football Lessons 1/5: Target Better Offenses And Greater Time Of Possession
Updated: Feb 20
When deciding between two players for your last flex spot, look at which team will have the ball for longer.
I miss the fantasy buzz already. I know we have our dynasty leagues and all of our rookie drafts to get excited about. But nothing is quite like the seconds before RedZone starts on a Sunday, frantically scrolling through your multiple teams to check all your players are active.
It feels as if every time we get to the NFL playoffs, a worthwhile exercise would be to look back at the previous glorious 18 or so weeks to figure out where it all went right or wrong. It rarely happens; we rarely give it enough time. We move on to the next thing in life far too quickly without learning from past experiences to improve.
Let’s spend some time looking back. I have five lessons relating to draft strategy or flex spot selections that I have either learned or slightly tweaked an opinion on during this crazy 2021 season. Please remember that these are my lessons learned, and yours will be different, although the goal in sharing these is to get you thinking.
I’ll kick things off with a topic that I could easily write multiple articles on and would quite happily dive a lot deeper into during this offseason. Simply put - In order for your offensive players to score fantasy points, the offense must be on the field (excluding any crazy scoring systems). I found that on the occasions where I needed a flex from my bench or from the wire, predicting who would have the ball more in a contest, resulted in more opportunities to score points. This would be regardless if they are run-heavy or pass-happy teams.
It sounds pretty simple, and you may think ‘well of course, if I’m 50/50 between two players, I’m going with the better offense’. Sure. Well, what if that decision was between more touches on a weaker team who had the ball less vs fewer touches on a better team who had the ball more? We could differentiate here a little between RBs and pass-catchers, as I’m firmly in the category of volume is king for RBs but not so much for WRs and TEs.
There is nothing worse than seeing a player in your line-up go 3-and-out multiple times in a row. Even if he touches it all 3 times, the maximum number of yards that he will gain will be 9 and then punting on 4th down (excluding penalties). More and more offenses are going for it on 4th down also (and converting), something to keep an eye on in the future. I’m not saying a player on the Jets, Giants or Jaguars (each in the bottom 5 of time-of-possession) cannot ever outscore someone from the Ravens, Bills or Packers (each in the top 5 of time-of-possession), but you want to tie yourself to good offenses who can move the chains. This is a game of percentages after all.