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Can you feel the excitement in the air?  Fantasy football is ready to go on tilt!  All NFL training camps are opening this week.  That means fantasy football players will get flooded with everyone’s sleepers and opinions for two months prior to the fireworksstart of the regular season.  Let’s use this time in a different way, by educating yourself to spot things.  Find ways to exploit the news and the preseason games to your advantage.

Do not over-react to news

If you follow people on Twitter, find beat writers or national reporters that support their information.  Has that writer been following the team for years with an ear to ownership or the coaching staff?  Sometimes they could be getting the information spoon fed to them with some alternative motives, look into it and don’t trust blindly.  Unless I’m hearing it directly from Adam Schefter or Steelers beat writer that I trust, I tend to wait for official word to come out.

Injuries are a little different in my eyes. I tend to react a bit quicker to those concerns versus playing time/coaching issues. 

Watch the preseason games

These somewhat meaningless games can give glimpses into personnel groups, play calling, etc.  Is the coaching staff trying to get the rookie or free agent some time with the starters?  Just having a huge productive game against the third and fourth stringers is exciting, and if that player doesn’t move up to perform with the second team the next preseason game they might not make the team.  Victor Cruz was awesome as a free agent a few years ago in the fourth quarter of preseason games, but he slowly started seeing more time against better competition.  Production in preseason does not always equal production in the regular season, but it can offer some insight.

Does the player look lost?  Are they coming on and off the field, only to spend a few minutes with a coach chewing their ear off?  Rookies and free agents might spend a lot of time there, but was that just the first preseason game or every game?  How does your favorite rookie running back look in pass pro?  If a back cannot pas protect, they will not be on the field for most of the time.  If a receiver runs the wrong route and causes the ball to be intercepted, they won’t be on the gridiron either.  Young linebackers that over pursue plays tend to get replaced as well.

The NFL Network will show every preseason game within a week the game being played.  Sure you need to record at all times of the days and night.  Try to push through and watch the second string groupings after the starters have their helmets off.  Is the backup running back good enough to get your team 80% of the production the starter is?  If they can’t create space on their own against the twos, how will they look going against better defenders?

The biggest thrill about being a dynasty owner is you get to scout players that you want for your team. Maybe you didn’t get the chance to get one of these players on your team in your draft, but you could get that opportunity later.  So take notes and track your hunches, you might find some cheap talent before everyone else does. Enjoy the preseason!



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