Rankings with Fantasy Coach Alex

Which player is better? Seems like a simple question right? All we are asking is which player will score more points in the upcoming season. Hindsight is 20/20 as they say so looking back at past seasons we can easily answer this question. However, when it comes to deciding on which player to draft for the upcoming season, we need a system to rank players in order to choose the best available players who are likely to score the most points at their respective positions during the season. That’s where rankings come in.

Rankings are likely the most widespread topic of fantasy football articles that you will come across. Experts and amateurs alike will have opinions on how good players are and many of them will create an ordered list to rank all of the fantasy relevant players (players who will score enough points to warrant drafting). A separate list of rankings is created for each position. For example, you will see a list of QBs ranked in order of best to worst. You will see the same thing specifically for RBs, WRs, TEs, Ks, DEF, and in some custom leagues you will even see individual defensive players ranked (IDP), although that is much less common. (I recommend fantasypros.com and idpguru.com for IDP rankings)

The astute reader may be wondering. Yeah OK Fantasy Coach Alex, that makes sense. I know how to choose a specific QB over another QB based on a list of rankings, but what about when I don’t know if I should choose a QB or a WR next in the draft? How do I compare players of different positions to each other? Don’t you worry, we will cover that in a later article dedicated to the strategy of Value Based Drafting (VBD). For now, let’s focus on determining which lists of rankings we should trust to guide us.

When you play fantasy football, you are likely to join a league hosted by one of the major websites. Yahoo! and ESPN are the two most popular ones. They each have sortable rankings built into their sites, crafted by teams of experts. I feel these rankings are pretty good, but if you really want an edge on your competition it is worth considering alternative rankings as well. My go to resources for rankings is fantasypros.com. They pull rankings from over 100 experts and consolidate them into one master rankings list for each position. If I could only use one source for rankings, this would be the one.

This isn’t to say don’t look at other websites for rankings. I do it and I recommend you do it too if you have the time to spare. This allows you to triangulate by having as many sources as possible to compare.

Alright, so we understand how to compare players of any one position to each other, but this still doesn’t tell us how many points each player will score. Without that information, how do we know how much better the first ranked QB is than the second ranked QB? If the second ranked QB is much less valuable than the first ranked QB, then they might be worth waiting on to draft. Again, hindsight is 20/20 and we can look at years past, but in terms of figuring out how much better QB1 is than QB2, we need to look at projections. Projections are speculated statistics of how well a player is expected to perform in the upcoming season. For instance, it may be speculated that the top quarterback will pass for 5,000 yards and 40 touchdowns. Thanks for huddling up with Fantasy Coach Alex. Come back next time, where I will coach you through what fantasy football player projections are and where to find them.

The Basics of Fantasy Football with Fantasy Coach Alex

They say you can’t teach size and you can’t teach talent. That’s true. We can’t all be 6 foot 6, weighing 265 pounds with a 33 and half inch vertical leap and a 7 foot wingspan like Rob Gronkowski. Unlike the physical traits of an NFL athlete, fantasy football success can be taught. It is a skill you can learn, by applying the right set of tools and strategies. In this blog series, I will coach you through which tools and strategies to use, how they work, and when to use them so that you will be yards ahead of your fantasy competition.

You are probably wondering who is this Fantasy Coach Alex guy and why should I listen to him? In the words of the Rolling Stones, please allow me to introduce myself, I’m a man of wealth and taste. A wealth of fantasy football knowledge and a taste of fantasy football championships that is. I’ve been playing fantasy football since 2001. Yahoo! has made their fantasy ratings data from 2009 onward publicly available and since that time, I’ve gone steadily up from Silver (top 60th-80th percentile) to Platinum (top 95th-98th percentile), even flirting with Diamond this past year (99th percentile) falling just two points shy, with three 1st place and two 2nd place finishes over that time.

Why am I writing a blog about fantasy football? The reason is simple. After all of these years of reading fantasy articles, I realized that information about fantasy football strategy and how to win is almost nowhere to be found. There are endless articles ranking players, projecting statistics, and recommending which players to start over other players any given week. There are tools you can use, many of which cost money, that will simplify the game for you. However, you are not likely to find much information out there guiding you on how to succeed, beyond some general advice for the first two rounds of a standard draft, or if you are saavy, maybe a nugget about value based drafting. I aim to fill in this information gap for you.

This first post will describe the very basics of what fantasy football is and how it works. For the seasoned veterans out there, you may wish to skip ahead to the next post. Fantasy football lets participants simulate the role of a football team owner, choosing which real NFL players will play for your squad. The fantasy players on your roster will accrue fantasy points each week based on the actual performance of those NFL players in their games. Pretty simple right? Anyone can play, but not everyone will win their league. I’m here to give you a leg up on your peers.

Typical leagues consist of 8-12 participants, though this can vary greatly. The typical “Standard” league awards:

  • 6 points for a non-passing touchdown
  • 4 points for a passing touchdown
  • 1 point for every 10 yards of offense (excluding passing yards).

The Standard roster consists of:

  • 1 QB (quarterback)
  • 2 WR (wide receiver)
  • 2 RB (running back)
  • 1 TE (tight end)
  • 1 Flex (wide receiver or running back)
  • 1 K (kicker)
  • 1 DEF (defense)

There are many other settings for how points are scored, and many variations on the Standard league scoring settings and rosters. I’ve played in standard leagues and custom leagues. The main league I play in has many custom settings, so the majority of fantasy advice I find out there is not completely relevant or applicable to me, since it generally focuses on Standard leagues. That’s OK. The strategies I’ve learned throughout the years will allow you to adapt to any league scoring settings and roster compositions.

One clarification I wish to make here is that my blog series focuses on “Season long” fantasy football where you draft one team to maintain throughout the entire football season. This is the format that most people refer to when they talk about fantasy football. This is different from “DFS” (daily fantasy sports), where participants draft a team for a day, or in the case of football, for one week, and then the rosters all reset after that. It is important to understand this distinction.

Some of you may be wondering, if you should jump in and give fantasy a try. Maybe you have heard about it, but are too intimidated to start playing. I’m not here to convince you to play or not to play, that’s not the question. What I will do is list a few of the benefits:

  1. It will give you an invested reason to watch NFL games, making the game more fun and engaging even if your favorite team is not playing.
  2. You will gain knowledge about what is going on in the NFL, allowing you to participate in those water cooler conversations at your workplace or when hanging out with friends and family.

Fun facts:

  • The fantasy football industry ($7 Billion in revenue in 2017) is approaching the size of the NFL itself ($13.7 Billion in revenue in 2017), with an estimated 59 million fantasy players in the US and Canada.
  • Many active NFL players play fantasy football

Thanks for huddling up with Fantasy Coach Alex. Come back next time, where I will coach you through fantasy football player rankings.


Wilson, R. (2018, October 20). Fantasy football, the $7 billion industry. Retrieved from