By Adam K. Raymond for Style + Tech For Men
Playing fantasy football is like running a marathon: If you try it without preparing, you’ll end up in the back of the pack, vomiting all over yourself, with no chance of ever catching the leaders. Unlike marathons, preparing for fantasy football is best done with a laptop and a cheese plate, and at no time does it involve any real physical exertion. On that laptop you should visit the websites, blogs, forums and Twitter accounts listed below. They’ll provide all the information you’ll need to know to become the Vince Lombardi of your fantasy league. As for the cheese plate … well, we recommend something that won’t turn your breath toxic. No one likes that.
In fantasy football, it’s all about being first. You want to pick first, be in first place and, most importantly, know the news first. When it comes to being first with football news, few do it like Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen of ESPN and Jason La Canfora of NFL.com. These NFL insiders have sources in every team’s locker room and, in all likelihood, their concession stands. If you want to be the first to know who’s starting at running back for the Redskins and just how quickly you should sprint to the waiver wire to pick him up, these are your guys to follow on Twitter.
Staying on top of your fantasy football league is all about staying on top of real football news. You could be the least knowledgeable fan in your league, but as long as you’re the most informed, you’ll have a chance to run away with the championship. For up-to-the second news, Rotoworld.com and FootballGuys.com are your home. Both sites bring in a constant stream of information collected from reporters around the country. A quick click on these sites will tell you who is hurt, whose starting position is up for grabs, and who’s changing his last name to a Spanish number. When something happens in the world of football, you’ll find it here.
Among all the unknowns in fantasy football (e.g., Will Michael Vick repeat his 2010? Will Bill Belichick dress like an adult?), there’s one thing you can depend on: players getting hurt. From ACL tears to concussions, broken bones and turf toe, injuries are as common as interceptions in the NFL, and being aware of them is one of the keys to fantasy success. The best way to get the whole story on football injuries, including how severe they are and how long they’ll keep a player out, is to follow experts Stephania Bell and Will Carroll on Twitter. Never let a torn meniscus cost you a game again.
Sometimes it’s not enough to know all the news and have all the injury updates. Sometimes you just need some advice. That’s where the fantasy gurus come in. Guys like Andy Behrens, Matthew Berry and Dave Richard are extremely active on Twitter and go out of their way to answer fan questions. Want to know whom to start on Monday night or if you’re getting fleeced in a trade? These are the experts to ask.
A champion fantasy owner’s Sunday morning looks like this: Wake up, make coffee, start studying. His first stops should always be FFToolbox.com, DraftSharks.com and FootballDocs.com, three sites with an endless amount of information to help you put the best lineup on the field. These sites catalog everything from the strength of run defenses to offensive line rankings and squeeze in a few dumb jokes to keep you entertained. Devouring this information before you devour a pound of guacamole can be the difference between finishing first and finishing behind your dumb cousin Darrell.
The Peanut Gallery
Consulting with experts can be helpful, and reading scoops from insiders is always illuminating. But sometimes you just want to share your fantasy life with people who love the game as much as you do. That’s when it’s time to head to FantasyFootballCafe.com and TheHuddle.com. These forums are more active than Michael Vick in the pocket and provide you with a place to consult with fellow owners on trades, waiver wire pickups and your team’s chances. For those of you who didn’t pay attention to everything listed above, there’s even a place to vent your frustrations.
Adam K. Raymond is an obsessive sports fan with five fantasy trophies on his shelf. He has written about baseball, basketball and football for Hemispheres, Go and MTV.com.
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