Beware of Newton’s apples in June

August is when you put on the riflescope and decide how to rank one player over another in the same tier, but in June you need a sledgehammer to do any real damage.

One of the biggest mistake people can do is to focus and get lost on details when the overall picture is still not painted. You need to see the forest before you cherry pick a tree. That is not just a Daily Fantasy Football advice; it goes for your life too.

The minicamp is on the way, but the players still have not put the pads on yet. There is no need or reason to make your rankings yet. In fact, it could harm you. In June you need an open mind and all options open.

You paint the background with broad stroke and try to find the right color schemes. The finishing touch, the Mona Lisa-smile of Daily Fantasy Football is what you find the last day of preseason. When you have done all your homework, when your fantasy has run in every direction, your fantasy gold will materialize. Like magic!

Let’s look at the Quarter Back position. You only have one QB in your lineup, and he is, on average, the player that scores you the most points. If you’re QB doesn’t have a good day you will lose. It’s as simple as that.

It doesn’t mean that you should go all-in on the QB position. Fantasy Football and even more so Daily Fantasy Football is a game of relative value. But it does mean you should focus a lot of your efforts on finding the right QB.

What you must do is a top-down analyze. You can start by looking at the last year’s fantasy production for example. You can check out which QB’s are consistent and which have a more volatile production. You break down the numbers without any bias and ideas will materialize. You take those ideas and break them down even further, and so on. Your analyze start at the top and you follow the facts down to details, and that’s how you’ll find fantasy gold.

What you mustn’t do is to start with an idea and try to build a case for it. Let’s say you like QB Cam Newton this year (like most everybody else) and you try to build a case for it.

It’s very easy. He looked great last season, had a record-breaking year, is young and can and should develop, is a dual-threat, gets his number one Wide Receiver Kelvin Benjamin back from injury. Panthers lost one of the best Corner Backs in the NFL Josh Norman, QB Cam Newton’s fantasy production will benefit from a worse defense, and they have a good O-line. And so on. Pretty soon you have a very strong case for Cam Newton being ranked number one of all Quarter Backs, with pretty much no risk or downside.

I don’t recommend going all-in on QB Cam Newton, because that’s what you have to do if you want a piece of him. There will be a long line of Homers in front of you.

Here are some arguments against Cam Newton as your fantasy QB. He has problems with his accuracy, his style with a lot of running adds injury risk as we have seen before, and his success pretty much depends on the number of his running Touch Downs. Last season he had an amazing 10 of them. It is not hard to imagine that the opponents will focus on trying to narrow that number. When he was a rookie and an unknown he had an amazing 14 running TD’s, after that 8, 6, and 5. An estimation for 2016 of about 8 seems reasonable and he probably need around 12 to be fantasy worthy.

The good part is that you don’t need to go all-in on him early. Check him out for a couple of week, and if he looks great you can paunch when he is facing the right match up. You gotta love Daily Fantasy Football!

Here are some questions you should ask about every QB when you do your top-down analyze:

  1. How good is the defense? A bad defense is gold. Jaguars took me to the championship last year when they piled up garbage points every 4th quarter being down a millions points or so.
  2. How good is the offensive line? Very important and very undervalued. I’m almost all-in on the o-line every year. I will post my O-line ranking later.
  3. How good are the corner backs? Important both for your QB’s team (see point 1) and in Daily Fantasy Football even more important in the opposing team. I will post my CB ranking later.
  4. Do the opponents respect the running game? This can be an absolute killer if the defense focuses solely on the passing game.
  5. How good is the number one Wide Receiver? Does the opponents fear him, is he available of fighting successfully for the ball after a bad pass, and does he have a good connection with the QB?

Forget all the obvious apples that fall to the ground. It’s the season for top-down analyze. You need to climb up in the tree. Do it without prejudice and bias and you might be surprised with what you come up with. And don’t discard it, because it could be Daily Fantasy Football gold.