Thursday, November 27, 2008

Champions! Really????

Well yes!!! Really!!!
Come on, will you say. A champion full of himself. I should stop reading right now. Please don't! I won't even talk about the performance of my teams, in the champions league (Sweetness conference) or in any of the ten more leagues in which I play. What I want to talk about is "differences". (Experienced players won't learn a lot here but first year and newbies might).
After 12 weeks in the "sweetness conference" I have come to notice, more than ever before, some of the things that made these guys champions of their league. And taking a look at the best teams in each league I play, I do notice the same things!
First, I will clear out some aspects of the game that I am not going to adress. The FAB is important to field a winning team. Yes! The use of the waiver wire all season long too (may be not as much as the FAB, I admit, but close). But once the FAB is done and you are as active as you can be on the waiver wire to improve your team, and putting aside luck, and injuries which we cannot do a lot about, what can be done to improve our chances to win more games or to score more FPs?

STRATEGY!

And most champions have learned that, believe me!
So here is what I noticed in my champions league.... and confirmed by looking at the best FPs producing teams in my ten other leagues.

1. FP s+ and offensive bonus: Champions play within their offensive scheme. The vast majority of them anyway should I say. And that does make a difference. To illustrate this I checked the average FP s+ of each of my opponents in the Sweetness Conference and found out that for the games they played against me they averaged 15.2 FP s+ a game (and this include a team which the manager abandonned at the start of the season). I checked the same for some of my other leagues and the average was around 11 FP s+ per game. A difference of 4 FP each week to which you must add the offensive bonus (not much at the start of the season but quite a difference maker as the weeks go by). For the fun of it I took a look at the teams in all my leagues that produce the most fantasy points and they do play systematically play within their offensive scheme and are getting those bonus points. Yea! I know! A better team will produce more bonus points... but not if the manager plays outside his offensive scheme. So for those of you who don't (and there are many in my leagues) you should think about this strategy. I am not saying that you should absolutly always play 100% within your scheme, but most of the time yes you should. Those were averages I cited before, but if you are among those that play outside their offensive scheme frequently, you could be losing anywhere from 1 to 20 FPs a week (and sometimes more...).

2. Defensive coverage (stopping power): Another difference maker here... and a big one. I observed in the Sweetness Conference league and everywhere else that the best FPs producing teams succeed, a vast majority of the time, to have a much better defensive coverage than their opponents (by that I mean 10% or more). A lot of points lost here by managers who don't put enough care managing this aspect of GDR strategy. A special note to those of you who fix their defensive coverage at the start of the season and do not touch it thereafter. You are doomed!!!!! At least when you play against champions. Believe me they do notice it and you will be losing FPs by the ton! Think of something between 15 and 40 FPs each game. So vary your defensive coverage and, contrary to the offensive scheme, it can pay a lot to play outside your defensive scheme to better cover an opponent offense. You can easily look at your opponent average offense from the previous games, helping you to play a performing defense. Opinions vary here but personnally I do not believe that you should change your defensive scheme during the season. You can get good defensive coverage while playing outside your scheme without changing it! But at the start of the year you should take into account the offensive schemes of your opponents to better choose your defensive scheme. Champions do!

3. Blitzing: Yea! Blitzing! Not everyone sees that as useful, but believe me it is. And here i am speaking mostly to those of you setting their commitment to blitzing at zero, therefore never gaining a FP out of it! Well guys, a majority of champions use blitzing... and use it very well. If you are set on zero commitment, you are losing points, clear and simple. If you are just a bit careful with blitzing you will rarely show negative points out of it, and most weeks you should make at least 3 or more FPs. Believe me, champions do and most of them fully commit to blitzing (set at 10). Take a bit of time and consider this! You almost never see a week with zero blitz. Personnally I never have. Weeks with 7 or more plitz are rare, unless you have on your team the 4 or 5 best DL on the market or you are facing a QB that get sacked 4 times a week on average (which is rare too).... and even then, with bye weeks and injuries, 7 or more blitz are and will stay the exception. So you will have between 1 and 6 blitz a week. Make some test and you will see that you can at least safely blitz. You might lose some points 1 or 2 times during the season, but you will be adding points much more often.

Yes! I am nearly done ;)

Champions know that every single point counts... and you should realize that too. This season I even won a game by less than 1/10 of a point. Luck? May be. But he had a 1% defensive coverage on me while I had a 19% defensive coverage against him (he lost 14,.5 FPs there)... and I had one of those bad week blitzing.

For all those less experienced players among you and for those to come next year, believe me Strategy in GDR is quite a difference maker and you should put a lot of attention to it!

Hope these observations will be useful to some of you in their future matchups and good luck!

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