H2H College Football: Strategy
Mark Taylor breaks down the strategy to being successful when playing H2H College Football contest. It is the only contest that uses real players.
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This is part two of our Head2Head College Football Salary Cap game breakdown. If you missed the introduction to the game from last week, you can check that out here. In a nutshell, this H2H College game is a great way to get involved on Saturdays throughout the Fall and into the Winter. You have $100 Million to spend on a ten player roster each week and will compete throughout the regular season in head-to-head matchups. Make the playoffs and the Bowl season just got that much more enjoyable as you’ll compete for the $5,000 grand prize.
Now that we know more about the game itself, let’s have our first look at some strategies to employ and some players that stand out as we are just under two weeks from the College Football season from kicking off (technically, there are five games this coming Saturday, but this contest does not include them).
This strategy is more of a caveat. You certainly can feel free to “pick on” the FCS teams playing the big boys in the early going. That can be a sound strategy, however, I will warn you that this isn’t a sure-fire plan that will always net great results. College coaches will be quick with the hook of the top players in these games, as soon as the score seems out of reach. This will avoid injuries and also get valuable playing time to the younger players, who will soon be taking over the reigns. That said, there are plenty of occasions that the best players can put up full-game statistics in the first half against the less-equipped FCS opponents - or - the FCS up-start stays in the game enough to keep the starters in there. Here are some examples from a year ago:
Example 1: Baylor QB Seth Russell was a top option at the position in week two last year when the Bears took on Northwestern State. Russell and the Bears put up 48 first half points. He, himself, threw four touchdowns before giving way to the back up, Zach Smith for the second half.
Example 2: That same week, TCU was playing FCS South Dakota State. QB Kenny Hill needed to play well into the fourth quarter, adding an 8-yard touchdown run late in the fourth quarter to put this game away. He finished with 439 passing yards, two passing touchdowns and three more rushing touchdowns for a HUGE game.
Example 3: College fantasy players see a week three matchup with FCS North Dakota State and are excited to load up on those Iowa running backs. Both LeShun Daniels and Akrum Wadley are in play here. However, the Bison showed up and completely shut down the Hawkeye offense, eventually pulling out a 23-21 win in Iowa City. Daniels finished with 29 yards and Wadley just 20.
So, what gives? Simply put, the top FCS teams belong in the FBS level and can play with some of these teams. The Russell example was a game against an unranked FCS team. The Hill and Iowa runners examples featured two top-10 programs. The Bison are a perennial power at the lower level. So, just take a look at the FCS rankings to get a better idea of who exactly that unknown FCS team is that your players are playing before making these decisions.
Sure, this one seems pretty obvious. However, it is of the utmost importance to target games that have the best chance to go back-and-forth, getting out of hand. You can use Vegas to aid you in this process. Take a look at the highest totals (over/under) and then target the games/teams that have low (under seven) point spreads. There aren’t a whole lot of great examples for week one with so many one-sided affairs (and an expected defensive struggle in Michigan/Florida), however, it is a good chance to identify some cheaper players to target.
Vanderbilt is a 5.5 point favorite over high-powered Middle Tennessee State and will need to score to stay in this one. The total stands at 58. Quarterback Kyle Shurmur is just $14 (in the bottom third) and could be a solid week one play.
Looking ahead to week two, that showdown between Oklahoma and Ohio State could get out of hand offensively and you may want to invest in some shares of the stars in that one, led by both quarterbacks: Baker Mayfield (OU) and J.T. Barrett (Ohio St.).
Speaking of looking ahead. You are best served in this type of contest to do just that. You see, you can play for free and be eligible for all of the same payouts (including that grand prize), however, you must pay for your transactions. In fact, they cost $4.00 per. This can get a bit pricey as bye weeks start taking full effect. Again, as mentioned in the introduction article, we’d recommend bucking up for the $25 starter package that includes some extra features (including live scoring) and a full-team trade certificate (10 trades).
Regardless, since you are playing in the regular season to simply make the playoffs, in which, 16 of 30 teams from your league get in, you don’t need to spend a ton of money on trades to keep up. The only way to successfully do so, is to plan ahead.
When setting your initial roster, you should look at players who don’t have byes in the first three weeks - combining that with good matchups. Then, when you are forced to trade them out (you can’t take a zero from any position and expect to win that week), repeat this strategy. Look for players that you are confident you can play for three-plus weeks in a row (at least). This will keep your roster healthy and won’t require you to spend a lot on trades. In fact, you could still win enough to finish in the top half of your league, using just the ten trades that come with the sign up.
Never fear, I’ll be back to provide you with an “Initial Roster” strategy session to help get you off to a good start and identify a few players that you can stick with for a few weeks to get off to a good start and not drown in early trades.
When making roster decisions, keep in mind that there is a bit of a “stock market” play with this style of game as well. You can be rewarded by rostering a player before his price goes up. Let’s say you picked up Northwestern wide receiver Austin Carr last year early in the season last year. His price was very low and has subsequently risen because of his high level of play. You now have a true value on your roster. This will set up some decisions. Do you ride out a tough matchup with Michigan at the Big House one week to keep him at a low price? The answer is mostly, yes. First of all, there is no guarantee that he won’t still have a decent game against Michigan, and why bail on him for one tough week? Now, a bye week is a different situation. It would have to be a pretty severe circumstance to keep a player rostered on a bye week and take a zero, however, it’s not out of the realm of possibility if the price is THAT good. Riding the values, provides more cap to spend on other positions and increases your chances of cashing in.
Next up, we’ll do a position-by-position breakdown, highlighting the top players at each position and some of the better values as we continue to inch closer to August 31st.
Join the fun and play with/against me this season over at Head2Head sports: www.fantasyalarm.com/college