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Players that win Fantasy championships

Senior Fantasy Writer
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Charlie Sheen has made the word "winning" into one of the most overused and annoying catch phrases we've heard in several years. But to Fantasy owners, winning is still important. And yes, we have to talk about it all the time.

But what is the key to winning in Fantasy Football? Is it a good draft, where you get every player in every round that you want? Or is it playing the waiver wire and adding the right players before they become stars?

The answer for most Fantasy champions is likely both. The smart Fantasy owner knows the team picked on Draft Day rarely looks exactly the same by the time the playoffs start. At the same time, you don't want to be on the waiver wire every week and tweaking your roster in a complete overhaul.

To win a Fantasy title you need a solid roster on Draft Day and then make enough good additions during the year to have your team peaking in the postseason. And the data we have here for winning percentage over the past two seasons supports that notion.

Based on data from CBSSports.com Fantasy leagues, owners with Arian Foster had a .623 winning percentage in 2010. That's not hard to believe since Foster was the No. 1 running back last year, but his average draft position was Round 5. Even if you took Foster in Round 2, he was still a steal on Draft Day.

At No. 2 was Michael Vick (.573 winning percentage), and we all know he wasn't drafted in the majority of leagues. The same goes for Peyton Hillis (.550) at No. 8 and Jacob Tamme (.549) at No. 9.

The study is based on the winning percentage for Fantasy owners of all players owned by 80 percent or more in leagues on CBSSports.com, which came to about 160 players. Only commissioner leagues were considered with at least eight Fantasy teams or more. And the results showed some interesting points.

For example, owners who added Tamme after Dallas Clark went down in Week 6 with a wrist injury were happy. Adrian Peterson (.544) and Aaron Rodgers (.533) were the only players drafted in Round 1 last year that finished in the Top 20 in win percentage.

San Diego tight end Antonio Gates didn't factor for Fantasy owners in the playoffs because of foot and toe injuries, but he still had a .542 win percentage, good enough for No. 12 overall. And his teammate, wide receiver Vincent Jackson, only played in five games following a holdout, but he still had a .533 win percentage at No. 21 overall.

To fully understand this study, you have to realize that the players with the highest win percentage were all part of quality rosters, which accounted for their high total. Based on their average draft position, it's conceivable that a Fantasy owner drafted well with Peterson in Round 1, Roddy White in Round 2, Jamaal Charles in Round 3, Gates in Round 4, Dwayne Bowe in Round 5, Ahmad Bradshaw in Round 6 and Mike Wallace in Round 7 -- players who all had a .536 win percentage or higher, good enough for the Top 15.

If they whiffed on quarterback, all they had to do was add Vick off the waiver wire, and Tamme would have been a suitable replacement for Gates. You also could have added Hillis, Brandon Lloyd or Ryan Torain off waivers, and your Fantasy team was likely a championship contender.

On the other hand, you could have had this draft: Randy Moss in Round 1, Ryan Mathews in Round 2, Shonn Greene in Round 3, Steve Smith of the Giants in Round 4, Carson Palmer in Round 5, Beanie Wells in Round 6 and Donald Driver in Round 7. These players were all in the bottom 30 of win percentage at .475 or lower. Only a perfect trip to the waiver wire could have saved this team, but that's probably unlikely.

If you look back at the 2009 winning percentage, the data suggests again that a good draft followed by quality additions off the waiver wire is the key to success. In 2009, Chris Johnson (.604) had the highest win percentage along with other top draft picks like Aaron Rodgers (.567), Ray Rice (.564), Maurice Jones-Drew (.550), Andre Johnson (.542) and Reggie Wayne (.541).

But if you take a closer look, you'll also see names like Garrett Hartley (.563), Jerome Harrison (.557), Fred Davis (.548) and Jermichael Finley (.539) in the Top 15. These guys were added off the waiver wire and helped many owners win championships.

It might seem obvious that a good draft along with the right additions off the waiver wire is the key to winning in Fantasy Football. But you'd be surprised how many owners walk away on Draft Day saying that they won or lost their league based on the picks they made.

Playing the waiver wire might be more important than the draft. If you make the right moves, you might end up with a winning roster. It's something to keep in mind when looking ahead to 2011.

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us via Twitter . You can also follow Jamey at @jameyeisenberg . Do you have a question or a comment for our Fantasy staff? Drop us a line at dmfantasyfootball@cbs.com .

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Player News
Falcons' Roddy White misses practice with ankle injury
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3:49 pm ET) Falcons coach Mike Smith said Roddy White missed practice Wednesday with an ankle injury, according to ESPN reporter Vaugh McClure. 

White has 56 catches for 662 yards and five touchdowns this year and his coming off of a nine catch, 96 yard performance last week against the Browns. 


Redskins' Jordan Reed intends to play Sunday against the Colts
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3:38 pm ET) Redskins tight end Jordan Reed said he intends to play Sunday against the Colts, according to CSN Washington. Reed has missed six games this season, including Week 12.

Reed has been limited in his last two appearances, totaling just three catches for 39 yards. 


Redskins CB Tracy Porter (shoulder) headed to IR
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(3:33 pm ET) Redskins coach Jay Gruden said cornerback Tracy Porter (shoulder) will be placed on injured reserve. No corresponding move has been announced yet.

Porter finishes the season with five tackles (three solo) and one pass defense in three games.


Chargers RB Ryan Mathews appears OK for Sunday
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(3:33 pm ET) Chargers featured back Ryan Mathews appears ready to roll for the Sunday game in Baltimore after missing some of the Week 12 game with a shoulder injury sustained in the third quarter when two Rams defenders weighing a combined 600 pounds landed on it.

Mathews, who returned late in the fourth quarter, practiced Wednesday.


Report: Jets OLB Coples to replace injured Wilkerson at DE
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(3:18 pm ET) A turf toe injury that could sideline Jets defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson against Miami on Monday night will probably force outside linebacker Quinton Coples to move into that spot, according to the New York Daily News.

Coples has not been particularly productive. He has just 22 tackles and three sacks in 11 games.


Cardinals' Arians: RB Michael Bush signed for the long haul
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(3:13 pm ET) Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said Wednesday running back Michael Bush was signed for the long haul and not just for Sunday's game against the Falcons. He added Bush might play Week 13, but it is difficult to get up to speed that quickly.

Bush last played for the Bears in 2013. He has 3,250 rushing yards and 29 rushing touchdowns in 89 career games.


Raiders make several roster moves Wednesday
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(3:12 pm ET) The Raiders have made a flurry of moves, including the placing of tight end David Ausberry on the reserve/injured list with a foot injury sustained on Oct. 19. His place on the roster will be taken by defensive tackle Ricky Lumpkin, who was promoted from the practice squad.

Ausberry finishes the year with just two catches for 14 yards in six games.

Cornerback Jansen Watson, who was cut by Oakland before the season, has been added to the practice squad.


Cardinals WR Fitzgerald making progress, but misses practice
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(3:05 pm ET) Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald did not practice Wednesday, but added he is making progress in his recovery from a sprained MCL. Fitzgerald sat out Week 12 due to the injury.

The Cardinals are back in action Week 13 at Atlanta. If active, Fitzgerald will be facing a Falcons defense yielding 284.1 passing yards per game, which is the highest average in the NFL. The Falcons have allowed 14 passing touchdowns in 11 games.


Jets QB Vick understands reasons for losing starting job
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(2:59 pm ET) After meeting with Rex Ryan, Jets now-backup quarterback Michael Vick said he was "cool" with the decision by the coach to place Geno Smith back as the starter,

Vick started three games and managed a quarterback rating of 83.1. His lone dud was a 7-for-19 effort in a bad loss to Buffalo on Monday night. The team would like more time to judge Smith to determine his potential as a franchise quarterback. Vick claims to understand that.

"I know what I signed up for," he told NJ.com. "I came here to get better, to help Geno get better, and help this team win football games. I wish I could have won three. But I felt like I did everything I could ... Things didn't play out the way I wanted them too.

"I'm going to support Geno. ... That's my little brother. I want him to do well. I want him to succeed and excel. It's great to see him get another opportunity. He had a sour taste in his mouth, so now he gets a chance to go out and make it right."


Lions OL Dominic Raiola fined $10K for unnecessary roughness
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(2:59 pm ET) Lions offensive lineman Dominic Raiola was fined $10,000 for unnecessary roughness for his actions in the final minute of Sunday's game against the Patriots, according to NFL spokesman Michael Signora.

The NFL fined Raiola as he unnecessarily struck his opponent on a pass play, violating Rule 12, Section 2, Article 12(c) of the NFL Rule Book which prohibits "striking, swinging at, or clubbing the head, neck, or face of an opponent with the wrist(s), arm(s), elbow(s), or hand(s)."

The play was a third-and-9 from the Detroit 35 with 57 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter. Raiola was not fined for his block on the final snap of the game.


 
 
 
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