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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
Colts' Luck on new contract: 'There's nothing there right now'
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(10:01 am ET) An ESPN report surfaced last week stating the Colts were working on making quarterback Andrew Luck the highest-paid player in the NFL. When asked about the subject at the Pro Bowl, Luck seemed surprise when he heard the news.

"There's nothing there right now," Luck said, per The Indianapolis Star. "I didn't think about it all during the season and it's only been a few days since it ended. I haven't thought about it. I will have conversations with my agent just because you have to prepare, but I'm not sure where that report came from."

Luck has two years remaining on the $22 million deal he signed as a rookie in 2012. It includes a team option for 2016, which must be exercised later this year.

Luck just completed his third season in the NFL. He has been to the Pro Bowl every year he's been in the NFL. He's gone 11-5 in every season as an NFL starter. He threw for a career-best 40 touchdowns in 2014 and led Indianapolis to the AFC title game this season.


Seahawks' Sherman disappointed he won't receive gifts from Pro Bowl
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(9:48 am ET) In case you missed Sunday's Pro Bowl, Team Irvin knocked off Team Carter, 32-28, thanks to a second-half rally, which included touchdown catches by Emmanuel Sanders and Jimmy Graham.

While many Pro Bowl players that made the original roster were absent from the game due to injuries, Pro Bowl players from the Patriots and Seahawks also did not play due to preparations for next Sunday's Super Bowl.

One player who seemed upset about missing the Pro Bowl was Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman. However, it was for a reason you probably wouldn't suspect.

“Only thing I’m disappointed in is they won’t give us our gifts from the Pro Bowl, which is kind of dumb,” Sherman said, per The Boston Globe. “The NFL is the only league that punishes the players who actually make the All-Star game by not giving them their gifts. It’s supposed to be watches and some other stuff, but we don’t get them so I couldn’t tell you.”


Patriots' Tom Brady on Deflategate: 'My feelings got hurt'
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(9:33 am ET) If you have been out of the loop for the last week, then you might be unaware the Patriots have been under a lot of scrutiny since the AFC title game due to improperly inflated footballs used against the Colts. The media hoopla has transformed the controversy into what we know as Deflategate.

If you haven't been out of the loop, then you are well aware of the nonstop coverage it has received the last week and despite the Patriots pleas for it to go away, it just won't.

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has had to deal with the backlash from Deflategate, and he found himself talking about the subject again Monday morning during an interview with WEEI.

“It’s all speculation,” Brady said. “I’ve tried to wrap my head around it, too. I’ve done that and I’m trying to move past that, because I continue to try to rehash things. I personalized a lot of things and thought this was all about me, and my feelings got hurt. Then I moved past it, because it’s not serving me. What’s serving me is try to prepare for the game ahead. I’ll deal with whatever happens later. I’ll have my opportunity to try to figure out what happened and figure out a theory like everyone else is trying to do. But this isn’t the time for that. Honestly, I’m not interested in trying to find out right now, because we have the biggest game of our season ahead.”

One topic Brady didn't have a problem addressing was the speculation coach Bill Belichick threw him under the bus during a press conference on Thursday. But Brady came to the defense of Belichick, who has won three Super Bowls as the Patriots coach.

“I’ve never once felt that we’re not on the same page,” Brady said. “He’s a great coach. He’s the only coach I’ve ever played for; he’s the only coach I’d ever want to play for. There’s a lot of people over the years that have criticized him, but I’d say there’s not one player who’s ever played for him who’s not had an unbelievable amount of respect for him and how he prepares and his diligence and his preparation."


Giants' Odell Beckham says he played with hamstring tears
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(12:24 am ET) Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham said he played all season with two tears in his hamstrings, according to the New York Daily News.

Beckham took part in the Pro Bowl on Sunday, but admitted he's still not fully healed. Beckham said the injuries prevented him from getting to that "last gear that I wanted to have." He added that the injuries really bothered him against the Eagles and Colts. Beckham said he was "stumbling" and falling over during those games. He added that he's not sure whether he'll ever be 100 percent again.

The rookie had a tremendous season, hauling in 91 balls for 1,305 yards and 12 touchdowns. 


Patriots' Tom Brady meeting with NFL after Super Bowl 49
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(1/25/2015) Patriots quarterback Tom Brady doesn't expect to meet with the NFL until after Super Bowl XLIX, according to NFL.com.

The Patriots have been in the headlines all week due to Deflategate, and it appears the situation won't be resolved until after the season. "I believe they're going to do [a meeting] after the season," Brady said. "So we'll deal with it after this game. I think everybody is locked in, ready to go for the Super Bowl." Both Brady and coach Bill Belichick have held separate press conferences during the week to deny the team's involvement in deflating their footballs. 

The Patriots are subject to punishment from the NFL if the league finds any wrongdoing during the investigation. 


Earl Thomas on bad shoulder: 'I'll still play fearless'
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(1/25/2015) Seahawks safety Earl Thomas, who dislocated his shoulder in the NFC Championship Game, could remain limited in practice this week ahead of the Super Bowl, reports the Seattle Times. But he said he won't be thinking about the injury against the Patriots.

"When I come alive nothing is limited,’’ he said. “I’ll still play fearless, throw my body around, and let whatever happens, happens.’’

Thomas did allow that he might have to rely more on his teammates.

“My mindset is I have an opportunity to really trust my teammates,’’ he said. “This is the first game I’m going to have to trust them because of my injury. So I really, really, really trust my teammates, and that’s what I’m banking on, my teammates doing what they need to do and I need to come through myself.’’

It's unclear if Thomas will need offseason surgery.

The Seahawks are 1-point underdogs after opening as 2.5-point favorites.


Colts QB Matt Hasselbeck pondering retirement
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(1/25/2015) Colts backup quarterback Matt Hasselbeck told ESPN.com he's not sure if he'll retire or return for a 17th season. Hasselbeck, 39, appeared in four games this season and played well, posting a 102.6 passer rating.

He's set to hit unrestricted free agency.


Colts expected to part ways with center A.Q. Shipley
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(1/25/2015) Colts center A.Q. Shipley is headed for unrestricted free agency, and the team is expected to let him go, reports ESPN.com. 

"Shipley went from starting in Week 1 to losing his starting job, to being inactive, to being the third-string center," the report said. "All without any explanation from coach Chuck Pagano or anybody in the front office."

Shipley, 28, has played in 45 career games, starting 19.


Report: Dolphins aim to re-sign TE Charles Clay
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(1/25/2015) The Dolphins have privately indicated they want to re-sign impending free agent tight end Charles Clay and will make him an offer in coming weeks, reports the Miami Herald. Clay caught 58 passes for 605 yards and three touchdowns in 14 games this season.

Miami also is high on Clay's backup, Dion Sims, who's signed through 2016, the paper said.


Browns extremely thin -- and short -- at wide receiver
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(1/25/2015) With wideout Josh Gordon facing a one-year suspension, the Browns are dangerously thin at receiver entering 2015. ESPN.com notes the Browns have two returning slot receivers in Andrew Hawkins and Taylor Gabriel and "an undersized situational receiver" in 5-10 Travis Benjamin.

Miles Austin is scheduled for unrestricted free agency after catching 47 passes for 568 yards and two touchdowns in 12 games. Tight end Jordan Cameron also is set to be an unrestricted free agent.

Hawkins, a 5-7, 180-pounder, led the team with 63 grabs for 824 yards, with two touchdowns. Cleveland failed to add a wideout in last year's draft but almost certainly must address the position in the 2015 draft.


 
 
 
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