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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
Andre Williams could surprise again
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(6:58 pm ET) Though I don't know that he's ready for a platoon role, believing his strong showing Week 4 at Washington happened mainly because the Giants saw fit to rest their starting running back in a blowout, rookie Andre Williams has the perfect matchup to make the most of whatever opportunities he gets Week 5 against Atlanta. The Falcons rank 28th against the run, allowing 153.5 yards per game, and have given up nine touchdowns on the ground, four more than any other team.

Even better, they've been sort of the magic elixir for running back tandems this season. Not only did the Vikings' Matt Asiata and Jerick McKinnon both have big games against them last week, the former rushing for 78 yards and three touchdowns and the latter rushing for 135 yards, but the Bengals' Giovani Bernard and Jeremy Hill both had big games against them in Week 2, the former rushing for 90 yards and a touchdown and the latter rushing for 74 yards and a touchdown.

Of the two lead CBSSports.com Fantasy Football analysts, Jamey Eisenberg ranks Williams the highest for this week, placing him 28th among running backs, so we're talking little more than an emergency flex option in standard 12-team leagues. Still, you wouldn't be completely out of your mind to play him coming off last week's performance.


Rashad Jennings should come roaring back
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(6:39 pm ET) After being limited to just three touches in the second half of a blowout victory Week 4 at Washington, Giants running back Rashad Jennings has a chance to get back in his Fantasy owners' good graces in Week 5. He'll be facing a Falcons defense that just gave up 241 rushing yards to the Vikings, making them 28th against the run. They've also allowed nine touchdowns on the ground, four more than any other team.

Because rookie Andre Williams performed so well in relief of Jennings last week, rushing for 66 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries, you may be worried the two will split carries in some form or fashion going forward. While I don't think that's much of a concern -- Williams was already getting 5-10 carries a game and not doing much with them -- I'm not sure it really matters with this matchup. The Falcons have been the magic elixir for running back tandems this season. Not only did the Vikings' Matt Asiata and Jerick McKinnon both have big games against them last week, the former rushing for 78 yards and three touchdowns and the latter rushing for 135 yards, but the Bengals' Giovani Bernard and Jeremy Hill both had big games against them in Week 2, the former rushing for 90 yards and a touchdown and the latter rushing for 74 yards and a touchdown.

Jamey Eisenberg and Dave Richard both rank Jennings among their top six running backs for Week 5, and I agree wholeheartedly. He remains a must-start despite the disappointment of last week.


Alfred Morris running into tough matchup
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(5:57 pm ET) For as good as Alfred Morris is, owning him in Fantasy can leave you disappointed at times, given the Redskins' sometimes-inconsistent usage of him. You might want to skip the headache in Week 5, with the Seahawks on the way Monday night.

Morris has been productive in each game so far, and currently ranks fifth in the NFL in rushing yardage through four games. Unfortunately, he faces one of the toughest tests in the league this week. The Seahawks have yet to allow an opposing running back to score even six points this season, and their lone touchdown allowed came from little-used Packers fullback John Kuhn in Week 1. Morris has yet to face Seattle in his career, and they are unlikely to give him a very warm welcome.

Morris is nearly a must-start Fantasy option on a weekly basis, but this is one time you might want to avoid relying on him. The workload should be there, but Morris ranks outside of the top-30 for running backs in both Jamey Eisenberg and Dave Richard's Week 5 rankings.   


Jets add LeQuan Lewis, subtract Brandon Smith
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(5:55 pm ET) The Jets signed cornerback LeQuan Lewis to their practice squad and released corner Brandon Smith from the squad, reports the New York Daily News.

Panthers add Tauren Poole, Horace Miller to practice squad
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(5:50 pm ET) The Panthers signed running back Tauren Poole and linebacker Horace Miller to their practice squad.

Austin Seferian-Jenkins an interesting long-term prospect
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(5:48 pm ET) Buccaneers tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins returned from a foot injury and immediately served as a key part of the offense in Week 4. Does the rookie second-rounder have sleeper Fantasy potential moving forward?

Seferian-Jenkins was targeted on seven of quarterback Mike Glennon's 42 throws in Sunday's game, a number that left him third on the team. He brought in three of those passes, a decent number considering Glennon struggled with his accuracy all game. The fact that Glennon looked his way so often might be a good sign, since it was the pair's first game together.

After a collegiate career that saw him total 1,840 yards in three seasons, Seferian-Jenkins has a chance to become a big part of this Tampa Bay offense. However, he obviously has a lot to prove before you want to rely on him. Keep an eye on Seferian-Jenkins' play in Week 5 against the Saints, and consider adding him if he and Glennon show a good rapport. 


Lions put Montell Owens on IR
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(5:47 pm ET) The Lions put running back Montell Owens on injured reserve with a hamstring injury, ending his season.

LaMichael James signs with Dolphins
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(5:42 pm ET) Former 49ers running back LaMichael James signed with the Dolphins, reports Fox Sports. San Francisco released the oft-injured back following the season opener.

Luke Willson has a lot to prove with increased role
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(5:35 pm ET) The Seahawks will turn to Luke Willson to start at tight end in the coming weeks, with Zach Miller sidelined by ankle surgery. Should Fantasy owners take notice?

Miller had logged 83.5 percent of the team's snaps through three games, so Willson should be in line for a much larger role as the starter. Of course, Miller was nearly a nonfactor in the passing game so far, having been targeted just seven times. Between he and Willson, quarterback Russell Wilson has targeted tight ends just eight times on 87 attempts, after 20.6 percent of his passes went their way a year ago.

Willson might be the better pass catcher of the Seahawks tight end tandem, but we don't have much to go on here. There are better tight end options worth targeting on waivers, at least until Willson proves himself. 


Christian Ponder preparing to start
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(5:28 pm ET) Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder took the first-team reps Monday and Tuesday while rookie Teddy Bridgewater watched with an ankle injury. "I'm preparing to play, but we're hoping the best for Teddy," Ponder told reporters.

"I've talked to Teddy. He's doing everything he can to prepare and be ready to play."

Ponder has started 35 games, but none with Norv Turner as offensive coordinator. He could be under center Thursday in Green Bay. "It's a very different style of offense than what we've ran the previous three years," Ponder said. "Without Adrian [Peterson], it's different. Defenses play us differently without Adrian. I'm comfortable and fit well in it."


 
 
 
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