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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
Steelers could be without three defensive players for a while
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(10:09 am ET) Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier suffered a sprained MCL Sunday against the Panthers and will undergo an MRI Monday, according to ESPN. 

Linebacker Jarvis Jones likely needs wrist surgery after getting hurt Sunday and will be sidelined indefinitely. Cornerback Ike Taylor could also miss some time after suffering a broken arm against Carolina.


Making sense of Baltimore's backfield, post-Taliaferro breakout
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(9:48 am ET) It took just about every other back being unavailable, but Ravens rookie running back Lorenzo Taliaferro got the chance to shine in Week 3 against the Browns.

Taliaferro led the Ravens in rushing yards Sunday, racking up a team-high 91 on 18 carries, including a 31-yard long run and a 1-yard touchdown. However, he was actually less effective on a per-touch basis than Justin Forsett, who averaged 5.7 yards per carry to Taliaferro's 5.1. Is Taliaferro a star in the making, or just a flash in the pan?

Among the four players who have had at least 10 carries through three games against the Browns, Taliaferro actually ranked fourth in yards per carry, as the Browns are giving up 5.2 yards per carry to opposing running backs. Though you will certainly want to go out and add Taliaferro, be mindful of the fact that he did his work against a team that has been pitiful against the run thus far.

The Ravens have seemed to be looking for reasons to push Bernard Pierce down the depth chart this season, but it is not clear if Taliaferro's performance in Week 3 will be enough to do that for good. With Taliaferro's emergence, the Ravens look to have three dependable options in the back field, meaning he is likely to be working in a crowded backfield for the time being. Taliaferro is an interesting pickup, though likely not a Fantasy starter at this point. 


Eddie Lacy working on improving run game
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(9:43 am ET) After facing three of the league's best run defenses through three weeks, it probably comes as no surprise the Packers rank 27th in rushing offense, averaging 78.7 rushing yards per game.

Perhaps even more alarming is that star running back Eddie Lacy is averaging 37.7 rushing yards per game and 3.1 yards per carry after averaging 78.5 and 4.1, respectively, in 2013.

"We have to change our mind-set," Lacy said, per the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "We had a few opportunities as backs that we didn't take advantage of, whether we made the wrong read or tried to press too much. It's a long season and we're going to get it to where we need it to be.

"We just have to figure out better ways to run the ball. I don't know if I have to be more patient or speed things up but one way or another I'm responsible for the run game."


Panthers DST gets steamrolled
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(12:55 am ET) After opening the season with two strong performances, the Panthers DST got run over Week 3 by the Steelers. Carolina allowed a whopping 264 rushing yards and 454 total yards in the 37-19 loss. Pittsburgh averaged 7.8 yards per carry.

Carolina mustered one sack, by defensive end Mario Addison, and zero turnovers. The Panthers DST will try to bounce back Week 4 at Baltimore.


Graham Gano goes for seven points
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(12:51 am ET) Panthers kicker Graham Gano converted a pair of 40-yard field goals and a PAT in the Week 3 loss to the Steelers. He'll visit the Ravens in Week 4.

Panthers get offensive contributions
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(12:49 am ET) The Panthers got some minor contributions in their Week 3 loss to the Steelers. Wideout Brenton Bersin made a 29-yard catch, and receiver Jason Avant caught two of six targets for 12 yards.

Greg Olsen finds paydirt
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(12:47 am ET) Panthers tight end Greg Olsen continued his strong start to the season with another touchdown catch Week 3 against the Steelers. Early in the fourth quarter, Olsen caught an out route and turned upfield for a 37-yard touchdown.

He finished with five grabs on seven targets for 69 yards. Olsen has 224 receiving yards and two scores entering Week 4 at Baltimore.


Philly Brown up and down in first start
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(12:44 am ET) With Carolina hurting at receiver, Panthers rookie Philly Brown got his first start Week 3 and had some strong moments, catching seven passes for 66 yards. But Brown made a huge mistake that virtually killed his team's comeback chances.

Early in the fourth quarter, he fumbled a punt return and the Steelers receovered for a touchdown.

An Onio State product, Brown drew nine targets, second-most on the team. The catches were the first of his career. He'll look to improve Week 4 at Baltimore.


Kelvin Benjamin posts first 100-yard game
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(12:37 am ET) Panthers rookie receiver Kelvin Benjamin stayed on the fast track to stardom Sunday night with his first 100-yard game. He caught eight passes for 115 yards and a touchdown in the loss to the Steelers.

Benjamin made a slew of contested catches, including a 35-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter from Derek Anderson. Benjamin drew a game-high 11 targets and is now averaging nine targets per game.

While he again dropped a couple passes, Benjamin has clearly emerged as Carolina's No. 1 receiver. He has 253 receiving yards and two scores entering Week 4 at Baltimore.


Derek Anderson plays well in relief
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(12:31 am ET) Panthers quarterback Derek Anderson relieved Cam Newton in the fourth quarter of the Week 3 loss to the Steelers and played well. Anderson completed 5 of 6 throws for 80 yards, including a 35-yard touchdown to rookie wideout Kelvin Benjamin.

Anderson will go back to the bench for Week 4 at Baltimore.


 
 
 
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