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The season is here, keep your Fantasy Football team strong all season

This article is Sponsored by CenturyLink

Fantasy football is big business. In the U.S. and Canada, more than 57 million people play and a third of those are women, according to the Fantasy Sports Trade Association. Total annual revenue is difficult to pinpoint, but one research expert said the number was about $2.6 billion in 2015 and it could exceed $14 billion by 2020.

Besides the hardcore ‘gamers’ who play for big money weekly using online betting sites, tens of millions play fantasy football just for fun. Whether playing for real money or individual glory, everyone wants a winning edge.

One way to keep up with the games and players is to stay on top of the games and players. CenturyLink’s Prism TV with multiview and watch-and-record options allows you to see all the action.

Here are some tips for stacking the odds in your favor.

Analyze risk

“At a fundamental level, fantasy football is all about minimizing risk and giving yourself the best odds to win on a weekly basis,” according to Matthew Berry, a senior writer at ESPN. “No one can predict the future. So all you can do is stack the odds in your favor as much as possible. How do we do that? Answer this question: What’s most likely to happen? And then do that.”

As an example, Berry explains during the past three years, running backs taken in the top 30 overall on have missed 131 total games (2.98 games a season on average), and receivers have missed only 43 (1.43 games on average).

In other words, taking wide receivers in the first round has lower risk than drafting running backs.

Receivers and quarterbacks

Invest early draft picks in top quarterbacks or receivers, suggests Yahoo! Sports’ fantasy football analyst Brad Evans in an article for Men’s Fitness. He explains fantasy players tend to expend high draft picks on highly touted running backs, who often don’t pan out. Instead, he advises stockpiling a stable of running backs late in the draft. If more than one pays off, you have trading material.

On the other hand, Chris Roling, a columnist for, advises you should never draft a quarterback in the first round.

“Sure, having Cam Newton or Tom Brady would be great, but taking one of them in the first round at arguably the deepest position in fantasy doesn’t make a ton of sense. Remember, Ryan Fitzpatrick and Kirk Cousins scored more than 270 points last year, whereas Matt Ryan and Ben Roethlisberger did not.”

Get enough sleepers

ESPN describes a fantasy sleeper as “a player who will far surpass his average draft position (ADP) in standard ESPN leagues for the 2016 season.”

To have a chance at a great fantasy football season, you almost always need a sleeper or two. Some of the likely quarterback sleepers named by the ESPN analysts include Matthew Stafford, Marcus Mariota, Brock Osweiler and Derek Carr.

One step above sleepers are breakouts: Players who “leap into or close to the upper echelon of players at his position for the first time because of a dramatic increase in production.”

The Arizona Cardinals are a known quantity this year, so their players are not represented on many sleeper lists, but wide receiver John Brown is named as a potential breakout. He is described as “a special athlete with strong wide receiver skills, and it’s only a matter of time before he truly rises to the top of the Arizona receiving corps and becomes an annual WR1 selection.”

Trust the math

Like most gambling, fantasy football comes down to averages, odds and probabilities. Anomalies can’t exist for long.

“If a player’s previous season was extraordinary, chances are — as pessimistic as it may sound — they will decline in the following season,” explains LA Daily News sports writer Ryan Kartje. He cites the example of Cincinnati Bengals tight end Tyler Eifert who had 52 catches and 12 touchdowns in 2015. That means he scored on nearly a fourth of his catches — a rate that is unlikely to persist. That is especially true for Eifert, because he is injured to start the season and will probably be less than 100 percent when he returns.

Of course, the most important tip for fantasy football is to have fun. If you’re stressed out because your season isn’t working out like you hoped, then you’re missing the point. In that case, just sit back, relax, and enjoy watching the games on CenturyLink’s Prism TV.

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