Customer Reviews: Fantasy Football for Smart People: How to Dominate Your Draft
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on May 25, 2012
I'm going to try and keep this short, but it will be tough. While I am no Fantasy Football(FF) expert I do consider myself to be very knowledgable. I put a fair amount of work into my season which started in April after the NFL draft, getting my boards and rankings together. (Yes, I'm a big dork, tell me about it). I've read a number of other publications about FF and they are all pretty crappy. They basically regurgitate the "truthisms" we always hear, "truthisms" that I love because it makes my opponents weaker.

This book stood out because it broke down those "truthisms" and showed why they couldn't be father from the truth. A quick example is that #1 overall pick is the best in the draft. 100% false and this book will explain why, along with many others. Reading this will give anyone an edge in their draft through it's statistical analyzation and formulas to prepare a strong draft board. Does that sound too confusing? It's not because the author has broken every step down in depth to make even the most mathematically challenged people like me understand it. The best part is that these are formulas you can use year after year. Instead of paying a website 30 bucks every year for their rankings you can make your own and you use the same formulas they use. I'm sure anyone who plays auction leagues could agree $9 for Foster in a dynasty league is a lot better than $30 for Foster in a re-draft.

The delicate balance between numbers, opinions, team needs, and position scarcity is well documented in this book and it does a great job in trying to help the reader understand the best way to use these factors to your advantage.

The best compliment I can give is that while I recommend this book to everyone, I really hope none of my league mates get their hands on it. I like having every possible advantage and this is without a doubt one of them.

Of course reading this book won't guarantee you will win your league but I can promise you if you spend the $9 it will help prepare you to have the best possible draft you can.
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on August 11, 2012
I am usually too busy to do more than one league this year, but for some reason decided to take on the task of doing 3 leagues. I had this feeling that the tired old $8 magazine and cheat sheets weren't going to cut it this year. For the record I have been playing Fantasy Football for 19 years, so I am no rookie and I have won championships and have failed miserably in leagues also. So for a guy who has played for 19 years to walk away from this read revved up and excited to use these strategies is saying something. Its an easy read and Jonathan makes some very compelling arguments as to why what he is saying makes sense and can back it up. The jist of the book is to get you to understand that Fantasy Football is like the stock market, draft players based on value and get them at the right price. It also has you factor in risk in who you are picking and determining if the risk is worth the reward and that all is factored in to when you drafted them. Andre Johnson in the 2nd round? BAD. Andre Johnson in the 5th? GREAT. But the biggest key for me is truly looking at "tiering" your players. See the drop offs, look at projections and to hell with the best player available strategy. The way I see it, you can buy this ebook for $5.99 and his projections sheets on his site using his math but using your scoring system for $2.99 and spend about what you would spend on a dated fantasy football magazine that came out in May that is a bunch of folks no more qualified than I am grasping at straws and telling you the same stuff year after year. Pull the trigger on this now and go into your draft knowing you did the right thing and will have a weekly powerhouse with consistent performance instead of doing the sit em start em strategy. 2 Thumbs way up!
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on August 30, 2012
Did you know that Tight Ends are the most likely to repeat last year's success, followed by QBs, followed by RBs, followed by WRs?

Neither did I.

Jonathan Bales sets himself apart from the rest of fantasy football writers in that he does actual analysis. He actually analyzes statistics using linear regression, and finds how reliable last year's stats are -- as far as I know, nobody else does this.

Obviously he does more than this: Bales also pays close attention to OTAs, training camp, preseason etc. Using objective statistical techniques combined with close personal observation (changes in coaching staff, playbooks, etc.), Bales offers strategy and insight that is second to none.

Furthermore, at least in my personal experience, after having bought his rankings cheat-sheet for all of $3, he has generously answered my elaborate questions and given me personal advice after I shared the results of my draft with him via e-mail.

For anyone who has ever studied even basic statistics and believed that what they have studied was at least partially less than complete BS, you will find that Jonathan Bales offers legitimate, mathematical reasoning to his insight that you simply won't find anywhere else in the fantasy football world.

Having utilized his strategies, ways of looking at fantasy football, and his fantasy football cheat sheets (which are conveniently done in tiers), I feel as confident as I ever have in my rosters this year.
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on July 27, 2012
If you saw Money Ball, you saw an example of how this book can help you prepare for a draft using math science and the "real" statistics. It makes total sense and once you grasp the concept, it opens your eyes to things you never really thought about. For example, the concept of Risk and Upside in tangible terms and numbers you can see. Knowing scarcity and how that relates to your choice from round to round in addition to knowing the percentages of how many players at various positions repeat prior year production. The numbers were surprising and you get a different story than all the other websites and pundits. Back to the Money Ball reference... when you hold your draft, everyone else in the room will be old school scouts, and you will be PETE.

It's Bill James for Fantasy Football. Grab this book, do your research, do the math and be ready to get blown away. People I thought were much further down the depth chart or standing out as great pics and you can prove (through math) why. Of course the players still have to play the game, and you can't predict injuries... but wow what an advantage it is when you can wait a round, knowing all the other guys will pass... and then pick up someone more valuable than the guy you drafted the round before. = VALUE.

GET THIS BOOK... unless you are in my league... then move on to the other garbage out there.
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on August 23, 2012
Although this book will be confusing for some (the title does say "for Smart People," after all), it is mostly concise and well-written, and introduces interesting uses of statistics to create the best all around fantasy football team. The formatting on the Kindle edition is a little weird (default font size is very small, no chapter numbers), so I would recommend that others try the paperback. That being said, the author (Jonathan Bales) clearly comes across as someone who knows his stuff and loves the game, and he quickly responded to an email I sent him and he was able to answer the questions I had that were not addressed in the book. The way I see it, I didn't just spend $5.99 for a book, but for access to someone with incredible knowledge of all things fantasy football.
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on April 16, 2013
Within a week of bringing our baby home I knew my fantasy drafts where going to have to be smarter and more focused, going to have to prep in hours instead of days. Will be using for the '13 season. so no results yet, but after browsing through it, I can see some very specific formulaic approaches that look pretty interesting.
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on August 5, 2013
I've been doing fantasy football since I was in grade school, and for the last few years I've been trying to find someone with a solid, statistical, Bill James type approach to fantasy football. Jonathan Bales gives it to us in How to Dominate Your Draft. It doesn't matter if you are a 'math person' or not; if you enjoy fantasy football, you will love this book. He explains his statistical findings in a way that the average person would be able to understand. He also backs everything up he says with stats and logic. He doesn't just say something like "RB X will have a good year this year because... uh... he's a good RB and stuff" like some 'gurus' do. He backs everything up with hard statistical analysis. I was surprised when I read some of his predictions but I'll believe his predictions over another's any day simply because he backs them up with numbers. There are many other surprises like this one in this book, both about specific players and fantasy football in general. He doesn't go along with what the crowd says; he goes with what the numbers say.

The main reason I love this book though is because he gives you solid, practical advice to help you do well in your draft. He puts a lot of emphasis on position scarcity. In the most basic sense, position scarcity is the idea that a player who is projected to do well at a position that doesn't have a lot of good players is more valuable than player who is projected to do well at a position that has an abundance of talent. He also talks about how to use game theory to help you figure out what the other owners will do so that you can draft accordingly and gain an advantage.

If you're debating on whether or not to buy this book, let me help you out: BUY THIS BOOK!! It's not expensive (I got the Kindle edition for $7 - the paperback edition is less than $13 last time I checked and you can get the e-book on his site for $5) and it's full of AMAZING information. Also, most fantasy football books that I find are super basic: they give you some scoring systems, tell you how it works, and maybe give a couple of general strategies. One of the things I really appreciate about this book is that he skips all the really basic stuff (like telling you how many points a rushing TD is worth) and goes right into the meaty, statistically backed stuff. I almost done reading it for the second time around and I'm still picking up on some stuff. Also, don't be intimidated if you're new to fantasy football. Like I said earlier, he writes in a way that's pretty easy to understand, and if you have questions about the content, he provides his email address so that you can ask him questions.

This guy is as close as you can get to the Bill James of fantasy football. My draft is in about a month and I have never felt so prepared. After the season, I'll post an update to let you all know how well I did.

In my initial review, I said that I would post an update on how well my season went, so here it is. I purchased both this book and his player rankings that you can buy on his website. I ended up making it to the final four in a twelve team league but then losing. This was partly due to bad luck, since I had started both Ryan Tannehill and Lamar Miller in week 16, and the Dolphins somehow got shut out by Buffalo's defense... anyways, here's the team I drafted:

QB: Aaron Rodgers
RB: Demarco Murray, Darren McFadden, Lamar Miller
WR: Vincent Jackson, Marques Colston, Justin Blackmon

I was 6-2 until Rodgers got injured (then 3-5 after), then I just played Ben Roethlisberger/Ryan Tannehill based on weekly matchups. Murray had a great year, McFadden did pretty well until he got hurt, Miller was on and off. Jackson had a great year, Colston had a few good games, Blackmon did really well until he got suspended. I REALLY wanted Josh Gordon in the draft, and I thought I could get him cheap (I'm in an auction league), but I got in a bidding war with a guy who has been doing fantasy football for longer than I've been alive and he ended up going for more than what I was willing to pay for him at the time, but looking back he definitely would have been worth it. Oh well.
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on March 29, 2013
I was incredibly pleased with Jonathan's overview of Fantasy Football drafting strategy. As other reviews have noted, there are some equations involved if you want to go that deep that might scare off the less mass savvy among us, but even so, it's worth the read as there are plenty of over arching points to take away without doing complex math. I found this book towards the end of last season and can't wait to put it into practice this coming season!
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on June 21, 2013
I lost in the finals of my league last year to a guy who read Mr. Bales' book, he drafted Doug Martin, Dez Bryant, Ryan Mathews, CJ Spiller, and Vincent Jackson. I told him not to bother buying the book this year as I have read two of his books which include this one. Very informative with a lot of statistical backtesting. I also recommend going to his site and getting his rankings. It is pretty cheap and he updates it for you. I look forward to winning a few leagues this year!!
Sanjay Biswas, Esq.
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on June 10, 2012
I have been playing in various fantasy leagues for approx. 8 yrs. now and have studied alot of formulas, theories, techniques, etc. I can honestly say many of the concepts in this book were new to me and will definitely help me "up my game". I got the Kindle version and read it cover to cover the first night. I am definitely no math wiz, but with the easy to follow formulas I really believe even those who are math challenged can follow along. Like some of the previous reviews have said, some of these concepts may be a bit much at first for novice players, but definitely I think can be helpful. Veteran players I think will truely appreciate this book as it wraps up concepts, some of which may be new and some of which may be a significan twist to concepts they may know of already, in an easy to understand and very usable way. Great book, I will be reading it again and would recommend it to anyone that is serious about their fantasy football.
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