From time to time, I get emails from folks within the fantasy football community telling me about their great products, and most of them really are useful. Unfortunately, I rarely get a chance to highlight them for you, the readers, because fantasy football talk, the heart of all we do here at Fantasy Football Fools, always comes first.
To make you aware of some of the cool fantasy football projects, applications and items out there, and to clean out my email inbox, I’ve decided to do the occasional product roundup post — starting with the one you’re reading right now if you couldn’t tell where this is going.
Many of them are products that I haven’t gotten a chance to test out. I’m just relaying the info to you. If you have any experience with them, if you like what they have to offer or if you want to take it upon yourself to review them for the fantasy football community, please, by all means, share your knowledge in the comments.
For Your Fantasy Football Draft
I know it might be too late already for some of these draft products, but if you like what you see, there’s always next year.
Free Footballguys.com Fantasy Football Magazine and Tools
Football Jabber highlighted the Footballguys.com free magazine offer earlier this offseason, but if you missed it, you should visit their free offering now before you draft. Footballguys.com provides some of the best analysis and fantasy football scouting in the biz, and if you’d rather have them speak it at you, their podcast, The Audible, provides you with more sound-bite-size nuggets of fantasy football information than you can listen to in any given week.
Not only is Footballguys.com giving away their 250-page magazine electronically, but they are also providing in-depth fantasy football tools like Rate My Team, which provides you with a complete analysis of your draft once you’ve assembled your squad. People love it. It drills down to which players might start for you each week throughout the season and where bye weeks could hurt you. I’ve enjoyed plugging in a few of my teams to see what they recommend.
For all this fantasy football research and more, visit the Footballguys.com free tools section.
iPhone Fantasy Football Draft App: Studs & Duds
I’m not an iPhone user, but the creator of the Studs & Duds Fantasy Football Draft Kit contacted us about testing it out, and it seems to be one of the good ones.
If you’ve used this app or any other iPhone apps to draft your fantasy football team, how did they stack up? The only person I’ve seen using an iPhone app cheatsheet thus far was a Houston Texans homer who drafted Matt Schaub in the third round. I’m guessing the draft app didn’t tell him to do that.
FanDraft Digital Draft Board
The first of its kind, FanDraft is a piece of software that projects your draft board onto a wall or television and allows players to select teams with all the excitement of the real NFL draft … but without the Mel Kiper — is that an upgrade?
The application looks pretty entertaining with team logos, an automated draft clock, a streaming ticker and sound effects. I’ve been tempted to try out a digital draft board, but most of my leagues are still in the dark ages — hauling that giant sheet of paper and cardboard stand into the draft room for players to select their teams with stickers.
The paper draft board for one of my leagues was actually pretty unreliable this year. They should apologize to “Steve Slayton” and “Austin Miles” (a.k.a. Miles Austin) for botching their names on the sticker sets.
If you’ve ever used FanDraft, I’d be interested to hear how you liked the draft experience.
Managing Your Team and Lineups
Sports Data Hub
Sports Data Hub is great as a draft prep tool and a hot spot for mid-season research. A friend of the Fantasy Football Fools, SDH has made some updates this offseason and exited beta this August. You can now import your Yahoo! leagues straight into the site and analyze player rankings and projections based on your own custom scoring rules.
They also offer instant projections via Twitter and a Facebook app so that you can continue to trash talk your friends and stalk your ex-girlfriends while you research your fantasy team. Just tweet “@SDHnow Player Name” to get projections on demand. I’m a fan of their work.
SDH requires you to subscribe for the really meaty material, but based on their free tools and various demos that I’ve seen, I’d say it’s worth a few bucks a month for the serious fantasy football stat addicts out there.
Available in Best Buy on September 6, RallyCast allows you to view your scores and stats for fantasy leagues on CBS, ESPN or Yahoo! right on your TV screen. It’s for those times when sitting with a computer in your lap is impossible, such as binge eating … or drinking … as the case may be.
Apparently, you can view RallyCast on top of any channel, so you don’t even have to miss the in-game action — or the latest episode of So You Think You Can Dance — while you check your scores.
The app also allows you to post to Facebook and text message your friends from your remote control. It sounds like you never have to leave the couch on Sunday again, or move more than your little finger … Awesome.
For more on RallyCast, you can watch this handy little clip they put together to introduce it to the fantasy football world.
Impressing Your Friends
Fantasy Football Trophies: FantasyTrophies.com and iwonmyleague.com
Is it time for you league to upgrade your trophy? Or does your league even have a trophy?
In my most serious and bloodthirsty league, our trophy could probably use an upgrade, and both FantasyTrophies.com and iwonmyleague.com offer some very cool alternatives to the norm. I mean, a fantasy football trophy should stand out from all those trophies you collected by playing in little league every year, right?
It just doesn’t say fantasy football unless the trophy on your mantel contains a fat metal man in an armchair. That’s one that not only impresses your friends but also ruins your reputation at the same time.
Fantasy Football T-Shirts
You can find some of the most snazzy fantasy football t-shirts around at Art of the Fan if you want to sport your addiction on your chest. (Just note that these may get you beat up depending on where you wear them.)
I like the fantasy sleeper shirt.
Protecting Your Dough
Fantasy Sports Insurance
Playing fantasy football is risky, and I’m sure we’re all still feeling the hurt of losing Tom Brady in the first game of the season last year. But you can protect your investment in big money leagues with some insurance.
Oh, that’s right. Fantasy football insurance exists, and Chris Cooley is a fan.
If you draft a lot of Philadelphia Eagles, St. Louis Rams or Kansas City Chiefs, insurance on your entrance fee might not be a bad idea.
If you’ve ever worried that your league commissioner spent your entrance fees on his last beer run or lost it in Vegas, League Safe might help establish that nice level of trust … by not trusting at all.
Fantasy Football Goat wrote up a great explanation of the service last season, and Football Jabber tried it out.
With League Safe, You can also collect your league dues online through their site so that your out-of-state buddy doesn’t skate by without paying when his team starts 0-4.
Fantasy Football Games and Hosts
FanSection Fantasy Football 2009 on Facebook
Combining two things that fantasy football players love, playing it and flaunting your success in front of friends, Watercooler’s FanSection Fantasy Football 2009 Facebook application is a full-featured fantasy football management suite inside Facebook.
You can invite friends, get news updates from CBSSports.com and post your latest scores right in your Facebook news feed. The only knock I have on it is that it doesn’t offer free live scoring.
If you’re a Coors Light fan, you’ll like that the beer that tastes like licking a mountain has also sponsored the FanSection experience.
If you want a more custom-tailored approach to fantasy football this season, you might find what you’re looking for at eCouchCoach.
They offer custom league domains so that you never suffer from lag during the afternoon games on Sunday, and even if you don’t host your league with them, they offer a handful of useful Twitter bots to get your fantasy football fix on the go — or on the couch.
Fantasy Fat Cat
For instant gratification, Fantasy Fat Cat offers daily and weekly fantasy contests. I can’t vouch for it since I’ve never tried their games, but they offer free live scoring on your iPhone.
A fantasy sports games site with some of the best rankings around as proven by Fantasy Football Librarian, Fantazzle not only gives you rankings but also a few games to test their rankings out on and win money. Isn’t that nice of them?
If you always wanted to draft against the pros or just like Second Life avatars, RapidDraft is another fantasy football contest out there. Unlike the typical fantasy football league, you play in single-player mode at RapidDraft.
After buying a team, you draft against the avatars of 11 experts in the fantasy football industry. If you put together a winner, the grand prize is $250,000. If not, at least you can pretend Victoria is your girlfriend, right?
Share Your Reviews
Good luck this season, and if you’re drafting this weekend, prepare by reading our 2009 Foolish Fantasy Football Draft Kit.
As always, the comments are yours. If you’ve tried out any of the above products or have more info, please share your reviews with the foolish community.