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Fantasy Football: Know your league -- and your competition

Greg Olsen #88 of the Carolina Panthers

Greg Olsen #88 of the Carolina Panthers Credit: Greg Olsen #88 of the Carolina Panthers (Getty Images)

When looking for good solid advice, the last thing you usually want to hear is "it depends."

But good fantasy football decisions usually do depend on answering questions like: What are your league's rules? What players are available? What players are your fellow owners likely to over- and under-value?

If you want to build a winner, you can't just draft the best players. You have to build the best team, and that requires constantly adjusting to your circumstances. Here's how you do that:

-- Familiarize yourself with the rules of your league: If you're in a 10-team league with standard scoring, Michael Vick has tremendous upside. But, if your league has 16 teams, or 2 starting QBs, and a Vick injury means you might rely on Blaine Gabbert to fill in, you're better off with waiting for Eli Manning.

-- Constantly adapt to the players you've already drafted: Be sure to get higher-quality backups for the positions with questionable starters. Also, while you shouldn't go overboard acquiring handcuffs, if you picked someone like Adrian Peterson, protect your investment by also securing his backup (Toby Gerhart).

-- Adjust to your competitors: If you missed out on one of the top TEs, pick a high-quality backup RB like Doug Martin rather than overreaching on Jason Witten. Since most teams already have TEs, you'll be able to find a decent alternative like Greg Olsen much later in your draft.

Alex Case is amNewYork's fantasy football columnist. 

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