Fantasy Football Magazines

Imagine you’ve walked into a bookstore or convenience store and you see a whole gaggle of fantasy football magazines on the bookshelf. You see a whole lot of pictures of Chris Johnson and Drew Brees, and maybe an Aaron Rodgers, Andre Johnson, and Peyton Manning photos sprinkled in. Each makes its own outrageous claim like “64 Surefire Sleepers”, “Winning Rankings for Every Scoring System”, and “Secrets to Playoff Success”.

So Which Fantasy Football Magazines Do You Trust and Why?

Do you go with the official NFL fantasy football magazine, or with a big name of the sports industry like ESPN, Sports Illustrated or The Sporting News? Can you trust any fantasy publication that promises 64, 53 or even 25 sleepers? Which magazines focus purely on fantasy football, and which spend half their words on an old-fashioned, general NFL preview? Which offer IDP stats, or pay attention to alternative fantasy football league rules like dynasty and auction leagues?

2010 Fantasy Football Magazine Reviews

You can read our reviews of seven fantasy football magazines to help you make your decision. We don’t cover every single fantasy football magazine you might see on the newsstand, but we cover most of the biggest names in fantasy sports. We’ll discuss the features, mock drafts, player projections, stats breakdowns, and other add-ons each publication features. We’ll critique the pros and cons of each magazine, then let you make a decision on which includes the best package of fantasy football information for you.

An Example of the Many Fantasy Football Magazines Available

An Example of the Many Fantasy Football Magazines Available

Below are the seven fantasy magazines we review in this article. Hopefully, you’ll be able to match these reviews with your fantasy football needs and expectations.

  • NFL.com Fantasy Football 2010
  • ESPN Fantasy Football 2010
  • Sporting News Fantasy Football 2010
  • Lindy’s Sports Fantasy Football 2010
  • Sports Illustrated Presents Fantasy Football 2010
  • FoxSports.com 2010 Fantasy Football
  • Fantasy League Football 2010

NFL.com Fantasy Football 2010

The official fantasy football magazine shows last year’s Superbowl QBs, Peyton Manning and Drew Brees, on the front cover. Also on the cover, the NFL promises predictions, cheats, a “mock draft and more” on its cover. You’ll also notice the magazine touts articles on “why you need a big-time QB to win at fantasy”, secrets to playoff success, sleepers and “super sleepers”, and projections on 400+ players.

When you look inside at the table of contents, you’ll see listed a few articles, such as suggestions for new playoff rules to take the luck factor of the fantasy playoffs, written by Michael Fabiano. I imagine Fabiano was like myself in 2009, where I was #1 in total points in three different leagues, only to see two of those three teams get smoked in the playoffs by inferior teams. One of those teams would have defeated my playoff vanquisher 14 of 16 weeks of the season, so you can imagine the swear words bouncing off the walls of my home last December. I like new rules suggestions, even when I don’t use the rules themselves, so I’ll give Michael Fabiano a thumbs up for creativity.

The fantasy football features tend to be a little more convention, though I was interested in the article that tries to convince you to draft fantasy quarterbacks high. In all, there are seven features in the magazine.

  • QBs Rule in a Fantasy Football
  • How Many Fantasy Teams are Too Many?
  • Experts Weigh in on Sleepers and Keepers
  • 2010 Rookie Report
  • Mock Draft Report and Analysis
  • Discussion of the Fantasy Points Against Stat
  • Nick Bakay’s Funny Football

Finally, you’ll get the 120 pages on player rankings (56), team previews (14), a player list (34), position cheat sheets, 2009 NFL stats and a 2010 schedule.

Fantasy Information and Football Jokes

I’ll throw out the Nick Bakay funny football article. That stuff was funny back in 1997 or whenever, when I first saw it, but I want fantasy football information – not the same old jokes. The “fantasy point against” stat I find interesting, and I’ve cited those statistics in articles on this website. Fantasy owners need analysis, so a new statistic that helps you pick the players who have the best chance of performing up to standards, or breaking out and setting new standards, is helpful. I give big points for the fantasy points against article, though this article is only going to be helpful the first few weeks of the season, at most, when the new results come in and you can get more up-to-date information on your league management website online.

Fantasy Football Quarterbacks – NFL.com Fantasy Magazine Review

The quarterback article is something at the heart of fantasy football in 2010. The article suggests that you shouldn’t automatically draft a running back in the 1st round, like it was axiomatic for experts to suggest 10 years ago. With runners sharing carries like never before, there aren’t enough good ones to make 12 good first round picks. The article suggests that Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers and Peyton Manning are worthy of 1st round selections in 2010, and points out that the teams who drafted Matt Forte and Steve Slaton high last year were probably also-rans.

The editors go on to mention that 14 of 20 of the top spots in fantasy football last year were filled by quarterbacks (in a standard scoring system). Also, 8 of the top 10 finishers probably came from the quarterback position. There were eight 4,000 yard quarterbacks, which shows that quarterbacks rule in fantasy football.

Fantasy Quarterbacks are Plentiful

I see a logical flaw in arguing that this means you should draft a quarterback in the 1st round, though. This is something I’ve argued against here. If so many quarterbacks are putting up big numbers in the NFL, then they’re actually the position you least need to spend draft picks on high. Starting high-quality fantasy quarterbacks are the easiest position to fill in fantasy football.

Think about it. Most leagues have 10 to 12 teams. If 8 quarterbacks threw for 4,000 yards or more, that means up to 2/3rds of the teams in your league could field elite quarterbacks. If 14 of the top 20 spots were filled by quarterbacks, that means there’s more than enough to go around, so you should be able to find a quarterback by drafting them a little later. The 14th QB probably didn’t go until the 8th round in most draft, so why spend a 1st or 2nd round selection on that position?

Sure, it would be nice to have Drew Brees or Aaron Rodgers, if they post the same numbers as last year. But from another page on this site about fantasy football drafts , we argue that the relative dearth of elite runners means you should add more focus than ever on the position. In my opinion, when you decide the RBs in the 1st and 2nd round aren’t worth drafting (and that point does come), you’re must better off drafting an elite wide receiver, than an elite quarterback.

Fantasy Sleepers and Keepers

The section of magazines on the fantasy sleepers I always find fascinating, simply because the definition of sleepers is so skewed. For instance, the listed sleepers were Rashard Mendenhall, Beanie Wells, Carson Palmer, Joe Flacco, Johnny Knox and Joshua Cribbs. I tend to think of sleepers being players that someone at the draft asks, “Who?”, not guys that were on a team in every league last year. And I don’t think any player being drafted in the 1st round of most leagues (Mendenhall) can be considered a sleeper.

Breakout player? Yes. But Rashard Mendenhall is not a sleeper pick.

The players that are in the “super sleeper” list are a little closer to what I think of as sleepers: Early Doucet, Bernard Scott, Matt Moore, Jared Cooke, Derek Anderson and Matthew Stafford. These are guys you aren’t going to be drafting to be a fantasy starter, but you hope they get their chance and succeed. Anyway, more on this discussion when we get to the list of 53 and 64 sleeper picks.

This section also has stars, oldies and most likely to surprise lists. I imagine just about any fantasy owner, no matter how casual, has their minds made up about over-30 players like Brett Favre, Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Donovan McNabb, Hines Ward and Randy Moss, so I’d just as soon see this part of the discussion cut out. The stars discussion, where we find out Adrian Peterson, Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees are good, is about as useless a piece of fantasy football news as I’ve ever seen.

The “most likely to surprise” list turns into a sort of sleepers list, with Devin Aromashodu, Felix Jones, Hakeem Nicks and Julian Edelman entering the discussion. The “young guns” and “you ain’t seen nothing” are the breakout players lists, and these are nice discussions. Among the busts or underachievers, there are discussions of “not read for primetime” and “name outweighs fantasy value” players. Once again, there’s good information to be had here.

NFL.com Rookie Report

The rookie report includes the usual suspects, but I won’t hold that against the mags. You’re naturally going to gravitate towards the highest-drafted rookies, when you haven’t seen them play a game of NFL football. I’m more interested in seeing where the magazine places them in the player rankings, which brings me to the meat of this review.

NFL.com Fantasy Quarterback Rankings

There’s nothing to complain about here. The list is solid. I would suggest rating Kevin Kolb higher and Ben Roethlisberger lower, but otherwise have no major issues with their quarterbacks list.

NFL.com Fantasy Running Back Rankings

Once again, I have no major complaints. Cedric Benson is listed in the Top 10, which I think would be a really bad draft pick. Beanie Wells, who I think goes too high on most cheat sheets, is rated about where I would pick him. There’s no way I would draft Ronnie Brown higher than Jonathan Stewart or Pierre Thomas, but maybe I’m just crazy. C.J. Spiller is lower than he usually is, but that might not be such a bad thing, playing for the Buffalo Bills.

Ignore Lendale White’s #27 position, since this magazine was put out before White was waived by the Seahawks. The Ben Tate, Steve Slaton and Arian Foster grouping down with the Houston Texans is a big mess, so drafting Ben Tate as the #32 runner is probably too high. He might be great, or might be buried on the depth chart for the foreseeable future.

NFL.com Fantasy Wide Receiver Rankings

The wide receivers list is solid, though the Vincent Jackson suspension and holdout talks should push him at least 5 spots down the list, and possibly more. Hakeem Nicks is much lower than he should be, so keep that in mind, if you use this magazine. Otherwise, I could see players using this list, without too many alterations.

More Fantasy Football Projections

The tight ends and kickers I’ll let you decide for yourself, because the tight end lists are virtually the same across the board, given or take a spot on each list. We all know who the productive tight ends are. We all have our favorites. Draft one or two of those guys and hope you aren’t the one with the season-ending injury. Choose to draft Dallas Clark really high, or wait a few rounds and get one of the pack. I’ll similarly ignore the field goal kicker lists, because I’m not going to insult you by acting like one list is inherently better than the other.

Fantasy Football Defensive Cheat Sheets

Let’s move on to the NFL.com team defense rankings. This list is pretty standard, but I wanted to point out a few things about the rankings, since we just discussed this the other day. The Philadelphia Eagles and Pittsburgh Steelers are way up the list, despite having two of the hardest defensive schedules in fantasy football in 2010. The Minnesota Vikings are #2, which is probably too high, considering they play the Saints, the NFC East and the AFC East. I know they’ve been consistent and have a number of star linemen, but there are a lot of weeks they’re playing good offenses.

Houston and Washington shouldn’t be on anybody’s draft list, considering they have two of the hardest 2010 schedules for defenses. The Carolina Panthers without Julius Peppers fall into the same category. So while this isn’t a completely insane list, I’m not a big fan of the NFL’s rankings.

NO IDP Projections

Finally, the NFL fantasy football magazine doesn’t contain much in the way of alternative fantasy football league information: no IDP lists and little in the way of auction league or keeper league advice. Instead, they devote a lot of space to NFL team previews and an alphabetical listing of all the individual players and their stats. You might want either of those, but it’s my contention those pages could be used for a number of more useful purposes.

ESPN Fantasy Football 2010 Magazine

I’ve read online reviewers kick around the ESPN fantasy football magazine in past years, so I bought this one expecting a few laughs. I found a mixed bag, though they really oversell the magazine on the front cover. In fact, I find it hard that any serious fantasy football owner reads the blurb at the top of the page and buys the magazine (unless they’re going to post a review online, like myself).

So without further ado, let’s discuss the ESPN fantasy magazine of 2010.

ESPN “Master Strategy Guide!”

The first thing I noticed was the funny headlines at the top of the articles and sub-sections throughout the magazine. I guess this might be in keeping with the light, breezy style of SportsCenter, but it makes it rather hard to take the information seriously. Let’s take the first big feature, the “inquisitive 12-step guide to fantasy enlightenment”, as our first example.

This feature starts with a kid in a Far Eastern monk’s robe in a yoga position, hovering off the ground like he’s Dr. Strange. Below him are the big words “Knowledge is Power”, with the words “Master Strategy Guide” with an exclamation mark at the top of the page.

Next, you have fantasy tips introduced with phrases like “Cuff ‘Em, Danno”, “Reeeeeeach for the Bookends”, and my personal favorite, “Value Value Like Scooby Values Velma”. Am I missing something here? Did Scooby have a thing for Velma or something? Or are they just referring to the usual value one friend places on another?

Whatever the case, these silly titles are apt to make you dismiss what are some interesting fantasy tidbits, like the value of drafting at the top or the bottom of the first round (over the middle), the advantages of “value based drafting”, which we’ve discussed on this website at length, or good-sense reminders like drafting handcuff players or avoiding the old guys.

ESPN Advice – Win a Predraft Pow-Wow

At the same time, some of the advice is comical. For instance, there’s the advice to draft backups off of teams that play on the West Coast, so you have someone to start, if your noon starter is a late inactive. Of course, many of the west coast players you’ll be drafting as backups come off the Oakland Raiders, Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos, so that might not be such a hot idea. A more practical solution is to make sure you’re at your computer to check the inactives list before the early kickoff times, and make sure your league rules let you change lineups right up to kickoff time.

I love the final step to fantasy enlightenment: win an ESPN contest. That’s right, their prescribed final step to winning your fantasy football league is to write a 200-word essay and send it in to “ESPN expert Christopher Harris”. If you’re the lucky contestant chosen, you get a free 30-minute consultation with Christopher Harris, who’ll give you the ultimate secret to winning at fantasy football. So apparently, only one person buying the ESPN fantasy magazine actually finishes this 12-step program.

It would seem the ESPN master strategy guide is nothing more than an elaborate advertisement for one of their stupid contests.

ESPN Mock Draft

Next, we move on to the 10-man ESPN mock draft. I hate when ESPN does it’s fantasy drafts with 10 people, because you know they’re doing it so these poor schlubs’ rosters look better when it’s over. Every veteran fantasy owner knows that 10-team leagues are like fantasy football with training wheels, because it’s awfully hard not to have a good team, since the talent pool isn’t as picked-over. Now that I have that out of the way, let’s get to our all-star panel of fantasy schlubs.

  • Erik Kuselias – Fantasy Football Now Host
  • Jay Soderberg – Podcast Producer
  • Stephania Bell – Injury Analyst
  • Nate Ravitz – Deputy Fantasy Editor
  • Eric Karabell – Fantasy Insider
  • Matthew Berry – Senior Fantasy Analyst
  • A.J. Mass – Fantasy Analyst
  • Ken Daube – Fantasy Analyst
  • Christopher Harris – Fantasy Analyst
  • Tristan Cockcroft – Fantasy Analyst

Is that really his name? What’s amazing, I’ve seen him sign articles Tristan H. Cockcroft, as if there’s going to be a lot of confusion with that other sports writer that goes by that name. I know I shouldn’t be that way, but I’ve used silly names like that before and I get the feeling the guy is just thumbing his nose at all of us. Or maybe it’s real. Poor guy.

Anyway, I actually like the fantasy mock draft, because they save space with quick recaps of the each round, but with large blurb boxes for comments by the participants. Unfortunately, they once again diminish the proceeding by having each round’s comments boil down to the “Wood”, “Wood Knot” and “Wood Ya Believe?” notes. But at least the notes are serious and include factoids and draft notes you might use in your draft preparation.

ESPN 64 Surefire Sleepers

I hope everyone reading understands how silly it is to tout that you’re going to list 64 “surefire sleepers”.

Is ESPN actually claiming that they know of 64 NFL players who aren’t that highly touted, but are going to break out and be productive fantasy football players? If so, then this is going to be an extraordinary fantasy football season, where every team has (on average) 5+ sleeper picks on their team. If you’re above-average at finding those deep sleepers, you’ll be able to field a whole starting lineup of nothing but fantasy sleepers – if only you buy the ESPN fantasy football magazine!

Okay, looking a little closer, you’ll notice there may be 64 sleeper picks, but these are made by different contributors, so there’s plenty of repetition (I count Michael Bush listed as a sleeper in 3 places). The actual list of sleepers isn’t that bad, with people like Devin Aromashodu, Mike Wallace, Chaz Schilens, and Arian Foster listed. Of course, some are hardly what I would call sleepers, such as that little-known Greg Jennings kid who seems to be turning heads up there in Green Bay.

The bust list is just as large, and probably a little braver: Frank Gore, DeSean Jackson, Anquan Boldin, Donovan McNabb and even Reggie Wayne get thrown under the bus. Of course, players like Laurence Maroney and Willis McGahee were also listed, which would have been good bust candidates back in 2007. In 2010, that’s kind of beating a dead horse. (I’m pretty sure Marcus Allen’s best years of production are behind him.)

ESPN Fantasy Football Quarterback Rankings

The ESPN quarterback rankings are all over the place. While the Top 8 are solid enough, based on last year’s numbers (if Brett Favre comes back), they place Joe Flacco ahead of players like Kevin Kolb, Jay Cutler and Donovan McNabb. The blurb states he’s a #2 quarterback with the ability to poke his head into the upper echelons.

A #2 quarterback listed 9th overall? What size league are the ESPN guys playing in?

Going further, Ben Roethlisberger, Chad Henne and Vince Young are all rated too high, with Carson Palmer going behind all of those passers – not to mention Matthew Stafford. ESPN is expecting Roethlisberger’s suspension to be reduced from 6 to 4 games, which is likely, but I don’t like taking a guy who’s out for a month. Chad Henne has Brandon Marshall, but Brandon Marshall didn’t make Kyle Orton a fantasy starter, either.

ESPN Fantasy Running Back Rankings

The top of the running back list is sensible enough, though Cedric Benson once again cracks the Top 10, and Ryan Grant comes in at #11. Grant’s two good weeks in the fantasy playoffs must have helped whoever put this list together win their league title, or more likely, his appearance on an opponent roster probably put them out of the playoffs. There’s no way I draft Ryan Grant anywhere near the Top 10 among runners. After a half-season of big production against tired defenses in 2007, Ryan Grant hasn’t shown the burst or consistency needed to be an elite fantasy back. He’s an undrafted NFL runner showing limited skills, and he’s 27. That means Ryan Grant is unlikely to get better. The write-up does have a point: Ryan Grant gets a big percentage of the Packers’ carries by today’s standards. But the Pack throws the ball these days.

Jamaal Charles is too far down the list, despite having Thomas Jones behind him on the depth chart. The magazine describes his as a burgeoning star, but still lists him behind a number of less promising players.

ESPN Fantasy Wide Receiver Rankings

ESPN’s crew has Brandon Marshall rated way too high (#6), in my opinion. While I agree he has huge talent, Brandon Marshall isn’t in an offense that throws it as much a talented WRs listed just below him (Miles Austin, Desean Jackson). Otherwise, the New York Giants receivers (Steve Smith, Hakeem Nicks) are rated a little lower than I would expected, but that’s becoming a pattern, it seems.

ESPN Fantasy Football Player Rankings

As for the rest of the player projection lists, the defenses fall into the same category as NFL dotcom above. They strangely rank 38 field goal kickers, so I guess ESPN is hedging their bets on those kicking battles in training camps this year.

I’ll give ESPN kudos for including individual defensive player rankings. The defensive linemen list is solid enough, though I would move a half-dozen players in the 20-40 range up a good 10-15 spots. These would mainly be the defensive ends, who deserve to be higher than the big name defensive tackles, almost without exception.

I don’t like that ESPN lists Brian Cushing as the #6 linebacker, which I wouldn’t have considered, even if Cushing wasn’t suspended for 4 games. Despite his huge rookie numbers, outside linebackers aren’t likely to continue to put up the big numbers Brian Cushing posted in 2009. Given a year for offsenses to watch Cushing’s game, expect those numbers to go down, even when he does return from suspension.

ESPN Magazine Fantasy Football Review

All in all, there’s way too much fluff in the magazine, though ESPN’s product this year isn’t as bad as it was in 2008 and 2009. Still, 64 sleeper picks, the wacky strategy guide and the win-a-date-with-Christopher-Harris contest make the ESPN fantasy preview laughable.

SportingNews Fantasy Football 2010 Magazine

The Sporting News fantasy football magazine includes many of elements you’ve come to expect in a fantasy preview mag. You’ll find a whopping 590 scouting reports and a pullout cheat sheet with a Top 205 list. You’ll also see an experts mock draft, a list of 25 sleepers to watch, and an article on how to target the next big breakout player (such as Miles Austin in 2009).

Going inside, you’ll find a “myth busters” section, exploring the 5 biggest myths in fantasy football. All five are legitimate fantasy football maxims, so each is worth exploring. Each opinion has facts to back up the assertions made, and one or two were actually pretty informative. Here are the five myths to consider.

  • Most Receivers Break Out Their 3rd Season
  • Most Running Backs Break Down at Age 30
  • Drafting 1st-Year Quarterbacks is a Rookie Mistake
  • Contract Years Equal Big Seasons
  • It’s Best to Have a Kicker in a Good (Not Great) Offense

I want to address one of these, without spoiling the surprise of the other four, because it touches on something I was discussing on this site the other day. The stats show that running backs break down more often at age 29, instead of age 30. While there is the occasional runner who produces beyond 30, you’re better of betting that all RBs 29 or older are going to suck. The stats don’t lie.

Finding Breakout Players in Fantasy Football

The “next big thing” article also includes good advice to follow in fantasy football, too. Once again, being good at fantasy football isn’t knowing what to do – it’s doing it. The upshot of this article is to pay attention. As long as you’re paying attention to preseason games, the hype surrounding those games, the latest on position battles, coaching changes, and late-breaking injury news, the better fantasy football owner you’ll be.

Name any game, sports, hobby, or just about any human endeavor, and the more you pay attention to what the heck is going on, the better you’re going to be at it. Fantasy football isn’t rocket science, but it does require participation. What’s more, if you’re actually informed about what’s going on and become a “fantasy insider”, the more you’re going to enjoy it. Taking those extra five minutes to see the latest news is huge in a fantasy football league.

Sporting News Fantasy Football Tips

Sporting News is good about including a lot of helpful fantasy football tips articles, including the “strategy faceoff” section by Bill Bender and George Winkler, a discussion of alternative league rules with articles on auction leagues (a cheat sheet with tips) and point-per-receptions or PPR leagues, 8 rules for drafting rookies, and a feature on the coaching carousel in the NFL, and what this means for the NFL players on those teams.

Once you finish with these tips sections, you’ll find the fantasy football ratings at each position. These I’m less impressed with than the ff content, at least with their defensive rankings.

Sporting News Fantasy Football QBs 2010

Donovan McNabb and Kevin Kolb once again are listed way too low for my taste, with them ranked as backups in most league formats. There’s simply no way I draft Kevin Kolb below Eli Manning, Joe Flacco, and Matt Ryan. With quarterbacks, you take a shot on a guy you think has big upside, then draft a solid veteran whose value you have a pretty good idea about as the #2 guy. Kevin Kolb has a great set of weapons and looked superb in two games as a starter in ’09. I’d be happy to wait and draft Kolb a little later in drafts, and add someone like Carson Palmer or Ben Roethlisberger (who should be coming back about the time you figure out if Kolb sucks or not) later.

Sporting News Running Backs 2010

Besides the requisite slotting of Cedric Benson at 10 and Ryan Grant at 11, the Sporting News running back list is the best one I’ve reviewed so far. Ryan Mathews at #23 is another pick I think is out-of-whack, but if they believe Darren Sproles starts the year as the #1 guy, which often happens with rookie runners, the selection might make sense.

Sporting News Fantasy WR Rankings

The Sporting News Top 15 list is more in keeping with how I would rank or draft these players, with Brandon Marshall dropped a little lower than the other lists so far, and Vincent Jackson also suitably low. Their inclusion of Percy Harvin at #18 suggest Harvin is going to be the Vikings’ #2 receiver in 2010, which I looked up. Most of the depth charts aren’t updated until training camp, but I don’t see Harvin anywhere listed ahead of Sidney Rice or (more likely) Bernard Berrian. In fact, Brad Childress has been quoted by Minnesota newspapers that he wants to keep Percy Harvin in the slot. You do get well over a hundred wideouts mentioned, so if you’re looking for a comprehensive list, Sporting News has that covered.

Sporting News Defensive Player Rankings

The Sporting News rated the Eagles Defense higher than the Jets Defense, despite the fact the Jets added players on defense and offense, have a much easier schedule than the Eagles in 2010, and were head-and-shoulders better than Philadelphia in 2009. While stranger things have happened, I get the idea they’re just trying to be different here.

I like the fact the Sporting News fantasy football magazine goes out on a limb with their IDP lists, which shows they aren’t just phoning it in. For instance, I see that Calais Campbell with the Arizona Cardinals is rated #9. While I have Campbell circled as one of my sleeper picks in IDP leagues, there’s no way I would draft him as the 9th-overall DL. I’ve been hoping to sneak Calais Campbell onto the bench, so I may have to contend with that league owner drafting from the Sporting News cheat sheets.

IDP Linebackers

It’s absolutely insane that Jerod Mayo is the #3 linebacker over proven guys like Jon Beason and David Harris. If you think the New England Patriots are going to be be a contender, I find it hard to imagine Jerod Mayo gets enough opportunities to collect that many stats. He should be standing on the sideline watching Tom Brady dink and dunk it down the field all year, instead of racking up tackle stats. Despite Mayo’s obvious NFL talent, there’s no way I would draft him over Jon Beason, who’s Panthers’ Defense is going to need him more than ever in 2010.

Barrett Ruud, Curtis Lofton, DJ Williams and DeMeco Ryans are lower than they should be, as well. Be leery of the Sporting News IDP linebackers list, which I think is flawed. (I am happy to see Patrick Willis and James Laurinaitis, both on my keeper team for cheap prices, listed at 1-2.) Paul Posluszny and Lofa Tatupu are freakishly low (31 and 35), which only makes sense, if you think these guys are injury prone.

Lindy’s Fantasy Football 2010 Magazine Review

I’m a fan of Lindy’s products, their magazine includes a nice mix of the player projections and useful special features. One novel add-on is their “comparison with 2009 league average”, where every players profile includes a colored bar chart to show where they stacked up against the rest of the league. While this is probably self-evident in most cases, it does help you compare a player’s value against an average player’s value. A comparison against an “average fantasy starter” at the position might be more instructive for a fantasy football owner, but you can get some gauge of player values using this resource.

There is a lot to like about Lindy’s fantasy magazine. In fact, I was ready to recommend this magazine for its player rankings and projections, but one glaring oversight keeps me from doing that. I’ll state that the player listings that are included are top rate and, with one major qualification, can recommend the lists to help you compile your own fantasy football draft lists.

Lindy’s Fantasy Football Mock Draft

Like most of these magazines, Lindy’s has a mock draft, featuring writers from Fantasy Index, Mock Draft Central, Million Dollar Sleeper, ESPN, Lindy’s, Time Warner Cable Sports, Fantasy Guru, Rotowire, Yahoo! Fantasy Sports, Roto Experts, and Razzball Football. One thing I like about this mock draft feature is there is a two-page spread with a full roster, along with separate Q&As for all 12 team owners. I especially liked the “Strategy Coming In” addition, as well as seeing how each strategy panned out. This gets you in the mindset of drafting, especially if you know which pick you have in your league’s first round.

The Scheme of Things Fantasy Football Feature

I love “The Scheme of Things” feature that Lindy’s fantasy mag listed on pages 68 through 71. These pages list the offensive coaches, any coaching changes in the offseason, and a discussion of the schemes each team is going to use. You’ll see comparison to teams of the past few years, along with which plays and offensive sets each offense is likely to use. I love this kind of fantasy football information, even if those of us who watch this every year know a lot of the information already. It’s nice to have a refresher.

Lindy’s Sports Fantasy Football 2010 Quarterbacks

The Lindy’s Sports Fantasy Football Magazine has the best quarterbacks cheat sheet so far. While I would have Aaron Rodgers over Drew Brees at #1, I’d be happy to draft whoever didn’t get taken at that position. Kolb is listed as a starting quarterback, while Roethlisberger is rated in the low-20s – where I have him rated. While Donovan McNabb is below Flacco and a few other players I might draft McNabb over, I can understand that. Flacco now has Anquan Boldin to throw to, while McNabb is stuck with an aging Santana Moss and a bunch of unproven wideouts.

Lindy’s Fantasy Football Running Backs

Finally a magazine has the guts to rate Chris Johnson lower than #1. Okay, so they place him at #2 on the list, but at least they went somewhere with that pick. Lindy’s points out that Chris Johnson got huge production in Weeks 16 and 17, with late carries in a Week 16 blowout by the Chargers and 36 carries in the final game of the season, when Jeff Fischer was trying to help Chris Johnson reach 2,000 yards. That’s likely to happen again, and the 400+ touches Chris Johnson had in 2009 is likely to make him less durable in 2010. There are reasons, even besides the holdout, to think the 200-lb Chris Johnson isn’t going to hold up to these carries for another year.

Michael Turner is listed a little to high for my tastes (#4), especially if you’re playing in a point-per-reception league. I’m starting to see that Cedric Benson and Ryan Grant are definitely going to be drafted in the 2nd round everywhere this year, since Lindy’s is the 4th magazine to have them rated in the 9 to 12 range of runners. Ronnie Brown (16) is way too high, while Chris Wells (15) is higher than I would draft him. Meanwhile, I’m shocked to see Lesean McCoy and Knowshon Moreno listed at #19 and #20. I don’t think fantasy owners would be well-served drafting from this list of runners, though it was nice to see Felix Jones get some love, being listed a full 10 spots higher (17th) than any other fantasy football publication so far.

Lindy Fantasy Football Wide Receivers 2010

The WR projections have Randy Moss at #2, which reminds me that several magazines have Moss higher than I would draft him. I know the Brady/Moss combo is special, but both players are getting older, and they both appeared to break down at times last year. One of these years soon, one or both of these guys is going to start looking too old, and you don’t want to be anywhere near either of them when that happens. Slotting Randy Moss #2 at wide receiver means you would probably be drafting his late-1st or 2nd, which doesn’t sound that appealing to me, given the fact that the Patriots Offense (if Welker is slowed by injury) doesn’t have much but Brady and Moss. Some people might see that as a good thing, but where I have Randy Moss slotted, I’m either drafting him as he slides into the 3rd round, or someone else takes the chance.

Vincent Jackson is too high at #8, but that’s probably a product of the magazine coming out before it was announced that Jackson would miss 3 games due to suspension. Most of the rest of the list I liked, since Hakeem Nicks and Mike Sims-Walker (18/19) are more in line with where I would draft each of them. Michael Crabtree is rated at 23, which is a little low, for my tastes. Santonio Holmes isn’t rated in the Top 40 receivers by Lindy’s, which might surprise many New York Jets fans.

Lindy’s Non-Existent Defensive Rankings

You won’t find much defensive information in Lindy’s fantasy football magazine. There’s a list of the 11 top defensive playmakers in the NFL, which is almost useless for the purposes of fantasy football. Otherwise, you’ll see 2009 team defensive stats on the final page of the publication, and that’s it. If you need help with team defense picks or IDP selections, don’t buy Lindy’s Fantasy Football 2010. If you’re indifferent to those positions, Lindy’s is one of the best.

Sports Illustrated Fantasy Football Magazine 2010

The Sports Illustrated FF Magazine for the 2010 season includes 470 players, 53 purported sleepers, “rookies on the rise”, “busts on the brink”, and “the Smartest Mock Draft in Fantasyland”. There are quasi-fantasy football sections from NFL scouts breaking down rival players, along with Peter King and other SI writers giving the latest “intel” from the field.

Fantasy Football Backfield Hell

The features inside include a “backfield grid”, which takes the crazy world of running-back-by-committee situations around the NFL and squeezes it into an even-more confusing two pages. At the four edges of this chart, you’ll see the terms “high productivity”, “low productivity”, “high workload” and “low workload”. Then you see running backs from Chris Johnson and Adrian Peterson to Kevin Faulk and Joe McKnight listed. If you can make heads or tails out of this chart, you’re a better man than I.

If it helps, Beanie Wells, Tim Hightower, Ladainian Tomlinson and Ben Tate are dead center of this chart, meaning these four seem to constitute the most average workloads and productivity in the NFL. This makes me wonder why they were listed at 19th, 51st, 129th and 71st on the Sports Illustrated cheatsheet, or why they went 19th, 67th, 91st and 77th in the SI mock draft. I would think this was just a breakdown of last year’s production totals, but Ben Tate was at Auburn last year, and I’m pretty sure he had a better than average workload and productivity there.

So I’m guessing the writers are trying to tell us something about the upcoming year, though that gives a dim view of what Chris Wells is going to do in Arizona, if he’s grouped with those other three players. I just love the fact that this chart was supposed to help us come to grips with our frustrations about the confusing state of fantasy running backs in 2010.

Fantasy Football Ten Commandments

Next, there is a section on the 10 commandments of fantasy football drafting, which turn out to be pretty good fantasy football suggestions. Remembering these ten tips could help you win your league. Interspersed with this advice is a strategy for winning with the 1st pick and the 12th pick in your local fantasy football draft, complete with two drafting options in each round of a 16-round draft. While these are highly speculative in nature, I like how the underlying implication – you should map out how your late round picks are affected by your early round selections, and try to cover up weaknesses created by early round choices.

Sports Illustrated Fantasy Football Cheat Sheet

I like the foldout SI fantasy football cheat sheet, even though I would never use it. If you’re going to use cheatsheets, the Sports Illustrated version is a handy one-tool resource. There are spaces to fill in the team rosters for everyone in your league, along with the Top 345 players, according to SI.

Sports Illustrated Sleeper Picks

While I might have missed it, the cover of the magazine distinctly says “53 Sleepers”, but I only found 15 sleeper picks in the Sports Illustrated fantasy magazine. Now since I think it’s senseless to have 53 sleeper picks, I shouldn’t be grousing, but that is a clear case of false advertising. The table of contents mentions 15 picks, and that’s all you’ll find in the sleepers section on Page 20.

Of the sleeper picks listed, I like the thought process that went into the selections, with real sleeper choices like Devin Aromashodu, Early Doucet, Mike Wallace and Brian Hartline included. The Arizona Cardinals Defense, which does have one of the easiest 2010 schedules in the league, is another inspired choice. While no one is going to agree with every sleeper selection, this is better (and more in keeping) with most lists. At this point, if Clinton Portis is a good fantasy football addition, I think I would describe that as a sleeper pick. (Don’t do it.)

Sports Illustrated Busts of 2010

The fantasy football bust selections are also bold, with a few guys that others are putting out there as breakout players. SI believes Shonn Green, LeSean McCoy and Anquan Boldin are all going to be busts. Good for them. They might be right on all three, and I definitely wouldn’t draft Greene or Boldin nearly as high as they’re being selected this summer. While I still wish some publication or website would have the guts to list Chris Johnson as a 2010 fantasy bust, these guys are at least going out on a ledge of some sort.

Sports Illustrated Fantasy Quarterbacks List

SI also is bold in the fantasy football QBs projections, placing Kevin Kolb at #8 on their list. That’s about where I would draft the guy, because you take a chance at the quarterback position, knowing there should be good backups to draft later. In fact, this quarterbacks list might be better than the Lindy’s QB list that I touted earlier. I don’t see too many oversights.

SI Fantasy Football Running Back Rankings

The Jonathan Stewart (#9) and DeAngelo Williams (#21) rankings really blew me away. Then I noticed that Jamaal Charles (#27) and Knowshon Moreno (#34) are way down the draft list. This may be the craziest set of fantasy football position projections I’ve seen this year. I’m not saying that Jamaal Charles and Knowshon Moreno might not stink it up in 2010, or that Stewart might not have a better season than Deangelo Williams, but I have a hard time seeing any of these predictions happening, unless injuries become a factor. In reading the player write-ups, that didn’t seem to be the case. In fact, the discussions of DeAngelo Williams, Jamaal Charles and Knowshon Moreno were largely positive. Strange.

Otherwise, the Sports Illustrated RB list is relatively stable, though I wonder why they have Shonn Greene rated #10, while listed him as a bust candidate. I’m guessing that two completely different people arrived were working on these two sections of the magazine. The section of the draft where Benson, Wells, and Forte are listed makes me wonder if I want to be drafting in the mid-2nd round.

By the way, SI has C.J. Spiller listed down near #50, while Donald Brown is in the 50s. This is a fascinating list, though not one I advise you to draft from.

Sports Illustrated Wide Receiver Rankings 2010

  • Would you draft Sidney Rice ahead of Larry Fitzgerald?
  • Would you draft Eddie Royal ahead of Hakeem Nicks?
  • Would you draft Chad Ochocinco ahead of Marques Colston?
  • Greg Jennings ahead of Roddy White?
  • How about Mario Manningham over Dwayne Bowe?
  • Then how about Jerricho Cotchery over Santonio Holmes?
  • Would you take a flier on Devery Henderson over Wes Welker?

If you said no to all these questions, do not draft off of this list. Even if you have that one “out-there” opinion and you said yes to even one of these questions, don’t draft off this list.

Imagine that guy in your draft who wants to select a 2nd QB in the 6th round and a place kicker in the 8th: that’s who compiled Sports Illustrated’s wide receiver rankings for 2010.

Sports Illustrated Fantasy Defense Projections

SI has the New Orleans Defense as the #2 fantasy unit in 2010. I know they’re the Superbowl champs and they were a surprisingly good TM DEF in 2009, but that’s a little high in my opinion. The Baltimore Ravens are rated barely in the Top 10. But those are minor quibbles, when it comes to the IDP cheatsheet.

No matter what you do, don’t use the SI 2010 Individual Defensive Player rankings as a cheat sheet.

First of all, the magazine mixes all the defensive positions up into one master list. Then 4 of the top 9 players are defensive backs. You can find good, productive DBs in Week 10 of free agency off the waiver wire.

Meanwhile, only 2 of the top 10 defensive players listed are defensive linemen, and one of those was #10. Defensive line is the hardest position to fill, once the draft is over. If you don’t have a cheatsheet weighting the draft list towards those guys, you’re going to be screwed.

It looks to me like whoever made out this list looked at a total points list from 2009, and more or less went with it to make out his cheatsheet. That doesn’t take into account that defensive backs fluctuate wildly from one year to the next, or that there’s a huge gulf in Jared Allen and the #15 DE, while there’s not a big difference in Bernard Pollard (or whoever’s #1 at the moment) and the #15 defensive back. This list completely botches any kind of IDP strategy, so avoid this list like the plague.

FoxSports.com Fantasy Football 2010 Magazine Review

The Fox Sports magazine partners with Scout.com for this publication. The Scout dotcom section is a preview of the upcoming National Football League season, with breakdowns of all 32 NFL teams. “Scout” is an excellent website that I recommend, and you’ll probably find their scouting reports, analysis of offseason transactions, and discussion of which players are likely to be key in the 2010 season to be informative for your purposes. That being said, I’m only reviewing the specific fantasy football content, which is contained in the first half of the magazine.

Our topic today is fantasy football magazines, so I don’t want to get into the regular NFL analysis. So my review below should not be considered a review of the Scout Dot Com section of the magazine.

I might be wrong and the Scout writers might have contributed heavily to the fantasy mag. But since all the features are written by “Fox Fantasy” experts, I’m guessing not. The two halves seem like ill-fitting parts, and there is a fatal flaw that permeates the fantasy football analysis, which we’ll discuss soon enough.

Fantasy Football Mock Draft & Observations

One of the first sections you’ll come to is an expert fantasy football mock draft, which includes people from a number of websites and publications. The 16-round draft comes with comments and observations from the participants, which is common to many fantasy magazines. These are often helpful, though short enough that it’s hard to get too in-depth.

Included in the mock draft were the following individuals.

Each of the FoxSports writers taking part in the proceedings also included their observations on various fantasy football strategies, including articles on the following subjects.

  • Fantasy Football QB Strategy
  • Fantasy Football Playoff Strategy
  • Sleeper Strategy
  • Monitoring Injuries
  • FF Rookie Strategy
  • Mid-Season Claims
  • Filling Positions
  • Setting Lineups
  • Running Backs
  • Trading Strategies

Most of these are informative, and I would suggest they are worthy of a read, for beginning or intermediate fantasy football owners.

FoxSports.com Fantasy Football Rankings

Next, you come to the player cheatsheets and the separate player rankings pages. There is an article before each section, which discusses particular notes on each position. These sections include five topics at each position: franchise makers, sleepers, value buys, buyer beware and final thoughts.

This lets the publishers give additional information and tips, which is some of the most helpful content in the magazine.

Before I get started on the review of the rankings, I have a few comments on Fox Sports.com’s magazine set-up. I like the color-coding which suggests which round you should draft the players in. I like the “fantasy word”, which gives a short statement to clarify which players within a round are considered higher quality, which are injury risks, which are in crowded backfields, and so on. I also like the fact that each player has listed below them their backup or handcuff – even 2nd string players. (Though I’m not sure that Walter Mendenhall, Rashard’s older brother, is really C.J. Spiller’s backup, instead of Marshawn Lynch. Maybe.)

Anyway, before we started, I wanted to point out those positives to you.

FoxSports.com Fantasy Football QBs 2010

Carson Palmer is listed as a starter in most formats (#12), mainly because of the addition of Antonio Bryant. While I would draft Palmer as one of the first backups, there’s no way I want to start the season with him as my every week starter. Meanwhile, Kevin Kolb is listed at #14, while Stafford, Henne and Sanchez are way down at 24 to 26. It seems like this list is looking at last year’s final rankings and not trying to project out numbers for these guys in their 2nd year as starters.

FoxSports.com Fantasy Running Backs 2010

I don’t like the fact that only 40 running backs are listed, though this drawback is somewhat mitigated by the fact that the backups are listed by name. Still, if you’re desperate for a late-round RB pick, you might want one little factoid, measurement or snippet of information to help you make the selection.

Once again, Cedric Benson and Ryan Grant are too high for my tastes, but maybe I’m the one who is out of line here, since most of the magazines seem to agree on these players. For the first time, Darren Sproles is rated higher than Ryan Mathews, who is listed as the backup (and not in the Top 40). That’s an unforgivable oversight.

In fact, from reading the comments, I’m pretty certain these rankings were put together before the 2010 NFL Draft, which is even more unforgivable. The inclusion of Ryan Mathews as a backup seems like an afterthought, such as when Darren Sproles is described as having “no competition for carries”, while the note on C.J. Spiller mentions he could be a fantasy star if “drafted into the right system”.

Most of the rookies are listed, despite this fact, though I don’t see Jahvid Best on the list anywhere, since Kevin Smith (or “Lions Starter”) isn’t considered a Top 40 runner.

It’s obvious at this point: you want your opponents drafting off the Fox Sports cheatsheets.

FoxSports.com WR Rankings

I won’t go into too much detail, since I’ve already dismissed these lists. The wide receiver list is pretty much okay in the Top 20 or so ranks, though Hakeem Nicks is scandalously low (38), and Terrell Owens is still listed as #32. Once again, you can tell this magazine was written when everyone was assuming T.O. would sign with a team. Now, none of us are as certain, with Owens blaming ESPN for the lack of interest on the part of teams.

FoxSports.com Player Rankings

The defensive rankings look okay, though there are no IDP stats. The rest of the magazine is filled up with stuff like the “What If Sports” projections for the 2010 NFL season. WhatIfSports runs a computer simulation 10,000 times to see what every National Football League team’s record is going to be, along with the playoff scores and a Superbowl prediction. Just in case you want to know, the Vikings are going to beat the Chargers 30-23 in Superbowl XLIV.

Won’t Jerry Jones be disappointed that the Dallas Cowboys won’t make it to play the Big Bowl in Jerryworld. Carolina edges them out in the division playoff round, 24-23. (Man, the Cowboys just can’t beat the Panthers in the postseason: 0-3 lifetime. Well, according to What If Sports, that is.)

“Fantasy League” Football Magazine 2010

The “Fantasy League Football” publication is a magazine you’ll see in a lot of bigger bookstores like Barnes & Noble or Hastings, but you aren’t likely to find in Wal-Mart or a convenience store. Just because it doesn’t have ESPN, Sporting News or Sports Illustrated on the cover, don’t assume this is an off-brand product. In fantasy football, the big names often do a half-ass job of putting together their publications, while the smaller operations often put a lot more time and effort into their mags. The publisher of Fantasy League said he and 4 other guys got together for a 72-hour brainstorming session to put together their content.

With over 25,000 touted facts and 490 players ranked, Fantasy League Football claims to be the #1 rated fantasy mag. That may be like the Santa Fe Gazette giving a blurb for your average lousy movie, but I’ve used this magazine before and I respect it. I definitely wanted to include it on the list reviewed, so I was glad the nearest book store had their magazine.

Draft Day Tip Sheets

The Fantasy League publication has 4 different draft day tip sheets, which are essentially cheat sheets: standard scoring rules (offense), standard scoring rules (defense), big play scoring rules, and auction rules. This is also an “auction analysis” tip sheet, which offers .

Fantasy League Football Expert Picks

The five aforementioned magazine writers, along with Matthew Falkow of “Roster Doc Dotcom”, give their picks, fantasy football tips, and list of mistakes they see fantasy owners make most often. While only two pages long, this is pithy information that can help you improve your game.

Each position breakdown also includes 10 questions sections, which I find less informative. For instance, questions about Lendale White no longer seem relevant, since he wore out his welcome with former college coach, Pete Carroll, in about a month’s time.

I shouldn’t be too hard on the burning questions sections, though, because some of the questions do address topics that are important to fantasy owners. You can also tell these are guys who have played fantasy football for years, who love fantasy football, and who (most importantly) know the game. For instance, a question about who is going to be the #3 linebacker (obviously behind Patrick Willis and Jon Beason) shows that these guys know who have been head-and-shoulders the best for three years now. So many times, you’ll find that fantasy football sections with the mainstream sports media involve ex-players and broadcasters who have a cursory knowledge of fantasy sports, and are more in-tune with the day-to-day aspects of the NFL.

Fantasy League Football Review

You’ve probably seen the ESPN fantasy football draft before, where 4-5 quarterbacks get taken in the first round, including Brett Favre. When it’s time to get your fantasy football information, it’s simply better to get it from fantasy football geeks who live and breathe the stuff, not ex-athletes who may be taking part because of contractual obligations or just for the heck of it. These are no different than when you need that 12th guy to fill out your league and you get the next-door neighbor who watches about 3 NFL games a year.

There aren’t many features in the Fantasy League Football magazine. Most of the information outside of small player write-ups are conveyed through the continual Q&A sections in the player position rankings. At the same time, the rankings look like someone took their time and did them professionally. In my opinion, they are the best cheat sheets of the seven magazines reviewed in this article.

Fantasy League Fantasy Football Quarterbacks 2010

“Fantasy League” touts itself as the #1 rated fantasy mag, and it’s one I seem to buy every season. While it’s not a “brand name” fantasy football magazine, it is traditionally one of the most solid. The quarterback listing are solid, with Aaron Rodgers sitting atop the heap and Peyton Manning edging out Drew Brees for 2nd. That’s the first time I’ve seen anyone but Brees and Rodgers in the top 3, but it’s hard to argue against Peyton Manning’s consistency.

I don’t know that I like Matt Schaub coming in at 4, since he’s got that injury history. The rest of the picks in the Top 20 are sound enough, except perhaps placing David Garrard in that group. It seems to me that you can always find a David Garrard on the scrap heap, so why not take a shot on someone with a little more upside?

Fantasy League RB Projections 2010

The “Fantasy League” running backs list places Ryan Mathews down the list in the 20s, but at least he’s listed. Michael Bush is listed 10+ spots higher than Darren McFadden, but I think that’s how I would draft them (this is further down the list). Ben Tate’s too high, since the Texans are saying Arian Foster is their #1 guy at the moment. But it’s early and, besides, anyone who depends too much on Texans’ runners deserves what they get. Tim Hightower is closer to where I think his value is, since we’re still not sure that Beanie Wells stays out of the doghouse and becomes the man in Arizona.

All in all, the Fantasy League list is one I would feel comfortable recommending you use.

Fantasy League FF Wide Receivers 2010

Once again, the wide receiver list is solid. While I might slide a player a spot or two up or down the list, none of the selections are crazy. There are a few, like Wes Welker (in the 50s), which might involve bad slotting by your draft day, but given that fantasy football magazines are published months before most drafts, that’s understandable. Watch for updates on players like Welker, and draft accordingly.

Fantasy League Team Defense and IDP Rankings

I’ll also give a big thumbs up on the fantasy football defensive rankings for Team Defense, Defensive Lineman and Linebacker. Since I dismiss preseason defensive back projections as more or less meaningless, I’ll without judgment on that position.

Don’t assume that my lack of comment on the Fantasy League draft lists as a sign I’ve fallen down on the job or I’m ignoring them. The fact that I’m not griping about them should tell you that I think highly of these lists. While I might quip with a slot or two, there are no glaring weaknesses.

(Though I doubt that Ray Rice is really a commissioner in one of the RosterDoc leagues. That’s funny, though.)

I recommend you buy the “Fantasy League” Football magazine and use it to draft in your 2010 leagues, if you decide to use a magazine or cheat sheet. If you want to put together your own solid draft list, use this magazine for your note taking.

Fantasy Football Magazine Reviews – Final Grades

  • Official NFL Fantasy Football C
  • ESPN Fantasy Football C-
  • Sporting News Fantasy Football B+
  • Lindy’s Sports Fantasy Football B
  • Sports Illustrated Presents Fantasy Football F
  • FoxSports Fantasy Football D
  • Fantasy League Football A

Review Explanations

Official NFL Fantasy Football – NFL’s fantasy quarterback draft philosophy is flawed. There’s no IDP list. Definition of sleeper is loose. Otherwise, their draft lists are okay.
ESPN Fantasy Football – One advice section is an add for a contest. Too many silly comments. ESPN’s quarterback rankings are a mess. Promising 64 surefire sleepers is patently absurb. Otherwise, their draft lists hold up fairly well.

Sporting News Fantasy Football – Good features and nothing too unreasonable in the magazine. One or two wide receiver choices were out of whack, while I wouldn’t entirely trust the IDP defensive linemen and linebackers lists. Despite those flaws, a pretty strong product.

Lindy’s Sports Fantasy Football – Not a whole lot of articles and some of the Q&A is superfluous. A good, straightforward cheatsheet-&-stats fantasy football magazine. I counted off for having no defensive lists for DEF/STs or Individual Defensive Players.

Sports Illustrated Fantasy Football – The backfield grid feature was an insane jumble. The IDP list was unusable. The running back draft list had highly erratic selections that were never explained. The wide receivers list appeared to have been drawn at random. Do not buy this magazine.

FoxSports Fantasy Football – A large part of their cheat sheets appear to have been compiled before the NFL Draft, rendering draft slotting meaningless in many cases. That’s an unforgivable sin. Not enough players ranked at many positions. I suggest you avoid these draft lists entirely. The fantasy observations pieces were okay and I liked a couple of minor points, so I’ll be nice and avoid giving an “F”.

Fantasy League Football – Cheat sheets for variant league rules. The defensive rankings for Team and IDP are by far the best. Only minor hair-splitting with the QB, RB and WR lists. Pithy comments on the fantasy tips and mistakes to avoid. Overall, this is the best of the seven magazines.

Once again, I want to mention that my poor grade for the Fox Sports Magazine has nothing to do with the Scout.com section, as the whole second half of the publication was dedicated to NFL team scouting, which has only a tangential connection to fantasy football. This was virtually two magazines in one.

I can’t believe it, but the ESPN fantasy mag looked relatively normal, compared to the Sports Illustrated and FoxSports submissions. There’s that outside chance that I got grumpier as I saw more and more magazines, but that’s belied by the fact that my favorite was the last magazine I reviewed. Maybe “Fantasy League Football” looked genius after the SI and Fox Sports examples.

So there you have it. I suggest you pick up the Fantasy League Football, Sporting News Fantasy Football and Lindy’s Sports Fantasy Football Magazines, in that order. If you want dry information and don’t much care about defensive rankings, Lindy’s is on a par with the Sporting News. Forget all the rest of the magazines, which have serious flaws. That even goes for the official NFL fantasy football magazine. Go figure.

Why Use Fantasy Football Magazines for Draft Preparations?

While there may be other reasons to buy a fantasy football magazine in your draft preparations, their player rankings do help team owners see what other people are thinking – as long as the publication doesn’t have weak lists. I tend to buy 2 or more different magazines to look at while I’m preparing for draft day, if for no other reason than handy reference on bye weeks, player transactions, and matchups, without having to go online to find the same information.

Fantasy Football Magazine Reviews

Hopefully with a review of seven fantasy football magazines and a massive set of reviews of the 2010 fantasy football publications, you have the information you need to select the proper fantasy football draft preparation resources. While I may have left out one or two worthy fantasy magazines, these are the ones you’re most likely to encounter out in the bookstores and convenience stores of America, as you begin your draft preparations or grab a cheat sheet on the way to your fantasy football league draft.