Championships. It’s why we play the game of fantasy football. In a matter of days, virtual and real-life draft rooms will start to fill up with eager participants, ready for a new season of fantasy football. Each year, the draft represents a fresh start for everyone. Mistakes made last year are gone, but not forgotten, as your are reminded by friends and foes alike. “Remember when you took Mike Vick in the first round,” a subtle ploy to get you off your game. It’s a new year, a renewed focus and you have dreams of winning big. As you look for every possible advantage, we present our picks for the 2013 edition of the best fantasy football apps for iPad and iPhone.
Leave The Magazine At Home
In the old days, you’d rip out the centerfold of a magazine that would have rankings by position and the top 200. Everyone would sit at the table, marker in hand as we all made our way down these lists. Great if all leagues were the same, but that’s not the case. Different scoring rules often make leagues unique and those cheat sheets are not very efficient. Even if we forget about the statistics rankings being ill-conceived, the information is dated. If we relied on these magazines alone, you’d have people in your league drafting Aaron Hernandez or Kevin Kolb. For entertainment value, these are great and will you get your football fix in the summer. Don’t make the mistake of making it your sole and/or primary guide to drafting. Bringing your magazine to the draft is still beneficial, but not for the reasons you’d suspect. Preparation is a key factor in success of any kind. It tells your opponents that you’ve spent your summer studying and those who still believe in cheat sheets, will fear your every move. Just wait until you break out your iPad or iPhone using one of these apps. Game over.
The official fantasy app of the NFL, Cheat Sheet 2013 is much more than its name would suggest. It’s a modern take by offering player rankings using both standard and custom lists.
- Value Based Rankings: Suggested picks based on value (VBD)
- Project Fantasy Points: Calculated from league scoring system
- Average Draft Position: ADP from MockDraftCentral.com
- Average Auction Value: AAV from MyFantasyLeague.com
The app allows you to create a custom ranking. First you select a starting point from:
- Fantasy Points
- Recommended Picks
- Average Draft Position
- Average Auction Position
Within each ranking category, you can create a position filter. This is an effective tool when you need to fill a position in your draft. During my draft, where we can play a QB at the Flex position, I went heavy QB and RB in the early rounds. At around the 5th round, I was in my comfort zone using the WR filter.
NFL Cheat Sheet allows you to setup your league, all the teams and any custom lineups, such as flex position eligibility. This is important. In my case, we’re drafting two QBs, so the cheat sheet will adjust and account for that positional need.
Once you set up your league, you can tap on a player and assign them to a team. If someone goes off the board, it’s not terribly difficult to search and draft them. I found the process of removing players to be a bit confusing. You have to click on a player and use the ‘share arrow’ to Reset. From experience, you cannot reverse a trade, which can cause issues on your draft board. The draft board looks much like that big sheet of oak tag that was used in the good ole days. Unfortunately, the Rosters tab basically duplicates that look, making it difficult to track other teams during the draft. A fourth tab provides team based news and depth charts. Helpful if you need to find out who occupies the 3rd receiver position on the Green Bay Packers.
Not only is this the longest name in the history of the App Store, but it can be a vital piece to your fantasy football puzzle. It’s broken into two sections: Magazine and Draft. Using news and insight from over 40 experts from FootballGuys.com, this is the ultimate magazine, but in digital form. It boasts over 200 articles, all with one common theme, helping you become better at drafting a great team. Each time you open the app, information updates are pushed to your iPhone or iPad, so you have the best possible information on injuries, position battles and more.
When you dive into the categories tab, you can select from Offseason Movement, Injuries, Beginner, Strategy and more. The training camp section allows you to select a team and see weekly updates for each position. Need to find out a WR is gelling with a QB? You’ll find critical information at your fingertips. All of this information does come at a cost. You’ll want to spend a day or two getting familiar with the interface. Having so much information and tabs, it’s easy to get lost.
When it comes time to draft, the screen rotates into draft mode. Similar to the other apps, you can setup your league along with any custom scoring requirements. If you have multiple leagues, this app is easily capable of managing your leagues. The drafting process is a bit easier with this app. Tap on a player and press ‘Pick’. It will add the player to whomever is next on the draft board. You can easily go back, remove a player and select a different one. If someone accidentally auto-picks, you can easily reverse it as you monitor the league draft. There are some excellent shortcuts for drafting for quick picking. Double-tapping or a long press will also pick the player. Once in the draft, you can exit to customize the ranking. I could see this for the earlier rounds, but would not advise it for your live draft. There’s a bit of shuffling required to move back and forth between screens.
This app is the kitchen sink of fantasy football apps. It’s for the owner who craves information, stats and tools. As long as you don’t mind the learning curve, there isn’t a more comprehensive set of data.
I play in both football and baseball leagues. Each year we bemoan that we’re locked into using CBS. For those who have stuck with them over the years, you’ve labored through laggy drafts and poorly designed sites that are ad-heavy. When they first released an iOS app, it too fell flat and was painful to use. This can be incredibly frustrating when you pay to play. Someone at CBS is listening, because this year brings an entirely new app. The new CBS Fantasy Football app is great, mostly for those who use the service. The interface is modern, fast and provides for easy access to Live Scoring.
The app will also provide weekly news that it generates based upon performance, both in the draft and each week. Looking at this week’s draft recap, I cannot say I agree with their sentiment regarding Chill Town, but it’s a good feature just the same.
In last year’s guide to the best Fantasy Football apps, I went into detail on how I used the iPad to draft my team. My tool of choice was RotoWire Draft Kit, which has been updated for 2013. The process is largely the same, with some nice improvements in the UI. The same principles that make this app so great are still here in the 2013 version. It’s incredibly easy to view an updated and informative list of players. Tapping on tabs will sort information that can help you determine which is the best player available. For example, the WR position offers choices for RC100 that displays the number of times a receiver went over 100 years. Each position has these types of stats and can help with making a decision when you are on the clock.
RotoWire also helps you keep tabs on other teams. If you are in a snake draft, you can view the teams after you to see what position they might need. Should you draft that WR or will he be available when your pick comes back around.
Assigning players to teams is not as easy as FootballGuys, but it shouldn’t slow you down. Removing players is also easy. All in all, this app provides a nice mix of information you need on one screen, without making things overly complicated. It’s an improvement on last year’s app, which I might add, helped this author win his league. Okay, Tom Brady won my league with his incredible second half against the 49ers.
“You are on the clock.” Before the iPad, those words could be the cause of undue stress as you scramble to find the best player available, rifling through the pages of a magazine published months before training camp. It’s 2013, don’t be that guy. To win your league, it’s time to leave the magazine at home and use your iOS device. Rotowire, NFL Cheat Sheet and Football Guys are all excellent options for draft day. To get the most benefit from any of these apps, you’ll need about 30 minutes to setup your league. Football Guys offers the most bang for your buck overall, while Rotowire offers the best draft interface. These are the best fantasy football apps available today and will help you in your pursuit of a fantasy football championship in 2013.