Welcome back for another strategy session, where you and I sit down, group our intellect together, and prepare to discuss fantasy football ad nauseum… and then promptly get distracted by RedTube. So pretty much every other Wednesday. (Well, for me, at least.) We already have a Beginners Guide to Fantasy Football, for those of you who had no idea fantasy football existed… I’m sure there are dozens of you. DOZENS! But now that we have the “101” stuff out of the way, we arrive at the “Do’s and Don’ts” of a draft. As what should be pretty self explanatory, there are things that you should do and things that you should not do. Crazy stuff! I know. Granted, these are based on my own experiences within the fantasy football landscape, so take them for what you will. Which frankly, should be lots. Because it’s free. Free stuff is always good. Unless it’s crayfish in your pants. That’s something that’s free, mysterious, titillating, and scary all at the same time. Much like my lovemaking.
- Come prepared to your respective drafts. Unlike the VELVEETA® Mac and Cheese slogan, don’t be that guy (or gal). You know who I’m talking about… the person who takes the clock to the three second mark every single pick, only to draft someone like Darrius Heyward-Bey in the 3rd round, and then plays off all the snickers and “ugh’s” by saying he/she based that pick on “sleeper potential”. Yeah, he’s a sleeper, in that, he’s probably taking a nap to avoid the fact of how irrelevant he is. As I’ve said before, you don’t have to be spending 18 hours a day preparing like there’s a doctorate available for this kind of stuff, but some kind of cheat sheet with rankings, a napkin with some sort of scribbling of what looks like player names, or just a drawing of Tom Brady… something, anything would work here.
This cheat sheet is way too dreamy for use.
- Sort of a branch, or I guess a root from the previous “do” is to know your league settings. It seems obvious, but league settings are like the fine print of a contract. And from the way I started this blurb out, it’s probably a contract with a tree or some kind of shrubbery… pretty much anything that has branches or roots I guess. So just be careful, especially of fire. And aphids maybe.
- Balance your risk-taking. This can be a delicate procedure, as no one really knows what’s going to happen during the season, and no one player is a “for sure” thing, but there are players who are considered safer than others. As last season showed us, there’s a better way of building your team than going C.J. Anderson or Eddy Lacy in the second round. If you went Marshawn Lynch or, I dunno, Mark Ingram in those rounds instead (probably a bit later on Ingram_, well, things probably turned out a bit better for you. I’m not saying go safe all the time, but mix it in a little bit if you find yourself leaning on guys that have had issues with either health or stable production.
- Know that while it’s important to have running backs on your team, don’t force yourself into an uncomfortable situation to do so. The NFL is changing more and more towards the vertical game, and so is fantasy football, even in non-PPR leagues. Add on top of that the number of dreaded running back tandems or RBBC (running back by committee) situations that are forming around the league, if you find yourself outside looking in on running back depth, it’s pretty easy to defend drafting out of the receiving waters. I’m going to be hammering the fact that the depth for running backs this years is pretty non-existent, and the opposite is true with wide receivers, so the point I’m trying to make is, if you can’t land an elite option, don’t force yourself into a bad situation. Bad situations is why Darren McFadden is still employed. (Is he still employed?)
- Realize that plans can change, and don’t be afraid of this. Certain positions have good depth this season. Quarterback, for instance, still has tons of depth carried over from last year, and you might be better off waiting on the tier 2 and 3 guys than trying to nab a tier 1 player as you hit the third-to-fourth round. As mentioned just above, you can wait on receivers a bit. Just remember, every draft is different, but once you get a feel for the who’s being selected and where, you can change your plan on the fly and adjust. Don’t remain static is what I’m saying.
- Sorta-kinda pay attention to bye weeks. I’m hedging here, not because I’m a bush (it’s official, we’re going for a shrubbery theme for sure now), but because while it’s good to pay attention to how your bye alignment is turning out during the draft, don’t let it control your draft. If you drafted the entire Pittsburgh Steelers offense last year, you’d lose one game for sure, but probably won it all. Now, that’s an extreme example, but if you are hesitating on a player you really want because you already have a couple other guys with the bye, go ahead and pull the trigger. Tackle that week when it comes. (+5 for proper metaphor usage. Current score: -464,897 points.)
- Draft a defense or kicker if you can help it. If you’d like to use the last few rounds to do so, that’s fine… but there really is no reason to pay more than that. In a 12-team, and especially in a 10-team league, there are simply just too many streaming options and match-ups to play with. And remember, on a bye week for these positions during the season, you might have to carry two kickers and two defenses, possibly strangling your roster in the process.
- Get caught up in the hype. A perfect example of this, and already mentioned above, was last year’s C.J. Anderson and perennial hype-monster Carlos Hyde. You could even include guys like Christine Michael (how is he still a thing?) or Joseph Randle in this category. While a guy like Ezekiel Elliott has talent and a good enough argument to be drafted fairly high, the hype might just to big to get any kind of proper value. Be weary of overpaying for these types of guys.
- Panic before, during, or after the draft. Having a winning team on a piece of paper (or I guess a computer screen, since this isn’t the 80’s) before the season guarantees absolutely nothing whatsoever. Neither does having a derpy draft. These things are all fixable, unless you draft Mohamed Sanu in the third round. That, you really can’t recover from. But that selection does come with two bowls of gravy, so could be worth it…