Fantasy Football: 12 Rules to Live by
1. Rule Number one, know the rules. This sounds like a wise crack but I receive dozens of emails, tweets, messages, FB posts, and even texts daily asking my opinion of what they should do in their league. When I ask a simple question like, “How many points for a throwing touchdown?”. They reply with how do you find that out? Really?!?! How do you join something without at least asking the details! So find out everything to do with the league, ask questions like roster and lineup requirements, waiver wires, draft requirements, add and drops, when line ups have to be set, playoffs, payoffs, how tiebreakers are decided and on and on. I mean anything you can think of to make sure when it happens you aren’t like, well I didn’t know that. If that is your reply, well you deserve it.
2. Like the Art of War, be prepared. No one likes the guy who shows up for the draft acting like they belong there but as soon as it begins starts drafting guys who played three years ago. So know who the names are, have a plan and be crazy even a backup plan. Know what guys you want to target and when they should be targeted but know the guys you are playing with and what they need and when. If you do this you can swing the draft in the direction you want it to go and when you can do that you are in great shape. Anticipate and know what you are doing and the other guys in the league and you should be fine. Print out rankings, average draft positions (ADP), and even a cheat sheet. Rule #2 in fantasy like in the life of a boy scout, BE PREPARED!
3. This is something you will rarely hear from me but on draft day you are not a fan of any body. Do not let your loyalty to a team cloud your judgment as a team owner. Take the guys that will form your team the way it needs to be to have a chance at winning not so the team you love will love you back. Here is a little secret, they won’t ever find out who you have. This isn’t a who is the best fan contest, which I won for the Panthers (just saying). Wear your team gear and route for them on Sundays but leave that and fantasy separated.
4. We call them Studs for a reason, because they are! I get questions every week about line ups and it drives me banana sandwich when I get one like this, “Do I play Peterson versus a good bears defense?”. The answer is you always play Adrian Peterson! He lost a leg in a skiing accident, play him. Got caught up in a sex scandal, play him. Was seen with Chris Brown, play him. I hope you get it, play him. Play your studs, every week, heck maybe even the bye week (Just kidding on that one). Your first 4-6 rounds should be guys you wouldn’t sit unless out or bye. Play your best guys no matter match-ups period.
5. Don’t worry about the bye week. One of the myths that drives out my cuckoo right out of the clock is drafting players around their byes. This is why this doesn’t make sense. The best records will make the playoff, that’s right. So why make your team weak for a couple weeks when you can have a great team weak for one week? If I can get AP, Brees, and Charles, who cares if they all have a bye week seven ! You shouldn’t but hope the guys you draft against do. This is like the Vegas book on how to win gambling, do you think they really want you to win or just feel like you have a better chance to win. Draft the best team possible. I will take one loss to have a first round bye in the playoff.
6. Protect yourself, no one likes being in handcuffs. Well let me take that back some might but not this kind. So you are getting into the later rounds and you start thinking about reaching for hopefuls or what could be. Rather than wasting your pick (which most the time that is) how about you go out and get your own Running backs backups. This will secure if they go down you have the guy to replace him. Do not allow yourself to be held hostage by some heckler who drafted your guys backup in the 13 round just to now have a gold mine. Be smarter than the guy you are playing against and think like a Trojan, protect yourself.
7. Don’t be a follower, dare to lead. Just because the guy in front of you grabbed a RB or WR or QB doesn’t mean you have to. Do not let them make your moves for you. Instead do what’s best for you and the value of you team. You shouldn’t allow yourself to be overcome by the heat because you see guys going jumping off the draft board. Think about it, if that guy is still there he is probably not as good as the guy they drafted in that exact position, so why draft him just because they did?!?! Form your own team not the leftovers from others.
8. Clam or be clammed, that is the question. This is almost, if not more important than the draft itself, watch the free agent market. Every year we all miss one guy who is going to come out of nowhere and finish in the top 20 of their position most likely. Injuries or just regression will catch up and give some no name a chance to make good and when he does, jump on him. A waiver clam can get you right back into the race or keep you ahead. Also if you know someone needs a RB, why not pick the best one up so they can’t play him against you? This is where being dedicated and smart helps in fantasy football. Do not be lazy, it’s hard work to win, so put the time in to waivers and you got a chance to hit gold or at least a couple more wins along the way.
9. Know the difference between total points and total value. Here is where we get a little advanced for some but if you can really get this, you will be unstoppable. There is a big difference between total points and total value but explaining it so quick is tough. You can always look me up on Twitter or email for more info but this is where you can make a big difference in your draft. Total points is what someone scores for the year, the problem with going off that number shows just a fraction of the whole picture. Value is key, it guides you to know when to pick who and when to wait. The value of a player is defined by the difference or loss in the average of player per game to the next one down per game. An example is AP and Foster, the top to RB’s from a year ago, the difference in those two players is one point per game. So if you can pick AP now but miss on a QB that lets say averages four more points per game than the next QB. If you do that you lose out by three points of value total. Now if you held off and drafted the QB first and waited to get Foster the next back you would win by three points of value. Let them talk about names; you focus on getting the most points per game. So at the end you will hold the trophy and money and the other guy will say, “How did I lose, I had AP?”.
10. Take a defense and kicker if you got to but if not wait to just pick one up. I laugh every year watching guys scope up the top defense in the 8th round when I am getting the nest big running back or WR or even QB sometimes. The difference in value when it comes to first place defense to the 12th place defense is less than four points per game. That tells us there is no rush to jump the gun on defense you can hold out and wait till the last second or if you have to draft one pick it in the last two rounds right before or after kicker as you see fit (I got with before). Another strategy with defense is going with match ups for that week. I have won doing it both ways so whatever makes you happy but don’t stress defense and even less concern on your kicker. You could do matchups with both if that makes you feel fancy.
11. Don’t be afraid to trade. So many times I hear about trades that could have been made that one gets gun shy on. If you have depth trade two good for one great or a bench player on your team for a need on your team. We talked about value and we all make our own value up when it comes to players and how important they are. So you know some is short a back, well know you might have a piece they will give up something for. I find a couple trades a year where I get extra off another teams needs. Look for them and pay attention to what players get hurt and what team has him, which is also another time someone might make a trade they don’t think better off.
12. Last one for you guys and this is the most important one, ready for it, you sure, it’s easy, Have Fun! Talk a little noise to each other; make fun of team names and draft picks and pretty much anything else except family. The best leagues are the ones that everyone stops being sensitive in and just let it loose. This is your time to shine and show everyone that you can be a General Manager in the NFL too. So live it up, let go and enjoy my fellow Fantasy Football players, this is our time.
I look forward to your comments and remember to follow me on twitter where we talk fantasy all day every day. Good luck drafting and look forward to hearing all kinds of success stories.