It is not long until fantasy drafts will be getting going. That means lots of catchy team names like ‘Megatron’s Johnson’, trash talk galore, and of course lots of fun. There is also money to be won if you have some skill in the fantasy football arena. Online websites now offer cash prizes for fantasy gurus and you can of course wager with your friends in personal leagues….allegedly. So with draft day closing in on you like Jadeveon Clowney on a hapless Michigan runner, let’s see how best to choose your fantasy team and leagues.
First of all you want to get in a good league or two. It is more fun with people you know. Trash talking is not as enjoyable when it is done with strangers. Also the bragging rights are more valuable as you can use them face to face at family reunions, holidays, and cookouts. Even if your buddies in the real world are not fantasy football enthusiasts, you can still play with ‘friends’ on Facebook or other social media platforms. These people may not be your close acquaintances, hell you may not even like them, but you are at least connected to them. If you absolutely cannot find anyone to start a fantasy league with, then just join an open league on Yahoo, ESPN, or NFL.com. By the way, there are more places to play than those big three.
It is easy to get caught up in the fantasy euphoria and join several leagues. That is fine if you have plenty of free time, but that is not the case with most of us. Two or three leagues is plenty in my opinion. Anymore and your attention will get watered down and you will not do well in any of the leagues. Or you will only focus on the one that you get a hot start in, and totally abandon the other leagues. That is not cool, as the other players will basically be matched up against nobody when playing you.
The best day of the year when it comes to fantasy play is draft day. That is where the groundwork is laid for you to end up looking like either a genius or a big dummy. The fun feeling you get from watching the real NFL Draft is comparable to fantasy drafts for me. You are on the clock and there are some really tough choices to make before that clock hits zero. It may sound bizarre, but there is palpable pressure with each pick. You need to get the right guys and you only have so many quality rounds to get those players. Feel free to cuss and throw things when your dream lineup starts to fall apart. That is how I cope anyway.
Before draft day….way before, you should do some research on the best players to get. I am not telling you vets anything new, but the rookies need to hear it. You can’t just start drafting your team without a plan. And you should not just pick players that you like or who are on your home team. You can do that but your results will probably be less than average. That means your team will suck and you will get berated by the other members of the league. Just a heads up.
Doing research is simple. There are tons of fantasy stats available online where leagues are hosted. You can go with good players who always put up points like Tom Brady and Peyton Manning. Or you can take a chance on a hot rookie or go for guys that seem to be on the cusp of greatness. You will need to have a draft lineup ready that includes backups to your plan. Players that you want to pick will undoubtedly get snatched up before you can get to them. When that happens you better have an idea of who to take instead.
Now I am sure some of you are saying that you are too busy to do any research for your fantasy football team. If you are too busy to plan to be competitive then you are too busy for fantasy sports in general and should stop working so much. We are not allowed much time on this planet so we had best plan time for some fun and relaxation. Fantasy football is one of the greatest hobbies ever created and I intend to make time for it. My grass may be overdue for a mowing and my oil needs changing, but damn it, I am going to find out if Nick Foles is a flash in the pan or the real deal!
If you are truly too busy to do some reading to help you with fantasy stats, I have a solution. Podcasts. You can download a few fantasy podcasts and listen while you work or mow that lawn. Now you have no excuse for not being prepared for draft day.
When it comes to the technical aspects of drafting your team, there are too many theories to list. Some experts say ignore QBs as long as possible since good running backs are hard to come by. Some tell you to get the best player as quick as possible, no matter the position. The best thing to do from my point of view is to create your own strategy. If you think it is better to have Peyton Manning than trying to get a rushing combo that will out perform his points, then do it. If your season starts out in a rocky fashion, you can always try to make some trades to right the ship.
Some basic tips to do better in your league are good to know. You should pay attention to how fantasy points are given out. Not all leagues are the same. That does matter when choosing between two different type players. You also need to check your lineup close to game time each week to avoid missing a last minute injury that gives you an empty slot. And for the love of Pete Rozelle, do not forget to set your lineup every week. That will leave you with players that are possibly on a bye week. That makes you look like an idiot as well as netting you zero points for those players.
Good luck with your fantasy team in 2014. Don’t do anything crazy like agree to get a tattoo of your opponents’ choosing if you finish last. That seems to be a thing now.