I’m super excited for football season this year, even more than usual. I’m all in on the Eagles as a championship contender, and almost as importantly, chasing fantasy football immortality once again. There’s no doubt fantasy football (and gambling) makes football even more enjoyable. The shit talking between friends is enough incentive by itself, but you could win cash money if you know what you’re doing.
If you’re tired of being the perennial doormat in your fantasy league, listen up, because I’m here to help. I can’t guarantee that the league title will be yours, but you’ll have a fighting chance.
I don’t win my league every year, but I’m almost always competitive, so at the very least, I can help you raise your floor so that you’re not the guy or girl holding a sign at a busy street corner.
Some common sense rules (like they say, common sense isn’t always common practice).
Remove All Biases
I can’t stress this enough! Letting your fandom get in the way and drafting your favorite team’s players when better players are available is a surefire way to end up like the dude in the picture above. Same goes for avoiding players on teams you hate or players who aren’t necessarily model citizens. Tyreek Hill is a piece of shit, but you’re not endorsing his actions by having him on your fantasy team. I hate the Cowboys and Giants but I’ll gladly take Saquon Barkley and Zeke Elliott in the first round. As the late great Al Davis said, “Just win, baby! (even if it makes you feel dirty)”. Ok, I added the second part.
The one thing I will say, however, is that passing on match-ups against your favorite teams is acceptable. Don’t wanna start the opposing running back against your home town team? Ain’t nothing wrong with that. Who wants to be relying on some scrub to get a game winning touchdown against your squad? It’s totally reasonable, but there’s a limit. If the match-up is a slam dunk favorite, leaving points on the table is a dumb move.
Do NOT Draft A Kicker Before The Final Round
Look man, I’m not the only one. The other fantasy experts stress this too; drafting a kicker is absolutely pointless. It’s damn near impossible to predict which kicker is going to be the highest scorer. While a lot of late picks end up being nobodies, you still might find that gem that everyone wishes they had. I’ll never understand why people still insist on doing this.
Don’t Be One Of The First Players In Your League To Draft A Defense
Unlike kickers, there are sometimes exceptions, but more often than not it’s a bad idea. My go to move with defenses is to look at first week (or 2) of the schedule. Look for favorable match-ups, because just about any defense can have a productive day against a bad team.
I used to look for match-ups against the Browns, Jags, Bills, etc. This year, I’d go after the Dolphins, Redskins, Bucs, Ravens. Lamar Jackson and Josh Rosen have the potential to make your average defense look like the 85 Bears. You could make a case to draft this Bears D early, but I wouldn’t personally. You can do other things with that pick.
Can defenses be worth it? Certainly, but more often than not, the guy who reaches for a D does so at the expense of a skill player. In anything less than a 12 man format, I advise waiting on a defense.
Tight End Can Be A Real Difference Maker
This is a position where there is usually a huge drop off from the elite to the very good. If you have an opportunity to grab a truly elite TE early, (Ertz, Kittle, Kelce) do it. If not, wait until later and go for the sleeper. I always had success drafting prime Gronk in the early rounds.
If you can’t snag an elite tight-end, the waiver wire usually offers one or two surprise players who are seeing an uptick in red zone targets. More often than not, one touchdown is the measure of whether or not a TE had a solid day.
Don’t Take Chances At Running-Back
When starting caliber running backs are available, take them. There are always guys who bust onto the scene, but it can be hard to predict. Guaranteed one of my first 2 picks will be a running back, if not both.
Don’t mess around at RB! This is the most important position in fantasy since the difference between the first and second tier of running backs is huge. If you fall asleep at the wheel in regards to the running-back position, you’ll find yourself starting Darren Sproles by round 6. Quality running-backs do not last and it is entirely possible that anyone with any semblance of a path to carries will be drafted. Sure up your running-backs first and foremost.
There Is Almost Always Depth At QB and WR
Like every position, there are the elites, but the drop off isn’t as severe. Take wide-out for instance. Last year I drafted Julio Jones in the first round. He was fantastic, but he had trouble finding the end zone. Because of this, I could have gotten this production in the later rounds, and taken another top tier running back. I, for some odd reason, also find it easier to find the sleepers at wide receiver than I do at running back.
In PPR formats, serviceable receivers are a dime a dozen. Be sure to be on the lookout for change of scenery candidates as well as veterans who haven’t quite lived up to the billing yet (looking at you, Kenny Golladay).
Have A Plan Going Prior To Your Draft, But Don’t Be Tied To It
No amount of mock drafts you do can really prepare you for your actual draft. There are always surprises. Hopefully your league is full of morons who insist on drafting their favorite players way before they’re supposed to be drafted. LeVeon Bell went 1 overall in my league last year, even after his future in Pittsburgh was deemed uncertain. Go figure, it was a Steelers fan who drafted him (revisit rule 1). Unfortunately for him, you don’t score fantasy points for releasing a rap album.
Having a fluid but prepared approach is the best strategy for draft day. Make sure you have enough mocks under your belt to properly survey the field, but keep an open mind.
So there you have it, the fundamentals of fantasy football according to an (((expert))). If you follow these simple guidelines, your days in the basement are numbered. Hell, you might actually make the playoffs.
No, Jim! I’m not kidding!