How To Win Your Fantasy Football League
I've been playing fantasy football since five minutes after I first heard about it. That was 10th grade, 1992. I've played in at least one league every year since. I'm not a know-it-all like some of these pundits that make these self-proclamations on television. I can say this: "I've never finished in last place!" I may have even won a league championship or two. I've also hosted a radio show on the matter and plainly, I just love fantasy football. If you're reading this, so do you. Let's get you a championship this year! To help the cause, I've compiled for you, my 'Top 5 Fantasy Football Draft DOs and DON'Ts'.
FANTASY FOOTBALL DOs
1) Do your homework.
Rank your players according to your liking not by what some list says. If you look at enough of these lists, you will probably see some players at least 10 spots up or down from list to list. Use these as guides. In 2004 I had my eye on this second year TE that very few people had heard about. I didn't reach but I did select him as my first TE. 13 TDs by season's end and I was glad I picked Antonio Gates.
2) Do keep track of who other teams are selecting.
Most guys fill up their rosters with the amount of starters they need at each position. If you don't scoop up your QB and everyone else has at least one QB, go ahead and wait a few rounds while you stock pile your running backs and receivers. Your championship QB will still be there.
3) Do have a plan before you draft.
For example, you say to yourself that you want a RB in the first round. Go ahead and highlight your must have players at that position. If in the first round one of 'your' guys is not available then go scoop up the best player at another position like QB or WR. I think it is just fine to pick Andre Johnson for your first pick when the top 8 RBs have been scooped up. Remember, you won't have the best player at every position.
4) Do take a gamble on a rookie running back.
Every year there's always one or two that have great seasons. Between Daniel Thomas in Miami and Mark Ingram in New Orleans or perhaps one of the handful of other decent rookie backs, there's bound to be one that has a 1,000 yard season. Take a gamble for your third running back. A risk at that spot is better than a known average player in my book.
5) Do have fun!
Do whatever it takes to win by distracting your friends with booze, women, ABC's Wipeout, whatever it takes for you to be the most focused person in the draft room. Seriously, it's just a game, so make sure you have fun and enjoy the camaraderie that playing in a league brings.
FANTASY FOOTBALL DRAFT DON'Ts
1) Do not draft a kicker or defense early.
Personally, I make these my last two picks. It is such a crap shoot in my mind. Sure the Jets defense is good. Should anyone have picked them in the 7th round last year? Uh, no. They were the fifth best fantasy defense. You know who was the highest scoring defense, scoring some 34 more total points? That would be the New England Patriots. Go figure.
2) Do not fall in love with your favorite team's players.
The New Orleans Saints, for example, have a great offense as we all know. But I'm sure Saints fans last year who drafted Devery Henderson, Reggie Bush and Jeremy Shockey didn't have much to show for it by season's end.
3) Do not be a follower.
Just because the first tight end goes off the board and then the next three picks follow suit, don't feel like you have to pick one because "all the good ones will be gone by the time I pick again". Stick to your game plan and only pick a TE if your guy is there and it's the round he should be selected.
4) Do not pick a rookie QB as your starter.
This is usually not an issue. Most people go with the known commodity at this position. However, with some of the recent success of rookie QBs, it may be tempting to pick one of the highly touted first year signal-callers to lead your team. Sam Bradford is the exception to the rule. There are more JaMarcus Russell's out there!
5) Do not draft 'handcuff' picks if you can avoid it.
Handcuff picks have become very popular, especially with RBs. It's when you draft a starter and his back-up so you have insurance if the starter gets injured. My thought is "why do you want a bench player on your roster?" This ain't the real world. My league is not brought to you by State Farm. Fill your roster with starters. Most of the time if your guy gets injured, then his replacement is available on the waiver wire. Scoop him up then.
So there you go, my two cents. If you win your league's championship, it may cost you the next time. Seriously, check back each week as I'll give my advice on who to start from week to week, injury updates, waiver wire pick-ups and much more.