You ever find yourself peeking over at the clock while at work anticipating when it’s time to leave? Of course you have, we’ve all done it.
You know what I personally anticipate more than leaving work though? Football season!
Yes folks, football is back and we are now in full fledge fantasy football mode! Then again, to be honest, is that a mode some of us degenerates like myself actually turn on and off? I know I’m not the only one who has been mock drafting since May right? I also can’t be the only one who watched the NFL draft back in April primarily for fantasy implications.
You see a 39 yard run from Saquon Barkley
I see 3.9 fantasy points#FantasyFootball season is upon us!
— Josh Rodriguez (@Josh_Rodriguez_) August 10, 2018
I’m just like most of you who may be reading this. I work an eight hour a day job, I have two days off in the week that seems to go by way to quick and football excites me a WHOLE lot. I get totally bummed out when the season ends. As a Kansas City Chiefs fan, my season unfortunately usually plays out like my love interests over the years. Everything seems to be going well and full of hope and optimism and then it suddenly feels like you got hit in the neck with a dart like Will Ferrel in Old School.
It’s pretty crazy how many emotions we wrap around football when you think about it. When our team loses, it becomes hard to stomach even watching ESPN or NFL Network to avoid seeing highlights of the game. Then comes the added emotions of playing fantasy football. We go from having this intense emotional roller coaster for our specific team, but then it magnifies with this insane love/hate relationship for the players on our roster. The tilt levels are nonstop. We can experience anger, frustration, happiness, sorrow, disappointment and great joy not just in one game but within a single quarter of football. Yet every year, like complete junkies, when the football season approaches the excitement for fantasy football kicks into a high gear. It’s like a kid wanting to go to Disney World or an adult on their last day of work before a long over due vacation.
I’ll be real with you, I don’t know it all when it comes to fantasy football. If I did, I’d be filthy rich sipping on coladas like Eddie Murphy at the end of “Trading Places” movie on money earned from fantasy football season long leagues and daily fantasy. Folks, this may come as a shock to you but not one single fantasy football analysts or writer knows it all despite many, if not all of them, being expected to be fortune tellers by so many of us seeking advice.
As we did last year, we’ll jumpstart this fantasy football season with what everyone who plays football is getting prepared for at this time, the draft. You may be a five, ten or even twenty-year veteran of fantasy football and may be thinking to yourself, “I’ve done this before, I know how to draft.” Truth is, if you aren’t learning and adapting from year to year, you’re doing it wrong. Fantasy football has changed over the years and if you haven’t changed with it, you will be in for a struggle.
Lucky for you, we got you covered with our Fantasy Facts! We’re going to give you some basic tips on preparing for your draft (taking it back to the basics) and some that may be brand new to you.
1. The draft does not define your entire season
This may be a shock to you, but the fantasy football draft IS important, but it can easily be blown out of proportion. Winning the draft does NOT win your season. I’ll say it again. Winning your draft does NOT win your season. Let that sink in for a second. Just because you received an A+ on your draft grade wherever you draft does NOT mean you will win out your season. Same goes if you receive a D grade on your draft site, it does mean your season is over. Truth is, when you look back at the end of your season, you’ll only have about 20-30% of your original roster and that’s being very generous. I’m not saying to skip over your draft as if you were reading Terms & Use agreements. What I’m saying is, how you draft won’t 100% completely affect your season. You can easily make up draft blunders through the waiver wire and trades.
2. Last years results are last year results
Don’t just assume that a certain player will perform greater or worse than you expect simply because of how they performed last year. If you fall into this mindset, you’re probably one of the many people who got burned by not drafting Todd Gurley last year. The 2016 season was a disappointment for Gurley owners and the year after, many of those disappointed owners probably passed up drafting him, fearful or upset at how he performed the year before. Be open-minded and look forward, not backward. Let last years grudges go.
I spend half the time in my #FantasyFootball drafts trying to remember which players I’m still holding irrational grudges against
— Gail Waterhouse (@gailwaterhouse) August 24, 2017
3. Fantasy football is a once a week game
We all know Matthew Berry right? I mean if you’re playing fantasy football and don’t know who he is, it’s like saying you loved Destiny’s Child but never heard of Beyónce. Matthew Berry drops a perfectly timed gem before every season known as the Draft Day Manifesto. The one thing that sticks out every single year is the reminder that fantasy football is a weekly game. We draft our lineups as if those 15+ players we selected are the only ones that we will be able to use the rest of the year. To give you an example, last year I chose a strategy of streaming my tight ends throughout the season in some of my leagues. If I wasn’t able to grab the top or middle tier tight end in my draft, I settled for streaming. In my drafts, I targeted Jason Witten because I knew he was a Giants killer and that’s who Dallas played Week 1. Did I want to keep him all year? Not at all but it was the smart pick for that specific week. My advice is, look at the first early half of the schedule for a team of a player you’re wanting to draft and see if the matchups are favorable. Just remember, it’s week to week.
4. Don’t be locked in on a pre-draft strategy
This is a brutal one. Have you ever pre-planned how you wanted to ask someone out on a date? You go through the entire dialogue in your head as if you can magically predict exactly how that’s going to play out. What happens is, when they give you one response that you weren’t expecting, your brain goes into a panic mode and you go from 100 to 0 real quick. This is what happens when you enter a draft with a set strategy in mind. Whether it’s Zero RB, Zero WR, Best Player Available, Heavy WR’s, Heavy RB’s, drafting QB’s late, etc. ; all you’re doing is limiting your possibilities. What happens if you were expecting to start WR-WR but then multiple QB’s are drafted in your 1st round for some odd reason and now players you weren’t expecting to slip down end up falling to you at Pick 10. You’re going to ignore a solid pick because of strategy? Of course, that was probably an unrealistic scenario but you get the point. Just ride the waves and go with the flow. Adapt with how the draft changes.
5. Don’t be afraid to be a trendsetter or to reach for players if you draft at the front or back end of your draft
Let’s say you find yourself with the first pick or the last pick of your draft and you’re the cool kid who gets to draft back to the back. It seems awesome but can also be stressful. What happens is, you have such a big gap after you pick back to back that you may panic inside wondering if players you really like are going to get taken. You’re also afraid that a QB run or HB/WR run will start within that gap and you’ll be left out by the time your back to back picks come around. Ever considered being the one to start one of those runs aka setting the tone? Feel free to explore that possibility. Normally I wouldn’t advise to reach for a player, but when you draft at the bookends of the draft, it’s acceptable. If you’re really fearful a certain player will not make it back to you within the huge gap, you’ll have to reach to get them. It’s not an incredible scenario to be in but it’s understandable and logical if you end up reaching.
6. Mock draft, mock draft and mock draft some more
Imagine someone who has never driven a car showing up to the DMV for a driver’s license test. The likelihood of them passing that test is not good at all. Can you enter drafts without doing a mock draft at all? Sure, but why wouldn’t you be prepared? I know what you’re saying, “But Chris, mock drafts don’t mean anything because how one set of drafters draft is different than how my draft will be.” You’re absolutely right on that but my rebuttal would be that the more mock drafts you do, the better equipped you are to deal with certain situations. It helps you learn to deal with the timer, helps you learn where players are typically drafted at and helps you avoid disaster when it approaches. Mock drafts are free people. You can find them on any of the sites you do your draft on. My advice is, if your leagues on Yahoo, do mock drafts within Yahoo and so on and so forth. It’ll get you accustomed to drafting from that specific site and if you’re someone who’s into rankings, you’ll familiarize yourself with those for your draft site.
Coworker: You doing another mock draft? Is fantasy football that serious?
— Tai (@phillyphantai) August 15, 2018
7. Seek value
I’m probably going to sound like an old man here but I’ll be honest with you. When I go shopping, I’m always looking for deals. If it’s a buy one get one free situation, chances are I’m going to be suckered into that deal. If I love one shirt that’s $30, but find two shirts that are on sale for $15 each that I like, I’ll end up buying two for $30 because it’s a better value. Find values in your draft. To give you an example, the quarterback position this year is extremely deep which means you should not over value drafting one. Why jump to grab a QB in round 2 when QB’s like Big Ben and Matt Ryan are going beyond Round 9? Look for starting RB’s that fall into the later rounds. Know the market and be a smart drafter, don’t get overly excited for someone who seems good but doesn’t have too much value.
8. Don’t be afraid to take shots in the later rounds
This is what we refer to as “dart throws”. It’s ok to take a shot on players with high upsides in the later rounds. We have no idea who the Dallas Cowboys number one receiver will be so in the later rounds, go ahead and draft the one you feel has the best shot. Don’t get so fixated on having a perfect draft. You’re going to get some picks right and some picks wrong, deal with it. So what if you jack up your last two positional picks? It doesn’t hurt you too much. My advice would be to choose guys with more upside to see how they start off the season. If you lose your patience with them, it’s must easier on your stomach to drop a Round 13 pick after Week 2 than drop a 3rd round pick after the second week.
9. Know your settings
For crying out loud folks, KNOW YOUR SETTINGS BEFORE YOU DRAFT. If you’re in a league that starts 4 WR’s, don’t go heavy RB in your draft because you will be lacking at a position that you need to start FOUR of the same position. Every site has the setting once you accept that email invite or click the link to join a league. If it’s a point per reception league, prioritize in drafting pass-catching backs. It’s not that hard. Look at your settings, draft according to the settings.
There are tons of ways to approach your drafts. All I could say is, strap on your seatbelt, make sure your laptop functions upside down because you will be tilting at some point and have fun. Don’t stress out so much that you don’t enjoy one of the best parts of a fantasy season. Being overly stressed out during your fantasy football draft is actually worse than thinking about work when you’re on vacation.
There you go Lemon Heads, some quick Fantasy Facts on some draft tips. Be sure to stick these facts in your freezer until draft day where you can use this lemon sports juice information to dominate your drafts!