The new fantasy football magazines have been hitting the stores. And I have to fight the urge to start jumping up and down like Steve Martin in the Jerk, “The new phone books are here! The new phone books are here!”
Like Christmas decorations, it seems to come earlier and earlier each year. But it fits because the fantasy draft has become my adult Christmas.
Adrian Peterson is going to be my Red Rider BB gun.
But better than Christmas, our league has turned the draft into a bachelor party, without all that annoying ruin-your-life wedding aftermath.
The great thing about fantasy football, similar to golf, is that this is one of the most incomprehensible things for women to understand. I mean, most girls can vaguely grasp the game, but rarely the game within the game; and never the game made up about the statistics of the game.
My girlfriend can remember every date, every birthday, anniversary, the number of times I’ve helped with the dishes and the most minute detail of an argument from the last five years, but she still has to be explained the significance of .406, why OJ isn’t just the guy from the Naked Gun movies, and why Bill Russell wears so much jewelry in his pictures.
Like most women, she just doesn’t get it. And yet, there’s something oddly appealing about her.
But in addition to the game being incomprehensible, the draft sounds so pathetic. A bunch of grown men standing around picking players based on their theoretical statistical output.
Harmless. So even the married guys can usually get a kitchen pass. And there’s no having to explain that you didn’t get a lap dance.
But in preparation, here’s your guide to fantasy success.
Drafting is about value. It’s not so much about which players you get, but what round you get them. And there’s ways to get what you want more often.
First, don’t do too much homework. If you’ve bought more than one magazine, you’re creating uncertainty. You want a draft board, not a panel discussion.
Second, when you get to the actual draft, establish yourself as the Alpha Dog early. Call the entire first round.
Shake your head and laugh to yourself each time someone makes the pick. Quote obscure position coaching changes, “Yeah, but they changed tight end coaches and that’ll impact his third down conversions as they expect to give Eli more max protect.”
Ride anyone who makes a bad pick, especially if they’re picking in front of you. Make the mistake beat them twice.
Third, be the ball. Let the other guy get distracted. In fact, distract him. Ask weird questions about the guy you want to slip right before they pick, “How is Peterson’s groin doing?”
“How do you think the shift from the 4-3 to the 3-4 is going to effect their sack totals?”
Make mythical trade offers. Make a rich offer “if a certain player is there.” Be tight-lipped. They’ll be wondering about which player you mean, and what they’ll be doing with all those picks, instead of what their team needs.
Then when it comes time to pick, say nevermind, he’s not there. Then they’ll feel like they’ve just missed it, and think they have a buncha losers to choose from.
Fourth, stay off your favorite team and out of your division. It’s not just the tendency for you to overvalue your favorite players. It makes the rooting weird. You start hoping the Pats win a shootout vs. pitch a shut-out. There’s times when you think, well, we lost, but Branch went for a buck and a quarter and a TD, so…Or worse, you lose a division game and are happy because Ronnie Brown went over the century mark and two scores.
Now there is a reason to pick FROM your team's division, which is you know the teams the best, and can effectively scout up to four teams. But if that's the case, I'm taking my guys. I'm a Longhorn and a Cowboys fan, I'm taking Roy Williams in the third. Still, got to be careful.
Fifth, do a mock draft and see where the talent drops off. Knowing where the breaks are can dictate which positions you should fill at certain points in the draft.
For example, there are about five elite wide receivers, and then after that, there are 15 that are the same. If you can get one of the five, you go for it. If you can’t, then waiting is a better strategy.
To me this is the key to how you answer the “what do I take in the first few rounds” question. At some point in the first round it will make more sense to not default to best available RB.
Finally, when all else fails, do exactly what the book tells you. My buddy James won the whole damn league by drafting that way, no trades, no major waiver wire additions, straight rank order.
Then the bastard doubles up and wins the NCAA bracket.
He doesn’t know the first damn thing about these teams.
I have a contract out on him.
But regardless how it all turns out this year, the fantasy draft is upon us.
Plan ahead. Make it memorable.
In our league, we’ve had guys participate from Iraq and Afghanistan. I mean, nothing says your country is totally screwed quite like your opposition being able to surf the Web and play fantasy football in their downtime.
Like, um, yeah, I guess we can take time out to overthrow your government, but let me see if the Vikings score first.
This year we’re holding the draft on a party boat in the middle of Lake Travis in Austin, Texas, and to quote Incredibad, “I’m the king of the world on a boat like Leo. If you’re on the shore, then you’re sure not me-oh!”
God I love football season.
And as always, I’d like to dedicate this post to Martellus Bennett of the Dallas Cowboys. “High and tight, Martellus. High and tight.”