It's been nearly seven months since the end of the Super Bowl and an even longer wait since the more important championship game.
Your fantasy league's.
If you were the fortunate victor of your league, you have spent the past seven months ridiculing your league mercilessly about just how useless and impotent they are.
If you were the unfortunate loser, you have spent the same seven months planning a plot of vengeance so menacing that Indigo Montaya felt you took it to far.
Winner or loser, you have spent the past seven months reading every single fantasy article you could get your hands on.
You bought magazines.
You checked out all your sleeper websites.
You mock drafted until your eyeballs looked like Anton Chigur at the end of No Country for Old Men.
Then...well...there was still three months until the season starts.
Every day you would come to Bleacher Report and see a veretable crop of articles ranking everything from wide receivers to assistants to the assistant trainer's assistant. You heard people say Adrian Peterson was over-rated only to turn around and find out he was going to run for 8,000 yards and 143 touchdowns.
You watched as Maurice Jones-Drew was the sleeper of the draft and then were told how over-rated he was.
Running backs were down and receivers were up.
And now, with the season starting next Sunday, you realize you know less about your team than Al Davis does about drafting in the 1st round.
Don't worry, you're in the same boat as millions.
But there are four simple techniques you can follow to keep your season afloat no matter what your early turnout may be.
1. Do not, I repeat, do NOT sell away your team.
There are two reasons for this:
A. Your league will despise you for stacking up a superior team. This will hurt the league as everyone will be in a rush to play catch up. Sorta like the 2009-2010 NBA season.
B. This is the NFL you are playing with. Anything can happen. People get hurt and backups become heroes. Some unknown free agent can become a superstar. And you know what? Those backups and free agents are lying on the waiver wire waiting for you. Steve Slaton, Ryan Grant, Maurice Jones Drew, the list goes on and on. If your team is near the bottom you will be high on the waiver wire, allowing you first choice at premium free agents.
Which leads to number two.
2.Do not, I repeat, do NOT waste your waiver wire slot.
Sure, your 4th wide receiver just went down and someone dropped Deion Branch and this might be the week he remembers he was once a Super Bowl MVP.
Or he might just remember that he's third string and getting older by the minute.
If you are high on the waiver wire (numbers one or two) save it for that breakout player who can turn around your season. If you're low on the wire just save it for when everyone panics and starts talking themselves into newly signed T.J Duckett. Eventually, and trust me on this, your #11 slot will turn into a #1.
3.The Jennifer Aniston Rule
You are 4-0 and winning games by 40-50 points average. You wisely chose Steve Slaton early and traded up to grab Pierre Thomas before he was stolen. You drafted one of the big four wide receivers and took Tony Romo while everyone shied away from him.
What to do now?
Steal, plunder, and pillage every team panicking at 0-4 or 1-3. Send them bloated trades with promise. Offer them your potential for their certainties.
"Darren McFadden and Bernard Berrian for Maurice Jones-Drew. Hell yeah that's a good trade, man. McFadden blew up big (against the Chiefs but you needn't mention that) and Bernard Berrian is a deep ball machine with Favre (against the Lions). Maurice Jones-Drew has been average lately (against the Titans) and now you're adding to your team."
These conversations MUST happen. Send out terrible trades to the entire league. Remember the most important rule of fantasy football: E.L.L.S-Every Loss Lowers Standards.
Basically, an 0-4 record will have the bottom team more desperate than Jennifer Aniston edging in on a Midlife Crisis.
Which leads into the final rule of early season management.
4.Never Be Satisfied
Back to the team that's 4-0.
You are destroying your opponents with ravenous fury.
You are the envy of the league and your league smack talk improves with each win.
People are sending you trades but you find yourself content with your undefeated team.
This is how you lose fantasy titles.
Never be satisfied. If you're 4-0, think of ways to make it to 5-0. Go back and see HOW you won. Did your opponent have a bad week? Did your running backs have easy matchups? Have you been playing the dregs of the league?
Find holes in your team and fill them. If you have the 3rd best TE try and get the 1st. If you have a running back on your bench who is putting up big points but can't get into your lineup due to you having Adrian Peterson and Thomas Jones, trade someone.
Points on the bench are pointless ones.
All of these rules are simple enough that you would assume them to be well known. Yet every year, in every draft, there's that guy who goes 0-4 and sends Andre Johnson to the league's top team for a poo poo platter.
Your goal is to be the guy getting Andre Johnson.
Best of luck to you fantasy studs and tune in for my next installment:
The Lost Art of the Fantasy Football Midrange Jumper
This and all subsequent articles will be located on BleacherReport's own TheRant's website InsideTheGridiron.com.