It is that time of year again, when stats are analyzed, wives and girlfriends are ignored, and men gather around to participate in something called Fantasy Football.
I have participated in my fair share of drafts over the years and I have won my fair share of leagues (which I guess makes me an expert and you the idiot?!).
In my travels, I have come across a list do's and don'ts that all people participating in a draft should follow - consider this an idiot proofer.
1. Do Not fret where you are picking. I have picked everywhere from first to 12th in my draft and I have always found players. While I have my preferred spots (4th or last), I know that I can always find quality players at the top of draft. And lets be honest, after the top 2 or 3 players, there is not much separation with the next 15-20 players.
2. Do draft the backup to your star running back. Running backs for some reason are the most important players in Fantasy Football. Always protect yourself against the odds that someone like LaDanian Tomlinson or Joseph Addai will get hurt and grab their backup later on in the draft when you have filled out your team.
3. Do Not get cutesy with your first round pick. This is the most important pick on your team. It sets the tone for your season and the backbone of your team. If you are trying to find the person who is ready for that breakout year that nobody has heard of, do not take him with your first pick. Go with ol' reliable.
4. Do Not overvalue rookies. Last year I had my eye on Adrian Peterson in the first round but I had the third pick in the draft. That was no place to pick this highly touted rook. So instead I waited for the back of the second round, which was the right place to take a chance on my number 2 running back. This year, I guarantee players like Darren McFadden and Matt Ryan get picked way too high. I know someone is going to take McFadden with one of their top three picks. Do not be that guy...or gal.
5. Do pick players from high powered offenses. I guarantee you that someone will overvalue the number one receiver from a team like the Vikings, Dolphins, Falcons, or 49ers. Look at the offenses they are in and especially look at the QB throwing them the ball. Am I willing to risk a 6-8 round pick on someone who has Tavaris Jackson throwing them the ball or do I take the number two receiver on the Patriots, Colts, Cowboys, Bengals, or Packers? I go with number two.
6. Do Not overvalue hometown players. I have been burned multiple times picking my favorite players from my team. Remember, you want your fantasy team to win and sometimes hometown heroes just aren't that good, even if you think they are awesome.
7. Do Not feel like you are forced to take a running back in the first round. Many people have decided to reach for a second tier running back in the first round when players like Randy Moss, Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Marvin Harrison, Reggie Wayne, and Chad Johnson were still available. I was in a $150 league one year and I was picking mid to late first round and I took Peyton Manning. My co-competitors laughed off the pick because they went by the traditional convention of drafting running backs first. Lets just say I had over a thousand dollars coming my way at the end of the season.
8. Do Not draft a kicker or defense in the top 10 rounds. The top kickers change every year and there should always be someone in your top 10 or so available. With defenses, unless you get an absolutely dominating unit (like the 85 Bears or 2000 Ravens) then you do not even need to pick one until about the 12th round. In fact, on some teams, I will plug in a different defense every week based on matchups. For instance, if the 49ers are playing the Dolphins, I would pick up the 49ers Defense because Miami is so bad they are going to struggle to score more than ten points a game. However, I would never hold onto the 49ers because they are not a very good team either. Understand?
9. Do have fun. If this is your first or thirtieth, enjoy yourself. Grab a few brews, watch highlights of your favorite team, or sit down with your son and show him that fantasy sports are not rated XXX.