Fantasy Football Advice To Live By This Season

Shaun AhmadSenior Analyst IAugust 15, 2008

Let me preface this article by saying two things:

First, if you look like the guy in the photo above during the season, please stop playing "Fantasy" games (emphasis on FANTASY) and get yourself a girlfriend. You might need a shrink also. Just a thought.

Second, I am not some fantasy sports guru, nor am I a sports statistician, like John Hollinger. I won’t be giving you some top-secret, underground advice on whom to pick in your fantasy league’s draft and claim that no one else knows about this hidden gem; even though I’d be publishing it on the Internet, where millions could view it. Nope. You won’t find any of that here.

What you will find are some basic principles and rules to go by when preparing for your fantasy football season. If you go by these little tidbits of advice, I can assure you that your squad will do pretty well. But of course, if you want that great “insider” tip, make sure to check out ESPN Insider. I mean, it’s not like they have over a million subscribers or anything. 

Don’t get too high or too low on players. 

The biggest problem with sports fans is that we can’t manage to keep a happy balance between our emotions. Our football team wins three games in a row, and suddenly we feel we should be atop everyone’s power rankings. Our quarterback throws three interceptions, next thing you know, it is the apocalypse and we need to play our “star in the making” backup that had a 110.7 rating in the preseason. 

Yes, Adrian Peterson is a great back, and I’m sure he’ll get his share of yards and touchdowns. But don’t forget that Minnesota also has a pretty good back in Chester Taylor, and Minnesota's management won’t be eager to run Peterson into the ground by his fourth year in the league. 

Think about Larry Johnson and how everyone swore he’d continue at his pace. Don’t get too high or too low on players.

Don’t expect the unexpected to happen again. 

Tom Brady had, arguably, the best statistical season last year. Still, it is in your best interest to follow the rules of normalcy and take a running back with your top-five pick, as opposed to a quarterback. Look for L.T., Brian Westbrook, Joseph Addai, and Adrian Peterson before you consider Brady. You will be better off in the long run.

Consistent good games are better than erratic great games.  

Study game logs of players rather than final stat lines. I’ve seen too many friends go by the final numbers of a guy rather than looking at his individual game performances. If the goal of your league is to win on a weekly basis, you want to know what you are getting each week.

You don’t want to be the douche that puts up 135 points one week, then 68 the next. Have players who get it done on a week-to-week basis, and you will be in the playoff race at the end.

More is not always better. 

Another experience I bring from my six or seven years playing fantasy football: you’ve got to love seeing someone get suckered into trading their starting running back, who is amongst the best in the league, for someone else’s tight end, third wide receiver, third running back, and backup quarterback.

Don’t be that guy. That’s the kid who you traded his dad’s Pete Rose rookie card for your Roberto Alomar, Albert Belle, and Kevin Millar cards. 

Unless you start each of those players you just traded for, you have essentially traded your stud RB for a tight end. Congratulations. You’re the ass of your league. The best way to analyze trades is to consider the quality of the starting-caliber players, the necessity of your team, and upcoming bye weeks; which leads me to my fifth and final piece of advice.

Pay attention to the bye weeks when drafting and making trades. 

Remember, there aren’t that many weeks in fantasy football before the playoffs. That means each week counts. You don’t want to give away a week just because 60 percent of your starters have a bye week.

When drafting, don’t try to have the sexiest roster for Week One. Plan long term. Like anything else, if you look ahead to the future, you will be better prepared for it.

I hope that these tips and pointers help you make better decisions in your leagues. Now, please excuse me, I have to get back to buffing my first-place trophy from last year. It’s got some smudges from when I allowed the inferiors to come in contact with its glory.