Well, students, how did that draft go? Did you get the players you wanted? How were those snacks? Personally, I enjoy the party mix with the pretzels, Cheezies, and tortilla chips – you know what I’m talking about.
Hopefully, there were some laughs and some “oh’s” of exasperation from your fellow drafters. Those noises occur when the player everyone’s waiting for gets sniped, ideally by you, a round earlier than anticipated. It’s one of the sweetest sounds in the world. And then there’s the Julian Edelman drafters or the Spencer Ware drafters. Ouch. The perils of an early fantasy draft. Hopefully, you managed to snag Kareem Hunt as a handcuff or paid attention – like I told you to – to the pre-season and saw that Chris Hogan had a nice connection happening with Tom Brady. I commend you if Hogan is on your team. In any case, your first big assignment is over.
I had one of my drafts as well. It’s the one I’ve been doing with mostly the same group of people for 20 years. High stakes standard league. I had the eighth pick. Here is a quick analysis of my first three picks:
I practiced what I preached. Odell Beckham was sitting there, so I took him. I could’ve taken Melvin Gordon, but I went with pure upside talent. Then in the second round, I stuck to my strategy. Know your league rules. In ours, there are bonus points for long TDs. So I wanted Brandin Cooks. Also, I like having pieces of the pie in fantasy friendly offences. Two wide receivers out of the gate, so I needed a running back in the third round. Isaiah Crowell was next up on my draft list. He’s a Cleveland Brown, but he’s running behind one of the best offensive lines in the NFL.
For QB, I actually waited to the 11th round. If the big three QBs are gone, I usually wait. QBs are pretty much the same after that. 11th round was pushing it a bit, but happy to get the “Red Rifle,” Andy Dalton. Dalton has the best weapons he’s had in years. Great late value. So I hammered on RBs and WRs in the middle of the draft. I’m excited about my team. A few holes to fill, but I have the rest of the season to solve the puzzle.
But the draft is over, and there’s nothing we can do about it now. Usually, many of us, myself included, walk out of the draft thinking we have “the best” team. The next day, we might be thinking something else. It’s called the post draft hangover – and sometimes it’s literally that, too.
The sober realization that your team may suck is a valid fear. But you may have a cool team name – “Baby Got Dak”…anyone? “Game of Jones?” Feel free to email me your best team names at firstname.lastname@example.org. Maybe next week I’ll publish some good ones.
So what now? Which takes us to today’s lesson:
What do you do in Week 1? Play your best players. I know that sounds elementary, my dear Watson. But don’t get “cute,” as we say in the fantasy football world. Play the guys you drafted to be your RB1, WR1, Flex, and so on. The time for matchups isn’t here yet, except maybe on defence. I sometimes draft a defence that will play against a garbage team in Week 1. I have a confession: I am a defence streamer.
Translation for those who don’t speak fantasy football: I pick up and start a different defence almost every week. Last year, I played the “start any D against Cleveland” strategy almost to perfection. Maybe this season, it’s the “start any D against Jacksonville,” or any Colts backup QB. But yes, start your best starters. But also watch your bench players, start scouting them, they may just save your season.
Finally, it’s time to watch some football. One of my favourite days of the year, besides my birthday and possibly Christmas, is the first Monday Night Football. Instead of one, there are two games. Week 1 has arrived, so get some buddies together and watch some games, and cheer on your players, of course. I suppose there are “regular classes” that may have priority. We here at the Faculty of Fantasy Football are very understanding. But hopefully you can find the time to view some pigskin and hopefully not just because you’re trying to win a fantasy championship.
Bottom line, the grand old game of football is one of the best pastimes we have. The NFL is about to begin and life is about to get good.