Being a Homer
I learned very early on in my fantasy football career that drafting your team’s players just because you like that team is not a good idea. Here’s why:
First, we tend to look at our team’s players through rose-colored glasses. Suddenly, if you’re a Jaguars fan, a Gabbert to Blackmon connection, and a Jones-Drew backfield might seem like a winning combination. Don’t fall for it. When drafting your team’s players, try to look at them objectively and focus on statistical analyses.
As a Giants fan, I would have no problem drafting Victor Cruz or Hakeem Nicks very early in a draft. However, I need to be more objective when considering Eli Manning or Ahmad Bradshaw, simply because their fantasy numbers often do not reflect their value and effectiveness in real games. Remember, it’s about the numbers.
Monkey See, Monkey Do
It’s the first round and you pick tenth. You notice a run on quarterbacks in the first eight picks and you panic. You say to yourself, “Oh geez I better draft a quarterback or there will be none left.”
Don’t panic. Just because others are riding along on a draft trend doesn’t mean you need to feel pressured to jump on board. In reality, what will happen is you will end up with the ninth or tenth best quarterback, and miss out on the best player at another position. Remember two things: as a draft trend picks up steam, and the monkeys begin to follow the leader, other valuable positions are being neglected. Capitalize on that.
Also, remember that, at worst, in the above scenario, you would eventually land the tenth-best quarterback even if you do not follow the trend, as no one will be drafting a second quarterback that early. This means you could have landed Ray Rice or LeSean McCoy in round one, and on the way back you would still most likely have a shot at a Roethlisberger or Ryan-type quarterback.
Think for yourself and go with your instinct. Others may laugh at you when you draft Rob Gronkowski in the second round or a kicker in the twelfth. Don’t listen to them. If you’ve analyzed the stats and weighed the pros and cons, you should never have to follow the crowd.
Always spread the wealth throughout your lineup. Neglecting one position in favor of stacking another is not an effective strategy. Don’t worry about having trade-worthy players on your bench, or valuable backups in case of injury. Focus first on putting together a solid balance of value at every position.
You will see some people draft three running backs in the first three rounds, hoping to corner the market on that position. What you will notice early on is that this person will be looking for trades even before the season starts, and will most likely be shuffling a number of other positions with bench-warmers from the free agent pool.
Don’t put yourself in this position. Give equal consideration to the three major positions. Depending on draft position, make your decision on where to place the most value, but do so without neglecting other areas.
Many of us just like to play fantasy football to make the games more interesting, or for a hobby to enjoy, and this is fantastic. But, if you are playing in a competitive league for money, or bragging rights, and you truly care, than you must not be lazy.
How many of you actually go back and look at the last three years’ fantasy stats? Drafting players quickly becomes less gut-feeling and more of a clear statistical choice after analyzing stats. For example, do you know which three receivers were tops in catches over 20 yards in 2011? Over 40 yards? Do you even know the top ten receivers in receiving yards last year? What about the last two years?
Do your due diligence and trends will begin to appear, and making choices and ranking players becomes much less of a guessing game. You will find that you doubt yourself less, and that the clock will rarely wind down as you debate a pick.
Don’t be lazy. Fantasy football is gambling. All we really have to go on is the numbers. Use them.