How to Lose at Fantasy Football
The owner who finishes with the worst record in our fantasy football league has to suffer the humiliation of serving drinks to fellow owners at our annual NFL Super Bowl party. Its written into our league constitution. Even worse, the other owners get to name his team for the next season. Although I've never had the worst record in our league and had to be the designated beer guy, I started wondering what it would take to finish dead last. Most articles focus on how to win your fantasy football league, or fantasy football strategies. The following list represents some mistakes I believe owners will make on draft day and leading up to draft day. So unless you strive to be your league's doormat, I suggest you shift your strategy to avoid these errors:
#1 Drink a lot of alcohol at your draft
To some beer (or some other type of alcohol) is an absolute must on draft day. If you really want to draft a bad team I suggest showing up at the draft meeting several hours early with a cooler full of beer in tow. There are a couple of days in the year out of the 365 that are sacred, and one of them is the day of the fantasy football draft. And by saying sacred, that means good old beer drinking to a few of the owners. My best advice is to skip the drinking this year because you will need your wits the entire draft, or you will be the guy (and we all have one in our leagues) that is still trying to draft players in the later rounds that were long gone many rounds ago. For some its okay to have one or two, but you don't want to have blurring vision in the first four rounds. Put down the mug of Budweiser for a cheatsheet.
#2 Don't be prepared
If you are drunk and draft a bad team you at least have an excuse, but if you just draft a bad team because you were not prepared, then you have no excuse. I know for most fantasy football is a hobby, so you only have so many minutes in a day that you can dedicate to draft preparation. Use your time to research information. The only edge you can gain in fantasy football is knowledge. Read. Read. Read. Get the latest information possible, and the Internet is your best source. Today is an information age, so if you do not know the latest player news, expect to draft a poor team.
We all buy a few fantasy football magazines every year, but there is always that one owner who shows up with a magazine in hand that he just bought at the local convience store on the way to the draft, and he uses the cheatsheet printed back in May. Fantasy football magazines do have some information in them that is very useful tools, but they were written months ago, so the information in them is old news. I suggest you continue reading FFToolbox on a regular basics, along with NFL.com and ESPN.com, plus the newspapers are useful tools (USA Today, for example). And visit individual teams websites for the latest news. Be prepared or you might be the one serving beer at the Super Bowl party this year.
#3 Draft a quarterback in Round 1
Based on all the mock drafts and cheatsheets I've read in magazines so far in 2004, fantasy owners will purse RBs with swift urgency on draft day. Several of the NFL's premier passers are falling to the late second or third rounds.
Why the sudden disliking for the QB position? More than anything, it can be attributed to be the fantasy football owners passion for RBs. In our recent FFToolbox Writers Mock Draft, 9 of the first 10 picks were RB's, and 14 of the first 15 picks were RBs. With such an emphasis on the running game, QBs have taken a back seat. In fact, more and more owners now even favor receivers over quarterbacks. And rightly so, the difference between the top quarterback and the 10th ranked quarterback isn't all that great a difference. Whatever the reason, don't fight this trend. If you blow a first-round pick on a QB, you'll find yourself thin at running back and receiver - positions which are clearly harder to fill with quality players than QB.
#4 Underestimate the importance of the late rounds of your draft
After their starting lineups are filled, many owners tend to relax, lose focus, or stop paying close attention. They forget to record draft picks. They increase their beer consumption (or spill beer on their magazine). And, more often than not, they spend the rest of the season in mediocrity. Every draft pick counts. Drafting late-round gems, sleepers, and quality backups can be the difference for your fantasy team. There is a good chance your stud RB gets injured, or maybe the team your top WR plays for loses the QB, thus leaving him no one to throw him the ball, and having quality fill-ins on bye weeks is a necessity. Often your teams success depends as much on the last few rounds as it does the first couple of rounds. Make every draft pick count this year.
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