Let me paint you a picture. I work in the marketing department for an engineering software reseller. This organization has two main operational objectives: sales and technical. Long story short, I am one of few females in a sea of sales guys and engineering buffs. Conversation usually revolves around softball leagues, funny YouTube videos , and who can eat the hottest chicken wings (honestly, all convos I’ve heard in the last week).
I can always tell when Fantasy Football is around the corner because the office is especially, well, loud. Many times, when it gets too obnoxious, I ask, “Do we think we’re on the set of Sports Center here?” Last year after an especially obvious sigh and eye roll, one of my more understanding coworkers, probably feeling sorry for the constant drone of sports facts and player stats and assuming I’d say no, asked if I wanted to play.
Truth was, I wanted to see what the big deal was. Why is there a wildly popular TV show based around this concept? Why do grown men get red in the face when talking about a fake football scenario? How hard can it really be? So I stunned the masses, threw down $50, and said, YES.
Then I realized what I had done and felt like this:
I realized I could maybe name 10 players in the NFL and the only reason I watched football on Sunday afternoons was for the snacks, Clay Matthews, and my favorite Packers sweater. This moment was fleeting however, and competition Amy took over. Determined to do well, I researched online, bugged my guy friends, and even listened to sports radio before the big draft day.
In those four months, I learned a thing or two. Exhibit A: It’s
a big deal the end of the world if you forget to set your line up for the week. Exhibit B: There will be a head hunter out for you if you accidentally forget two weeks in a row. But in the end, I got the hang of it and I am proud to claim my 5th (out of 10 mind you) place victory!
I’m returning to the league this year with a little more know how. So, say you wanna see what the big deal is, impress your boyfriend, guy friends, coworkers, brother, dad, mom, classmates, whomever, read more for some tips and tricks I’ve picked up that help to at least appear you know what you’re doing when approaching your draft day! (Note this guide is for the first of the first of the first timer Fantasy Football player)
…On Preparing for Your Draft Day (D-Day if you will)
1. Fantasy Football= Each player in your league (usually between 8-12 players) will draft their own roster of actual football players. This roster is made up of players across all teams in the NFL. Throughout the course of the football season, each week, players will go head-to-head with one other player in the league. Points are earned by the actual game-time performance of the players. Here’s a good list of words you’ll start hearing on a regular basis.
2. Your Roster of 16 Players. The first thing you’ll need to understand is your roster. Your roster consists of your starting line up: 1 quarterback (QB), 2 wide receivers (WR), 2 running backs (RB), 1 tight end (TE), 1 misc. position (your choice – a WR, RB, or TE), a kicker, and a team defense along with your bench: a total of 7 players (any position) you’ll switch in and out of your starting line up depending on bye weeks, injuries, and performance. Your starting line up will be the only way you’ll earn points.
3. Research and Cheat Sheets. As stated before, everyone has an opinion on Fantasy Football. The amount of cheat sheets is overwhelming. Personally I like Fantasy Pros the best. It averages several different opinions across multiple sources and is easy to look at and understand. Instead of looking at the Overall tab, go through by position to get some ideas on who’s who. Once you’re in the individual tabs, you’ll notice you can sort by the player’s projected stats based up last year (the very first column) or the overall pick (the second column). Stick with default sort (the first column). Other easy-to-follow sources are: Yahoo or ESPN.
4. Note a Few Sleepers. The good players are going to be no-brainers. During the draft, the platform you’re using will automatically sort players by their rank so picking people at the top of the list is easy. However, it’s smart to write down some sleepers for each position. A sleeper is someone who doesn’t have a stellar reputation yet because it’s either their rookie year or for some other reason, they didn’t put up good numbers last year, but they’re expected to play well this season. Trust the sources you’re looking at for your cheat sheet, highlight or write down a few, and plan on drafting 1-2 in the 12-13 rounds (I would go RB and WR). Remember, you can always drop them if they prove to be bad picks.
5. Do a Few Mock Drafts. Just to practice how the platform your league is using works. Pay special attention to how to sort the players by position and how to pick up a player.
6. Time to Pick Your Team- Your Roster- Your Homeboys! This team will stick with you through thick and thin. They’ll hold you up when games look grim and shout words of encouragement as you coach them the best you can! Ok, maybe not, but this is going to be your best shot at creating a great team (we’ll get into trades and waiver wires and picking up players in another post). There are a lot of good quarterbacks. Skill level of tight ends is also very similar. However, a great running back or wide receiver is a lot more valuable so stock a few of them in your first few picks. The kicker and defense positions save until your last few rounds.
I had the third pick and team of 12 and my drafting order went as follows: 1. RB, 2. RB, 3. WR, 4. QB, 5. WR, 6. TE, 7. RB, 8. WR, 9. QB, 10. RB, 11. WR, 12. WR, 13. RB, 14. DEF, 15. K, 16. WR.
It takes a little time to research, but just being the tiniest bit familiar with the players and rankings helps! If you do get flustered, just remember, sort by position and then just grab one of the top players your drafting platform has on top. It should go juuuust fine. Hope this helps! Watch for my next post describing the waiver wire and picking up players.