We are already seeing those arguments about which types of draft strategies are superior. Zero RB? Hero RB? Zero WR?
That's right; It’s that time of year again, folks. The end of summer is near, with fall right around the corner. Kids are getting ready to head back to school, parents are sneaking in one more camping trip, and Steve from accounting won’t shut the hell up about how he’s going crush you in your work fantasy football league. Meanwhile, he’s rubbing the dope TrophySmack hardware you all threw down money on to buy last year in your face.
Steve from accounting might think he’s going to beat you this season, but he isn’t reading this column; you are. Smart.
Over the next few weeks, I will guide you through drafting a decent-enough team to keep you in contention for one five-foot Custom Championship Trophy. We will talk strategy, tactics, and “distractions” employed to outwit and out-draft Brenda from human resources or your annoying cousin Barry. Then, at the end of the fantasy football season - when you’re firmly in possession of that trophy - you are welcome to send flowers or candy as a thank you. I also accept cash.
But seriously, my friends, the only thanks I’ll need will be the smiles on your face and a picture of the TrophySmack Champ Chain hoisted high in the air. So how do we make that happen? Let’s start with my absolute favorite strategy on draft day:
Sometimes, the Best Draft Stragtegy Is No Strategy At All
That collective gasp you just heard? That was the entire #ZeroRB (we’ll get to this later) community reading that header. I get it; everyone has to have a plan. You have to have your ducks in a row, ready to go. You need a notebook with players you’re targeting and a spreadsheet with endless sortable stats. A laptop with 40 tabs open, all on fantasy football sites telling you precisely what to do. The only way to win is to be more prepared than everyone else!
Or is it?
I’ve participated in drafts where we all had our fancy schmancy draft rankings and stat sheets spread out in front of us like it was some sort of war room where we were all plotting a military attack. It felt like a contest to see who could have the most paper stacked in their space. We all talked and toiled, plotted and planned, sweat beading on our brows, and our blood pressure elevated. Spoiler alert: no one died. However, even with all that crazy stress, only one of us took home the title belt in December.
I’ve also participated in drafts where it is clear that some league mates don’t have a clue what they’re doing. For example, a few seasons back, someone in my home league drafted the Washington Football Teams defense in the fourth round, followed by Baltimore Ravens placekicker Justin Paul Tucker in the fifth. Laughable, right? Indeed it was.
They laughed all the way to the league title and a massive, blinged-out Championship Ring for everyone to kiss.
Those are both extreme scenarios, of course. Sweating over every pick isn’t worth the stress. Rolling through pages of notes, clicking back and forth on tabs, and waiting until one second is left on the clock is no way to live. But, on the other hand, you also don’t want to go in blind. While it worked once, drafting defense and kicker in the first six rounds is generally a ticket to the Golden Toilet Bowl, and folks, there’s a trophy for that too.
I want you to find a middle ground.
Research is excellent; fortunately for you, we have the internet now. It’s a place where thousands of fantasy football enthusiasts will gladly tell you what you should do and why they are more intelligent than anyone else. There are entire websites dedicated to fantasy football stats, mock drafting, fantasy draft strategies ,and sortable spreadsheets; if you can think of it, it exists somewhere on the web. Take notes if you want, or don’t. Make your spreadsheets. Do whatever you need, and absorb all that information. Bank it.
Now, take all the research, notes, spreadsheets, and draft rankings you’ve created and dump it.
You’ve done the studying, and draft day is the test. You know what you’re doing—you spent hours with fantasy football stats data bases. So trust yourself and have some fun!
Walk in with a six-pack of your favorite cold beverage, eat some pizza, have some laughs, and enjoy your time with friends. Don’t stress so much about your roster. It’s a long season, and anything can happen. Because at the end of the day, whether or not you take home the Ultimate Custom Title Belt or the Toilet Bowl Trophy of Dishonor, the ultimate goal is to have fun.
Thank you for taking the time to read my opinions and be sure to tune into my next piece where I start to breakdown the more detailed types of draft strategies for fantasy. They will include, Zero RB, Hero RB, Zero WR, SF draft strategy, and then finally, how to mess with your league mates for your live drafts.
You can find more of me on Twitter @NatePolvogt
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