Five Philosophies to Dominate Your Fantasy Football League

Every summer, you and your buddies finally get together for one night and live your collective dream of being an NFL General Manager. In recent years, fantasy sports have really taken off. It has gone from handwritten draft boards to drafts done completely online. In today’s day and age, you need several fantasy football philosophies to come out on top in your league. Despite the added preparation, the rowdy spirit and anticipation for your annual draft night has stayed the same. After months of smack talk and research, you finally arrive in Danny’s parents’ basement for Draft Night 2019.

You make sure to get a seat with plenty of back support because you went a little hard at the gym this week. As the beer is distributed and Danny’s mom hands out pizza rolls and refills the chip bowl, you have a laser-like focus as the draft room is about to open up. Someone wore too much cologne and someone else did not wear enough, but tonight is your night and nothing can get in your way… except the fact that your picking fourth and Todd is sitting at third and licking his chops to steal DeAndre Hopkins from you. However, we need to take the necessary steps before we can even start the draft queue.

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Top Fantasy Football Philosophies

Order in the Court

Before you can even draft, there needs to be order in the court. The commissioner needs to lay out any and all rules to the entire league. Dues need to be set and partially paid. We need to know how the draft will operate and the number of players in each position. Most importantly, we need to make sure that the playoffs avoid the dreadful week 17 of the NFL season. Additionally, you need to know the point values of each category. I know people who went into leagues where defenses scored an unfathomable amount of points or missed field goals cost them points. To avoid absolute chaos or a fight at your wedding when your fantasy squad gathers outside of Danny’s basement, please lay out the ground rules and have clarity across the room.

Know the Room

This cannot be overstated, knowing the people in the room is half the battle. Fantasy football drafts are a lot like poker nights. Each person has a different set of cards and strategies going into each round. However, each person has a tell or a weakness that you can expose. When it comes to fantasy football, most participants show bias in regards to drafting players from their favorite team.

So when you see Aaron show up with a Todd Gurley jersey on and he picking in the top three, just assume he’s not making it to you at pick four. Another key strategy is to know which player(s) they loved last year. For example, if Brian had Melvin Gordon go off for him all year in 2018, chance are he will draft Gordon again this year. However, it all comes down to you not losing focus on your own draft board and the players you are locked in on. Moreover, you cannot deviate from the pick value you have assigned to each player or you’ll end up like the people in the video below.

The Price is Right

Overvaluing a player is an easy way to find yourself looking back at draft night wondering why you drank another 11.2% IPA instead of throwing in a water bottle to shake things up. Here is one of my personal draft philosophies that have never failed me yet. NEVER draft a quarterback in the first round of a fantasy draft (unless it is a multi-QB league). But, but, Patrick Mahomes highhandedly won people leagues. Yes, ketchup boy put up the numbers week in and week out; however, Matt Ryan and Ben Roethlisberger had an ADP (average draft position) of round seven or later. Mahomes was a later round pick last year as well but that won’t happen in 2019.

You can always find a quarterback in the later rounds. Personally, I drafted Big Ben in round 10 and Philip Rivers in round 13 of my draft and they finished as QB3 and QB11 in fantasy. The main point is that while others are taking Mahomes in rounds two and three, you are nabbing key skills players in those rounds. Here is a list of how fantasy players fared in 2018. Prior to draft night, you have to evaluate each position and know how deep they are. Additionally, you need to identify players who you are all in on.

“You’re my Boy Blue”

Fantasy football season is a war. There will be battles stemming from draft night all the way until championship week. You need a player who is your ride or die. Someone who you can lean on each and every week and just know they will be there. In 2011, I was laughed at on draft night when I took two tight ends. By January, I was winning each week by double digits as second-year tight ends Jimmy Graham and Rob Gronkowski were making history.

In 2016, I drafted Melvin Gordon and my cousin laughed at me because Gordon scored zero touchdowns the previous year. By Week Four, Gordon amassed six rushing touchdowns and my cousin was asking to trade for him. So here is the lesson. Trust your gut and trust your guys. This leads to one of the other fantasy football philosophies which has allowed me to continuously find success: trades.

Deal or No Deal

Here is another reason why knowing the members of your league is crucial. You need to be able to communicate to these people by means other than the league chat room. Additionally, you need to have an established relationship with this person so they can trust that this trade is mutually beneficial and that you are not just looking to fleece them. On your end, it is crucial to keep emotions out of the trade room. Just because you are a fan of the player does not mean that they are going to stay hot or turn things around. You need to be able to cut ties.

Personally, I am a huge fan of two for one trades. I love to trade two mid level players for one high level player. This is useful when you have depth and your trade partner does not. More importantly, you now have an open roster spot to pick up a free agent or place an injured player on your bench. Always have an eye out of an up and coming player or some who is a handcuff (next man up) to a player in a well run offense. A perfect example of this is Damien Williams in 2018. After Kareem Hunt‘s suspension, Williams lit up the scoreboards in the fantasy playoffs.

The Last Word

Alright kids, thank you for coming to my TedTalk. I hope that the information I provided was informative and will help you in life going forward. Remember, fantasy football is all about having fun. It is an incredible way to stay in touch with your childhood friends and your college/work buddies. There will be tears and beers spilled throughout the years and you may not make eye contact with Mike his kicker puts up 23 points against you in the playoffs.

However, you love fantasy football and you need it in your life. It makes watching NFL games 100 times more entertaining. So remember the five fantasy football philosophies to dominate your league, but most importantly, remember to have fun… Nope, fun comes second to make sure you check your bye weeks, last-minute injuries, and telling Todd that this year and all years going forward will not be “Nathan Peterman‘s breakout year.” Best of luck footballers, may the fantasy god’s be in your favor.

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