My fellow parishioners of the Church of Fantasy Football, we gather here today for reasons of utmost importance. The 2015 fantasy season is approaching, even well under way for some of us who are more devout than others. If we did not achieve almighty greatness and win our championship last season, then it is our responsibility to repent this season and become the best. It is with the council and advisement of Brian Tesch and Mike Castiglione that I bestow upon you the Ten Commandments of Fantasy Football.
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1. Thou must be on Twitter, where all news breaks first.
The internet is where you are doing most of your research anyway, right? If you are not already on Twitter, you should be. Follow the experts and ask them questions – they just might have the time to answer you. Second best to the experts is the beat writers. Local writers know everything first. They are keen to depth chart movements and typically are the first to know of injuries and severity. If you are looking to gain an edge on a sleeper player or what a player’s suspected role for the season is, the beat writer will know. Simple Google searches can tell you who to follow, and here is a great place to start (feel free to follow me as I’d be happy to answer any questions you may have).
2. Thou shall prepare and then prepare some more.
For some of us, there is no offseason and fantasy football (and all of the research that comes along with it) is a year-round sport. If you are just beginning your draft prep now, look no further than FantasyPros. Don’t have the time to sit through a long, mock draft? We have you covered with our Mock Draft Simulator, where you can mock in minutes. If you want to get more of a feel for what your live draft may resemble in real time, all of the major sites host mocks. These are also great forums for working on your trash talk game. Mock early, and mock often. Read and absorb as much as you can. You do not want to go to your draft unprepared and armed with a generic magazine that has the top 200 players. The more you practice (mock), the more prepared you will be. Ideally, before your live draft, you will have mock drafted from all 10-14 spots (depending on your league settings)…speaking of league settings…
3. Thou shall know thy scoring and league settings.
Not knowing your league’s settings, including scoring, roster sizes, waivers policies, etc. is inexcusable. I wouldn’t join an impromptu game of chess if I didn’t know what all the pieces did. I also wouldn’t draft a fantasy football team if I didn’t know what earns my players points. Your scoring/league settings should impact on how you approach your draft, so be sure to know how points are awarded.
4. Thou shall resist the temptation to follow trends.
It’s the middle of your draft and, all of a sudden, quarterbacks start flying off the board and now you think if you should grab one too. You have to be able to adapt to the flow of your draft, but don’t veer too far from your tiers just because you have a moment of panic. Your players should be selected based on your knowledge and draft board, not the actions of your league mates. Value can be found if you zag while everyone else zigs.
5. Thou shall resist the temptation to draft as a homer.
If you are a huge Colts fan, you may think it’s a great idea to grab Andrew Luck and T.Y. Hilton with early picks and draft Coby Fleener in a later round. Despite the fantasy friendly offense, this is not a good idea. If you overload your roster, your bye weeks will be brutal. If you put all of your fantasy eggs in your favorite team's offensive basket, you will have a hard time competing on a week with a low scoring game. Like most things in life, you need to be able to separate the business and personal in fantasy football.
6. Thou shall NOT draft a kicker or defense before the final rounds.
I would have preferred to say “before the last two picks,” but the Texans, Seahawks, and Bills will be likely be drafted sooner. I don’t recommend drafting either position before the final rounds because you should not be relying on those positions for consistent double-digit points. I don’t see the value in drafting those positions before an offensive skill position. Don’t draft Stephen Gostkowski in the 13th round and embarrass yourself. These are positions you should be streaming anyway.
7. Thou shall temper expectations with rookies.
Last season, rookie wide receivers broke the mold and exploded into fantasy’s top tiers. This season, there is an abundance of rookie running backs who currently have high ADPs. If you rely on last year's rookie success for this year, you would be playing with fire. Melvin Gordon is our highest ranked rookie running back at RB13, ahead of Justin Forsett, Mark Ingram, Carlos Hyde, Frank Gore and Lamar Miller. There is an adjustment to NFL game speed that a rookie has to become accustomed to, and we don’t know yet what their immediate contribution will be. Don’t be the person who spends a top pick on a rookie, but the person who scoops up the value that falls. Wait on waivers (or later picks if you must) for rookies.
8. Thou shall beware of Adrian Peterson.
This can go either way, and the fact is we just don’t know. Adrian Peterson is essentially a lock for a top five pick, and if you draft that high, you will have a decision to make. Do you overlook a hungry Adrian Peterson with a chip on his shoulder, who is still arguably the best running back in the league? Do you pass on Adrian Peterson because he 30 years old and has been away from the game for a year? That decision is up to you, but there are players (receivers mainly) I’d be looking at before All Day.
9. Thou shall take chances in the late rounds.
You can win your fantasy draft in Rounds 12-14 (15 and 16 are reserved, obey the sixth commandment). This is where you need to take your biggest risks and dig for players you are high on with upside. These rounds are your opportunity to take a chance on some WR2s such as Robert Woods, Mohamed Sanu or Dwayne Bowe. Players still available in these rounds may have been written off by some and could be looking for their big season on your team. Find players in these rounds who are bench stashes with the chance to warrant flex plays.
10. Thou shall have fun, of course, but not lose sight of the prize.
This is a game after all, and it is supposed to be fun. Fantasy football is a competitive but warm community and something for people to bond over. Your home leagues are filled with people in your life, and you make new fantasy friends in any various other leagues you are in. You should be valuing the friendships and relationships, but don’t lose your competitive edge. There is almost always money on the line, and you don’t want to throw your money away. Besides, it’s always more fun when you win.
Let these commandments guide you but remember to rely on your conscious and exercise your free will. If you study your bible and utilize its teachings, you shall be rewarded with a roster to be proud of. Good luck and may the fantasy gods be with you.
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