The boys of fall have returned, and with another season of NFL football comes another season of fantasy football. What started out as an obscure hobby for the most die hard sports nut has become so mainsteam that FX has even based a sitcom around it. Whether you are a seasoned veteran or a rookie, fantasy football adds another level of excitement to every sunday! To get the most out of your fantasy football experience, follow these simple DO’S and DON”TS:
DO: Play in a league with people you know. When you know your enemy, the victory is that much sweeter. Playing with people you know also makes it easier to get together for the draft, its easier to communicate league details, and the competition tends to be better when you know you will eventually have to see all of your opponents.
DO: Host a live draft. Hosting a live draft brings all the teams together before the season begins and rips you all apart. Make it a blowout, or do something simple. The point is to have fun. Be unique and start your league’s annual tradition. Maybe last year’s champion will pick the place the event is hosted, or last year’s loser will have to plan the event. Some leagues go much crazier. You can use your imagination.
DO: Participate in mock drafts. The best way to prepare for your live draft is to participate in mock drafts. You will have the opportunity to get a feel for how you might prospectively draft in various positions. The one part of the draft you will never be able to control are the other teams selections. Mock drafts will prepare you to quickly adjust your pick based on the selections before you draft. Going into your draft cold is never safe.
DO: Have a plan for your team before you draft. It is a good idea to have a rough idea of how you would like your team to turn out. If your plan is to build around a quarterback, then you will need to plan accordingly. Remember that you cannot control the other teams selections so back-up picks are a must. Also, you can never do too much research. Pre-season ranks are ofen innaccurate. Hard data can go a long way in terms of draft selection.
DO: Read all of the rules and scoring. Before you draft, make sure you have read and understand all of the rules and scoring for your league. Often, custom league owners alter the scoring. As a player, it is imperative that you understand the scoring system. Without a thorough understanding of the rules, a player cannot make the best decisions in the draft or during the season.
DO: Pay attention to bye weeks and injuries when drafting. Sure, your team is stacked but you also have 6 players with the same bye week. The downfall of many teams has been poor bye week management. In a league with stiff competition, an abundance of players with the same bye week can sink a winning ship. It is important to pay attention to your players bye weeks, as well as considering existing injuries that could sideline a player from the beginning of the season. It is always risky to draft an injured player and hope they have a smooth return. More often then not, the player comes back at less than full strength and isnt worth the bench space.
DO: Look for mutually beneficial trades. Always keep an eye out for a trade to upgrade your team. If you have players on your bench that are taking up space but could be used by another team, try to make an offer to bolster your roster.
DON’T: Change the rules during the season. Once the season begins, finish it the way it began. If everyone agrees on the rules and scoring prior to the start of the season, then there are no excuses for changing the rules. Don’t be a sore loser and poor league owner.
DON’T: Attempt to make unfair trades. Look, nobody wants to trade Aaron Rodgers for Felix Jones so stop asking. It’s a waste of everyone’s time, so please don’t make trades you know will be rejected. Also, don’t veto a trade unless you suspect collusion. If both teams agree the trade will be beneficial to them, then it is not your place to deny the trade.
DON’T: Collude with other players. Cheating is not tolerated. Play with honor. Nobody wants to play in a fixed game. So, if you and your buddy think its a good idea to stack one of your teams and split the winnings, please think twice. You will not get invited to play next year.
DON’T: Neglect your roster. If you are losing and you decide not to cheat, then also make the decision to play the whole season. You may have nothing at stake, but someone else might. Be a good opponent and sportsman: finish the season. Honestly, how long does it take to log in and set your roster?
Any veteran can tell you that fantasy football is intense. Follow these guidelines and you will be playing like a pro! Assemble a league today and start playing. Start your own tradition and have fun for seasons to come!