Sam on Sports: Fantasy Football 101 - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Sam on Sports: Fantasy Football 101

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It's never too early to start talking fantasy football, is it?  No, really.  Is it?  When the Seahawks lost to the Falcons in the NFC playoffs, do you think Pete Carroll and his coaching staff took a tropical beach vacation from January 14th  and are now just setting up shop in Renton?  Hang on a sec… I'm trying to get that visual of Tom Cable in a bathing suit out of my head.

Okay, there we go.

No, of course not.  Same goes for fantasy football.  If you're in a 10 or 12-team league, changes are you are one of the 9 or 11 teams that did not end the season with a championship.  Your rise to the title game begins right now… not on draft day in late August.  Here are some tips to help you get on your merry way:

 

KNOW THE SCORING SYSTEM

I can't emphasize this enough.  If your league gives big bonuses for rushing touchdowns by quarterbacks, adjust accordingly.  Colin Kaepernick, Robert Griffin III, and Cam Newton should be higher on your list.  If you are in a PPR league (points per reception), you want to go for RB's who catch the ball out of the backfield more, and bump up wide receivers who get tons of targets and receptions (Wes Welker and Danny Amendola immediately come to mind).

 

DON'T BUY A FANTASY FOOTBALL MAGAZINE

Unless your strategy is to look like a dork and you want to fool your opponents, don't you dare bring one of those magazines into your draft room.  That information is months old.  And, for the most part, it's borderline useless. 

 

MOCK DRAFT, MOCK DRAFT, MOCK DRAFT!

Instead of dropping $5 - $8 on a magazine, save your money and invest your time in doing mock drafts.  What is a mock draft?  It's a fake fantasy football draft that gives you a decent idea of where players will end up getting picked in your league.  You can find these on many reputable websites, and they're a great run-through for the real thing.  Mix it up and try different strategies.  My strategy last year was to get a stud tight end and quarterback in the first two rounds.  While that strategy is fine, you need to have a good idea what kind of players will be available after those two rounds. In other words, if you picked Rob Gronkowski and Tom Brady in rounds one and two, what options do you have in the third round and beyond?  These are things you need to know, and will start to become apparent if you do several mock drafts.  I would recommend doing your first mock draft right now, just to get your feet wet.  Then do a couple more in the coming month, and if possible, run one mock draft a day in the week leading up to your draft.  By the time draft day rolls around, you will be the most draft-ready owner in your league.

 

DON'T BE "THAT" GUY

Every league seems to have that one owner who voices his or her opinion the moment someone makes their pick.  "Great choice… high upside."  "Ouch… too early… that's a reach."  Hey, buddy, guess what?  You're not a paid analyst for fantasy football.  Nobody wants to hear your "take."  Also, pay your dues.  Literally.  Nobody likes that owner who keeps putting off paying their dues and promises to pay up soon.  Bring your league dues and pay up the moment you see your commissioner on draft day.  His/her job is tough enough… they aren't a loan shark and shouldn't have to shake you down for money. And commissioners, DON'T SPEND THOSE LEAGUE DUES.  It is not your money.  Tuck it safely away in a jar.  Forget that money exists until it's time to pay the champs and the other winners.

 

HAVE FUN

The most important thing to remember about fantasy football is that it's supposed to be fun.  Enjoy talking trash to your opponent, but don't go too far.  If it makes you happy, go ahead and draft a player from your favorite team, even if he's not that good.  If you're not having fun, then why on earth are you playing?  Have fun out there!

 

Before I wrap it up, one final word on preparing for the draft.  Have a plan, but be ready to adjust.  Like I said earlier, my plan last year was to pick up an elite tight end (Gronkowski or Jimmy Graham) and a top-shelf quarterback.  My "Plan A" was almost fouled up when another owner employed a similar strategy and picked Graham #5 overall.  If your particular plan to select Calvin Johnson and all runningbacks for the following four rounds gets wrecked, don't panic.  Adjust.  The Cleveland Cavaliers stunned a lot of other teams by drafting Anthony Bennett #1 overall.  The good GM's out there smiled and adjusted their draft boards.  The bad ones panicked.  The real world rules apply to fantasy football.  If you're prepared and have a strategy, but can adjust on the fly, you're going to have a good shot at winning the title.  Good luck.

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