Trent Edwards. Remember him? There’s a good chance you don’t. But you see, back in 2008, I thought I had the secret to fantasy success. Trent Edwards was coming off an All-Rookie season for the Buffalo Bills and his number one wide receiver Lee Evans was poised for a monster year. I just knew it! Come draft day, Edwards was mine, no matter the cost.
The first few rounds go by, and three QBs are off the board. But Edwards is still there. I must keep calm. I mustn’t let them in on my secret fantasy weapon!
Round 4 rolls around. My pick. It’s time. Time for the rest of the world to see what a fantasy GENIUS I was. Oh, I was so happy to walk that pick up to the draft board. Trent. Edwards. I just won the draft right? Right??
I couldn’t have been more wrong.
Trent Edwards went on to throw for 2699 yards that year with eleven touchdowns and ten interceptions. He would finish the year sandwiched between JaMarcus Russell and Jeff Garcia, as the 23rd best fantasy QB. I would go on to a 4th place finish in a ten team league.
Before that 2008 season, I fell in love. I was so blinded by that love and unwilling to adjust my approach, which led me to the biggest reach of my career.
Always expect the unexpected
It never fails, every year someone reaches on a Trent Edwards. Someone takes a Defense around the 10th round. The guy before you drafts the QB you were waiting on, even tho he/she already has a QB. These things happen, and they happen more than once during a draft and even into the season. This is why you need to be able to adjust on the fly, and it all comes down to being prepared (cue the Be Prepared song from Lion King with Scar and the hyenas… no? just me? Moving on..)
MOCK. YEA! ING. YEA!
Speaking of preparation, mock drafts are a great way to prepare for draft day. I find myself continually running mock drafts in the weeks leading up to my actual fantasy drafts. These mocks allow you to play out different scenarios that COULD happen. Much like actual NFL mock drafts, these are to be taken with a grain of salt. They shouldn’t so much be about the actual players being drafted, but the positions. Running multiple mock drafts will allow you to know which positions you’re OK with waiting on, or which positions you want to target early because you don’t like the players that are available later from a given draft slot. Mock drafts also prepare you for the unexpected on draft day. So when the guy with Aaron Rodgers decides to take Andrew Luck, and you still haven’t drafted a QB, you’ll know that you can still snag a Jared Goff or Philip Rivers in another round or 2.
Know your league
Many of us have been in the same league(s) for years. If you have, you tend to know the tendencies of the other players in the league. But if you’re new to a league, ask to see last years draft board. This will help you understand how the other owners draft. Also, make sure you understand the rules and scoring for your league. These days, they’re all so different. Does your league give 4 points for a QB TD, or 6? You’ll want to value players and positions differently based on individual league scoring.
Understand that unless you’re willing to reach pretty high, you’re probably not going to end up with your favorite player from your favorite local team. Chances are, most of the other owners in your league are also fans of the team as well, and are willing to pay higher draft capital for those guys. Also, local attention is easier to find, so even the guy in the league that does very little research probably has heard how good “so and so” looks from the other people at the office or on the local sports talk radio. That’s OK though; this is why we prepare. This is why we mock draft. To familiarize ourselves with those lesser known guys.
One of my favorite keys to success during the season is finding the player before they breakout. While this isn’t always easy, information is your friend here. Most leagues have a waiver process, so adding a player post breakout performance is unlikely. Instead, spend some time in the “deep sleeper” sections of the weekly waiver articles (maybe you’ll even find those here at DSE this season). Watch those players and how they do weekly. When you start to see them become more involved, take a flier. One of the best feelings is when you already own the guy that everyone is rushing to the waiver wire to try and add.
Whether you’re a casual fantasy player or someone that soaks in all information possible. If you take one thing away from me, let it be this: be involved. Show up to the draft. DON’T AUTO DRAFT. Respond to trade offers, even if it’s a no. And adjust your lineups weekly.
Oh and, because I’m pretty sure it’s required by some fantasy sports law to mention, HAVE FUN. Seriously though, enjoy it. The football season always seems to go by way too quick. Fantasy football is just another way to enjoy the game we all love.