How To Conduct Yourself As A Fantasy Football Manager And Not Screw Up Your Season Too Bad

This will be my 15th year playing fantasy football. My one lesson learned in these 15 years? My team is never as good as I thought it was.

This will also be The Ledger’s second annual installment of fantasy football advice.

Disclaimer: I use the word advice loosely.

As much as I love fantasy football and feel that every year will be “my year”, I stray from giving actual player advice.

No player rankings or analysis. No mock drafts. No wayward advice on who to target in the 11th round. I do well enough running my own ship aground by Week 9. No need to do the same to yours.

(I’ll leave the player advice to The Ledger’s Fantasy Football Contributor, Dave Cherney. Coming soon!)

No, my advice is geared towards owners and how to play nice with each other.

A ‘How To’ guide if you will.

Here is my 101 advice on How To Conduct Yourself As A Fantasy Football Manager And Not Screw Up Your Season Too Bad:

Arm Yourself With Information:

Whether you’re a first-timer or a seasoned vet, take the time to study player charts, rankings, and analysis.

In the past, owners were forced to load up with fantasy football magazines published in June to prep for their August draft. By the time their draft came around, players had been cut, were holding out, retired, or injured. Today’s social networking and fantasy sports web sites have made obtaining critical information easier than ever.

Don’t think however, that you can wake up the day of the draft, search a few web sites and call yourself prepared.

Ensure you are up to date with off-season moves, nagging pre-season injuries, and players recovering from last year’s injuries.

Example: Minnesota RB Adrian Peterson has been a sure-fire #1 pick the past few seasons. Not in 2012. He’s still nursing a nasty knee injury. Stay informed on his status.

Play With Friends:

What was once considered a sports-geek fetish, fantasy football now has become mainstream and socially acceptable within all demographics.

No longer is it a guy thing. Moms are playing. Businesses have created leagues to boost work relations. Even schools incorporate fantasy football into math and sociology classes.

Ask around. I guarantee someone you know, knows someone who needs an owner to fill out their league. Heck, my wife commissioned her own league in 2010 with fellow military wives, so it can’t be that hard to find a league.

Playing with friends will be more enjoyable, making the league more personable. Having a legit commissioner in your league that everyone is familiar with makes a world of difference when it comes to trades, rules, and arbitration. Online public leagues can be fun, but without the dazzle and pizzazz of playing with buddies.

Plus, walking into the office on Monday morning knowing you just mud stomped your cubicle mate can make for a great week!

Playing with friends can make your experience an enjoyable one.

Draft Safe

Owners tend to make the draft harder than what it should be.

Difficult, yes. Splitting the atom, no.

There are many considerations to take in before selecting a player: Bye week, opponent, scheduling, etc. However, factoring every single filter before drafting a player can drive you mad.

Understanding your league’s scoring matrix along with how many roster spots you are allocated are the two common denominators you should take into consideration when your it’s your turn to pick.

Keep it simple. Draft reasonably. And by all means, do not reach for a player.

Example: Don’t bypass a stud QB just because you realize he plays four of his last six games outdoors in cold weather venues, and think the offensive coordinator will run the ball more due to said weather conditions. You’re not a weatherman nor Nostradamus. Just pick the dang guy you feel is best suited for your roster in that particular round.

Me (Cowboy jersey) and my buddy Matt (Viking jersey) posing as commissioners in 2009 while stationed in Germany. We both lost.

Stats Are Good; But Not That Good

If a running back gained 1,800 yards on the ground last season, great. It doesn’t mean he’ll do it again this season.

Something as simple as an offensive lineman leaving in free-agency can impact the running back’s production.

Don’t concentrate too much on last year’s stats. Look at a player’s consistency over the past three seasons. This will give you a fair indication of what he is capable of over an entire season.

Things to consider when predicting stats: Age, off-season drama, injuries, and coaching philosophy.

Ex: A great example is Tennessee Titan’s RB Chris Johnson. Take a look at his year-by-year rushing totals over the past four seasons. 2008-1,228. 2009-2,006. 2010-1,364. 2011-1,047. Take away 2009 and his 3-year average is roughly 1,200 yards. More indicative of his production from a fantasy perspective.

Stay Active

There is nothing worse than an inactive owner.

I’ll admit, the three most exciting aspects of playing fantasy football are: (1) Naming your team, (2) Prepping for the draft, (3) and the actual draft. After that, it’s a straight up grind to play.

The grind however, is where you separate the men from the boys (and the women from the chicks).

Jump on the waiver wire once or twice a week to see what’s floating out there. When bye weeks start popping up, don’t lose crucial points by starting someone who isn’t even playing. Drop a waiver request or propose a trade to spice things up.

True, a win is a win, but even the most die-hard fantasy owner would prefer to earn his win as opposed to winning because you failed to update your injury riddled roster.

Again, it’s not rocket science, but some owners unfortunately insist on making it out to be.

Enjoy it and learn from your mistakes…..God knows I have!

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Posted on August 14, 2012, in Fantasy Football and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Thanks for these suggestions. The last part about owner activeness is too true… usually the owner that is always looking to make his/her team better wins. I know that from playing 3 years now of fantasy football. Still, I’m excited to see some of the fantasy advice from your co-writers!

    Lastly, I know you’re busy with other leagues and stuff, but if you’re interested in Bloggers’ League again, you’re more than welcome David. I’m sure you’ll have a great time, last year’s league was great. We couldn’t get a basketball or baseball league going, but football seems to be the sport with the most interest anyway. Email me or leave a comment on my blog if you’re interested.

  2. @NewsofSports: Glad you enjoyed the piece. Hit me up with your league info.

  3. Fantastic. As soon as I can you’ll receive the information.

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