Manster’s Journey Into the World of…Fantasy Football ???
Last week was the 2018 NFL draft. Most normal people don’t care about the draft, nor should they. After all, why care about a bunch of dudes fresh out of college about to make more money in the next few years than you or I will ever make in our lifetime ? Even if you are an NFL fan, chances are, unless you’re a college football fan, you probably won’t even know the player your favorite team drafted. However for me, the draft marks the start of my long yearly adventure into trying to win another fantasy football title. When the NFL draft is over, the last pieces of the puzzle will have been put in the box. Now it’s time to sort out the corners, the edges and the all-important but less-loved middle pieces. Putting together a good fantasy team is like building a puzzle. First, you need to gather all the easier-to-find edge and corner pieces and make the frame which will support your team. The more difficult task is finding those middle pieces that fit together. They all look so similar. How do you find the right pieces ?
For the last ei8ht years I’ve participated in three different fantasy football leagues (sometimes multiple leagues). During this time I’ve been lucky enough to make the fantasy playoffs in at least one league each and every year. And for the last two years I’ve been fortunate to win a championship in two different leagues (including the PINT O’ PIGSKIN’s inaugural season last year). What’s the secret to winning fantasy football when you have absolutely no control over the players on your team? Fair question. There’s no one answer. What I’ve come up with is this…Combine some football knowledge, a flexible draft strategy, a couple stud players, a few possible breakouts, a healthy dollop of luck, and constant in-season management (you are guaranteed not to win the season with the same team you drafted, so you must be active on the waiver wire). Mix in a bunch of like-minded individuals including a few folks that just don’t have the time to care as much as you do. Bake for 16 weeks and hopefully you’ve made the fantasy playoffs and still have a shot at the title.
So what does it take to win your league? Unless Jesus himself drafts your fantasy team, it takes time and effort. I am far from a football prophet. I don’t watch every NFL match-up and I have a hard time remembering the teams in each division. After a few years of going nowhere in the fantasy playoffs I realized I needed to put in the extra effort. So I started scouring fantasy websites, listening to podcasts, reading magazines, mock drafting like crazy and eventually creating a fantasy football notebook. Johnny Ganache has outed me and never fails to mention my habit of bringing notes whenever I appear on the podcast. The last episode I did (Indie Comic Heroes and Villains) I was accused of bringing a Mead Trapper Keeper. Not true, but good podcast fodder. I wish I could instantly recall information and facts as easily as say, Sir Jon can tell you all about the Eldritch Wizardry supplement to Dungeons and Dragons but I can’t. For me, the only way I can remember is to read and study and take copious notes and review said notes over and over.
The podcasts and websites will get you familiar with players names and positions and then mock drafting before your actual fantasy draft will help you see what round players typically get drafted so you have an idea if you’re reaching for a player that will still be there the next round. I do a lot of mock drafts. I’m talking dozens of mock drafts. I will make myself a list of players I want on my team and then by mock drafting enough times I can basically determine what round I should nab them. Of course it all goes to shit when someone drafts a tight end you thought you could get in the 8th round with their first pick. People do weird things when it’s actually time to draft. If you are serious about drafting a good team you have to know what players you want and know which players you don’t want. Make sure you have alternate players so when someone selects your guy you don’t get flustered. When you put in the time you will draft a better team and that’s just a fact.
I would be remiss not to mention in-season management. Once your season is under way and you’ve got a win or two under your belt, things inevitably start to go awry. Players will get injured or underperform or get suspended and bye weeks will mess with your starters. It’s time to pay closer attention to that rookie on the waiver wire or that backup RB. This is where podcasts and websites and fantasy TV shows can help you determine the guy you should target off of waivers. You can’t be expected to sort out those middle puzzle pieces on your own, so listen to those who can help. Throughout the season, those pickups can make all the difference in the world.
For those who made it through this third installment, Eldritch Wizardry was the third supplement to the original D&D rules. Written by Gary Gygax and Brian Blume and published by TSR in 1976 as a sixty-page digest-sized book, this supplement added several new concepts to the D&D game, including demons (and their lords Orcus and Demogorgon), psionics-using monsters (such as mind flayers), and artifacts (including the Rod of Seven Parts and the Axe of the Dwarvish Lords). Got it?
What started out as a little intro piece turned into a full-blown fantasy football piece. Back to comics next time.
Manster (past and future FF champ)