A lot of life lessons have come to light in this crazy, quarantine way of life lately. I’ll show you how you can relate them to formulate your winning strategy for 2020.
1. Avoid social gatherings! (use your own strategy)
Ever since quarantine has gone into effect, we all know to avoid social gatherings at all costs. In fantasy, we can relate this to the herd mentality and group-think people fall into during draft season. Every few years, all the experts start trumpeting the best new strategy to win your league. Pick any draft magazine off the rack and you’ll see the new hottest trend in draft strategy.
While it is important to notice trends in the industry, please, for the love of God, have a mind of your own. When you draft a team, it’s YOUR team. Drafting zero RB is not a great strategy if you hate your paltry RB corps all year. Missing out on the next great quarterback season because someone told you to wait on QB doesn’t feel good. The point is to take ownership of your squad. Win or lose, I always feel better if I know I picked the players I wanted. Have faith in yourself and let the chips fall where they may.
2. Washing hands (of players and grudges) is critical.
Washing your hands shouldn’t be a new experience for people, but it’s something most of us didn’t think about as much before. Nowadays you can get slapped if you try to shake someone’s hand or don’t have a year’s supply of Purell on hand. Fantasy-wise, we must wash our hands of last year’s success or disappointment. This is a new season and too many owners drag baggage from previous seasons into the new year.
This could be holding a grudge against a player who burned you in the past or it could be sticking to the same exact strategy that got you a ‘ship in 2019. The NFL, more than any other league, can change from year to year, month to month or day to day. Be flexible and take each season as it comes, without being dragged down by bias. It doesn’t matter whether you failed or succeeded last year, all that matters is how you’re going to approach this season.
3. Listen to Science (data) when formulating your draft strategy
While some countries have dealt with this pandemic with an informed, pro-active, scientific approach, some countries were blind to the data right in their faces. In fantasy, we have a ton of metrics we can fall back on. ADP, YAC, aDoT, Tgt, Rec, Yds, the list goes on and on. There has never been more information at our fingertips as fantasy players. You must be able to use that information and learn from it to get an edge.
It’s easy to get bogged down in numbers and they are by no means the only route to fantasy success. Use these numbers as guides to help you predict success and help you make the tough calls between players you may like. Every fantasy analyst is hit up with constant sit/start questions on a weekly basis. And here’s a secret, no one’s 100% accurate. The best in the business know how to use the data to make the best possible decision. These numbers are available to everybody, so learn to make the data work for you.
4. Humor heals and we are all social creatures
We’ve all learned how hard it can be to live life isolated from friends and family. After awhile, you may even miss the annoying guy in your league who picks a kicker in the 4th round. The point is, even the most solitary individual has to be going a little stir-crazy by now and we all need other people in our lives. Where is the fun in winning a championship if you can’t rub it in your brother-in-law’s face or in the face of your co-worker who smacks when they eat.
If you’re like me and have a long-time league, take time to reach out to those people. Start planning your draft or the penalty for the last place team. Talk strategy or changes to the scoring system for next year. And above all, have fun with it. Quarantine can be a time where you have fun and re-invent your league if it has become a bit too stale. If you’re a commissioner, think of ways to spice up the draft or the season. Get compromising pictures of all your league-mates and make up an owner’s guide that everyone can get a laugh out of before you draft.
This has been one of the most stressful times in everyone’s lives so take the free time you have and put it back into your leagues. A weekly or monthly update, loaded with funny quotes or pictures, can do wonders for everyone’s morale and get those competitive juices flowing. Jump start your 2020 season by remembering this is a game, even if cash is on the line, so have fun. It’s contagious.
5. Don’t be unprepared again!
At the first sign of trouble, who would’ve thought that toilet paper would be first on everyone’s grocery list? We all know at least one person who considers themselves a doomsday prepper. It’s all fun and games to make fun of Doomsday Dan until your trip to Costco turns into a fight for survival. In fantasy, you want to be as prepared as possible for your upcoming draft.
We all have a few people in our leagues who you know just printed out a list of players an hour before the draft. These are the same guys taking 3 quarterbacks with their first 4 picks in a single QB league because of the value. With the extra downtime we all have on our hands this year, try to be more pro-active in your prep. Take a look, not only at player stats, but also examine your league mate’s tendencies. Knowing the tendencies of your league mates can be very helpful in planning out your own draft.
Another way to get an edge on your league is to start creating your own rankings leading up to your draft. Every draft website has a default rankings system that is built in to guide players. Having to rely on these rankings can cause you to miss out on sleepers and players rising to prominence. If you start making your own rankings, you can tweak them as the off-season progresses. Having your own list can better reflect the value you put on these individual players. If you’re truly prepared you should be able to make your own decisions and feel comfortable doing it.