Inside the Bucket: Ten Commandments all should follow to prepare for this year's fantasy draft
By: Zach Hansen
How many of "you people" (and when i mean "you people" I'm talking to the people who are so addicted to mock drafting that your family thinks you might need professional counseling) out there are actually ready to win a championship? You are probably thinking, "what does this snarky, pompous college student/blog writer know about fantasy football?" Well, I am 25 years old and this will be my 20th year doing fantasy football. Yes, the first 10 or so years was helping my dad's team since I was way too young to sit in a smokey bar with 12-15 grown factory workers but you can ask my dad who was making his picks... he'll say it was me.
I may sound cocky but I have won numerous leagues (not including the free leagues I joined.) by following the ten commandments I have written below in these rambling paragraphs. These aren't the usual roto-nerdy "I know so much about fantasy football, I need rehab" rules. I won't tell you to draft 2 running backs right away or that the draft is as knee-deep in wide receivers as "escorts" are in Las Vegas. These are ten laws that I go by every year before I draft my team. If you follow these commandments, you will be successful. Just like the former Mens Warehouse spokesperson dude guy says, "I guarantee it."
Commandment # 1: Thou shall go with thy gut
Instincts are what makes or breaks as a human being, much less a fantasy football franchise owner. Yes, there is always that guy that will make fun of you for the pick you made, even in mid-may mock drafts. That guy always gets to the playoffs but never wins a championship. Why? Because he/she cares about your team as much as he/she cares about his/her own team. If you want to draft Calvin Johnson in round 1 and Aaron Rodgers in round 2, then draft them (or I will!) dammit! You will get that witty, hipster dude who was like, "there is so much QB depth boo-boo-bee-boo." Again, don't worry about that guy, because he spent his whole summer talking smack to people on various mock draft sites that say the same b.s we already know... which leads to my next commandment.
Commandment # 2: Thou shall not be that guy, or thou shall BE THAT GUY!
I remember reading an ESPN article from the man who wrote the bible for fantasy football, Mr. Matthew Berry, about avoiding being "that guy" in a fantasy league and his reasons why you shouldn't be "that guy" and so on and so forth. I would never question the Jesus Christ of Fantasy, but sometimes a fantasy league needs "that guy." What makes a fantasy football league is drama, you need a guy like Taco from "The League" who doesn't really check his lineup or know how to draft. Because he will pull some wins out of his ass against other teams that you need to lose. Also, he is someone you can pull off trades with because he will have four kickers and probably want a fifth one.
Cockiness is not okay unless you are kicking everybody's asses on a weekly basis. It gives the league a nemesis who everybody hates and wants to lose. If you are in 9th place and you have a starting lineup of 2 backup running backs and Michael Vick as your quarterback, THEN SHUT THE HELL UP CUZ NOBODY CARES AND YOU ARE JUST A TROLL WHO CANT GET A GIRLFRIEND NOR A JOB AND YOUR FANTASY TEAM SUCKS! But then again... if you cause people to get that riled up by your crappy trash talking then by all means, do it if it makes the league more exciting.
Commandment # 3: Thou shalt not rosterbate in public.
Your team probably sucks, there is probably a reason other people didn't draft those players so don't brag about your team right after you draft it. That's like saying you have the hottest girlfriend, because you probably don't! My point being is that rosterbating in privacy is okay. If you want to nestle up to your laptop and drool over the computer keys to Shane Vereen, do it in the privacy of your own homes please! Now, once you are 7-1 on a 5 game win streak, then go ahead and show off your team, make love to your 3 starting running backs and read-option quarterback who is going to get injured next week. Seriously, though nobody cares how good you think your own team is. The fantasy gods will strike down on thee by "First Degree Public Display of Indecent Exposure" to thy roster.
Commandment # 4: Thou shalt draft the bait for trade if need be.
You drafted Arian Foster, Darren Sproles, Drew Brees, and Reggie Wayne with your first four picks. For the fifth pick, common fantasy football knowledge would say to draft Antonio Brown or Hakeem Nicks to balance your roster right?... Or you could draft RG III or possibly Colin Kaepernick (who easily have chances to be the top scoring QB in the league because of their legs, albeit an injury risk) and wait to get Steve Smith/Tavon Austin/Anquan Boldin. Later in the year, someone is going to want one of your quarterbacks and trade A LOT for one of them so trade one of your two beastly Quarterbacks to a team who is need for one and get another beastly running back to race to the championship!
It pisses people off when you hoard quarterbacks and running backs, but they will eventually want to do business with you and offer you a better draft pick then one you would have gotten if you drafted Antonio Brown or Hakeem Nicks tier type of player. There is risk involved, I have seen a dude draft a Quarterback in the first and third rounds and have to trade them away for running back depth. Know your draft spot, and be patient but if there isn't a player that is worth taking and you just want to fill out your wide receiver quota, then kiss your season goodbye. Mu-ah!
Commandment # 5: Thou shall not commit adultery with thy fantasy football team with a significant other.
Speaking of kissing, DO NOT LET YOUR GIRLFRIEND/ BOYFRIEND/ HUSBAND/BED BUDDY have anything to do with your fantasy football team or fantasy league for that matter. DO NOT tell your significant other about what other people in your league are talking about (especially if they are trolling you about your lover). Fantasy football is exactly what it is, a fantasy... of football. We don't need to put our fantasies into our GIRLFRIEND/BOYFRIEND/HUSBAND/BED BUDDY's heads! Fantasy football is an escape from your significant other asking you to do something like going to the store for wine and chocolate, or annoying you about their menstrual cycle. If you can pretend to listen to them while you are configuring a trade, or even doing a heated mid-summer mock draft, you and your romantic partner will be both be happy and no domestic disturbances will be filed. (I accidentally broke this commandment by showing my girlfriend this paragraph.. oops) Plus as the great boxing trainer to Rocky Balboa, Mickey once said, "Women weaken legs!"
Commandment # 6: When thee is having doubts on whom to draft. Thou shall draft a Johnson or a Jackson.
I would go for a Johnson before a Jackson but if you have 2-3 players with that last name, you will prosper heavily. If you draft two or more Calvin, Andre, Chris, Stevie, or Chad (you never know) Johnson's you will succeed. If you add on a little of Jackson (Steven, Vincent, Desean, Fred) spice, then you can have a cool team name and an easy express ride to the Shiva Bowl. Or you could be a freaking hipster and go for all the Bushes, Browns, or Smiths but then you would be too underground for fantasy football and that is exactly where your fantasy season is headed... underground.
Commandment # 7: There a five worse things you could be doing other than mock fantasy drafts in the middle of summer.
Okay, this commandment isn't as holy as the other ones. But I can think of five things off the top of my head you could be doing right now that is worse than your 4th mock draft of the day.
1. CBS FRANCHISE FOOTBALL
- Doing fantasy drafts on simulated games against people with stupid team names can actually be a worse addiction than fantasy football. I have been there. (James here, I'm still there)
2. WATCHING SPORTSCENTER REPEATS AT 3AM
- We have all done it (drunk and sober), and I have no shame.
3. SITTING IN A ROOM OF 12 SWEATY MEAT-HEAD GUYS WATCHING UFC.
- Seriously 90% of UFC fights are of men on the ground dry humping each other.
4. FANTASY BASEBALL
- Unless it's on Draft Street and you are winning money, this rule can be exempt.
5. REALITY KINGS/BRAZZERS/TWISTYS
- If you don't know what these words mean than you are better than most people. Then again, this rule could also be exempt if need be.
Commandment # 8: Thou shall seek the undrafted.
Every year, there are players who don't get drafted in mock drafts much less real drafts, but end up being fantasy football studs. (Last year for example; Alfred Morris, T.Y Hilton, Cecil Shorts, Colin Kaepernick, yada-yada-yada) Just because I'm feeling very holy and spiritual today , I will name off some of those players that will never get drafted who will end up helping you win the money.
QB: BRANDON WEEDEN - CLEVELAND
Norv Turner and Rob Chudzinksi know offense. They are terrible head coaches but are great offensive minds. Anyway, I'm not saying Brandon Weeden is a top 15 QB, but he could be by the end of the year. He has young up and coming receivers in Josh Gordon and PPR hero, Davone Bess and a possible Brandon Myers type Tight End in Jordan Cameron. Last year, Weeden had some big games against some good defense. The saying is that most QB's develop the most in their second year so... don't be surprised to see this goofy-looking ginger-guy hurls 4,000 yards passing and 20+ touchdowns.
QB honorable mention: Jake Locker - Tennessee
RB: KNILE DAVIS - KANSAS CITY
Jamaal Charles reminds me of when I was playing tackle football at school as a kid. There was always this kid who was faster and more agile than everybody else but every time he got tackled, he went home crying to his mom and tackle football is outlawed at school. Charles might just get injured again, and "if peeing your pants is cool consider me" Knile Davis steps up and has a 1,000 yard season, you heard it here first. (definitely would be worth it if Isiah Pead was a good back on team with Knile Davis, the funny team names would be infinite) The Chiefs 3rd round rookie from Arkansas at 6'0 227 could turn heads (especially in the red-zone) and eventually become the running back you are all fighting for on the waiver-wire.
RB honorable mention: Evan Royster - Washington
FB: MIKE TOLBERT - CAROLINA
Oh yes, I will put a fullback category here because there are those little fat dudes that vulture touchdowns from your glamorous running backs. Nobody will draft a fullback in this draft, but you know this guy will be the highest projected yahoosports.com "running back" that isn't drafted. Tolbert will not get you yards but he could be that bye week running back who gets you 3tds and 30 yards rushing and a much needed victory. His touchdown totals the last three years? How about 11 (2010), 10 (2011), and 7 (2012)!
FB honorable mention: Marcel Reece - Oakland
WR: MALCOM FLOYD - SAN DIEGO
Everybody seem to be putting all the hype on Malcom's quasi-brother Michael Floyd. Michael Floyd has a lot of upside and talent, yeah, but Malcom had average productivity for his career last year but he still led the Chargers to 56 catches, 814 yards and 5 touchdowns. I know the Chargers drafted Keenan Allen and are excited about Danario Alexander but Malcolm Floyd is tall (6'5) and Rivers likes to chuck it. I will not be surprised if Floyd caught 60+ catches for 1,000 yards and 7 tds, that is good enough for a mid-round tier of receivers (Lance Moore, Mike Williams types) in fantasy drafts. Okay maybe I'm overestimating him, but nonetheless, he will eventually be on a fantasy roster this season.
WR honorable mention: Robert Woods - Buffalo
TE: DUSTIN KELLER - MIAMI
The other two writers of BFoP, (Bucket Full of Points if you were wondering, and P.S, remember to follow us on Twitter and Facebook and listen to our radio show and podcasts this fall!!! Okay sorry.) James and Brandon, both stole my super duper sleeper Tight Ends Rob Housler and Delanie Walker so I had to dig even deeper. I found a very high-ceiling Tight End in Dustin Keller. Yes, he had the injury problems, so owners will be scared to draft him but the truth is that Tight Ends (Except Graham, Gronk, and Gonzo) are almost a crap-shoot. So crap, I'm going to shoot for Keller; he has Tannehill (another high ceiling) throwing to him along with Mike Wallace and Brian Hartline hogging the sidelines while turning into ghosts in the red zone. Keller could easily go 6-8 touchdowns and 750+ yards and he could have way more.
TE honorable mention: Marcedes Lewis - Jacksonville
DEF/SPECIAL TEAMS: SAN DIEGO SUPER CHARGERS
If you play both the Raiders and Chiefs twice, Tennessee, Miami, and Jacksonville in one season, you have to be on a roster at least seven times this season. The Chargers have the luxury of the 2nd easiest schedule this season and with a young and improving defense and there own Junior Seau Jr., Manti Teo. (funny having two juniors in one name though) The Chargers could easily be a top tier defense by default. They had nine returned TD's last year and only getting better.
As far as special teams is concerned, who knows?? I'm sure they will get 2 or 3 special team touchdowns just because they play crappy teams. Speaking of shooting crap...
DEF/SPECIAL TEAMS honorable mention: Cleveland
K: ALEX HENERY - PHILADELPHIA
I think this Nebraskan dude will have plenty of chances for field goals in Chip Kelley's high-paced, blur-motion offense. Philly lacks a big back in the red-zone and a big receiver target, so field goals galore for this soaring Eagle.
K honorable mention: Shayne Graham (GO CLEVELAND)
Sheesh, that commandment was a bit strenuous... here is another clip to give your mind a little pee break.
Commandment # 9: Thou shall honor thy foremothers and forefathers of fantasy football.
Just because you play Madden and watch "sick" Youtube clips of Marshawn Lynch beasting at California, does not mean you diss the people who played fantasy football before you. Our dads and uncles and grandpas have been playing way before us and still reminisce about the year TE Mark Bavaro had with the Giants in 1986 (60 catches 1000+ yards). The point is, you should learn from their wisdom and you too will eventually be on the Rushmore of fantasy football players among your punk-ass friends. Okay, I'm in way over my head about this but if someone is willing to help you out with your fantasy team who has more experience then don't be a punk-ass person!
As far as honoring old players in the NFL, don't be afraid to draft older players if they are still good with no crazy injury history (Steve Smith, Steven Jackson, Tony Gonzalez for example). These guys are on an NFL roster for a reason, so honor the elderly please. It's not like Steve Smith forgot how to run a curl route for an 11 reception, and his legs are going to fall off! He still will kick butt and will probably be on my team "too early" for the draft beatniks but then he will dominate you when I play you, plus I will say "I told you so" and totally be "That guy"! (Editors note: Not the Steve Smith formerly of the Giants, Eagles, Rams, and Bucs... although he even had a 1,000 yard season so you never know.)
Commandment # 10: There is fantasy football, then there is real life.
If you haven't showered or worked in the past week and there are various cans of cheap beer and Kwik Trip Hot Spot™ wrappers around your laptop, you need to stop making stupid trade offers or cliché trolling trash talk and go do something with your life! Play a game of actual football, read a book, hit on 50 year old women... I don't care just don't become so enveloped into fantasy football that you end up losing all of your money and friends living in your mother's basement until you are 46. You should play fantasy football because real life usually sucks and you can escape that crappy life by having some fun with talking mad crap to your friends. Keep the fantasy in fantasy football and your dreams will come true. $$$
I abide by these commandments every year, I really hope that if you are in my fantasy league, you don't listen to these commandments and do your own thing so I can take your donations and blow more money on Fantasy football magazines, NBA Draft Street, and PBR. For the rest of you, take my advice and tell me how you do. Also please pay me at least 20% of your winnings so we can all be winners! Make it work guys, because you are going to peak and winners always peak. Always remember, fantasy football is not a science, fantasy football is an art.