New Year’s Fantasy Football Resolutions

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This article was originally posted on FantasyPros.com and can be read here.

As we look ahead to our 2015 fantasy drafts, there are a few resolutions we should all be following. Some of these are good fantasy football habits to follow, while others are tendencies that are easy to fall into, but bad for your squad.

I will stop drafting a QB with my first pick

Peyton Manning was not only the first QB off the draft board, but was consistently one of the top picks of the 2014 draft. He had a great start to the year, but was by no means the dominant force of 2013. Even worse, his fantasy numbers plummeted at the worst possible time for fantasy players. He still finished as a top-5 QB, but so did Ben Roethlisberger, who was drafted either very late or not at all.

I will ride the waiver wire to a championship

Skilled fantasy players know that you don’t win your league on draft day. You must remain diligent and consistent in scouring the waiver wire for untapped potential. The real key is to follow trends and take educated shots on players who have not blown up yet. Odell Beckham Jr. was sitting on the wire, just waiting for someone to believe in him through his injury. Perhaps you snagged him before the explosion, or just after. Either way, he likely carried you into the playoffs and beyond. Bernard Pierce had taken an ice bath in production during 2013 and Ray Rice was kicked off the team. The level of success for Justin Forsett was unpredictable, but him getting the opportunity to play was not shocking.

I will read into the tea leaves of the NFL Draft

Giovani Bernard was a stud in 2013. Such a stud he worked his 2014 fantasy ADP into the second round, even going in the first round of some drafts. If the Bengals had truly been all-in on Gio the way fantasy players were, it was peculiar to see them spend a high draft pick on another RB. It didn’t take long for Bernard to under perform and get banged up, and those who were proactive got themselves an immediate difference maker in Jeremy Hill.

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I will not take a D/ST before my second to last pick

The Seattle Seahawks D/ST was a massive advantage for fantasy players in 2013. Players were eager to jump in again with the Twelfth Man and snagged Seattle early, sometimes even before a double-digit draft round. Players will likely remember Seattle this season for the end of the year when they got radioactive hot. They will selectively forget they were not very good through the first half of the season, nowhere near returning draft value on fantasy’s most streamable position.

I will use the draft strategy that I want to use

Coming into 2014, Zero-RB became a polarizing buzz word. This new-school draft strategy gained a groundswell of support after players had become fed up with first-round RB busts. After all, elite level WRs are historically more dependable. If you drafted Dez Bryant/Jordy Nelson/Antonio Brown/Rob Gronkowskiwith your first four picks and scrapped together some decent running backs, 2014 went well for you. On the flip side of this, if you went Calvin Johnson/Jimmy Graham/Brandon Marshall/A.J. Green in some context, you probably think that Zero-RB is a strategy created by your league mates who relish in your defeat. Here’s the thing, busts will happen. At all positions. If you like Zero-RB, Zero-WR, best available, RB/RB, whatever the plan it doesn’t actually matter. Be informed and make the best selection on your opinion, which leads to the next resolution.

I will not blame fantasy experts for my busts

Fantasy sports brings an immense amount of joy and goodness to the world. But as with all good things, it brings out the jerks. Players get furious if a piece of advice from a fantasy analyst leads them down the path of defeat. They immediately bend the knee to Emperor Palpatine, give in to their anger, and join the Dark Side. Fantasy sports are not a science (Dr. Metrics Mike Clay may disagree with me). Experts are people with experience and knowledge, who asses a situation and make decisions based on what they believe is high probability. A famous quote explains it best (I can’t recall who said it), great fantasy players make it to the playoffs, lucky ones win the whole thing. There is truth in this statement. No matter how great we think we are at fantasy football, there is a large reliance on plain stupid luck that will make us winners or losers.

If the backup RB is talented, I will handcuff…sometimes even if he isn’t talented

Fantasy players can be divided on whether or not to handcuff. Some like to spread their seeds into many situations and hope to hit on multiple RBs, after all starting RBs are very valuable. Everyone plays the game different when it comes to being aggressive or safe. Playing without a handcuff, in actuality, is an aggressive move. For fantasy players to score, they need opportunity. Injuries create opportunities. When you have a player like a Knile Davis, you know that when he plays for an injured Jamaal Charles he will put up solid fantasy numbers. No brainer right? Of course, because Davis has NFL-caliber talent and simply needs opportunity. Then you have the Minnesota situation from this year. Matt Asiata is widely considered a plodder with not much to offer to the NFL. Knock-knock, it’s me, Opportunity. Asiata finished as a high-level RB2. Let that sink in. Admittedly, he was an infuriating player that was prone to underpant-squelching failure, or he might score three TDs and win your matchup. Never underestimate the power of touches and opportunity.

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I will end the nonsense of low-ball trade offers

Many of us have had those nights of staying up far too late trying to hash out a trade. Things go back-and-forth about 50 times, eventually someone gets tired and calls it a night, then you wake up the next morning to see your trade partner made a move with someone else in the league. It takes a few hours of calming down for you to maintain your Bruce Banner and not Hulk smash your laptop into a thousand pieces. These scenarios often start with a low-ball offer. We all have this idea of negotiation ingrained inside of us, “never start with your best offer” is what my Gramps would say. What if they will accept something lower? Problem. All of us think the first offer is not the best offer. Let’s all agree to send quality offers and end these primitive fantasy negotiation tactics. Imagine a world where a trade offer can be sent, discussed, and executed or denied in a few moments instead of all weekend.

I will not panic at 0-3

Because of the short season of football, fantasy wins and losses are magnified to an unhealthy degree. Teams will go 0-3, 0-4, and decide the season is over for them. Not only is this defeatist thinking (stay positive folks!), it’s a heavy misconception. Teams that start 0-4 constantly bounce back and make the playoffs. Teams that start 5-0 can hit a bad injury and fall out of the playoffs.  Until the math says your team is eliminated, it is still in title contention. I specify title contention, because the playoffs are a wild and unpredictable beast. Your 6-7, 7-6 team may limp into the playoffs and carry you to an offseason of glory! Try to keep a fragment of level thinking and perspective on wins and losses and things will turn out.

I will not be a gracious or quiet champion

When we step back and take a grandiose look at fantasy football, it’s actually pretty silly. We are betting on players we have no individual control over and allowing their results to shape our happiness on a weekly level. Silly? Yes. Amazing? Yes. Why does the victory of fantasy football bring us such exhilaration? Well, sometimes it’s a big financial payoff, but other times you get eight months where you can talk the filthiest, nastiest junk you want because you are the champion! If your league has a trophy, take that thing everywhere. Going to Disneyland? Take the beast on the Haunted Mansion! Going bass fishing? Let the trophy hold your beverage! Throwing a party where you know members of your league will be attending? BOOM! Instant centerpiece! Going through an entire offseason with the same voracity can be tiring. Talking garbage as the champion can be lonely and exhausting. You may even feel like it’s losing it’s impact. Suck it up! Your name is in the lights, live like it! Your league is hearing and remembering every negative comment you have. Remember, the only thing better then winning, is winning when people desperately want you to lose!

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