The Ten Commandments of Fantasy Football

The Ten Commandments of Fantasy Football
By: Rick Fleeger
The Asylum Fantasy Football Podcast

The first rule of any social interaction is to never talk about religion or politics. So, I know it’s risky to talk about the Ten Commandments as they relate to fantasy football. Regardless of your beliefs, I think most reasonable people can agree that not killing, stealing, and cheating are pretty good rules to live by. With that in mind, here are the 10 commandments that all fantasy owners should live by. Print these off, take them to your draft, and tape them to your cubicle wall. Resist the temptation to stray from these basic rules to play by. Not a reader? These commandments were featured in Podcast 39- Don’t be that Guy at (posted 5/25/12).

I. Thou Shall Draft Running Backs Early and Often

I know the league has changed. With the advent or PPR leagues, I understand that fantasy football has changed. However, that does not change the importance of having a consistent stable of running backs. The days of 10 of the first 12 draft picks being running backs are gone…and for good reason. But, don’t be fooled into thinking you should fill your QB and WR positions first and ignore the RB position (don’t laugh, that theory is being floated out there). In a standard twelve team league, 12 QBs, 24 RBs, and 24 WRs will start each week. I can’t fault you for drafting Aaron Rogers early, but if you miss out on him, Brees, and Brady, there is a plenty of comparable value in slots 4-12. Looking at the WR position, by my rankings, there are at least 60 viable fantasy starters. Conversely, I can find only 25 RBs who can be considered viable starters. Therefore, once the top talent at QB and WR are gone, focusing on getting 3 of those RBs will put you at a serious competitive advantage.

II. Thou Shall Not Draft a Kicker or Defense Before the Final Two Rounds

I’m not going to spend a lot of time going over the Kicker position…wait until the last round and pick a kicker from a good offense….enough said. The Defense position is slightly more complicated. Invariably, defenses will start coming off of the board in the 6th and 7th rounds of your drafts. Top Defenses such as the Jets, Steelers, and Ravens were all taken early in many fantasy drafts in 2011. However, a look at last year’s statistics show teams such as Detroit and Seattle among the top 5 fantasy defenses. Moral of the story? Wait until Round 14 to draft your Defense and be willing to play matchups each week. Use your mid-round picks to load up on depth at the skill positions and to find that sleeper that will win you a championship.

III. Thou Shall not Auto Draft

To me, the best day of the fantasy season is draft day. I look forward to it like I used to look forward to Christmas. Auto drafting not only takes all of the fun out of the draft, it also removes all of the skill. Anyone can shuffle around names on a list. You need to be there to gauge the way your draft is going to make value picks. If you can’t be at the draft, call in or send someone you trust to draft for you.

IV. Thou Shall Not Overvalue Players from Your Favorite Team

We’ve all been in this situation. A player from our favorite team is available as our pick comes near. However, you have him ranked below five players that also remain on the board. You say to yourself, “I’m going to take him. It will make watching the games more fun”. Don’t fall into this trap. The only thing worse than leaving better value on the table is being forced to watch your mistake for 16 weeks. I know it’s difficult, but you have to separate team loyalty from your fantasy squad.

V. Thou Shall Not Speak Honestly of Targeted Players to Fellow Owners

I know it sounds strange to suggest that you lie in the context of the Ten Commandments, but we’ll give you a pass just this once. In all likelihood, you are drafting with friends or colleagues you speak to frequently. Simply put, if you’re targeting a player/sleeper, keep your mouth shut. To gain an advantage, don’t tip your hand.

VI. Thou Shall Rank Your Own Players and Draft Accordingly

Every league is different. With keepers and uncommon scoring systems, you can’t rely 100% on someone else’s rankings. While we do encourage you to use all resources available (especially, you must create rankings based on your individual scoring systems. More importantly, don’t be the guy drafting based upon the rankings in a magazine. That magazine was published in March. The rankings hold little value in August and September.

VII. Thou Shall Value Every Pick as if Your Season Depended on It

Here lies the biggest difference between winners and losers in fantasy football. Almost anyone who has watched fifteen minutes of NFL Network can draft the first 5 rounds. Championships are won in round 6-13. This is where you can target your sleepers and stock pile the depth you need to survive the long season. Don’t lose your focus or sobriety as the draft drags on and you’ll have plenty of time to celebrate in January.

VIII. Thou Shall Not Draft Players on IR

This commandment speaks for itself. Every year, a player or two with fantasy value suffer a season ending injury during the preseason. And, every year, somebody drafts them in your fantasy league. Don’t be that guy! Do your research and come to the draft prepared.

IX. Thou Shall Set Your Lineup Every Week

You owe it to yourself and your league to put your best possible lineup out there each week. It is imperative that you adjust for injuries and bye weeks every week. Also, it’s a duty of the commissioner to ensure that this is being done by all owners all of the time. If they are not, you must use your powers to ensure that the competitive integrity is maintained in your league.

X. Thou Shall Finish Thy Season

No matter how well we prepare, sometimes seasons don’t go our way. Injuries or bad luck can doom even the greatest expert’s season. It’s easy to give up on the season once you are eliminated from playoff contention. As stated in IV, you owe it to the other owners in your league to play to the end of the season. Don’t be the guy who allows someone to back into the playoffs because you stopped managing your team.