Stop us if you've heard this one before: dude who likes football but isn't an insane person about it joins a fantasy football league, because he wants a reason to hang with his friends and participate in their football-related in-jokes; dude does a modicum of research prior to the draft, despite not really knowing what kind of research he should be doing; dude completes the draft; a few weeks later, dude more or less forgets his fantasy football team exists; a few months later, dude loses however much money/pride he put in. Womp.
If you're like us, you've probably been that dude (or dudette) in the past. But not this year. This year you have us. And we have the Fantasy Footballers, the trio of bona fide experts behind the award-winning Fantasy Footballers podcast. Combining an "incalculable amount of dad bad jokes" with actionable fantasy football advice, the pod has been downloaded over 30 million times, and provided countless fantasy football GMs with much-needed wisdom.
Because we had a hunch you might require some streamlined advice for your last-minute fantasy draft (and beyond), we asked one of the Fantasy Footballers, Mike "The Fantasy Hitman" Wright, for some basic tips and tricks.
Use them wisely.
If you have the first draft pick this year, who should you take and why?
Currently the 1.01 in fantasy drafts is locked in on one of four running backs. Lev Bell, Todd Gurley, David Johnson and Ezekiel Elliott. The reason they are at the top is having a running back on your fantasy team that is going to see massive volume is the biggest advantage the game has. For example, last year's no.1 RB Todd Gurley scored 351 points on the year. The no.1 wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins scored 262 points. On top of that, there is a much higher number of wide receivers that are useful for your fantasy teams compared to the running back position. If your team has a dominant edge at RB, the rest of your league will fear you.
What's the biggest mistake someone can make creating their fantasy team?
The biggest mistake a fantasy player can make is using a high draft pick on the quarterback position. This seems very counterintuitive for new players. They see that QBs score the most points of any position, but the thing is all QBs score. In the majority of leagues a team only needs to start one QB per week while they need to start 2-3 running backs and 2-3 wide receivers. It comes down to simple supply and demand. Quarterbacks you would never want to use, like Blake Bortles, can find themselves in a matchup against a bad passing defense and become a great fantasy QB for the week.
What's the most common trap people fall into when building a team?
The most common trap people fall into when building a team is the endowment effect. We become enamored with our players and start to believe they are the best. We overlook real opportunities to improve our rosters because we choose to believe that other players are inferior. Be active at looking for beneficial trades and looking to your league's waiver wire.
Who are the biggest sleepers in this year's draft? Which players are more or less sure things?
We define a sleeper as a fantasy player going late in drafts that could find himself as a regular in your starting roster. It's always useful to take a look at strong offenses and see if anyone on that team could emerge and they are being overlooked by drafters. For example: Geronimo Allison. He plays with the best fantasy QB in the league Aaron Rodgers, that's check one. There is some tumult on who the actual WR2 will be in the pecking order for the Green Bay Packers. If Allison can beat out Randall Cobb, or the team moves on from Cobb, Allison will see a huge bump in his fantasy value. Dallas has seen a major loss of skill players over the offseason: Dez Bryant, Jason Witten, Brice Butler are all gone from the offense. Free agent acquisition Allen Hurns and rookie Michael Gallup look like the starting WRs for the team. That could turn into a lot of opportunity if someone can separate as Dak Prescott's favorite target.
Are there any general tips and tricks you would have for managing a team (after the draft)?
The best advice for after the draft is staying informed. This is where The Fantasy Footballers really come into play. We break down all the news you need to hear, all the players that should be added from the waiver wire, and how the matchups are looking for all relevant fantasy players. Our content can be consumed while you go about your day. A podcast is there when you need it like on the commute to work, while you're at the gym, while you clean the house. It's multi-tasking fantasy goodness.
What's the best way to bait someone into a good trade (and subsequently, avoid a bad trade)?
The honest truth about trading is you probably shouldn't feel 100% certain of the move. If you are offering another team a trade thinking, "man, my team is going to be great if this happens," then your offer is probably bad and is going to be rejected. The trade should be beneficial to both teams. It's better to look for teams that are compatible for trades than look for the specific player you want. If you need RB help and you have depth at the WR position, go find the WR needy team and try to get deal done.
If you had one lasting piece of advice to impart, what would it be?
Remember that the game you are playing, while we take it very serious, it's a game and we play it because it's fun. Interact with your league mates. Showboat and talk garbage when you win a week. Enjoy the season and the journey. At the end, only one person will be able to lift the championship trophy. That's the main goal, but if your fantasy season is a compete disaster if you don't win then you're missing out on some of the best parts of the game.