By: John F. McGlynn (Twitter: @jfmcglynn)
Dynasty Football For The Beginner
Advice From A Seasoned Vet
Not as easy as it seems. Remembering back to fourth grade and the first time ever putting on a football helmet, shoulder pads, spikes, and a real team uniform. This was going to be great. Actually becoming a Queen of the Universe Cobras football player was a dream of mine up until this point. Always daydreaming of tackling everyone like Wilbur Marshall, blocking everyone like Dwight Stevenson, running the ball like Walter Payton, and catching the ball like jerry Rice. Really having no idea how to get the thigh pads in my pants, or what size shoulder pads to have on, what I needed a cup for, and what, I was suppose to boil my mouthpiece? What the hell is going on here? I couldn’t wait to just hit someone, be the team captain, and get all of the chicks. Turns out, football was not that easy, and neither is fantasy football.
All The Opinions
As everyone knows, there are a million fantasy football experts out there, and there are a million more that think they are fantasy football up and comers. Twitter, Facebook, Instaface, Google searches, ESPN analysts, NFL network, etc. Everywhere you look, someone knows everything about football and football predictions. Just making a mock draft every year has become a circus. Guys like Mel Kiper and his infinite spoon fed leads of insider information got him only three correct landing spot predictions in round one of this year’s NFL draft. THREE. This was my worst year predicting the draft in any year I can remember and I still got 3 right.
On the radio, at work, at the bar, at my daughter’s volleyball practice with the few dads that show up, everyone talks about fantasy football. How can you possibly know where to turn for some kind of correct predictions? Is there even a such thing? Jameis Winston has a million new weapons, the Browns have the new best offensive line, when Tom Brady goes down this year because of the Madden curse, Jimmy Garoppolo is going to throw for 5,000 yards, and Marcus Mariota has all of the perfect type receivers for the way he throws and the Titans will be FIRE this year. Everyone has an opinion.
All The Stats
Every year the league changes a little bit, but it really just all stays the same. The NFL is like a beautiful multicolored lava lamp that you just love to stare at. It never gets old. Players change teams, some retire, some get drafted, and some just show up off of a back up special teams roll to bust into the spotlight, as you just sit back and enjoy the wonder of it all.
Stats are what drives the game. Who will get me fourteen hundred yards and fifteen touchdowns on the ground? Who has the least drop percentage? Who has the best quarterback rating? Which Tight End is going to emerge out of this years dynamite tight end class to score double digit numbers? How will McCaffrey and his new rookie mirror image in the Carolina backfield be able to catch sixty balls each out of the backfield, from a backfield that produce almost no balls out of the backfield since Cam has been there? And how do you possibly predict rookie talent after the first four picks?
All Of The New Evaluation Scales
These poor college kids now days have so much to prove. You need to be twenty years old, score well on the Wonderlick, be six foot seven inches tall, two hundred and sixty pounds, run under a four three forty time, have a thirty inch arm length, eleven inch hands, Bench press two hundred and twenty five pounds thirty seven times, jump five feet high, jump fifteen feet long, do the shuttle, the cone drills, the tires, and have a squeaky clean record. Any variation from excellent on your SPARQ score, or any bar room fight, or argument with your girlfriend are negative marks on your total score. I don’t know how these kids can ever do this and be sane at the same time. The pressure must be unimaginable. But that’s what gets you drafted in round one, and that’s what makes you a fantasy football asset.
Do Your Homework
I truly believe that if I did as much homework as I do in prepping for one year of fantasy football in my entire 14 years of schooling, I would have been a Dean’s list all star. I have been using my own dinosaur method for about 10 years now. It works for me, and I love doing it. I don’t think I could change, even if I wanted to. I still print up all the versions of all my league specific rankings and highlight them by position. Green for running backs, blue for wide relievers, red for quarterbacks, orange for tight ends, brown for defense, and purple for kickers. I usually start in May, when the early ranking come out. Every two weeks, I print up all new rankings sheets and document where the player was on the previous sheet. I keep tabs of this from many different sites that I trust, writers that I love, guys who seem to have an aggressive mentality like me, and I trend every player.
I never use ESPN, CBS, or the other mainstream media conglomerates. I believe I have my go to, under the radar, diamonds in the rough. I keep side sheet notes of the biggest risers and the biggest fallers. I document injuries and suspensions. I see how close the running backs handcuffs are creeping up on them, and I see which teams have multiple receivers who all fall in the same general area of the predictions. I take notes of major injuries so I know of someone who is super overrated at draft time, but will lose his spot in week 5 when the actual starter returns and puts guys back into fantasy irrelevance . I put a lot of time into my rankings. Then I gather all four months of my data, a day or so before the draft, and I make up my own league specific draft rankings. This is something most people are using Excel spread sheets for now. There is also one more huge factor. GUT FEELING.
Go With Your Gut
All you need to do, is to just do your best. Even when the whole world is high on a guy that you just don’t see being the megastar he is hyped up to be, and you have the warm and fuzzies for a guy that everyone is down on, you have to pull the trigger on your guy. I have won around seventeen fantasy football championships in my twenty three years of fantasy football, along with about twenty second and forty third place finishes. I very rarely don’t make the playoffs, but it does happen. That’s what happens when all of your leagues are at least 12 teams deep and everyone else in your leagues has also been playing for fifteen years or more. It’s not easy. But, just when you think that you really have the fantasy football world by the short and curlies, because you have been printing, highlighting, and documenting all of the ranking trends since May, editing depth charts, filling your notebook up with more notes than the a college journalism major, and listening to every podcast you can find on the Internet, you are still just playing the lottery.
The Part That “Sucks”
When the August draft rolls around, you are ready, you nailed it, you drafted your dream team, and you are so confident. But, as the season goes on, you feel Ike you are stuck in bumper to bumper traffic during a hailstorm. You can’t do anything but sit back and watch what you thought was a fantasy football version of a Ferrari get pelted and dented and defeated. You put to much stock in Lamar Miller, ArIan Foster, Todd Gurley, Allen Robinson, and DeAndre Hopkins. Guys like AP and Jamaal Charles got hurt. The guys with nagging injuries like A.J Green, Dez Bryant, Sammy Watkins, and LeSean McCoy piss you off on a weekly basis. The weeks that sting the most are when you got fed up and sat OBJ after five horrible games, and in Week six, you lost by three when he finally broke out and scored thirty seven points. Or When The Last Place Team In Your League, with the least amount of points in the history of your league, drops 213 points on you. Not only that, but you lose 213-211. Yes, that really happened to me.
In another league, I actually lost the first eight weeks of the season to all eight weeks highest scoring teams. I started out 0-8 as the highest points for and the highest points against category leaders. I won the next five games, but still did not make the playoffs. I put a lot of stock in a handful of overrated and injury bug plagued players last year. For the first time in my life. I did not make the playoffs in any of my seven leagues. But this happens to everyone. All that you can do is start from scratch. Good luck to all of us, except the eleven other owners in my fantasy football leagues.