The Twenty Commandments: An Alternative Guide To Your Fantasy Football Draft
By Rob Ward
Fresh off a glorious championship win in a sub-par eight team PPR league, Rob Ward brings you some pearls of wisdom ahead of draft night:
Draft season is now upon us.
Well… that’s not strictly true. For some (you know who you are), draft season was upon us at about 4am on the morning of Monday 3rd February. As Andy Reid finally lifted the Lombardi some of us were firing up the mock drafts and getting all excited about snatching Mike Gesicki ahead of his breakout year. Don’t disappoint Mike. They’ll never forgive you.
There’s no end of fantasy analysts offering sleepers, busts and draft kits. It can feel like a quagmire out there. But fear not. Your old mate Wardy is here with his twenty top tips for an alternative approach to your draft that will help you bring home the bacon (or the fake-on if you don’t eat meat):
1: Don't Have Already Had Your Draft By Now
This may be a bit late if you have already drafted by now.
2: Trade Out Of The First Round
You can’t win your league in the first round but you can certainly lose it, so the old adage goes. Why take the risk? Forfeit your first round pick and thank me later.
3: Draft Other People's Handcuffs
Do it as early as possible, if for no other reason than to feel their rage. Go as high as the 8th round for Tony Pollard and when the Zeke owner gives you both barrels just send him a crying with laughter face emoji.
4: No Frills Drinking Companions
On that note, I do like Tony Pollard. Nothing fancy about his name. He sounds like a dodgy estate agent in Coronation Street. If you can get a team of players that just sound like blokes you’d find supping in a Salford boozer on a Tuesday afternoon then all power to you. Can I recommend old Terry “Mac” McLaurin and Ronald “Ronnie” Jones in the mid rounds as perfect drinking buddies.
5: Sing Along Opportunities
6: Throw A Curveball
Pick a kicker in the single digit rounds and force a rush on them. That way you can cherry pick from all those juicy 3rd string running backs that might give you a TD every 4 weeks.
7: Ignore The Haters
Special shout out to anyone brave enough to draft a quarterback in the first round not named Mahomes or Jackson and feel the wrath of the draftniks.
8: Drinking Games Are Mandatory
One finger of beer for a ‘reach’, two fingers for a ‘steal’, and the whole pint when some wise guy explains to you in great detail why the new coaching setup in New York is gonna make Golden Tate a fantasy stud.
9: Embrace Analytics
Can you convince your draft buddies of a crazy new measuring stick that you’ve completely made up but sounds convincing? I tried ‘Average Depth of Target on Routes Not Run’ and it certainly bamboozled a few. Until someone pointed out it was BS. Close but no cigar.
10: Bully The Rookies
For extra shithousery points, offer up some friendly advice to any newcomers to your league (or to those who drop in on draft day with no preparation) by bigging up Derrius Guice. This will definitely be his breakthrough year!
11: Shake It Off
For top amusement value draft Jonathan Taylor in the 4th and De Andre Swift in the 5th to have a handy little Taylor Swift running back tandem. Other people in your league will know you are trouble when you walk in.
12: It's Never Too Early To Believe The Hype
The hype on Antonio Gibson in PPR leagues hasn’t gone far enough IMHO. Why wouldn’t you draft him in the 2nd round?
13: Mr. Irrelevant
If you’ve got the final pick in the draft then why not mimic the NFL Draft and grab a Mr Irrelevant? I’m sure Trent Richardson is still out there somewhere.
14: Break Out A Revolutionary Strategy
You’ve heard of 0 RB and 0 WR as viable draft strategies. But have you thought about doubling down for the rare 0 RB+WR approach? Pick up all the best QBs and TEs in the first ten rounds and when everyone else leaves their draft with Teddy Bridgewater and Greg Olsen then you can pounce with the trade offers.
15: Badge Of Honour
If, like me, you find yourself getting blocked by another drafter in your league because of trash talk you should consider this the finest achievement in your life. And yes I include Victoria Crosses, MBEs and Duke of Edinburgh’s awards in that count.
16: Stack Attack
Now smart draftniks will tell you that fantasy is all about the stack. Couldn’t agree more. Want to know my top tip? No, it’s not the tasty Hill-Kelce-Mahomes hookup some of you may be lucky enough to stumble into in the first three rounds. I’ve got my sights on much better value. In rounds 14-16, where everyone else is wasting their time on boring kickers and defenses, this is your chance to shine. Get on the Dwayne Haskins and Steve Sims stack. Add Jeremy Sprinkle for an extra splash in round 16 and you’ve got a winner. Sure, Washington’s offense will be a steaming pile of canine excrement.. But you’ve got a stack. What more do you need?
17: All In On Tight Ends
In ‘Tight End Premium’ leagues, don’t waste your time on any other position. Draft 16 tight ends and watch the points roll in. You’ll feel even better when Jimmy Graham’s 1 catch for 9 yards returns you 2.9 rather than the standard 1.9.
18: Believe In The Bloodlines
A touchdown mug (direct all inquiries to Simon Carroll) for anyone who can field a starting lineup consisting entirely of players with a ‘Jr’ or ‘II’ after their name. In my best effort I managed to grab Todd Gurley II in the 2nd, Odell Beckham Jr in the 4th, DJ Chark Jr in the 5th, Ronald Jones II in the 6th with some late round flyers on Irv Smith Jr, Gardner Minshew II and Michael Pittman Jr. The senior route isn’t as fun now Steve Smith Sr has retired. Mo Sanu Sr anyone?
19: Hold Your Team To Account
If a player lets you down in fantasy you should absolutely tweet them and tell them how terrible a human being they are. They might be focused on winning actual football but sod that, you’re here to win fantasy football.
20: If You Ain't Inebriated, You Ain't Dedicated
And finally, most people advise not to get drunk at your draft. What a bunch of squares! You should get ridiculously s**tfaced, draft Sebastian Janikowski in the final round and run home naked singing ‘We Are The Champions’.
So now you know how to smash the 2020 Fantasy Season. Don’t let me down!
NFL/FANTASY FOOTBALL ENTHUSIAST
Rob is a lover of all things 49ers and host of the Collapsing Pocket Podcast in which he, Simon Carroll and Sam Akroyd butt-fumble their way through the world of the NFL. Away from sport, Rob is a professional writer and performer. Hit him up on twitter @robwardrw!