Chances are high that your fantasy football league will have at least one, and probably three or four, team owners that are more or less dead weight.
They’ll start off involved. They’ll come to the draft, crack a beer, and make their picks, get excited about grabbing their sleepers, and maybe even stay until the last round closes. The first few weeks will go great. The first bye week isn’t until Week 4, so there isn’t much an owner can do horribly wrong during the first few rounds of games. Sure, they might miss grabbing Andre Williams on Tuesday the 9th after Tom Coughlin uses him to score two red zone touchdowns against the Lions and everyone else realizes he’s going to be as valuable as Rashad Jennings (or more so). But so will lots of people. What’s worse is when you realize, around Week 7 or 8, that this owner (or owners) hasn’t set their lineups more than once or twice. That’s when you know — and you’ll be right — that these guys or girls are lame ducks, bottom feeders who are going to completely mess up your playoff hopes by handing wins to losers.
That’s not the way to mess with your league.
On the other hand, there are some things you can do on draft day to get in your leaguemates heads, make the season more fun and maybe even give you a chance to win.
1. Congratulate Everyone on Their Picks
A standard rule of fantasy drafting is to never, ever congratulate your fellow owners on their picks. The idea is that you don’t want to give away your strategy. This is incredibly silly; any thoughts you had on a given player don’t really matter once that player is on someone else’s roster. So why not go the other way? Play up the positive! Be everyone’s best bud! “Killer pick!” “Man, I wish I had jumped in the bidding there!” It’ll make you look like a fool, and you should be able to swoop in at some point and get a real steal, because no one suspects the village idiot.
2. Draft Players From Only Your Favorite Teams
This is particularly relevant if you are from the Dallas area. Everyone hates your team, and is going to hate you for being a homer and taking Demarco Murray or Dez Bryant in the first round. Don’t worry! Stick with it. In fact, double down. No one knows your home team better than you, and you know that wideout your team took in the second round of the amateur draft is going to get a chance to catch some passes this year. (Also relevant for fans of the Patriots, Eagles, and Jets.)
3. Stockpile All the Quarterbacks
On a recent episode of Bill Simmons’ “BS Report” podcast, he suggested that instead of filling your bench with backup RBs and WRs, you simply take all the backup QBs out there. Matthew Berry, ESPN’s “The Talented Mr. Roto” and lead fantasy football analyst rejected the idea, but I disagree. In fact, I would take it a step further: don’t even bother with an RB2 or RB3. Simply get as many starting QBs as you can. Your fellow owners will think you’re an idiot, but on the Saturday before the first week’s games, someone is going to be starting Eli Manning, and is going to come to you begging for Nick Foles. And if Peyton Manning or RGIII go down, you’ll really be holding all the cards..
4. Get Everyone Drunk the Night Before
It might take some creativity to find a way to get your leaguemates all together the day before you all have to see each other again, but it’ll be worth it, even if you can knock one guy off his game. Half your leaguemates saved their studying to the last minute, so if you can take away precious cramming time by keeping them until closing time, you just got a leg up (provided you already did your studying). Don’t forget to call them the next day 45 minutes before the draft starts to tell them “Why aren’t you here? We started 15 minutes ago!”
Bonus tip: bring lots of beer to the draft to tempt one of your hungover friends with the proverbial hair of the dog; he may end up drunk and useless by the time you are an hour in.