Fantasy football is back

Morgan Douglas Sports Editor

Stress. Second guessing. Time is running out. No, I am not speaking of that project you put off until the last moment. Of course, I am talking about fantasy football.

Football is back baby!

With the NFL returning to regular season action this week, millions of football-starved fans will be setting their lineups as they gear up for another run at a fantasy championship that means so much to them personally (and often financially), and so little to the rest of the world outside of their fellow league mates.

The purpose of this column is to give some fantasy football advice. First piece of wisdom; do not talk to people outside your league about your team. The kid next to you in history class does not care who you have at Quarterback.

According to the Fantasy Sports and Gaming Organization, 59.3 million people (about twice the population of Texas) played fantasy sports in 2017 in the U.S. and Canada. Of that number, over 40 million played fantasy football.

It’s popular. So popular that there is a litany of mobile apps, television shows, podcasts, even newspaper columns dedicated to the subject. With so much out there, it can be hard to decipher useful information from worthless.

Some of the easiest bits of information to dismiss, level one, if you will, would be: ‘Player X came into camp in the best shape of their life.’ Or ‘They added 15 pounds of muscle in the offseason,’

Do not let that be the reason you draft somebody.

It is also good to remember that NFL coaches lie (Not our fine, upstanding SCSU coaches, to be sure). Bruce Arians has no reason to tell anyone who gets more carries between Ronald Jones and Leonard Fournette. Pete Carroll is going to say everybody looks good.

Watch the games. No, really watch and pay attention to the X’s and O’s to understand football better and in turn be a better fantasy player. Anyone can read box scores. How the players look on the field is more important. Talent usually wins out.

Point projections are garbage in, garbage out. If the people who made the projections on your favorite fantasy platform really knew what was going to happen, they would live in Las Vegas and not have to do projections for a living.

In a similar vein, a wise fantasy player should not adhere too strictly to average draft position (ADP) either. If a player allows ADP to dictate who they draft, then they are letting the rest of the league decide who is on their team.

Embracing risk is part of the game. Mileage varies as to how much risk each fantasy manager can tolerate. Some people are afraid to take potential league-winner Saquon Barkley in the first round, and they cannot really be faulted for being nervous about a player returning from a serious knee injury. Rest assured though, someone is going to draft him, and Michael Thomas too, just preferably not on the same team,

The mental health aspect of fantasy football is not talked about enough. My strategy is to always do the thing that will make me feel the least sick. Benching the struggling star only to see him have a great game that week is infuriating. Reduce the stress, college students have enough already.

Some readers may be questioning my authority on the subject, and rightfully so. I may do the same in your shoes. Well, let me tell you that I have been playing fantasy sports since 2012, won several leagues and do not intend to stop anytime soon, because I am good at it.

To quote the ‘American Dream’ Dusty Rhodes, “I have been to the mountaintop, and it will take one hell of a man to knock me down.”

Good luck with your teams.

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