Fantasy Football: How to not finish last in your league

Detroit Lions Calvin Johnson (Photo by Sarah Glenn/Getty Images)
Detroit Lions Calvin Johnson (Photo by Sarah Glenn/Getty Images) /
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Detroit Lions
Detroit Lions, Matthew Stafford (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /

Part One | Draft Day

You have better things to do than pore over hundreds of player profiles and build massive spreadsheets of data to analyze for optimum draft day success. Seriously, go outside or something, it won’t be there forever.

Instead, your draft day prep should consist of two things:

1. Depth charts

ESPN always releases fantasy football team depth charts. Here’s this year’s. Players perform not only based on their talent, but their opportunity. Higher numbers of carries and targets usually equal higher scoring output. You’d rather have a guy average four yards a carry on 20 touches than a guy who’s averaging five, but only getting a dozen carries.

Look for players who don’t have a lot of competition at their positions. Lamar Miller, Marshawn Lynch and Jerrick McKinnon aren’t great running backs, but there’s little competition for carries on their teams and they should perform well enough to avoid being replaced mid-season. Lots of upside there.

Bonus tip: the top 300 lists you see around this time are perfectly adequate, as they are usually what your league’s draft list is based around and give you an idea of where players are valued by players and experts at-large. You probably won’t hit any major sleepers, but you’re also not likely to draft a bunch of duds, either.

2. Showing up and paying attention

Seriously, it happens every year. People get distracted by something, aren’t paying attention when their pick rolls around and end up auto-picking Andrew Luck in the sixth round. The best way to avoid this is to draft in the same room with as many friends in the same league as possible. You’ll better avoid distraction and it’s also just more fun.

If your league is full of strangers or you’re still drafting by yourself, download your league’s app to your phone and make sure your ringer and notifications are on. Seriously, you don’t think you’ll need it, but you’ll be grateful when you get that reminder that your ninth pick is coming up because you were distracted by Big Brother.