SIX THINGS YOU NEED TO DO IN FANTASY FOOTBALL TO OBTAIN CHAMPIONSHIP GLORY. HOW TO WIN YOUR LEAGUE AND MAKE YOUR FRIENDS CRY IN THE PROCESS. PLUS, HOW TO WRITE EBOOK TITLES THAT ARE WAY TOO LONG.
Congratulations! You’ve already taken your first steps toward fantasy football glory. By buying this book. Here you will find the keys to fantasy football success. When I first thought about writing this book there was only one person I could image writing the foreword: Rich Eisen. Sadly, due to the restraining order, Rich Eisen has against me, the only quote we could get from him is: “How did you get this phone number?” Now, If I had my way, we would’ve had Mr. Eisen tell a personal anecdote about his experiences playing fantasy football. Possibly, we could have even had him endorse my methods claiming that they helped him win his past year’s fantasy championship, even though that would be a lie. But here we are. You are stuck with me talking about what could have been. Let’s end this forward and get to the meat of the book.
I have perfected the art of fantasy football. Lucky for you I have decided to share everything I have learned about the art of fantasy football and give it away to the American public. For a nominal fee of course. My 6 step method will secure your position as the envy of 7-13 of your closest friendemies. If you don’t want that jerk Eric from accounting to throw shade at you, then this method may not be for you. If you would rather make Eric cry and rethink everything about his miserable pointless life, then put your feet up and enjoy, you are well on your way.
1) Read the Rules
“But Jonders,” I hear you all saying, (which is super annoying/weird because I wrote this years ago) “isn’t reading and knowing the rules for nerds?” Obviously, reading is for nerds. But I have some news for you, and you may want to sit down for this. Are you sitting yet? Yes? Well, you are reading right now. Shocking, right? This should come as no surprise, but you may have to pick up some nerdy tendencies to win at fantasy football. Let’s look at the different types of leagues. Dynasty Leagues No, Dynasty Leagues won't be investigating who shot J.R.. (Wow, how did that joke make the final cut? That show ran in the 80s, I wasn’t even alive then.) In dynasty leagues, after the league’s inaugural draft, you retain the rights to those players drafted even in future years. This puts a premium on younger players as they can benefit you for possibly the next ten years or so. These leagues do still have yearly drafts, but they are for incoming rookies. PPR Leagues PPR stands for Points Per Reception, which means, you guessed it, each of your players gets a point every time they complete the act of catching the ball. But what constitutes a catch in the NFL? No seriously, what constitutes a catch in the NFL? I really don’t know. At any rate, if you are in a PPR league it should affect who you draft. Players like Brandon Marshall and Julian Edelman become much more valuable. Third down backs also increase in value. A running back with a proven track record with catching the ball should move up your draft board. PBR Leagues Our fact checkers told me this isn’t an actual thing. As it turns out my older brother, [NAME REDACTED], is just a lousy drunk. Sure, the PBR draft, although not conventional, is the most fun while drafting I have ever had. (You have to chug a PBR while you are on the clock and can’t make a pick until you finish your beer.) Fun aside, it was far and away the worst team I have ever selected. I pulled a Taco and drafted 3 kickers. They all just seemed so lonely that I just wanted to give them a nice home. A lesson learned, don’t drink and draft. Seriously, don’t drink and draft. You’ll be tempted to drink at your draft party. Don’t over do it. IDP Leagues, or Individual Defensive Player leagues, are just that - fantasy football leagues that have roster spots for players on the defensive side of the ball. If you are the commissioner of your league, then this is a pretty good scam to run. No one is gonna take the time to figure IDPs out, and when you draft Aaron Donald in the 3rd round while your idiot friends are drafting RB2s (backup running backs) you’ll have a huge edge. Is this the most ethical move? Probably not, but you aren’t here to walk the ethical high ground. You’re here to win. Bonuses may be things like, if a player rushes for 100 yards he gets 10 bonus points, or they could be as simple as kickers getting 4 points for 40-yard field goals and 5 points for 50 yarders. Bonuses should affect the way you draft so it’s important that you know what your league offers. Talking to Your Commissioner If you aren’t the commissioner and you see a rule you don’t like, then raise a stink. Ban everyone you can get in the league together until the commissioner folds to your collective will. Be careful though, you don’t want to ironically lose a big game because a rule you had put in or removed. You are gonna want to do this before the draft. It will be much harder once the draft is completed to get a rule changed.
2) Setting Realistic Expectation Before the Draft
The worst thing that can happen to you on draft day is for you to get surprised. That’s why you need to prepare. You should construct a list. Give yourself realistic options for each round. Another thing to remember is that you are drafting points, not players. You want to maximize the number of points possible on your roster. With that thinking, players like tight end Rob Gronkowski jump up your draft board. If you can get a player that is head and shoulders above the rest of his players in his position group, then he becomes more valuable. On the other end, you shouldn’t select a quarterback until the 6th round or so. Compile a list of quarterbacks you’d like and take your pick of who is left in the 6th round. You may have to cross some names off of your list, like the Rodgers, Wilsons, and Lucks of the world, but your idiot friends are guaranteed to pass up Roethlisberger or Rivers or another big name. I made mention of this in the last chapter, but I think this is important to reiterate. Don’t drink and draft. Celebrate your successful sober draft by tieing one off. Or try to enjoy something in your dark and meaningless life without drinking. Picking up injured players on schedule to rehabilitate in time for the season is a great move. By claiming injured players slightly earlier, you can get a competitive advantage. People often put too much weight on the first few weeks of the season. Selecting players who are injured or possibly suspended for the first few weeks can give your roster a huge boost when they make it back to the field. Don’t avoid players from your favorite team, but you also shouldn’t seek them out. Fan goggles can really hinder your ability to draft. You want to remove yourself from as much of your fandom as much as possible. Drafting players for trades may seem like a smart move, but it will backfire. When it comes to fantasy football, everyone is paranoid and for good reason. EVERYONE IS OUT TO GET YOU. So, with this fear filled mentality, trades are few and far between. You may think getting that third quarterback or that talented wide out you hate is a good idea for trade bait. Is that jerk Kenneth from sales going to give you anything valuable for Jameis Winston or Jay Ajayi….NO! He is not. When drafting, focus on your team and building up your roster. You are prepared now. You have your own targets listed round by round.
4) Watching the Games
Now, this might sound simple enough. Obviously, you plan on watching the games. Spending three and a half hours on Sunday watching your local team play doesn’t leave much time for your fantasy team. Get NFL Network Redzone. You need to know every skill position player on every team and watch them - watch them like a hawk. Anybody can go to the local bar, eat 30 chicken wings, and down 10 beers, but that’s not you. You are gonna have a laser focus while watching the games. You’ll be watching these games like the new (insert current superhero movie franchise that was just released). While all your idiot friends are merely enjoying their Sunday, you will be plotting their demise. Do you already have NFL Network Redzone or DirecTV’s RedZone Channel? If you are still looking to up your study game, then look into subscribing to NFL.com’s Game Pass. NFL.com’s Game Pass subscription service gives you on demand access to every NFL game. This includes preseason and postseason. Games come with three presentation settings, TV copy, condense and game film. The last one is the one I want you to focus on. With all 22 films, you will be able to see things you don’t get to see on the TV broadcast. This is great for studying up on wide receivers. With this new presentational style, you will be able to see what is happening down field away from the ball on any given play. Sure, you may not be able to breakdown route running, but you will be able to see which receivers are able to get open. Using game film is also a great way of grading a running back’s vision. If a running back is consistently able to find holes to run through, then that’s the kinda back you want. Doing this you will let you be ahead of the curve when it comes to working the waiver wire.
4) Working the Waiver Wire
The waiver wire is where championship teams are built. By year’s end, your team will consist of upward of 70% waiver wire pick-ups. There are many different types of waiver wire pick-ups and I will break down each one for you.
The first type of pick-up is the “spite” pick-up. This is when someone claims an up-and-comer on the rise on somebody in the league’s favorite team. I personally did this in a league with mostly Bears fans the year that Alshon Jeffery was a rookie <like I said, I wrote this a few years back.> As I said earlier, trades are few and far between in fantasy football, but if you can acquire a star player on an opponent’s favorite real life team, then they will be more willing to give up players for him. When I acquired Jeffery in 2012, everything worked out perfectly for me. I traded him for an RB1 and he broke his leg a week later. Just because I traded away that spite pick doesn’t mean you always should do that. Fantasy football is all about trying to get into people’s heads. The goal is to create a scenario where your weekly opponent is cheering for players on your fantasy team. Remember, there will be plenty of people with “pride” in your league who will spout rhetoric like: “fantasy football takes a back seat to my real team because I am such a die hard fan.” They still have money invested in your league and it is your job to take it. By taking a player that is the new star on their favorite NFL franchise, you are making them care less about winning. You are planting the seed in their head that losing would be okay if it means their “real” team wins and at that point, you have already won. The battle is over and you can already scratch that person’s name of the list of contenders for your championship trophy.
The Second type of pick-up is the “how is player X already on a roster” pick-up. From my personal experience, the best example of this type of move happened in 2014. I had just finished reading an article on NFL.com where one of my favorite writers, Chris Wesseling, wrote a piece comparing rookie wide out Odell Beckham JR. to Michael Jordan. Now, just as little personal background, I grew up in the Chicagoland area in the 1990s. Back home, this kinda thing is considered blasphemy, but I kept an open mind to the lofty praise. Later, I listened to the ATN Podcast that features Chris Wesseling and on the pod they brought up the piece that Mr. Wesseling wrote and when the host, Dan Hanzus, asked the room of three other NFL.com writers what they thought of the Jordan comp there was a pregnant pause, I thought here it comes, they are about to lay into him. But that didn’t happen, they all said they saw what he was saying. So I immediately stopped what I was doing. I fired up NFL Game Pass. I was gonna watch every snap Beckham had played that year (which wasn’t many at that point because he missed the first 4 games due to injury.) I never got that far, half a game in and Beckham was on my team. Then I remembered that a week earlier at ACL music festival I saw a white and red Beckham Jr. jersey and it absolutely drove me crazy. Why am I so late to the Odell party? How could the whole world know about this guy before me? That Sunday is when the catch happened. Everyone in my league scrambled to their computers or smart phones to put a claim in for Beckham, but he was already gone. One after another I received texts filled with four letter words from my friends who were jealous that I had Beckham. Even though, sadly, he was on my bench for that game. This is a nice story and all, but truthfully I got pretty lucky. After I saw the Odell jersey at the music festival, I should have then done my due diligence on Game Pass. Usually, if you wait for someone from the media to tell you about a player it’s too late. I was probably just too blown away by the amazing performance that Lorde gave to function properly afterward.
The third type of waiver claim is the “trash/treasure” pick-up. You are gonna be in a league filled with 7-13 humans. Humans do crazy, idiotic things all the time. It is your job to be there when they make their mistakes to get the benefits. People in your league WILL drop players that will help you win games because they don’t know what they are doing. Somebody in your league will read an article about how now that player X is injured they need to pick up his back-up. The only problem for them is that the player they drop to make room for that back-up is better than the back-up. This is a major problem with blogs. They can only help you so much. I can read an article that says drop Blake Bortles and picks up Russell Wilson. Thanks, guy, but Borltes obviously isn’t on my team because I have self-respect. Someone in my league reached for Wilson and drafted him in the second round, so I never had a shot at him. In fantasy football, you are going to ultimately make your own decisions. Your friends will make bad moves and you need to pounce. The fourth type of claim is the “knowing the match ups” pick-up. This is fantasy football 101, folks. Your quarterback is playing the number 1 pass defense in Week 10, what do you do? You get proactive that’s what. Also, you don’t wait until Week 9 to make your move. A few weeks out, plan your move. Look at the schedule and see which quarterbacks are going up against the worst defenses. I usually take whichever quarterback is the most handsome from that group. Those guys have tons of confidence and are just generally better people.
The last type of waiver claim is the “rehab” pick-up. If you have room on your bench to house an injured player for a few weeks, this could be a good move. If a team in your league drops a player that will be back in 3- 4 weeks and you want him, then do not wait until he is ready to play again. You need to pull the trigger immediately. His impact can be the difference in your following weeks. Remember, fortune favors the bold in fantasy football. Through the waiver wire is how you out game your idiot friends. While they are out in the world spending time with loved ones and paying attention at work, you will be watching game film and watching the waiver wire like the compulsive champion you are. Anyone could raise a family, get good grades, or turn in an honest day’s work at their job, but you are better than they are. That’s why you will beat all of those losers in fantasy football.
5) Acting/ Ditching Your Pride
Acting is an important part to all of our lives. Like when we act as though we understand the end to the motion picture “Inception,” or when we get Christmas gifts that are garbage. I told you that I hate Justin Beiber, Glen. Why would you get me his latest album for Christmas? <This joke is real dated. for multiple reasons. I enjoyed leaving it in.> No, acting isn’t just for Hollywood pretty boys like Ryan Gosling anymore. Now, acting is for regular schmucks like yourself. I even hear that’s how most guys trick dames into liking them. While I have not mastered that portion of acting yet, I do know all about acting when it comes to fantasy football.
The main objective here is to keep the target off of your back. You want to create a villain in your league so that everyone you are playing with would rather help you out over your manufactured villain. When picking your target, seek out the person you see as the biggest threat. You can accomplish this by having multiple conversations with everyone in your league about how great your selected target’s roster is. The goal is to convince everyone that your target’s roster is unbeatable and that you need to ban together to make sure she/he goes down by any means necessary. Sure, that might sound like lunacy, but if you don’t turn everyone against someone they will all turn against you. Is this paranoid, no! Because it’s true. If you do this correctly, you can reach out to your manufactured villain and extended an olive branch of sorts. While everyone else blacklists this chump like a communist in the 50s, you can form an alliance with her/him. This move creates two positive outcomes for you; first, you cut off this person from possible trades with everyone else making yourself the only viable trade option. Second, you have handicapped the person in your league who you see as your biggest threat.
You also need to act like a dope. Nobody sees that stupid guy as a threat. Act clueless in winning. As long as you are staying under the radar you are winning. Ask dumb questions to your friends. Here are few examples. “Why can’t I start Tom Brady and Matt Stafford at the same time?” “Why aren’t touchdowns worth 7 points?” “How come once one of my players are injured I can’t put in a back-up?” When you do win, give credit to dumb luck. If anyone asked how you made all of your decisions, tell them by flipping a coin. You can state that you got confused and thought you had players on the bench that you actually started. Above all else, you need to make it clear you are an incompetent fool who would start 3 kickers if you were left to your own devices. This method is referred to as the Taco method.
Now lets clear this up front: If you are a league manager I am not advocating that you use your powers as league manager to change the rules for favorable outcomes for your team. What I am saying is that there is always room for creative cheating in fantasy football and real football for that matter. Let’s look at the Raiders of yesteryear as an example. They used to have a sign in their locker, maybe they still do, that read: Raider Rule #1: Cheating is encouraged, Raider Rule #2 see Raider rule #1. That’s right, how else do you think those Raiders of the 70s and 80s won all those Super Bowl rings? Work ethic and practice? No, they were cheating the whole time. They also wanted you to know that they were cheating even when they weren’t. John Madden played mind games with everyone in the league. He once left the sprinklers on all night to water down the field before a game with the Raiders’ rivals, the Kansas City Chiefs. When learning of the watered down field, the Chiefs head coach Hank Stram told John Madden, “I know this was all that damned Al Davis’ fault”. This moment would shape the rest of John Madden’s career. He realized that he could be a real “jerk” as he would put it, and people would blame his boss Al Davis. John Madden would continue to cheat and cut corners to a Super Bowl XI victory. Plus, the best winning percentage of any coach in the Hall of Fame at .759. John Madden turned cheating into endorsement deals, a legendary broadcasting career, and a video game empire. Yes, cheating is truly the American way. As the old cliche goes: “If you ain't cheating, you ain’t trying.” “But, Jonders, how do you expect us to cheat?” I hear you all saying. Which, once again is very weird/annoying, but I will provide you with an example.
In my 2015 fantasy season, my friend was playing fantasy football for the first time. To save her from embarrassment, let’s give her a fake name. How about we call her Kayla. Now, one week in Kayla was in a tizzy not knowing how to set her roster or what players to keep or cut. She turned to her friend (me) who knew the most about football. She asked me player by player who she should cut. Finally, she got to one Todd Gurley II and asked me if she should cut him, to which I said yes. I later was able to obtain Gurley from the waiver wire. Does this make me a bad person? Maybe. Did it make me a champion? Definitely. I rode Todd Gurley all the way to a championship. Kayla was a Cowboys fan and drafted only Cowboys. She didn’t stand a chance anyway. (See Chapter 2). Anywho, Kayla learned a lesson in fantasy football of never trusting anyone and I got a stud running back. Truly, everyone won. Well, except for Kayla. She lost. The point is if your moral high ground will keep you from cheating, maybe fantasy football isn’t for you. A little collision amongst your fantasy cohorts to get a championship is what fantasy football is all about.
Fantasy football is a great distraction from your otherwise bleak and pointless life. You now have the tools to excel in fantasy football and now that you are a proud owner of this book you can reach out to me at any time. Tweet me at @JondersFPT and I will answer every one of your questions. Remember, everyone in your league is out to get you. Have fun and win your championship. Oh, and as far as the ebook title thingy goes. Just wing it. Any thought you have just keep going with it. If at any point you are out of ideas at that point just stop. I’m sure it is long enough at that point