It’s here! It’s finally here!
Eights months of general toil, research, analysis and careful observation culminates into this most exciting of weeks, the start of the NFL season.
Whether you are a fantasy nut or simply an NFL enthusiast, the feeling is understood and felt equally. Fire up the grill, pour yourself a cold beverage (we suggest using a DLF branded stein) and enjoy the next four weeks – as quickly as it seemed to arrive, it will be gone in half that time.
Your team is formed, your strategy will play itself out in the coming weeks and Lady Luck will either be on your side or act like a woman scorned – do not discount the affect she’ll have on your fantasy prospects.
In between your preseason strategy and lady luck exists those things that you do have control over, things that can have a profound effect week-in and week-out, and in dynasty, much longer than that.
You have to keep your emotions in check and, just like a New Year’s celebration, commit yourself to a few resolutions that will serve to increase your fantasy success in 2010.
- I Will Not Bench My Studs – Resist completely the temptation to over-analyze your match-ups on a weekly basis. Every year there will be difficult match-ups to navigate but don’t allow yourself to break this most basic of tenets.Ray Rice vs. the New York Jets? Chris Johnson playing the Ravens? Reggie Wayne coming off two bad weeks? I don’t care.Never bench your studs!
- I Will Not Make Hasty Free Agent Additions – Every year I see coaches trying to one-up each other by being the first to snag the hot name from the previous week. Worse yet is if you use your waiver wire priority without due diligence.Make no mistake, being first to add a noteworthy player can be a huge benefit, but do not do so unless you are confident that the player you will be releasing should be released.Think every addition through thoroughly, extra points if you are able to sleep on it first. It’s amazing how your view may change after a good night’s rest.
- I Will Manage My Team Regardless of Record – Who hasn’t been in a league with a coach or two that are out of contention by week 10 and then aren’t heard from again?There is nothing worse than having a coach disappear from weekly competition, starting injured or bye week players or otherwise grossly mismanaging his team. Any coach that mismanages their team with hope of gaining better draft position should be expelled or penalized severely.You owe it to yourself and your league mates to manage your team each week of the season as if the championship is one the line.
- I Will Not Be THAT Coach – Every league at one time or another has a coach who just seems to take the game too seriously and not have fun. Heck, I’ve been there myself. What’s worse about these coaches is they can take the fun out of it for the entire league.Fantasy football, even in the dynasty format, is based a lot on luck and good fortune. You will lose tight games, you may miss the playoffs because of a last minute safety or even the championship because of a final-drive Favre interception. It happens.Take a deep breath, realize that this game is a lot of fun and congratulate the other coach. Don’t be the coach that expects to win every week and publicly describes another coach’s win as “lucky” and undeserved.
- I Will Seek Opportunities to Make My Team Better – Fantasy football, especially the dynasty format, takes work. The more work you do, the more successful you will be. Rarely will you build a championship team, let alone a dynasty championship team, without actively and objectively evaluating your players and trading for positions of need.Actively engaging in discussions with the other coaches in your league is of paramount importance. Most trades do not make themselves.Develop a foundation of mutual respect with the coaches in your league, understand their needs and trading style(s) and engage in active trade discussions towards making your team better. Do the work!
- I Will Be Responsive – In order to have a successful and thriving league, you must have active, engaged and responsive coaches. No one likes a coach who never votes in polls, isn’t heard from or, worst of all, won’t respond to direct trade requests, discussions or questions.We’ve all been the target of a persistent coach who works in emails like some artists work in oils and clays. While this can be annoying, no response is never an acceptable response … unless your last response clearly ends the conversation.Be responsive to all league requests for information, discussions, thoughts on format and to other coaches looking to make a deal. It doesn’t take long to say “No thank you!”.
- I Will Treat Other Coaches With Respect – There are a thousand types of different coaching personalities and many times that in ways to build a fantasy team. While you may not agree with a particular decision or style, you can still respect the coach and his difference of opinion.Good humored smack talk is part of the fun but should be limited to pre-game banter. Coaches take their teams very seriously and the outcomes of their games even more seriously. What is good-natured smack talk prior to the game can be too personal or bad sportsmanship after the game is over.I NEVER berate or smack talk after a game to a losing coach. The same message before a game can take on an entirely different meaning by the same coach after a loss. Let it go and offer “good game.”
Obviously, there could be many more resolutions we all should follow. Most of these examples are clearly understood, but can be lost during the season depending on how our teams perform.
What can’t be lost is the fact that the resolutions are not based on win-loss records or levels of c0mpetitiveness, they are simply good strategies towards making sure that every coach stays engaged in your league and that fun is had by all. That and they just make good sense.
Best of luck to you in 2010!
You can find Jeff on Twitter at @dlf_jeff