Dynasty League Football


Drafting with Shakespeare

Editor’s Note:Β This article was the winning submission of one of our Writing Contest winners –Β Corey Mauer. It was chosen for its creativity, writing quality and humor. Team DLF is excited to welcome Corey to the writing group and we know you’ll enjoy much more of his work in the coming months and years.

William Shakespeare was a genius: not a literary genius, not a genius playwright, not just an artistic genius. William Shakespeare was a genius.

In my opinion (which may be just slightly biased due to my passion for writing), Shakespeare’s name belongs on the same level as Socrates, Einstein, Hawking and other names that typically come to mind when one throws the term “genius” out in conversation. No other author in history has ever mastered so many different genres of writing quite like Shakespeare did. In addition to his incredible well-roundedness, he was also a wordsmith in the truest sense – often making up words or changing their existing meaning in ways we still use today, hundreds of years later.

Yes, if there were one person who has ever walked the face of the Earth that I could sit down and have dinner with, it would be William Shakespeare (partly so I could ask him if I could call him Billy Shakes, but that is neither here nor there). And during this theoretical dinner party, if there were to be one topic in which one would assume that I would have the intellectual edge, it may seem like a good bet to put your money on fantasy football. After all, neither the concepts of fantasy sports nor football would be brought to fruition until centuries after Shakespeare’s death….but if you take a closer look at some of the things good ol’ Billy Shakes has written, I’m not so sure he was completely oblivious to the fantasy game.

Just in case you cannot tell, this piece marks my transition from fantasy baseball to fantasy football. I’m deeply sorry I cannot see you all through your baseball seasons, but football is on the horizon and the bright lights of the grid iron are calling my name.

This blog will be a draft-prep special with a Shakespearian twist…or will it be a Shakespearean lesson with a fantasy football twist? Either way, it should be mildly entertaining. Each draft-day tip will come in the form of a famous quote from the English playwright, and then I will elaborate on just exactly why the quote has fantasy relevance.

“All things are ready, if our minds be so.”

This is Shakespeare’s take on preparedness. You are ready to do anything, but only if you have put yourself in the right mindset. In fantasy football terms, this means you must do your homework. Going into a draft without doing any prep work is an early death sentence for any owner. Who is hurt (Ryan Mathews, AP)? Who is playing for a new team (Brandon Lloyd, Vincent Jackson)? Who got a new backup (Jamaal Charles, Mark Sanchez)? Who is a contract holdout (MJD)? What have new players been doing in pre-season (Andrew Luck, Trent Richardson)?

The beginning of any successful fantasy season starts with reading articles, listening to podcasts and joining mock drafts (which is the most important aspect, in my opinion). Letting a player slip past you by one round or reaching to take a defense too early can cost your team a spot in the playoffs. Do your homework and put yourself in the best position to win.

“How poor are those who have not patience! What wound did ever heal but by degrees?”

Patience, patience, patience. To have a successful draft, you must have patience. Have a draft strategy and, just as importantly, stick to it. When John Doe from Accounting decides to take a kicker in the sixth round and then three or four people follow suit for fear of not getting an “elite” kicker, don’t panic and jump on some crazy bandwagon. The same can be said about any position: don’t leave higher value players on the draft board just because a fire sale may be happening at a particular roster spot. Just because the 49ers have this year’s hot pick for defense, going as early as the sixth or seventh round in some drafts, does not mean you should select them over starting running backs such as Reggie Bush, Doug Martin or Benjarvus Green-Ellis.

Hold on to your seats boys and girls, here comes a two-fer:

“All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women are merely players.”

“All that glisters is not gold.”

The first of these two quotes is the Shakespearean way of reminding fantasy players that it is not merely the Patriots and Packers of the world that have fantasy value–all players are eligible to be drafted, and great value can be found in unsuspecting places. Just look at the abysmal St. Louis Rams. Even with the supporting cast the looks like it could fill out a team that would be a formidable opponent for the guys that threw on some pads and stood in the background of Rudy as extras, Steven Jackson has proven to be one of the most reliable (reliable, not spectacular) fantasy options in all of football. Or even some backups, such as Ben Tate or Peyton Hillis, play their way into fantasy relevance without garnering much attention due to being second-stringers. You have to take every player into account.

As for the second quote, it serves as a reminder that big names do not win fantasy leagues: stats do. For example, players like Peyton Manning, DeAngelo Williams, Mike Wallace, Vincent Jackson and Dwayne Bowe all have appeal due, in part, to their famous names; however, they come at a higher price and won’t necessarily produce more than bargain names such as Doug Martin, Vincent Brown, Antonio Brown, or Rashad Jennings (MJD is still a holdout after all), Green-Ellis or maybe even RGIII. So basically, you can’t fall in love with the big, glittery names: keep focused on whose stats are likely to put you in the best position to win.

“Be not afraid of greatness: some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.”

Ok, to be honest, I don’t really have a way to relate this to fantasy football, I just think this is a super awesome quote that needs to be in as many articles as possible.

“The man’s undone forever; for if Hector break not his neck in the combat, he’ll break it himself in vain-glory.”

The lesson here: if you make a mistake on draft day, don’t be too proud to admit defeat and do your best to rectify the situation. The year after Brett Favre’s big comeback season (his last season in Green Bay) I drafted Favre as my quarterback. As it turned out, Favre was not a good choice to be the signal caller on my team…ok, that’s putting it nicely, Favre was dreadful. I had a serviceable backup on my bench, but I kept trotting Favre out there like he was going to magically turn into the quarterback from the previous year. As a result of my foolish insistence on the over-the-hill quarterback, my team had its worst record in the seven year history of our league. Don’t compound a draft-day mistake by continuing to start the player; at the very least, stow underachievers on the bench in hopes they turn things around.

“This above all: to thine own self be true.”

At the end of the day, this is YOUR fantasy team. Do your homework, listen to analysts, pick the brains of others, but make the decision you decide is best. If you think Tim Tebow is going to be the top-rated quarterback, then, by all means, draft him early. If you think this is going to be the year of the defense, then spend a pick in the early-middle rounds to get the best one. You get the glory for the victory, you get the trash talk for the loss: make sure you are happy with the decisions you make on draft day.

I hope it is clear to see, now, that William Shakespeare was really a fantasy football expert above all his other accolades. The real question: will your fantasy team rise to the top and have a season more memorable than the tale of Romeo and Juliet, or will your team flounder and see more blood and carnage than the story of Macbeth?

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9 years ago

Great article Corey! I agree with both you (and Billy Shakes) that above all else, you have to be true to yourself and stick to your guns.

PS – LOVE Macbeth!

Josh Gans
Reply to  Eric Hardter
9 years ago


10 votes (as of now) and a 0 rating.

This article..and/or this comment..certainly seems to be as divisive as Obama/Romney! πŸ™‚

Good luck to you Mauer!

9 years ago
Reply to  Hedgehog
9 years ago

Now that’s funny.

Reply to  Hedgehog
9 years ago

No need to draft him. I think he’s going to be a pretty easy pick-up as an undrafted FA…for.ev.er.


9 years ago

I wish I would have taken the tine to enter the contest because I’m not impressed by he winner. Sorry, I’m not normally critical, but a bunch of nothing that most of us already know: “be prepared”, “don’t take a defense in the 6-7th round”, etc. I’d have written about the end of fantasy football, and football in general. It will eventually happen in the courts of law.

Sorry, didn’t even get to the last quarter of this. Something Favre, Tebow, “stick to your guns”, blah blah. Good luck going forward. I have to trust the managers of the site see a diamond in the writing rough. I’ll keep reading!

Reply to  KCGuzz
9 years ago

I think you are a little harsh. I’m not entirely disagreeing. I mean there is a lack of really useful fantasy football/dynasty league info here. With that said the writing is good. There is a decent amount of humor. I’m not big literature fan so, no offense to the writer, I’m not a big fan of the concept. With that said the core things are what, I believe, they were looking for. Grammar, humor, originality ect. I entered the contest and will be contributing on the member’s corner as a sort of runner up. I think my article had more useful information, but his article was better written, more original, had better humor ect. No offense meant to the guys running the site, but I felt the length requirement was a bit too long which may cause some articles to feel like they drag on. All in all I wish him the best and believe (trust the judges) that he will be a great addition to the core and asset to the site in the long run.

Reply to  MarkFF
9 years ago

Yes, some of the requirements created some challenges.

We had a bunch of articles that weren’t formatted correctly or sent in Word format. We had others that were 400 words instead of closer to 1,000. We even had one close to 10,000. In the end, if an article didn’t meet the written criteria, we penalized it as we saw fit accordingly, but didn’t throw it out.

We also didn’t penalize the debate articles too awful much if they seemed to drag on – that’s a topic that should be done in around 1,000 words. If it was 2,500 or 400 words, those received a pretty harsh penalty because that’s a little extreme. However, if it was in the ballpark, we were OK with it and didn’t penalize it too severely. We wanted to find good writers, not create a strict environment that didn’t give people a chance.

More than anything, we wanted to set some general guidelines to at least get enough to accurately judge if someone could move on to the interview stage.

We feel good about the selections and think they’ll add a nice dimension to the team.

Reply to  Ken Kelly
9 years ago

To be fair Ken, there was nothing mentioned in the original content rules that articles 2500+ words would receive a ‘pretty harsh penalty’. It seems kind of silly to penalize an article for 2500+ words. If anything, an author who takes the time to write good content should be rewarded. If a well-written article is penalized for being too long, then why have editors around? Editors can help cut down an article in a way that preserves content value but makes it more readable. I’m perfectly happy to read through a 4000 word article if it means I get a fresh perspective on fantasy football. It would have been nice to know that articles 2500+ words would be harshly penalized for contestants.

This particular article is well-written. Clearly, the author has very good writing skills, at least in terms of grammar. The Shakespeare reference was cute, but I didn’t gain any knowledge that makes me a better dynasty player.

Let’s be truthful here, those who visit DLF are hardcore fantasy football players. The bar is supposed to be high, and anyone who posts content on this site should write content that changes perspective for passionate fans of dynasty football. For example, Jarrett Behar wrote an article comparing the true value of dynasty rookie picks versus start-up picks. I reference that article all the time, and it has helped me become a better dynasty player. THAT is the type of content that sets DLF apart, and those are the kinds of authors who should have their voices heard.

Reply to  KCGuzz
9 years ago

Thanks for the comments!

One thing I’d like to remind everyone is that we didn’t give a particular topic or element of focus. We had some suggestions, but they were certainly not required writing topics. Corey kept this article relatively simplistic and general in nature in order to give us an idea of the quality of his writing ability as well as his creativity.

I can assure you that each of the winning entries (six in all) are going to each be very different. Some are very high on the creative side, some were rated highly for their attention to detail, others won for their analytical approach, original idea or their keen writing ability. What may work for some readers may not for others and that’s how it’s always been here. We’ve welcomed the criticism or the accolades that come with that and will continue to do so.

Each of these entries you’ll see prompted us to take these writers through an interview stage where we asked some very difficult questions – they each passed with flying colors.

Our job was to find writers who would complement what we already have to give you a diverse group of what amounts to fifteen different writers who all offer something a little different. There was no need to have fifteen guys who specialize in the same type of thing because that just creates redundancy and boredom – not what we want to be known for.

Our goal is fill the site with upwards of 60 or 70 articles a month that will cover a variety of topics from a variety of different writers – it’s this rich diversity we feel has really set us apart from other sites and will continue to do so in the future.

Thanks for the read!

9 years ago

Unfortunately I have to agree that this article is very sub-par. It may be humorous and well-written, but what good is that if there is no substance? When I read a DLF article I expect in-depth insight and analysis. This article is more “A beginner’s guide to fantasy featuring Shakespeare” which isn’t in itself a bad thing, but certainly not up to the standard of DLF. A a regular DLF reader, I gained nothing from reading this.

I don’t mean to be insulting, I am just merely expressing my disappointment as I expected more from this contest.

Jason Sandhage
9 years ago

Corey. Congratulations. You are a very well spoken writer with a lot of creativity. As some of the others have said, I didn’t necessarily learn anything new from your story, which it would have been nice to incorporate some real insight, but you show a lot of promise if you expand your knowledge from fantasy baseball to the football side of things.

I hope to see an article from one of the winners that discusses the intricacies of football and how it relates to fantasy, but this is a good start.

David Clark
9 years ago

KCGUZZ / ZOUNDER – I did enter the contest and cannot believe my article was rated lower than this article. I would put my article up against this one any day, especially for creativity and humor! All I can say is that there must have been some rose colored glasses worn to find the creativity within this article. I truly expected to have lost to superior articles.

Nothing personal to the writer but for this to be the “lead in” winning article chosen by DLF, I am flabbergasted. I hope that the remaining articles show marked improvement. Otherwise, I am going to question the sincerity of the contest.

Reply to  David Clark
9 years ago

As far as the “lead in” goes, the winners don’t even know who placed 1st-6th and we drew in random order as well.

All I can say is the scoring between all the articles was incredibly close and it was a tight contest. We enjoyed the vast majority and tried to pick a very diverse group of writers who we felt complemented our team. As I indicated to the group who entered, the judging was brutal and picking the winners was very difficult. We stand by each and every one that we chose and feel very good about the end result. We love the new writers and the staff as a whole and feel we have the most diverse and talented team on the planet, ready to offer a nearly unlimited amount of free and premium content.

As far as the sincerity of the contest goes, it’s impossible for me to take the followers of DLF inside the minds of the judges or into the process no matter what I say because it could be disputed one way or another.

What I can do is state a very simple fact – we started this contest in hopes of choosing ONE article and ONE winner. Instead, we decided to choose SIX people and give several others the chance to write in our Member Corner in the future. That in itself is a significant and unexpected financial commitment by the Partners and Owners of the site.

We did this for one sole reason – to better the site in a way we felt honored our followers, regardless of the financial commitment we had to make. I can assure all of you that fact, in itself, leads to a sincere and fair process.

Reply to  Ken Kelly
9 years ago

I will say this Ken, I do appreciate the DLF site. It’s not easy to build a site this robust, and DLF gives a voice to passionate dynasty football fans across the world. Thanks to the DLF staff for giving dynasty football fans like myself a place to share our ideas.

That said, DLF subscribers are going to demand more from its content. It’s a blessing to bring together many ultra-competitive, passionate dynasty football players, but it’s also a tremendous challenge to produce content that satisfies their thirst for knowledge. As a member of this audience, in all honesty, I just have to believe there were better entries.

I believe in your quest to find great authors, and I do believe they are out there. But knowing your audience is crucial to the success of any venture, online or not, and I can’t imagine any passionate dynasty football fans will find this content up to par. Please don’t take this criticism personally, but rather as one customer’s opinion, right or wrong.

Doug Veatch
9 years ago

Nice article Corey!!! I wasn’t one one the 6 winners of the DLF writing contest, but I was chosen to submit pieces for the members corner that is coming soon to DLF. With the little writing experience I had going into this thing it’s easy to see after reading your article that while my content was good, it’s the grammatical and humorous side of my writing I need to focus on. Can’t wait to read the other 5 winners submissions. I’m going to use them as a tool to hone in my skills.

9 years ago

One of the things that I appreciate about DLF is that each writer brings something unique to the table. Each of us are allowed to showcase our strengths and collectively we form a strong group because of that.

I appreciate Cory’s piece because it is well written and shows off his ability to write. Not every piece is going to be a hard hitting info piece. One of the best fantasy writers out there is Matthew Berry, who IMO offers very little in terms of analysis but is a gifted storyteller/writer. All I’m saying is let’s allow room for creativity and personality on top of the analysis, or I promise it can get very boring fast.

I enjoyed the piece, Cory. Keep it going!

Reply to  Paymon Shokoohi
9 years ago

Paymon, I appreciate your input, but DLF users don’t log onto this site to be wowed by syntax. I subscribe to DLF because I want content presented in a way that changes my perspective on dynasty football. It’s important to have more authors posting articles, but you have to be careful not to dilute out your product with average content. Any website is only worth the words published on it, and an audience craves the best content, right or wrong. In the end, DLF is owned and operated by those who feel the six contest winners brought the most potential to expand DLF’s reach in the realm of fantasy football. I’m sure all contest winners will get an opportunity to improve and adapt their content to the high standards that DLF members seek. I hope it happens.

Reply to  Paymon Shokoohi
9 years ago

One more comment on Matthew Berry. I don’t find his podcasts or content generally useful. Yeah, he is a funny guy, but I don’t find his podcasts helpful. I listen to podcasts from Footballguys.com, DLF and Michael Bronte/Shane Hallam, precisely because that is the level of content I seek. I suspect many members of the DLF audience don’t listen to Berry so much, for the same reasons. The fastest way to send your audience to the exits is to start offering content similar to Matthew Berry. I don’t hate Berry, but those who are Berry loyalists are probably the same people DLF subscribers are beating every year in their leagues.

Reply to  Scott Peak
9 years ago

I listen/read Matthew Berry for entertainment and sometimes to figure out what other people in my league are going to think since they are huge fans of his. I get my fantasy knowledge elsewhere.

Matt Dawson
9 years ago

For a contest winning article, it could have used some editing. This sentence in particular gave me a minor headache. “Even with the supporting cast the looks like it could fill out a team that would be a formidable opponent for the guys that threw on some pads and stood in the background of Rudy as extras, Steven Jackson has proven….” You have a typo in there, and it just doesn’t make much sense/isn’t funny.
Anyways other than that its just personal taste – I’m not really a Matthew Berry fan like the person above, just find him gimmicky and cheesy, but hey diversity is good.
We’re all paying for this membership and having more articles to read is awesome, and good on the DLF folks for adding a voice that is different from theirs – just makes the site better for more people.

9 years ago

“What’s done is done”

Shakespeare’s way of saying β€” there’s no changing the past, so forget about it. So I wasted a few minutes reading this useless dribble….thank goodness we’re only subjected to the “best”.

9 years ago

This adds nothing and was pointless. I find contest winners that are handed a “job” rarely deliver. You already have some of the beat writers out there, why have a gimmick? Thank goodness this was in the free section.

Eric MacKenzie
9 years ago

I found the tie in between Shakespeare and fantasy football a little lacking, but overall I think the article was decent. I think people need to respect that DLF is trying to broaden their audience, not necessarily just add quantity to the quality product they already produce. Also, this was billed as a writing contest, so focusing on writing in the submission was probably not a terrible idea. Analysis is great, but it doesn’t really tell a person if you can write a coherent article without basic mistakes that will truly embarrass the site. I expect a lot of these guys will develop the analysis as they go building off a solid writing foundation. I’m alright with that.

rich cicack
9 years ago

I thought this was entertaining and well written. I’m looking forward to more Corey.

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