Fantasy Football Rules: 2019 Edition

It is truly the most wonderful time of the year. Football has returned to us all! The violent Sunday circus is soon upon us, and that means FANTASY FOOTBALL!

My tag team partner in crime Matt Bachota has asked me, and I kind of reached out to him to aid in fantasy football, and while I am not an expert, I am someone who has played fantasy football for 15 years back in the early CBS fantasy football days.

So to aid in everyone’s fantasy football adventures, I am offering some rules that I have gathered over the years, some I have used for quite some time, while some I have started to apply recently.

These rules are NOT meant to be gospel. But taken under consideration and with a shot of whiskey, everyone get ready because here we go!

Rule #1: Never draft a player from your favorite team. If you must, draft 1 player.
This is a rule I found the hard way in 2002, when I drafted four Pittsburgh Steelers. Come the Steelers bye week, I was doomed because I was without a Running Back, Wide Receiver, Tight End, and Defense. Loyalty will get you last place in the realm of fantasy football, but do not dismiss it completely. Let’s say you are a Chiefs fan. Yes, draft Patrick Mahomes. If you bleed blue, then get Barkley. If you have a Top 5 fantasy player on your home squad, then go get them, but the limit is always one.

Rule #2: NEVER, EVER start a player on a Thursday Night Game UNLESS he is a Top 5 overall talent.
Players hate Thursday night, coaches hate Thursday night, fans dislike Thursday night, and fantasy owners should avoid the Thursdays like the plague. Teams are coming off a short work week (even worse if a Sunday night into Thursday night), players are not as fresh, and most match-ups stink (Jets vs. Bills, oh God!). If you have an overall Top 5 cannot miss match-up, then yes, start on Thursday to give yourself a head start. This is the only exception to this rule.

Rule 2A: The only acceptable Thursday Night games to start is Opening Night and Thanksgiving Games.
Opening Night is different because teams have months to prepare. And when was the last time you heard someone complain about starting on Thanksgiving? Yeah, I thought not!

Rule #3: The Waiver Wire is your friend.
Every week I scour the waiver wire like a gambling degenerate at the racetrack. I look for good names and bad match-ups. Your draft team is not going to work out well, no matter how hard you try. Players go bust or get injured, or both. Scan the wire each Tuesday-Friday to see who has been let go or for bye week plug-in-players. If they do not work out, you dump them like a bad date and look again.

Rule #4: London games are boom or bust, so proceed with caution.
If you are lucky enough to grab a player with a Sunday 9:30 am tag next to them, that means a London game is on tap. These games have become an October staple in the NFL and are another wrinkle for fantasy owners to deal with. However, unlike TNF, teams are prepared for it and get a bye week afterward, so they can go all out in London with a full week’s rest to look forward to. This typically means a more productive start for most fantasy players, and it should be treated as a normal game instead of an avoidancr. If it works, then you have a head start on your competition, so take a look at your match-ups and do not be afraid of London.

Rule #5: Swallow your pride and draft from your rivals.
Last year, I drafted Tom Brady, and I am a Yinzer (Steelers fan). It burned like the hottest of hot wings I cannot stand the “NFL Golden Boy,” but with him on my roster, I am guaranteed six great games against a weak division. Why should I turn down easy points? I did not, and I went to the championship game. I regret absolutely nothing.

Rule #6: Do Not Draft until after Preseason Week 3.
See: Andrew Luck and Lamar Miller this year, and Julian Edelman in 2018. The NFL Preseason is like walking through a minefield, you hope your team does not suffer the dreaded ACL injury, which there ALWAYS is one. Sure, you can draft in early August if everyone’s schedules are together, but you hope your players make it through August. Yes, you have the waiver wire to work with, but it is still very early. You could end up with a Running Back that did great in the Preseason and then get cut when you pick him up. After the 3rd week of the Preseason, most teams have a good idea of there roster and will not start any more important players then they have to. Heck, draft Labor Day week for even better results.

Rule #7: For God’s sake, Have fun and DO NOT panic!
Your draft may have sucked. Maybe you drafted Andrew Luck a week ago, or you have too many jerks in your league. It is a game above all else. We have fun and obsess over this league a little too much. However, we have to remember it is a game above all. Talk smack, brag when your team wins on a Monday night or when you have a 23-point game from your Tight End. Take a chance on depth players from the Seahawks. That is the fun in all of this, the joy of winning our league, even though we are sick of fantasy football come December.

At least that is my opinion.

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