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Fantasy Football 2010: Kicking Off


“I’m on the pursuit of happiness and I know, everything that shines ain’t always gonna’ be gold, hey.”
Kid Cudi, Pursuit of Happiness. © 2009 Universal Motown Records, a division of UMG Recordings, Inc.

In this Aug. 30, 2010 photograph, Brian Sherman, left, uses his laptop to record moves in his team's fantasy football draft, at a Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant in Cincinnati. Some restaurant chains around the country have launched promotional drives to score with dedicated players of the growing pastime. (AP Photo/Al Behrman)


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No, faithful readers of the Long Island Press, you haven’t stumbled into our music column (although music enthusiasts should check that immediately after absorbing this article).

While contemplating the many ways to welcome you to the world of fantasy football, I ripped through my iTunes manically, looking for the perfect words to encapsulate the beauty, pain, love and hate that comes with this wacky game we love to play.

Going back to the lyric, it’s a cautionary tale that not only resonates in life but applies resoundingly when analyzing fantasy football. It’s true. Everything that shine’s isn’t gold all the time. Ask a Matt Forte (CHI-RB) owner last year.

Yet fantasy football is so dynamic, so deep and ever-changing, that the opposite of what the lyric tells about an underperforming running back is true about the back that comes out of nowhere. Time to revise the lyric.

“Everything that doesn’t shine might turn out to be gold, hey.”

That one is dedicated to the Ray Rice’s of the world. The player that the pundits didn’t even mention in the preseason top 20 that winds up to be the 4th best fantasy player on the season. This anomaly brings me to my first major point in the 2010 fantasy football season: 

“Every fantasy football analyst that shines ain’t always gonna be right, hey.”

Fantasy football analysts will try and sell you on the shiny new player that is supposed to have a monster season and you should be using your first round pick to select said player. I’m here to tell you that everyone and everything they say, including what I will have to say this upcoming season, is absolutely false until proven true. There’s no way of knowing for sure who’s going to do what despite the amount of research, number crunching, hunches, voodoos and whatever else you may use to evaluate players, nothing is for certain.

How many of you out there knew for sure that Miles Austin would outperform Larry Fitzgerald and that Brett Favre would put together a better fantasy season than Peyton Manning and Tom Brady? No one. I promise you that.

Understanding and accepting the uncertainty of fantasy sports and taking every piece of advice with skepticism are critical in being a resourceful fantasy football player.

For the first timers and wily veterans looking to be refreshed on the basics on fantasy football that you need to know before even looking at a single player, read on.

Getting Started

If you’ve read this far, chances are you’ve made up your mind that you’re making the plunge into fantasy football for the 2010 season. So what are you waiting for? Whether you’re flying solo dolo into a public league or joining the fray with a bunch of friends in a private league, you can’t go wrong with choosing between ESPN and Yahoo! as your league home. As for league types, that’s a different story altogether. Before you blindly sign up for a league, there are a few things to keep in mind prior to assembling your team.

What’s Your Draft Type?

Fantasy football comes in all shapes and sizes and I’d first suggest to mock draft to determine whether an Auction or Snake draft is best for you. Auction drafts allow you a budget to assemble your team with everyone getting a chance at every single player. I’d suggest an Auction draft for the chance to bid on Chris Johnson or Adrian Peterson whereas in a Snake, the order of the draft is randomized or pre-determined (depending on league settings), thus taking away the chance at getting the number one player.

Another possible course of action to take when deciding what kind of draft to use for your league is to draft live. Want to slam your buddy for spending too much money on a player you think is trash? Let him know face to face by setting up a live auction. Food and beer are a necessity. Please drink and draft responsibly, you don’t want to be that guy who blows the entire budget on recently retired Glen Coffee. One mistake on draft day could cost you a season. More on that later.

Know Your League Settings

As for the league settings itself, there are a few options here. The standard 10-team or 12-team leagues offered by both ESPN and Yahoo! are always popular choices among the fantasy community. The default roster configuration for a 10-team Yahoo! league consists of 1 QB; 3 WR; 2 RB; 1 TE; 1 K; 1 DEF/ST. In private leagues, the roster configuration MIGHT be different from this and it’s your job to find this out before mapping out a draft plan.

If there’s only one QB spot in a 10-team league, finding a top 10 QB won’t be a problem and your draft plan should adjust accordingly. The whole point of fantasy football is to have the better player at each position than your opponent, correct? Knowing roster settings will help you realize how many players at each position are going to be taken at a draft.

As for scoring settings, the same rules apply as above. The default scoring settings for Yahoo! can be found here, but if you’re in a private league, please understand the scoring settings as that too can adjust draft plans. I prefer the default settings but there are some fans out there of PPR (points per reception) which adds a point for each reception and IDP (individual defensive players) which eliminates the need for team defenses and special teams. Both of the later formats are recommended for veterans or diehards only.

If you’re in a public league, chances are won’t run into this problem as a commissioner won’t have ruling power over the league. In private leagues however, one must be trusted as the Czar of the league and it’s your job to make sure the power of the commissioner stays in check. Nothing ruins a league faster than a commish that has rigged the settings to his favor and is exploiting them to gain an advantage.

Broken legs and fingers can be avoided if a solid understanding of the league settings is outlined to everyone. Know your playoff schedule, policy on free agents and whether a FAAB (free agent acquisition budget) is instilled, know deadlines if any apply. Constructing a league constitution before a draft can save a season from unwanted fantasy criminal behavior.

Now that you’ve determined your draft of choice, read the fine print of your league settings and studied them like you’ve got the BAR exam tomorrow, there’s one small detail missing: the players! Who to draft? Who’s a sleeper? Who should I avoid like the plague? For draft preparations and tools you need to succeed in the 2010 season, be sure to check back with the Press for your fantasy football insight in 2010.

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