Hi. I’m Kevin and I’m a fantasy-aholic.

Not the Sci-Fi type of fantasy, though I do like my Star Wars. And not the type of fantasy that dreams of one day seeing his wife in a Slave Leia costume.

Nope, I’m talking the sports variety.

Fantasy baseball, basketball, and especially football (with a little dabbling in NASCAR and hockey), I do it all. It’s an addiction of mine. I can’t stop. Please help!

Since I have some sort of outlet (thanks PopBlerd!) to discuss my addiction, I thought what better way than to blab about certain fantasy topics. It’s my little AA group for my fantasy addiction!

These days everyone is doing fantasy football. It’s kind of annoying actually. Even your wife, that wants to fit in with your boys, wants to do fantasy football. I say, don’t let her! Sorry, but do you really want your wife sitting next to you on the couch thinking she knows more about football than you do because she happened to luck into Aaron Rodgers at No. 8, and only picked him because of the Discount Double Check commercials? Me neither! Especially since I’m a rival insurance agent.

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So why should you listen to an insurance agent about fantasy football?

You probably shouldn’t. But once again, I’ve been given an opportunity to write, have an OK fantasy resume, and really there are no real experts when it comes to fantasy sports. So why not? Wait … don’t leave! Come back!

OK, so you want to see my “resume”? Briefly, I started doing fantasy sports before the day of the Internet, transcribing all the stats from basketball and baseball box scores to a binder that I carried with me from my freshman to junior years (or until I realized there were girls out there, and some of them seemed interesting). I had just moved from Hawaii to Seattle (don’t ask), and needed to make friends, so this was a great way to attempt to do that. Unfortunately, this sorta dug into my schoolwork, because instead of doing homework I was trying to figure out if the Dover BenDovers were going to outlast the Houston Hoochiemamas in the championship of my non-pay basketball league.

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My community college years weren’t much different. I discovered the site Sandbox.com and my buddy and I ended up cutting class too frequently so that we could surf the waiver wire. Ahh…waiver wire. Don’t you miss hearing those two words during the offseason?

Eventually I got involved with a couple of leagues, one I’ve been playing in for 13 years, has 16 teams (yah, we’re dumb), a draft lottery (didn’t make the playoffs, you’re in next year’s lottery), 3-year keepers (keeper rounds are 6 and 9), lifetime keepers (I hate you Aaron Hernandez), points for completed passes, receptions (before PPR leagues were chic) and rushing attempts.  It’s not your standard, standard league, but it’s fun, and a little brotherhood/sisterhood of football fans that come together once a year, talk trash, laugh at each other and wish each other luck, before parting ways for the season.

My Lifetime Pick gone very, very bad!

My Lifetime Pick gone very, very bad!

I won’t go into the wacky auction/keeper league that my ex-newspaper buddies and I play in (defensive players, 5-points-per reception, two QBs, two kickers, and points-per-passing ATTEMPT), let’s just say that my rankings are always skewed a little differently than the “experts” rankings.

Do you have a wacky league you play in? Please let us know in the comments below.

With all that said, I thought I would give you my 12 Dos and Don’ts of a Draft Day, with my very own homemade memes, using the most popular memes out there! Check out memegenerator.net to waste your time!

These are things I’ve learned throughout my drafting years, and most of them are based on a LIVE IN-PERSON draft, still the best way to do any type of fantasy draft. What’s better than 10-16 people spending a couple of hours chatting about a hobby we share? The answer is nothing! I do prefer an auction-style draft over the snake draft. Five years ago I would’ve said “No way!” but once you get used to an auction draft, you never go back!

Bringing one of these to the draft? Might as well just toss your fee in the trash!

Bringing one of these to the draft? Might as well just toss your fee in the trash!

Don’t … be the person at the draft with the outdated magazine!

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I know, I know, you were out late the night before. You’re totally hungover, spaced on the draft, and the only place between where you ended up last night and your draft location is a 7-Eleven with the outdated magazine.

You might as well throw your league fee into the trash! These magazines are often written after April’s NFL draft and are on newsstands by mid-July (at the latest). Their rankings are just guesses. Jobs are still in jeopardy, depth charts are a mess, injuries can happen, players can commit murder, there’s just a bunch of incorrect information that can easily be found online. Plus, don’t the magazines cost like $10? Crazy! Unless your collecting Adrian Peterson or Colin Kaepernick magazine covers, stay away!

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Do … your homework!

There’s just too much updated information on the Internet these days. Plus, doesn’t everyone have a SmartPhone, iPad or some sort of tablet that has the best fantasy football app ever? Sure, then why is it that late in the draft the dude with the tablet is always trying to bum a player off of my printed spreadsheet?

That’s right, I’m like Luke Skywalker switching off his targeting computer. It’s all Force with me. Told you I’m a Star Wars fan. 

What is on these spreadsheets? Projected rankings and stats from at least three so-called “experts”. I usually snag from Sports Illustrated, ESPN, NFL.com and Yahoo! I’ll make a ranking of 250 players and I’ll make separate sheets for each position. Call me old-school, but I prefer my paper spreadsheets, a blue ballpoint pen and a yellow highlighter.

How many do I rank? Well in my 16-team league I may want to draft two quarterbacks. I rank my top 32. I may want to draft five running backs. I rank my top 80. Sure it’s time-consuming, but do you think it’s a coincidence that the two dudes that go off of paper spreadsheets have won seven of the 12 titles in the league?  Come to think of it, I’d actually like to claim an 8th since I used my spreadsheet to draft the 2010 winner, which leads me to this.

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Don’t … draft for someone else!

Bad mistake. If they can’t be there for the draft then let them submit a list, or better yet, don’t let them play.

I’ve made the mistake of drafting for someone twice. The first year I spent my time in-between picks to relay via chat who had been picked, and then asking them who they wanted to pick. I failed to make the playoffs that year.

The second year I picked for someone (see 2010 comment above), I used my own sheet, and ended up drafting a team that they took to the championship. Call me an idiot! I drafted Arian Foster for them, before it was cool to draft Arian Foster. The room went “Who?” and Foster went on to be the No. 1 back that season. One second … thank you, I just needed to punch myself in the face one last time.

Do … be prepared to spend a few hours drafting!

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Though the person in my next Don’t is rather annoying, it’s the “Hurry Up and Pick!” dude that really irks my fantasy shorts. The dude that rushes me through my eighth round pick, and after the player I had been targeting was just snagged.

Look, I’m sorry that you’re picking from the outdated magazine, and I’m sorry that you’re in a hurry to draft your second kicker, but don’t rush me bro. We all put money on this, and we all want to be competitive. You know that every year we draft it takes up to a few hours, I’m sorry it’s your 3-month anniversary (and you’re NOT married), or I’m sorry that it’s your kid’s birthday, but it’s not my fault that you decided to conceive during football season. Perhaps you should’ve scheduled that C-section a few weeks earlier.

Oh, and more importantly, make sure your spouse is not only supportive of your addiction but is also aware that you’re going to be away for a few hours. Don’t have her text you an hour into the draft asking if you’re almost done because she needs help with the kids at HER friend’s birthday party, that was inconveniently scheduled during fantasy football season. Not cool! And this automatically allows your leaguemates to tease you.

o51paDon’t … be cocky!

You know the dude. You draft someone he thinks is lame and he snickers. He drafts someone he thinks is going to have a breakout season (probably Michael Vick) and automatically tells everyone, “You’re all in trouble!”

You do this, you have a well-deserved target on your back – and may not be invited back next year. Never laugh at someone else’s picks, even if the player they just drafted is injured and even if he takes Justin Forsett in the keeper round, despite Justin Forsett just getting cut. Now you can laugh at the dude that two picks later belts out “Justin Forsett!” knowing that on the inside you’re also laughing at person no. 1.

Years later and that’s still amusing. Years later and Justin Forsett is once again not a bad handcuff pick.

Don’t … be the person that always answers with,
“I know! I have him in my other league!”

Most of us play in multiple leagues. I’ve done four or five before and have vowed never to do it again. It’s too much, too demanding, can be confusing (“Did I pick him up in that league or that league? Ahh crap!”) and doesn’t make you a bigger fan despite what most of us think. My recommendation? Do one or two tops … I know, it’s hard if you have an addiction (I’m in at least three this year), but focus on just the one or two leagues.

If you’re one of those that play in multiple leagues, please don’t counter your buddies trash talk about how Chris Johnson ran all over your team with, “I know! I had him in my other league and we won!” What a killjoy!  I make it a point to not talk about my other leagues to my fellow leaguemates. They don’t care. Would you?

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Do … pay your league fee and pay it ASAP!

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I’ve been a commissioner in a few leagues. I run a NCAA bracket pool. Nothing drives me nuts more than the person that pays as they are going into the playoffs, when they are in the playoffs or worse yet, when they didn’t make the playoffs and after the season. The commish is not a bill collector. He’s actually putting volunteer time into running the league, which may not seem like  big deal, until you run a league yourself. It’s a lot of work. Plus, the winner wants his winnings after the season, not at next year’s draft! Pay your darn league fee at the draft!

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Do … remember where you pick!

Two of my least favorite things to hear during draft day:

“Is it my turn to pick?!” and “Dude, it’s your pick!”

Nobody likes having to remind the same person over-and-over again that it’s their turn. Then have them flip through their magazine and ask, “Is Adrian Peterson taken?” in the third round! Yes, he’s taken! He was taken two rounds ago!

It’s good to know who picks before and after you. Actually I make it a point to write down the order of the draft just so I know how much time I might have. I also do my best to write down who has picked what position, just so I know how long I might be able to wait on that backup QB or another wide receiver.

Don’t … get wasted and/or stoned!

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Back in 2009 we thought it might be fun to have the draft on a Saturday evening. Bad, bad idea! That meant everyone would pre-funk by drinking during the draft. 

A couple of people got wasted, the draft lasted two hours longer than normal drafts, more than a few of us were annoyed and the drunk party actually proclaimed, “Man! Getting drunk was a bad idea!”

This also goes for smoking the doobie. I don’t recommend taking hits in between picks. It leaves you a little foggy-minded and the rest of your leaguemates a little too annoyed with your lack of remembering who was just picked and reminding you when it’s your turn. Needless to say, their teams didn’t do too well and we no longer have a draft at night.

Do … snag a running back ASAP!

Oh, were you expecting more football analysis? Here you are!

o50nsI’m always guilty of this but hopefully not this year! Draft a running back ASAP! Draft two or three of them ASAP! This lame “running back by committee” thing is hurting fantasy football. You need players that will play, and play often and there aren’t a lot of running backs that are a) good and b) going to play, and play often.

Sure you can snag a top-tier quarterback, but the QB position is so deep that you can get a quality starter in the fourth or fifth rounds – if needed. Wide receiver? There’s two or three that are must-own, but after that there’s a bunch of decent receivers for the taken. Want to take a tight end? You better snag Jimmy Graham or Jason Witten (or Rob Gronkowski if you want to risk it), because after that it drops off.

In 10-team leagues you can snag two decent running backs and be set. I’d grab a third, for injury purposes, or trade bait, early as well. And if you don’t do that, at least grab your handcuffs.

Whatever you do …

Don’t … pick a kicker before your final two picks!

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Why? Just because you haven’t filled your kicker spot yet doesn’t mean you have to!  The 11th and 12th rounds are some of my favorite. While 11 or 12 of us snag our defenses or kickers to fill an open spot, I get to snag the best player available, often an extra receiver that may come in handy if Andrew Luck decides not to throw to Reggie Wayne anymore.

Sure there are moments in a season where a kicker determines a victory (back in ’04 David Akers kicked three field goals and kept my perfect season alive, leading me to a 1-point victory), but really the point differential between the top kicker and the 10 or 12th ranked kicker? About 1 or 2 points a game. Take that fourth or fifth running back or receiver before you draft your kicker or defense.

Do … have fun!

Sure it’s competitive. Yes, there’s often money on the line. But ultimately we do this because it’s fun. And I don’t know about you but our live in-person fantasy draft is one of my favorite days of the year. As mentioned, I only see my fantasy brothers and sisters once a year. But for that one day we sit around, make jokes about football, talk about football, and pick our football teams. It’s a blast!

Every Sunday can be a bit stressful – just ask my wife – but nothing beats sitting around a room with a bunch of football fans dreaming that you’re a GM, and believing that for four months these are your players.

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Good luck to you all!

And Happy Fantasy Football season!

EDITOR’s NOTE: I know, I know, I added a D to “Arian Foster” in the above meme. Unfortunately I couldn’t find the original picture, spent 30 minutes looking all over the Internet for it and realized, “Screw it! Only 28 of you are going to read this anyway, and about five of you will catch it!” 

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