My favorite FFootballer Matthew Berry is espousing the nectar of the Fantasy Gawds again, and none too soon. After “The Decision” and the odd black quarterback carnage this offseason… Mike “Seriously, you again?” Vick, Vince “You talking to me?” Young & Jamarcus “Purple Drizzank” Russell… Oy Vey, we needed some focus on the fantasy part of football and less reality.
So all my fantasy minions, I am elated to provide a snippet from Mr. Berry (We can call him Mr. at this point, as his predictions and picks have no qualifications in 2010) and a link to the full article… Enjoy 2nd place.
As we start the 2010 edition of the Draft Day Manifesto, I will quote Stan and Kyle from “South Park,” to opine, quite assuredly.
“Oh my God, you killed Kenny!
And by “Kenny,” of course, I mean the stud fantasy running back.
And by “You,” I mean the 2009 NFL season.
“Bastard,” of course, is just a light-hearted epithet and should in no way suggest that the 2009 NFL season was born out of wedlock. I’ll tell you what it did do, however. It mocked convention, pulled the pants down on highly drafted running backs and shoved the idea of the work-horse back into a locker with a head-full of paste while chanting taunts and insinuations of awkward personal interaction, non-mainstream clothing choices and/or a name that rhymes with a body part.
Instead of trying to figure out if that last paragraph was funny or just overwritten (a hint: both) allow me to reintroduce myself (Howdy! I’m your friendly neighborhood TMR. Can I take your drink order?) while telling the new kids in class that I’ve been writing a version of this column for more than a decade now, updating it every year.
There are always new twists, strategies and trends, but the Manifesto, at its core, is about giving you a blueprint for your draft day. A structure, if you will. Or even if you won’t. What do I care? I already got your drink order.
And while it serves as a refresher/brush-up/get-back-into-the-swing-of-things for those who play, it’s also an introduction and primer for those who are deciding to finally take the plunge and try the damn thing everyone’s talking about. And winning starts on draft day, so let’s get you ready for it.
We’re gonna be here for a while, so sit back, put your feet up and start with one basic understanding. Underline it, print it out, make a big sign that you can hang on your wall next to your TMR Fathead: At its fundamental level, fantasy football is all about minimizing risk and giving yourself the best odds to win. Everything leads back to that. Before you make any decision — who to draft, trade, start and sit — make sure you are following that basic principle: How risky is this move, and does it give me the best chance to win?
Anyone who says they knew at this time last year that Miles Austin would score more fantasy points than Larry Fitzgerald, that Jerome Harrison would finish with more points than Brandon Jacobs and that Brett Favre would not only play but have a better fantasy year than Peyton Manning, Tony Romo and Tom Brady is a liar and a bad one at that.
I can’t predict the future. Don’t claim to. Neither can you or anyone else. And you shouldn’t try. That’s the first rule of drafting. There are more, which we’ll get to in due time. But it’s important to remember that rule as we take the first step.
Deciding on a strategy
If we don’t learn from the past, we are doomed to repeat it. Someone smart said that once. I think it was the guy who keeps drafting Ronnie Brown. Speaking of dream crushers, take a quick glance at the top 20 running backs drafted last year, according to our ESPN average draft results:
1. Adrian Peterson
2. Michael Turner
3. Maurice Jones-Drew
4. Matt Forte
5. Chris Johnson
6. DeAngelo Williams
7. Steven Jackson
8. Frank Gore
9. LaDainian Tomlinson
10. Brandon Jacobs
11. Steve Slaton
12. Marion Barber
13. Clinton Portis
14. Brian Westbrook
15. Ronnie Brown
16. Kevin Smith
17. Thomas Jones
18. Ryan Grant
19. Willie Parker
20. Pierre Thomas
Have fun! During the 11 years that I’ve been doing this professionally, I’ve probably given hundreds of interviews to various newspapers, radio stations, blogs, et al, about fantasy football. I get the usual stuff all the time: How did I get my start? Do I really make a living at it? And seriously, what’s with the hair?
But the No. 1 question I have gotten in every interview, without fail, is why?
Why has it become so popular? Why should people who have never played it, try it? Why are people so obsessed with it? Why, why, why?
Because it’s fun, I answer.
People talk about the competition and camaraderie, the ability to prove they’re smarter than everyone else and the added interest they now have in NFL games that they wouldn’t normally care about. And all of that is very true.
But I rarely hear folks answer, very simply, because it’s fun. I see all over the place about draft-day domination and killing your opponent and crushing everyone in your league. I’m all for it, and make no mistake, fantasy football is a lot more fun when you’re winning. It’s why we play. And it’s important.
But, at least to me, it’s only part of the equation. Too many times I see folks getting worked up — like crazy worked up — over it. I’ve seen jobs lost, marriages damaged, friendships destroyed. … It’s a hobby. It’s what we do for fun. Enjoy it a little, OK? Play to win, but smile while you’re doing it.
I’ve been writing a version of this column for more than a decade now, updating it every year. There are always new twists, strategies and trends, but at its core, it’s been about giving you a blueprint for your draft day. A structure, if you will. Or even if you won’t. What do I care? And while it serves as a refresher/brush-up/get-back-into-the-swing-of-things for those that already play, it’s also an introduction and primer for those that are deciding to finally take the plunge and try this darn “fantasy football thing” everyone’s talking about.
Realize how great this game we all play is, understanding that there is an amount of luck that can’t be controlled and that we are about to have 17 weeks’ worth of reasons to care about every game.
It’s about loving it when your running back vultures a touchdown, getting five field goals from your kicker, being able to call your buddy on Monday morning and just laugh into the phone for five minutes. It’s about hilarious team names, cursing your favorite receiver for dropping a touchdown, and deciding that I don’t care if it’s a boy or a girl — I’m naming my first kid Miles.
Remember, we do this for leisure. We all play to win, but it’s not worth ruining friendships over. Well, unless you’ve really got a shot at the title. And it’s not that good a friend. I mean, come on, you can always get a new friend. Or wife.