Erin Skelley, aka "Erin the Fantasy Girl" on SportsRadio 610 in Houston, shares some draft-day guidelines to help you master your league.
Fantasy owners of America, you need discipline. The worst, most pathetic drafters are the ones with no game plan, no self-control – no discipline. Assuming you don't have the courage or know-how to create and follow your own set of guidelines, I am sharing with you my "never" list. Clip and save this little essay, as you need some boundaries.
I will never take a wild chance in the first round. I get it – high-risk, high-reward. But in the first round, that's just dumb. Why take a chance on an angry, rusty Maurice Jones-Drew? Or Larry Fitzgerald, who'll have a B-team QB targeting him? Or Chris Johnson, who has shown he's wildly inconsistent?
I will never doubt Wade Phillips and the defense he has crafted. Sure, the Texans lost Mario Williams, but he missed 11 games last season and the Texans still finished fourth in run defense, third in pass defense and fourth in TDs allowed. Studs Brian Cushing, Connor Barwin, J.J. Watt and Johnathan Joseph will anchor this team to be a top-five play.
I will never (again) underestimate a rookie quarterback. My apologies to Cam Newton, although you lacked a little polish in last year's preseason, right? But wow, look at Robert Griffin III and Andrew Luck. They have quickly propelled themselves into the top 12 in quarterbacks. And they deserve it. Take Griffin in the sixth and Luck in the eighth (Side note: I'm digging Pierre Garcon, too, as a favorite target for Griffin. Target him in the seventh round.).
I will never use LOL. Not in an e-mail. Not in a text. And never out loud – certainly, never during a fantasy draft, whether it's in-person or online.
I will never draft a running back in the first round just because all my opponents did so. Remember what your mom said, "If your friends jumped off a bridge, would you?" Mom was right. Don't follow peer pressure. Can you imagine a real GM doing that on draft day? "Oh, no! All the backs are taken. Draft one fast!" said no GM ever. Draft the best (and safest) player available in the first round.
I will never draft a running back first because a magazine 10 years ago told me the only way to win was drafting RB-RB-WR. The notion that you MUST draft a running back first to win is archaic and wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong. A commitment to any position in any round is a mistake. Instead, take the best of what's left, not the next RB in line.
I will never draft a kicker in any round other than last. Consider these guys the cherry on top, the garnish, the sprinkles. But don't tell Sebastian Janikowski he's sprinkles. Have you seen him?
I will never use the phrase "Bring it," an expression which should strictly be reserved for reality TV stars in their confessional interviews. If you are sophisticated enough to be confused or disinterested in what I mean, I envy your classy ways.
I will never (this year) draft any Jets players. I'm not sure which is worse: their quarterbacks who are challenged with accuracy or their receivers who have a chronic case of the dropsies. And let's not forget their run game, which is stuck in the mud. Avoid all Jets on offense. You will thank me.
I will never doubt Peyton Manning. I know his preseason has been less than stellar, and even Peyton admits his arm strength isn't 100 percent. Add to that, he'll be forced to play outdoors for all but one game this season. But he's Peyton Manning! Even a windblown Manning at 90 percent is still worth a seventh-round pick. But play it smart: Draft a reliable backup like Jay Cutler or Josh Freeman.
I will never swim with sharks, as tempting as it looks.
I will never assume lower production from a running back just because of position competition. Jamaal Charles, for instance, has never solely owned the role. Several fantasy pundits are nervous about the Chiefs' signing of Peyton Hillis. Consider Hillis the new Larry Johnson. Charles will be just fine as your No. 1 back. Take him in the third round. Same goes for Matt Forte. Still a No. 1 back, even with the addition of Michael Bush. Good second-round pick.
I will never overlook the importance of the late rounds. Too much emphasis is placed on your first-round pick. The league is often won by late-round gems or waiver-wire finds. Consider the following players as potential late picks: Jonathan Dwyer, Rashad Jennings, Isaiah Pead and David Wilson.
I will never trust an injury report straight from the mouth of a player. They always say they're progressing at an amazing pace. Simply amazing, simply not true.
Erin Skelley joins Houston Texans Radio every week on SportsRadio 610. Follow her on Twitter @erinskelley. She'll babble fantasy to anyone who will listen.