Robert Littal’s 10 BonaFide Fantasy Football Commandments
1- THOU SHALL ALWAYS STUDY YOUR DRAFT SETTINGS, RULES, ROSTERS & SCORING SYSTEM.
I cannot emphasize this enough, if you don’t know the rules of your league you are going to fail. None of the other commandments matter if you have no idea how your league is run. If your league starts 2 QBs then QBs become a premium. If your league gives 1 point for reception, then RBs who catch the ball out of the backfield have to bump up in your rankings. If your Commish only allows 50 roster moves a year, you have to be very careful who you pick up on the waiver wire or how many trades you make. These are just some of the scenarios you have to take into account. Every league is set up a little different, so knowing your league inside and out will help you come draft time and during the season.
2- THOU SHALL ALWAYS DRAFT AS LEAST 2 RUNNING BACKS WITHIN THE FIRST 3 ROUNDS OF THE DRAFT. (WELL NOT ALWAYS ANYMORE).
In Fantasy Football RBs are Gods. It is as simple as that. It is not necessarily that they are the top point producers (QBs and WRs routinely make it into the Top 10 Scorers); it is that there are very few good ones and even the good ones get injured. Most leagues start 2 RBs and sometimes a flex and to be honest in a 12 team league it is very difficult to find 24 quality RBs and damn near impossible to find 36. While it maybe tempting to use your first 2 picks on Tom Brady and Larry Fitzgerald, it won’t look that great when you’re starting RBs are Cedric Benson and Leon Washington.
This has been my #2 rule for every year I have come out with the Fantasy Football Commandments, but it is time to make a small change to it. You still absolutely must pick at least one running back in the 1st three rounds of the draft, but if you are in the second round don’t pass up an elite WR or QB to take a RB you are not 100% sure is going to be the primary ball carrier for their team. The way teams are using a time share system with their RBs it makes more sense to take those elite WR or QB in round two and take a risk on a time share RB in round 3.
3-THOU SHALL NEVER, EVER, EVER, EVER DRAFT A QB IN THE 1ST ROUND UNLESS HIS NAME IS BREES, RODGERS OR MANNING.
Rodgers, Brees & Manning are the exceptions to the rule all other QBs should be ignored (to be honest I still wouldn’t be comfortable drafting a QB in Round 1 but that is just me) and let me tell you why. First while QBs are normally top point producers, in most leagues you can only start one, which diminishes their value. Secondly seasons like the one Brees just put up are anomalies. Thirdly you can get quality QBs from a fantasy perspective in the 4th, 5th or 6th round. Also if your league only gives 4 points per passing TDs no quarterback is worth a 1st round pick.
4- THOU SHALL NOT WORRY ABOUT WIDE RECEIVERS.
If Running Back is the hardest position to fill, Wide Receiver is the easiest. If you don’t have a starting WR by round 4 don’t worry because at that point their will still be quality WRs on the board. There will still be starting Wide Receivers as deep as the 10th round in most drafts, so don’t panic if there is a run on receivers.
5- THOU SHALL ONLY BE CONSIDERED A REAL FANTASY FOOTBALL LEAGUE IF IT STARTS INDIVIDUAL DEFENSIVE PLAYERS.
Fantasy Football is much more fun with IDP because one it includes both sides of the ball and two it involves more strategy from the owners. When drafting IDP the most important thing to remember is know your league’s scoring system. If it rewards a lot of points for tackles go Linebacker heavy, if it rewards sacks more go Defensive Line heavy. You get the idea. Remember defense wins championships.
6- THOU SHALL NOT DRAFT A KICKER OR DEFENSE UNTIL THE LAST 2 ROUND OF THE DRAFT.
I am talking directly to the owner who right at this moment is getting ready to draft Sebastian Janikowski or the Jets D in the 4th round. I have went through drafts not even drafting either one, so I can have more trade bait with position players until the season starts. You can’t predict how any kickers are going to be from year to year (or week to week for that matter) and you can always find one on the waiver wire. You can only start one defense; there are 12 teams in a league and 32 teams in the NFL. There is a good chance you will find a good D on the waiver wire. I prefer to play matchups with kickers and D to maximize points.
7-THOU SHALL NEVER DRAFT A TIGHT END BEFORE SECURING A STARTING QB, 2 RBs & 1 WRs.
The depth is TE is great no need to grab Jason Witten in the 2nd round. Show some patience and pick up Jamichael Finely in the 8th round and get the same results.
8- THOU SHALL ALWAYS PAY ATTENTION TO THE WAIVER WIRE AND FREE AGENT LIST.
Every year there is a guy that no one has ever heard of and wasn’t drafted that burst on the scene at the beginning of the year. Every year there is a bench QB who comes in after the starter gets hurts and lights it up. It is these players who can make or break your championship run. You should always be looking on the waiver wire and the free agent list to find that diamonds in the rough.
I still owe Jamal Charles a PF Chang gift card for carrying me to a championship after I picked him up off the waiver wire.
9-THOU SHALL NOT DRAFT ROOKIES OR INJURIES RISKS UNTIL AT LEAST ROUND 8.
The only exception to this rule is for Running Backs (see: CJ Spiller & Ryan Matthews) because there are so few quality ones out there. Even then you probably don’t want to hitch your wagon to a rookie RB. Rookie WRs & QBs should be avoided like the plague until the late rounds.
If you gamble and you are right that is great but the chances are you are going to lose and destroy your roster.
10- THOU SHALL FILL YOUR BENCH WITH RISKS PICKS.
Whereas you never want to use a starter position pick on a risk or rookie, these are great for late round picks. Your bench as a whole won’t get too much use. If it does then your season is probably in shambles because the draft is the most important part of Fantasy. You should have 2 or 3 solid starters on your bench at the RB, QB and WR positions after that take as many risks as you can. Look for rookies who might develop late in the season or veterans who may take over jobs late in the season. This is where you need to be smart on the later rounds of the draft and not just blow it off.
- If you are going to play Fantasy Football play throughout the entire season. Don’t be moist if you start off 0-5 and stop updating your roster.
- Pay attention to bye weeks and injuries.
- Play fair, no collusion.
- Trash talk, but be respectful.
- Have fun.