For a long time in my fantasy leagues, both baseball and football, I have had a policy that there are certain team’s players that I just won’t draft. In baseball, I don’t take players from either NY team (I am from Boston), and in football I stay away from the NY teams and Dolphins. There are many fantasy experts out there that would tell you this is stupid and a bad strategy. I honestly won’t disagree with them on that. However, at the end of the day I want a fantasy team with guys on it I can enjoying watching and cheering for and if that makes me a homer so be it. I am, as we all are, very competitive, but more so I play fantasy sports to have fun. It is a hobby and not how I put a roof over my head. I think too often we lose sight of that and get so focused on winning that we forget this is supposed to be fun.
It’s Ok to Have Fun and be a Homer
My suggestion to you is to draft a team that you like, both fantasy wise and real life viewing wise. I have a guy in one of my DSE leagues that is clearly a Vikings fan and has a ton of them on his roster. While others in the league give him a hard time about it, I think it is awesome. He has put together a roster that he is going to have fun watching. I have friends of mine that hate the Patriots, as in really despise them, but they draft Tom Brady. When I ask them about it they will say they don’t like him but want to win. I have to think there are other ways you can win your leagues. I have been fortunate that even with my excluding certain teams I have won my fair share of leagues.
There are also certain players that because of their actions off the field I don’t want on my teams. For example, I don’t care what round or pick it is I will not take Joe Mixon or Tyreek Hill. Because of what those two have done in their past I know there is no way in good conscience I can root for them. I certainly hope that moving forward with their lives they don’t do something similar again but I choose to not take them for my team. I had an opportunity in one of my leagues to take Mixon with the 1.05 rookie pick and decided to trade the pick. I was fortunate that another team in that league wanted to move up but even if I hadn’t traded that pick I would not have taken him. Again, this is my choice and is based on having guys on my team that I feel good about rooting for. I am sure there are many of you that will read this and think I am out of my mind for doing this, and frankly you might be right. The point is when you put your team together there is nothing wrong with a bit of “homerism” if it means you have a little more fun playing.
Fantasy Lineup Construction
On a completely different wavelength, one of the things that my friends ask me the most about fantasy football are start/sit questions. On a weekly basis the lineup construction aspect is often the hardest part for many people. With as much data as we have available currently it is really easy to get into a situation where you overthink things. Between the data, TV fantasy shows, radio fantasy shows, articles online and such there is information overload. If you listen long enough you can find some writers who hate a player one week and some that love him for that week. The one that always gets me is when a friend calls and says “should I bench Antonio Brown this week? Matthew Berry says he has a bad matchup”. The answer to this is “NO!”. The reason that Antonio Brown is the #1 fantasy WR is that he puts up good numbers even against top CBs. The way I describe it to my friends is simply would you rather lose because you played Brown and he had a bad week, or because you played Tedd Ginn over Brown and Brown went off while Ginn did nothing? Play your top players every week they are healthy, period. You didn’t draft Antonio Brown in the first round to be a matchup play. He is your guy so roll with him.
The other thing this doesn’t take into account, especially for WRs, is that most CBs don’t travel. What I mean by this is many of the top CBs strictly play one side (right or left) and don’t follow the WR. The result is even though Richard Sherman is really good if he only plays the left side Julio Jones could still have a good day by simply lining up on the right side of the field avoiding Sherman. The other part of this is even if they do matchup it isn’t a guarantee the CB automatically wins. For example, last year against the Seahwaks Julio Jones had 9 catches for 139 yards and a TD. How many people do you think benched Julio that week because of Sherman? We need to be able to draw the line between daily fantasy (DFS) and season long fantasy. It is easy in DFS to avoid Julio if he is playing Seattle but for your season long team don’t overthink it.
This paralysis by analysis is especially prevalent during the fantasy playoffs. Last season in my primary DSE league, I finished the regular season 11-2 and rolled into the playoffs as the #1 seed. In my week 15 matchup I knew some of my better players looked to have some tough matchups. I went with them anyway and lost, but honestly didn’t feel that bad about it. The other team had a great week. He had Cordarralle Patterson who outscored my Antonio Brown, Julio Jones, TY Hilton and Doug Baldwin by himself. When that happens to you it just isn’t your week. Just think of how aggravated you would be if you lost in the playoffs of your league because you played Malcolm Mitchell over Mike Evans and Evans had a good day. That would sit with you the entire offseason and probably well beyond.
So, as the season nears and the games get “real” remember to have some fun with your fantasy football team. Nobody’s life is on the line if you lose and none of us are making millions off wining a DSE league. Don’t be afraid to take players you like and avoid the guys you don’t. Once you do set your team don’t overthink things on a weekly basis with your lineup. Roll with your top guys and see what happens. Trust that your hard work before the draft, including reading my DSE articles, still pays off in the long run.