I hate my fantasy team

June 19, 2018 - 8:42 am
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For no less than four months you think at least once a day about how your study and experience will surpass, how you'll be able to show friends and fantasy football experts alike how keen you are at drafting. This is the first dynasty football draft of your life, and you can't imagine being better prepared. All that remains is to haul in your riches and accept the accolades.

Then you draft, and you look under the tree for the presents, and you see Marvin Jones at the top of your receiver depth chart. You see 15 percent of your budget, inexplicably, left unspent. You see Kyle Rudolph and Jay Ajayi and Randall Cobb in starting positions and WHAT HAPPENED TO CHRISTMAS.

Saturday the fantasy football League of Schopps and Dreams was launched. I created the league, made the rules, invited the players, hosted the draft, cleaned up at the end. Except I did no actual "cleaning up" during the draft.

The joke all night, whenever anyone drafted an older player, was "Don't you know this is a dynasty draft?".

The joke's on me.

I'm still trying to figure it out.

Last year I won a lot, and a tenet for me was to not have favorites. I wasn't looking to nab certain players; I was just looking for what I thought were good deals. I read the experts, I put a few of their rankings together, and I put my own feelings aside. I've lobbied to anyone who will listen what I see as the merits of this. They know as much as you do, almost definitely more. They're putting more time in than you are. You have your biases. I think even real teams should go this route.

Kevin Payne, a Rotowire writer who lives in Western New York, joined our show Monday and coined going solely by perceived value an "agnostic" approach to drafting. This again is not preferring players as much as assigning them values and making sure not to overpay for them.

Kevin is in my league. As it turns out, I am not in his.

This strict value-based approach worked great last for me, and terribly Saturday. How come?

People are always recommending you save your money -- not only in drafts, but in life. Who's the smart guy, the one that patiently puts his disposable income into the market so that he can retire at 57 and travel the world, or the one that as soon as he gets real money to spend puts it into a hot tub? Who's the smart guy, the one that pours the bulk of his money into two or three studs or the one that hangs back and loads up on depth and value?

Even though in a couple of dry runs I found that with $260 to spend over 24 rounds I could afford 2-3 $50+ players, when the draft started I shied away. I had my values, I did my research, I cracked a beer ... my instincts were all against buying big.

But most people took the same tack, and when that happens and you don't figure it out you end up with $41 left over and Randall Cobb.

I'd been in two auctions before and both had owners spending big -- too big -- early. This makes your job easy. In retrospect, it isn't so much a skill to wait them out as it is difficult not to. I was giving myself credit for not being the guy spending half his money on Antonio Brown.

Well this draft didn't have that guy. There was a higher percentage of serious players, players that did their research -- while using the same websites I was. With no one spending loosely, the deciding factor in who drafted which players was, which ones did you set out to acquire? Which meant the most to you? And since I didn't set up that way I got left behind in most cases.

Payne's draft was a clinic. Every player he spent more than $9 on is 25 or younger. He trusted what he knew, and he knew a lot. He never got caught in up bidding off the deep end. He never cracked a beer.

I don't know about the beer part but getting more specific in my planning is something I'll do better in the future. I left Saturday with increased respect for what it is to be good at this, and a greater appetite for achieving that. I say all that assuming the pain of my mistakes Saturday wears off.

It hasn't yet.

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