Last summer was my first summer really putting in the work to try and become the best I can be at fantasy football. I call it work, but it's not. Every single second of it was fun. From rail-birding Twitter conversations between the heavyweights of the fantasy football world, to bothering @FantasyTaz to let me in every one of his Draft Masters all Summer long. I was hustling last year like an intern on the stock exchange. If Matthew Berry had asked me to run down to Katz's Delicatessen to grab him a pastrami on rye and I would have just to listen to his insights.
I learned so much it was ridiculous. I learned things about Best Ball strategies. I listened to J.J. Zachariason and Denny Carter talk about how to optimize your lineups by streaming onesie positions. I found out the key places that research can be done and how to do that research. I found RotoViz.com and their endless tools and articles to help the fantasy football fanatic. I realized how much work and preparation actually went into the paid Fantasy Football services like 4for4.com, FootballGuys.com and FantasyGuru.com.
When I first started seeing friends bring cheat sheets printed out from these sites and then their laptops and tablets with the site right there with them, I thought they were probably getting the same superficial recommendations that those 1-800 betting lines give suckers on Sundays. Boy was I wrong. These sites are equipped with algorithms and data sourced targeted information that the average player just can't compete with. Not to mention some of the best minds around using their "big brains" to break down fantasy football.
The best part about being involved in the fantasy football world last summer was the mock drafts. Like I said before I hounded Jim Day, @FantasyTaz, in the nicest way possible, to let me in almost every mock draft he was running. Between constantly being involved in mock drafts, MFL 10s and playing with the Draft Wizard tool on FantasyPros.com and on my own blog, I had the patterns of every kind of draft down pat. I could see value like a flashing light in every round. I could switch gears on the fly if I saw a run on a particular position coming. By the time my drafts were over my drafts felt like a ride in Audi S5 on the Autobahn instead of a stop and start mess in summer Jersey Shore traffic in a Dodge Shadow with a worn clutch.
The reason I am saying all of this is because I know some of you take this stuff very seriously and want to know why you may be coming up just a little short. You can do the same work I am doing with very minimal effort. Go on Twitter. Set up a Fantasy Football list and start adding your favorite writers to the list, or better yet go to your favorite writer and subscribe to their go-to-fantasy football list. Check in on it once and a while all summer to see where the conversations are being steered.
If social media isn't for you sign up for a newsletter from one of the paid sites. They are always free and full of tons of useful information. For example, the newsletter from Footballguys.com is written by Joe Bryant and comes out fairly regularly. It will have a news item from around the NFL and then give his fantasy take. It will also have links to all the current articles and podcasts that Footballguys offers. The winners of last year's Big Blue View Leagues are actually getting free subscriptions to FootballGuys.com for the upcoming season so you know those two will be ready for 2014.
All the reading in the world can't prepare you for an actual draft though. A draft has its ebbs and flows and almost always has a different rhythm. The best practice for this is by using the Draft Wizard Tool by Fantasy Pros. You can access it HERE and draft in minutes with help from the Pros. You can set up your draft with the exact position you will be drafting from and even import your keeper team information if you need to. Then you will draft against teams that are have the best in artificial intelligence and you will get suggestions on who to draft based on strategies and rankings by all the Pros at FantasyPros.com. I can't recommend checking it out enough. I recently did a mock draft on my phone in between two stops on the subway. Not a bad way to avoid eye contact.
**Note** Marcus Longridge-if you happen to read this I need to get in touch with you for your prize information.
Next week I will be back with a look at what one fantasy blurb in Rotoworld can do to Rashad Jennings' ADP.
You can find me on Twitter @Coachesser and as always talking Fantasy Sports on Coachesser.com and on the podcast, The Fantasy Sports Coach. I also have a brand new E-Book out with the voices of The Fantasy Black Book on Sirius XM Fantasy Radio called The Fantasy Football Black Book 2014 Edition available on Amazon and in the Kindle Store.