Draft time is upon us. Whether you are cranking out MFL10 best ball leagues, drafting rookies, auctioning players or redrafting, this is the time of year that gets every Fantasy Football owner excited. You start to look at every corner of the internet for information that you can turn into a draft advantage. In this series of Fantasy Football articles, we’re going to transform you from a boring, passive owner to someone who sweats arrogance, throws unwarranted shade on others, and attacks the league from every angle.
It’s time to look yourself in the mirror and admit that you have lost your competitive edge. At some point, you have probably noticed it happening in your league yet refused to believe it was true. People are getting smarter in your Fantasy Football leagues. People are reading more articles and have become better and preparing for the upcoming league year. And more importantly, people have finally figured out how to close the gap on your self-perceived draft advantage that you once thought you had.
Terms like zero RB, robust WR, value-based drafting, etc. are getting thrown around like someone uncovered the key to the universe. Seems like, people are playing the draft board because they prefer value over hype. So, how do you separate yourself from the other owners who only do the bare minimum for draft preparation? You adapt.
A wise man once said “just remember, football is 80% mental and 40% physical.” That man was Steve Emtman, giving a speech to a group of non-athletic misfits in the 1994 feature film Little Giants. While his math may be slightly incorrect the overall premise, is not. I believe that outside of reading 1,000’s misguided ADP rankings and doing countless mock draft simulators, the key to gaining a draft advantage stems from manipulation and deception.
Today we are focusing on unorthodox and unique ways to gain that competitive edge and draft advantage in your upcoming league drafts. So here are a few of my favorite strategies that I apply every year when draft day approaches…
Gaining A Draft Advantage
The Reverse Smoke Screen
Everyone thinks they know a smoke screen when they see one. It’s embedded in our DNA as humans. We believe that we all have some power to figure out someone’s true intentions so you are always one step ahead of the game.
Knowing this, a few years ago I decided to start attacking this vulnerability by over-hyping the players I was actually interested in for the draft. It’s as simple as that. A reverse smoke screen if you will. I started blasting my league mates with every bit of biased content for players I was interested in drafting. YouTube videos, one-liner BS training camp quotes, whatever I could find, I basically told them who I was going to draft and why.
Some owners will shrug you off and call you an idiot, some will start secretly questioning their own player rankings and others will see it as a generic smoke screen for your real man crush. Does it matter what they believe? Nope. All that matters is that now your comments and player hype is clouding their own judgement.
I’m guessing some of the other owners in my leagues are reading this and cursing me under their breath (probably calling me an idiot). But here’s the kicker, no one ever has to know if you truly wanted that player or not. It’s basically a protected smoke screen that allows you to boast that you landed your guy or openly mock others because you single handedly created inflated hype for Josh Doctson.
Master of Whisperers
Knowledge is power. Those of you who watch Game of Thrones know Varys is a clever man deemed the Master of Whisperers while building a network of “little birds” who keep him informed. Implementing the underlying core of his character in your league provides a unique opportunity to gain an edge over others.
People love to talk about Fantasy Football on a year round basis, even during the worst parts of the off-season when only baseball is on TV. Because of this, I talk daily with my friends about everything from potential trades. Things like, the valuation of DeAngelo Williams in a re-draft league to the potential regression of Blake Bortles. In doing so, I’ve built up more cliques than Kanye West. People come to me with information about trade talks throughout the league. Others value (allegedly) my opinion and insight on moves they should potentially make in the upcoming year.
I have so much access to insider league information that it makes Martha Stewart jealous.
Gaining Access to Information
So how do you gain access to this information? Ask who people are interested in for the upcoming draft. Initiate conversations by telling them you think Corey Coleman will be better long term than Sterling Shepard. What do they respond with? Is it information you can use to your advantage? Trade up ahead of someone to snatch their player, spread your own whispers through the league about potential draft picks.
One year, I created a league Twitter account and published a “Top 5” position rankings tweet every day for 2 weeks before the draft. I did this with the sole purpose of overhyping Ameer Abdullah and was able to make someone trade up from a late first round pick just to draft him. Cynical? Probably. Fun? Definitely.
Draft Advantage Recap
The tactics above represent a few ways you can take an unorthodox approach to gain a draft advantage. While everyone else is suffering from over-analysis paralysis for your upcoming draft you can start to focus on planting draft pick seeds and acquiring information in your circles like a 12-year-old girl in high school. This will re-energize your engagement your league(s) but also need to gain that mental edge over the other owners in your league.
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