Fantasy Football and Finding the Right College

fantasy football playerI didn’t make it to the championship in fantasy football this year. Even though I’m tied for the number of championships in the league, that’s not what really bothered me this year. This year I lost twice to “Stan”-not his real name. Stan always finishes towards the bottom of the league. But this year he came in third and it wasn’t because of any brilliant player moves or insight into drafting. This year, Yahoo drafted for him and he played the players as assigned and he had his best season ever.

You have to understand that every year Stan would come to the draft party ready to draft the best player on the board and every year he would take the first Cowboy player available. How often in the past eight years has their been a Cowboy worthy of a first round or even second or third round draft choice with a ten team league? But he just can’t help himself, he always believes that this is the year for his Cowboys.

What has this got to do with college search? Well, I couldn’t tell you how many Cowboy players were worthy of being top round draft choices. The first reason is that I’m terrible with names in general and can’t remember the names of players once I draft them. I’m lucky to remember my quarterback’s name.

The second reason is that I don’t draft based on my experience on watching the NFL on Sunday afternoons. I buy one of those spreadsheets where I can weight and sort players according our leagues’ rules and personal preferences.?  I supplement it by reading various fantasy football reviews, looking for information on parole violations and hold-outs, the kind of stuff that can make any record irrelevant.

In other words, I pretty much draft based on the numbers. I don’t watch enough football to have a “gut” feeling that player X is going to have a great year or know that player Y “the” running back to draft this year. It’s the equivalent of ignoring the prestige reputation of colleges. The name alone doesn’t do anything unless it’s backed up by numbers or has some sort of unique program of interest.

The first few players at the top of my draft sheet will generally be the same as those you find in the fantasy football magazines. But just like not everyone can get into Harvard, not everyone can draft Arian Foster. Creating your own list means that you won’t be chasing after the same choices as everyone else. That doesn’t mean they aren’t just as good, it just means that other people haven’t heard of them. After the first few picks in the draft, there will always be some significant differences between my list and others that will have other people asking me if I’m sure I want to draft “that” player.

Actually, they don’t ask me that much any more. Like I said, I generally win. Of course, other people win who don’t play with spreadsheets. But even these people pay attention to numbers and don’t pick players based on their favorite teams.

It’s kind of sad though, when you think about it. People put more effort into analyzing football players for their cheatsheets than in looking at potential colleges. While it’s easier to go with the conventional wisdom, it doesn’t guarantee success. The guy who got Arian Foster this year, a general consensus number one pick, placed seventh in our league. And Stan drafted seventh and actually finished third. We’ve got to make sure he drafts live next year.

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