Fantasy Doctor: Hit the books

By Joey Figueroa

With August nearing its end and back-to-school sales everywhere you turn, summer 2015 is just about over. It’s time to buckle down and hit the books, kids. Study, research, analyze and repeat.

Oh, I’m talking about fantasy football, if that wasn’t clear.

Yes, boys and girls, with another semester comes another glorious season of fantasy football for us to all become obsessed with and lose a few friends over. I am your Fantasy Doctor this season, and I’ll be prescribing weekly tips on how to rule your fantasy league with an iron fist. 

Whether it’s your first go-around at this fantasy thing (no, Andrew Luck and Antonio Brown aren’t going to be on the same team in real life) or you’re a grizzled veteran with plenty of waiver-wire war tales, everyone could use a visit to the doctor once in a while.

So stay tuned all season for tips that I steal from insiders and plenty of great medical puns.

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For this week, we’ll kick off the festivities with some draft tips.  

In many ways, the draft is the best part of any fantasy football season. Whether you and your league all get together in front of a giant draft board and bond over the shared urge to murder one another, or if you sit in front of your laptop typing in all caps about how stupid taking Jay Cutler in the fourth round is (because you wanted him in the fifth round), it’s all great fun.

I won’t go into too much detail about the draft process because it’s pretty simple. But of my few drafting tips, the most important one is to never take a kicker before your absolute final pick. As a doctor, I am deeming the selection of a kicker any time before the last round bad for your health, so please don’t do it. 

Heck, if you don’t draft a kicker at all that is also completely fine, since you can just grab one on waivers. Kickers are so interchangeable in fantasy football. There is no need to take Sebastian Janikowski in the seventh round because he can kick 60-yard field goals, or go for Stephen Gostkowski in the eighth because the Patriots score a bunch. There are about 20 different kickers that can provide 10-12 points any given week, so just play the matchups and work that waiver wire.

The only other tip I’d offer for drafting is to bring your own cheat sheet. Those long, 300-player rankings that come standard in any fantasy football magazine are cool, but to make it easier on yourself, write up little, personal rankings of each position. It keeps things it more organized, especially when you know what position you’re going for during a certain pick. And if you research correctly, your rankings will be better than those generic cheat sheets in the magazines anyway.

Oh, and make sure you pay attention to who has been taken. No one likes that guy that’s surprised when Jamaal Charles isn’t still there in the third round. Be diligent, not unintelligent. This is very serious stuff, OK.

Those seem like some pretty basic tips, but it’s been scientifically proven that time moves faster during a fantasy football draft, so being prepared and organized is key. Have a strategy and stick to it.

For some help on that strategy, come back next time when I break down some players to stay away from and name some ever-elusive sleepers. Now back to studying.

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