Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 8/13/12
It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

Not only is it football season, its FANTASY football season.  It is a time where all football lovers get to be a part of one of the most addictive games ever.  There are a million websites, cheat sheets, and articles that tell you what to do or who to pick in a fantasy draft; but I’m going to be telling you what NOT to do by using examples from my fantasy team last season. 

Especially if you are a female in fantasy football, take notes and don’t do what I did because my team as a whole wasn’t good mainly because I didn’t pick and manage my team correctly. 

First off, I finished second to last in my PPR league only because a fellow teammate always forgot to set her lineup before game time.  I think I have pretty good football knowledge but when playing fantasy football, I soon found out it’s not about what you know, it’s who you pick.  Always pick the best player according to what position you need in the draft. Don’t just draft a player because he plays on your favorite team or played for your college. 

You will end up screwed and will look very stupid cursing at your laptop at work or home; you have no one to blame but yourself.  Another big no no, especially for girls, don’t draft a player because he is “hot” or “handsome.”  In my fantasy draft last season I made the mistake by drafting Falcons Quarterback Matt Ryan in the fourth round.  I had the opportunity to get a much better QB but I didn’t because I was being an idiot. 

I’ll give Ryan a little credit, he did throw a career high of 4,177 yards with 29 touchdowns and only 12 interceptions, but for the first half of the season I wasn’t getting any points like Rodgers, Brady, and Brees were giving until the end of season.  Even Tony Romo ended up averaging more than Matt Ryan on fantasy points last year.  I swear last season, I was on twitter direct tweeting and messaging Matt Ryan, letting him know how disappointed I was with him.   You can yell, tweet, and cuss a player all you want, but in reality it’s your fault for drafting a pretty face, don’t make my mistake.  To this day I am still cussing Matt Ryan even though I know it’s not his fault, but it is mine.
Secondly, always always play your best player unless he is injured or if it is his bye week.  Week one, I had running backs Ray Rice (Ravens), Jamaal Charles (Chiefs), Ahmad Bradshaw (Giants), and Ryan Matthews (Chargers).  I didn’t start Ray Rice first game of the season, single most stupid regret and fantasy decision I have ever made.  The sad part is, I don’t even have a reason or excuse for not starting him.  Ray Rice blew up the first game and got around 30 fantasy points and consistently did all season.  I started Jamaal Charles and Ryan Matthews who combined for like 23 points the first game. 
This paragraph is dedicated to the man that messed up my entire fantasy league and season last season.  I have made a personal vow to myself as long as I play fantasy in my lifetime that I will not draft Jamaal Charles ever again as my first round pick.  I should have taken an elite QB or a better running back, but no no no, Charles was
projected to do very well but also was injury prone, but apparently I didn’t care because I still drafted him. 

Needless to say, the second game of the season, Charles tore his ACL and tore up not only his 2011 season, but he tore my heart and my fantasy’s season.  I remember meeting a guy at bar one night and started talking fantasy football with him, and when I told him who I took as my first round pick he laughed in my face and still does every now and then.  To this day, I swear I could have won more games had I not picked Charles.  This season he will be returning to the Kansas City Chiefs, but he will not be returning to my league.  I know he couldn’t help not getting hurt and I am glad he has made a good recovery but, my fantasy relationship with Charles will never be the same and will never happen again. 

This big don’t for fantasy football is for girls only.  When you read these next few lines, take them seriously.

DO NOT, I repeat DO NOT bring a date or boyfriend to your draft party to help you.

Study, take notes, and know your information going into the draft and be independent and confident in your picks.  It is your fantasy team, not his! I let the gentlemen I was seeing at the time come to my draft because I was nervous and then he ended up basically picking my entire team because I was listening to what this moron had to say.  I remember when he said “I’m a guy, I’m experienced and know more about fantasy football.” FALSE, had I stuck with my game plan and not listened to him, I could possibly be $1000 richer.  Needless to say, I’m not with that guy anymore, but I get reminded of him every time I look at my fantasy league’s history. 

Make sure you first join a fantasy team; you join a league that has a passion and a want to win.  Don’t join a team that isn’t going to take it seriously.  Yes, fantasy football is supposed to be fun but, when there is a lot more money involved, it changes everything.  Don’t join a team that is going to fall back on transaction fees and forget to set their lineups; there is nothing fun about that. 

I remember we needed an extra person in our league and so we let our friend invite a 7 month pregnant girl in our league.  Knowing she was pregnant was the first mistake, but throughout the entire season she would forget about her lineup and wouldn’t keep up with our teams messages.  I don’t see how she won any games, but she did.  I cared about my team a lot and still lost, it’s not fair or fun to have boring people in a league.  The main point is don’t have a pregnant girl in your league because they will end up having the baby in the middle of the season and care more about the kid than their fantasy obligations.  

 Whether you take my advice or not, have fun with fantasy football.  It is a great reason to go have a beer on Sunday with your friends, makes you feel like you have a purpose in life, and it really does expand your football knowledge.  Good luck to anyone entering into a draft this season; hopefully you will take my words to heart and don’t make the same mistakes that I did. 

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