Fantasy Football is here: be prepared

Devin TuckerThe onset of the NFL season transmits an energy that moves like a billowing wave through the minds of throngs of football fans across the globe.

The preseason only offers a glimpse into the spectacle that is the National Football League, and the summer months act as a tease that stimulates the imaginations of fanatics and speculators alike.

This period provides the perfect conversational piece for fans sharing a similar passion, and both predictions and speculations resonate from the media all the way to individual households.

Personally I treasure watching Ravens preseason games in order to discern what the team’s attitude will be like going into the upcoming season.

I’m happy to say that I’m never disappointed as the Ravens added to their tough mantra in their game against the Washington Redskins. Seeing Steve Smith Sr. talking trash really lit a fire in my stomach, and even Head Coach John Harbaugh had some choice remarks for opposing coach Jay Gruden.

While the NFL Season promises entertaining match-ups and live action, the full excitement of the season also lies in the realm of fantasy football.

Fantasy football acts as the drug of choice for many sports addicts, serving as a perfect medium for everyday viewers to add some input and strategy of their own into the season they cherish so dearly.  Fantasy football, or more commonly referred to as only “Fantasy,” requires a careful, analytical mind. A league’s draft remains the bastion through which one can achieve success, so it’s essential that each person approach the draft with a sharp focus and flexible plan of action.

The draft typically works in a “snake format,” which means that although someone will have last pick in a certain round, they will start the following round with the first pick.

The order then reverses, making sure the person with the first pick does not gain an advantage.

Without trying to sound boring by explaining the way a fantasy draft functions, it’s essential to know the format in order to assess the value of individual players in their draft positions.

An ability to adeptly assess value proves a vital skill in all walks of life.

Basic economic theory posits that people seek to maximize their utility in anyway possible, so fantasy football actually acts as a tool for people to apply their instinctive knowledge in a competitive format.

While it is essential to know the importance of assessing a player or team’s value, the next question that comes to mind may be, “How might I do it?”

How are you supposed to figure out who will be the best pick for your team? Who will perform well this year? What position should you go after first, running back or receiver? All of these questions and others can be answered through research, experience and exposure to the game.

For example, if you end up with the 1st pick overall in a fantasy football draft, all the pressure rests on you to start with a bang.

If you were to consider someone like Adrian Peterson for example, you may look at him objectively and believe his previous success attaining the second most rushing yards of all time in a season would make him the best option.

However, fantasy opens up a window that doesn’t allow for brief speculation. Thousands of options reveal themselves, from the introduction of a new offensive coordinator to personal issues off the field. So many different things can go into the decision making process.

Furthermore, owners must remember to not draft on the basis of past production but on their intuition of what the player in question will accomplish in the coming year.

This significant immersion into the lives of players and the internal functions of teams allows any normal fan to transform into both manager and coach and places a garnish of excitement on a time of year when the summer weather slips away and students begin the grind of school yet again.

Some of my personal advice for all fantasy fans out there: Get Jamaal Charles as early as you can in your draft. He is a beast.

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