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The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

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Want your voice to be heard? Submit a letter to the editor, send us an op-ed pitch or check out our open positions for the chance to be published by the Daily Utah Chronicle.
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How to pick your team

By Kyle Nelson

Leaves are falling. School is in session. Marching bands are practicing. It must be that time of year to prepare for your fantasy football draft. Sure, fantasy championships can’t be won on draft day, but they can be lost. Just ask the guy who drafted Chris Weinke in the first round (I’m not joking).

Here are a few simple rules to help you come away with the best team on draft day.

Grab running backs early.

This is the first rule for a reason. You need to get ’em before everyone else does. You should at least come away with two in the first three rounds. Otherwise you’ll be forced to start Jerome Bettis. “But isn’t he retired?” Exactly.

The Three Amigos

All right, so you have one of the top three picks in the draft-whom do you take? Simple. Larry Johnson, Shaun Alexander or LaDainian Tomlinson. No exceptions. Take the three names and pull them out of a hat. Let your girlfriend decide for you. I don’t care. But under no circumstances should another player sneak into the top three. “But Tiki Barber??”-Shut up.

Quarterbacks are a dime a dozen.

The quarterback position is as equal as it is unpredictable. There will undoubtedly be one or two guys who throw for 30 touchdowns. We just don’t know who they will be. Peyton Manning would be a safe answer this year. But we guessed the same thing last year only to see Carson Palmer as the answer. Who saw that one coming?

Don’t reach.

I know, you started playing fantasy football so that you could root for your favorite players. But you don’t want to draft them too early. Let’s say you’re certain Joseph Addai is going to have a breakout year for the Colts. You just know it. You gotta have him. Gotta! First of all, relax. Second, take a look at your league’s default ranking system. Let’s say Addai is sitting at 47. That doesn’t mean you have to wait until the 47th pick to take him. You just have to be aware of his ranking. Don’t take him in the first round. Don’t take him in the second round. Start thinking about it in the third round, but try to resist. Grab him in the fourth round, a few picks ahead of his ranking. I know playing this waiting game is a gamble. Someone else might get him. But it’s not as big a gamble as making him a second-round pick and then hoping he performs like one.

Pre-rankings matter.

Your live online draft is scheduled for Sunday. You don’t worry about updating your pre-ranking list because you’ve made the necessary arrangements to be online at draft time. One problem: Your Internet goes down. By the time you get up and running, you’ve already drafted Curtis Martin, Koren Robinson and Priest Holmes. The lesson: Update your rankings just in case. It’s better to be safe than pissed off.

Know the tiers.

Steve Smith: top tier. Alex Smith: bottom tier. Onterrio Smith: underground tier. Using some sort of system to group each position is an invaluable tool on draft day. With so much going on (trash-talking, heckling and more trash-talking), it’s difficult to stay focused. A cheat sheet with different tiers for each position allows you to see what value remains and which position you should draft next. Think of the star system. If you see seven 4-star wide receivers left on the draft board and only one four-star running back, then you should grab that last RB and wait to grab a WR in the next round.

Wait on kickers.

I can’t believe I even have to discuss this. You show me an owner who drafts a kicker in the sixth round and I’ll send him an e-mail inviting him to join my league next year. Somebody has to be the first one to draft a kicker. Don’t be that guy. Let someone else be the first one. Then let someone else be the second one. See if you can be the last one. You’ll never know the difference, I promise you.

Be careful of to whom you listen.

If you happen to be in one of my leagues, disregard everything you just read. I probably have ulterior motives. So do not take advice from anyone in your league. The objective is to win. By any means necessary. Good luck.

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