Lucas Gebhart

Sports Editor

The reason many like me love fantasy football so much is because we are the GM of our own virtual football team. We draft, make trades and sign free agents. You’re the boss, all decisions go through you and Michael Fabiano is your right-hand man.

I’m not writing this to tell you who my sleepers and busts are. That is classified information that is only for me to know and you to find out.

What I will write about, however, are some tips on how to draft your team so you are not scraping the waiver wire all season because your draft was a complete bust. 

The most important thing to keep in mind while you’re drafting is you draft with your brain, not with your heart.

As a die-hard Denver Broncos fan, I cannot stand Philip Rivers. But if I need a quarterback and he is the best quarterback on the board, I’m drafting Philip Rivers. Why? Because I want to win and even though I hate his guts, Rivers is the guy who would give me the best chance of winning. If you want to win, you are going to have to draft some players you are not too fond of. 

Another tip, never, ever, ever, ever, reach for players.

If there is a player you have your heart set on and he is still 15 players down the list, don’t take him. You can get a better player and still have a chance at him in the next round.

I get it, you want Cam Newton as your quarterback. You love his smile and duplicate his dabs in the backyard but don’t take him in the first round. He is not a first round pick.

I am fully aware of the fact that he will probably eclipse 300 fantasy points this year. But if you take him in the first round, when you can get him in the second or third, that is a wasted pick. 

Instead of taking Cam in the first round and a guy like Dez Bryant in the second, you could get a way better player than Bryant and still have Cam Newton in the second round.

Taking Cam Newton in the first round robs you of a chance to get a guy like Adrian Petersen or Odell Beckham Jr. So, instead of Cam Newton and Dez Bryant, you have Adrian Petersen or Odell Beckham Jr. and Cam Newton.

If you are afraid your friend will reach for Cam Newton, let him reach. There are plenty of good quarterbacks out there, Cam Newton isn’t the only good fantasy quarterback, and your team will be better because you let him go.

My final tip is nail your first two picks and then take the risks.

You can only play it safe for so long and you should play it safe in the first two rounds.

In the first two rounds, take guys who have proven they are worthy of that pick, not guys who are supposed to have a break out year.

If either of these picks are a bust, your season is lost and you can kiss your hopes of a fantasy championship goodbye.

Yes, Ezekiel Elliott is supposed to have a great year, but he is a rookie, people. He has not proven a thing. Why would you spend a first round pick, a pick that you cannot miss on, on a guy that hasn’t played one snap in the NFL? The risk is too big. I’ll take a guy like Lamar Miller all day before I even touch The ‘Zek.

The first two picks lay the foundation of your team; these are guys you can count on for 15-20 points per-week. After that, take a gamble. If those picks don’t turn out, it will hurt, but it won’t kill your season. But if it does work out, you are going to contend for a title. 

Go take a Kelvin Benjamin or an Adrian Foster, because they might be a home run. If you hit a home run in the fourth to sixth round and your first two picks are locks, your team is looking to be in really good shape.

If the pick is a bust, drop him. Let’s be totally honest, you end up dropping or trading most of those mid-round picks anyways, so why not take the risk? 

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