Viewpoint: Tips for playing Fantasy Football

By Daniel DeVries

I have played fantasy football every year since eighth grade and there are some trends that have formed that need to be corrected. I don’t pretend to have any kind of authority on the matter, but my suggestions might make your own fantasy football league a more fun and entertaining environment.

One thing that sucks the fun out of a lot of leagues is when a team owner keeps their default team name. Nobody wants to play Team DeVries. That’s boring. Teams need real names.

If you’re less than creative, then I may have some guidelines to help you think of a fun team name.

Try picking a random city outside of the United States and then pick a plural noun that starts with the same letter as the city. For example: The Massawa Mathematicians.

Another way to get a creative team name is to take a movie title and tweak it to make it relate to football. For example: The Big Gronkowski.

Once you have your team name down, learn when your draft is. ESPN and Yahoo have algorithms that can automatically draft for you, but don’t trust this.

Would you trust an algorithm to raise your kids? Then don’t trust it to raise your team.

Be at the draft and pick players methodically after doing some homework.

Team owners need to know when their players have bye weeks. When players with bye weeks get put into starting spots, it unevenly weights the league and makes it unfair. Going up against someone that has fewer players is almost like getting a free win.

Since NFL bye weeks are restricted to Week 4 through Week 12, playing a team that is unattended to outside of those weeks is less advantageous than playing that team inside of that window.

The bottom line here is to only invite people into your league that will follow through all the way until the end, even when their team resembles last season’s Kansas City Chiefs or this decade’s Jacksonville Jaguars.

Unlike in real sports, trash talk should be encouraged in fantasy football.

Comments have no influence on what happens on the field and can’t cost you a personal foul penalty for 15 yards.

One thing that is allowed, but discouraged, is bragging. Everybody, experts included, have a lot of guesswork when it comes to fantasy football. The bottom line is that nobody knows which players will play well on a given week. Scoring a lot of points makes you lucky, not skilled.

There is something to be said about taking a risk on a player. For example, if you selected Arian Foster in his first season, then you deserve some credit.

However, if you brag that Peyton Manning scored 46 points for your team in Week 1, you have no ground to stand on. Most people would love to have Peyton Manning on their team.

The people that have him as their starting quarterback were just lucky enough to have the right draft position or make an awesome trade.

While fantasy football is all in good fun, the most important rule is to never cheer for a player going against your favorite team. Even if your fantasy football team is losing by one point, it is never appropriate to cheer for a player on your fantasy team if they are playing against the team that has your lifelong allegiances. After all, fantasy football is a game, but fandom is a lifestyle.

Greg DeVries is a senior journalism major from Houston. He is the editor-in-chief for the Lariat.