More than ever, women are stepping away from being cheerleaders for their boyfriends and husbands and joining their own fantasy football leagues. Like Jenny from The League, not only are they getting in on the fun, but some are actually winning. Shiva trophy aside, women are proving more and more that the draw to football isn't just the tight pants, but also the game itself.
I myself won my fantasy league last year, which is a pretty impressive feat because I work at a sports website with all boys. Here are some of my tips to drafting a winning team, regardless of if you know about football or not.
1. Do a Mock Draft
A lot of sites have mock drafts you can participate in before the season. Even though you may not know what you are doing, most of the people participating do. Make a note of who they go after and when. Peyton Manning was the top pick? Make a note. Rob Gronkowski didn't go until the 3rd round? Maybe he's someone to stay away from in the first few rounds. Just make a list of players that go early on and voila you will look like a genius in your draft.
Similar to doing your own mock drafts, a lot of websites produce their own. Google a couple of these and make some notes on who the NFL gurus recommend you draft. Even better, some do articles on players to stay away from. You'll look like a genius for passing over Chris Johnson for Giovani Bernard. I promise.
3. Know What Kind of Draft You Are Doing
There are two kinds of drafts: auction and regular. Auction is when you get a set amount of money, usually around $200, to spend on your draft picks. If you are doing an auction draft, you'll have different strategies than if you are doing a regular one. For instance, it may not be worth it to spend 1/4 of your budget on Peyton Manning in an auction setting, because then you won't have a well-rounded team. I succeeded in my league last year because I had a group of very good players, but no huge 'superstars'. Yes having Jamaal Charles is great, but if he gets hurt or struggles and you spent most of your money on him, you may be out of luck. For regular drafts, where there is a draft order that typically snakes around each round, it's all about when you draft. Having a list of good players you want up front make this easier. A lot of these leagues already have a list of players by fantasy potential within the draft, so you can visibly see who's available and the best pick. In all doubt you can follow that list and do pretty well.
4. Know Your Draft's Rules
If you are in a PPR (points per reception) league, drafting a few solid wide receivers is a good move. Good running backs tend to go pretty quickly so looking to draft one in the first or second round is probably smart as well. The top quarterbacks will go semi-high, but most of the others are all pretty similar in the middle, so if you don't get a 'top' QB, then you can probably wait and snag one in the 3rd or 4th round and still put up decent numbers. Kickers and defense usually get you the least points, so you can hold off on those until the rest of your team is set.
5. If All Else Fails, Ask Your Man
Unless your man is in your league. Then ask your dad or your brother. They'll love that you actually seem to care about the game for once and be more than willing to help you. Or watch them do a draft and ask questions. There are also a lot of fantasy gurus online who will be more than willing to answer your burning questions.
The best part of drafting is the trash talk. So don't be afraid to rub it in when you make a sweet pick. Oh and a killer team name always looks good, regardless of how good your team is.