“Trust me.” Your response to those two words could dramatically impact the direction of your fantasy career: Few fantasy football analysts come out and demand you trust them, but many are suggesting it.
Many of us remember sitting in a classroom with a bad teacher, one scrawling wildly on the board, promising that the subject is simple when it seems anything but. “Trust me,” their tone suggests.
The longer I spent in school, the more I found myself skipping those classes if I could not transfer out of them. I found little value in spending an hour confused, hearing an instructor rattle off conclusions without more than passing attempts at providing rationale.
Other students, however, gravitated to those classes. In certain fields, you want a mental Rolodex of facts and conclusions, ready at a moment’s notice. An accountant, for instance, does not always need to work through the reason a particular formula works; instead, their focus is on applying the right formula, plugging in their numbers, and trusting the conclusion. Results matter.
Fantasy football players can fit into either of those two types, and I take no stance here on which is better. Many fantasy players—I would speculate the vast majority – focus solely upon wins and losses. They want to beat their coworker, their friend, or their spouse. There is little pride to be found in losing, and no one in their league cares if they started a great sleeper in his breakout week if their team didn’t get the win.
Others are not so. Other fantasy players personally invest in every transaction. Every waiver claim bears their unique imprint, because it reflects their opinion of a player. Each trade could be the one remembered for years to come. Those fantasy players are not interested in bare conclusions, and they spend little time perusing ranking lists on the major fantasy sites. Instead, they look more deeply. They watch film, they crunch numbers, or they do some combination of the two. Their fantasy teams are their own.
Far too many of us, however, wade uncertain into a sea of fantasy content, not knowing into which camp we fall.
The fantasy football industry has swelled to an incredible size, and the growth has created a flood of fantasy content across a variety of media. Madness awaits those who attempt to soak in everything.
Maybe Google is making us dumber, I don’t know, but technology certainly demands a new skillset. You bear the burden of learning to filter the wealth of information, to sort the beneficial from the fluff, the value from the dross. Rather than blindly consuming every bit of fantasy content thrown your way, start this offseason from a more foundational question: What type of fantasy owner are you?
Put some thought into why you are reading fantasy analysis. Writ large, are you looking for answers or for more questions. Do you need a top-200 list or a piece suggesting a new way of evaluating talent? If your primary goal is winning at all costs, perhaps you should tailor your media intake to consist of the best rankers and smartest minds. The folks over at FantasyPros run accuracy competitions, and you would do well to seek out anything created by their top performers year-over-year.
If, instead, you want to focus on evaluating players and strategies yourself, seek out websites and specific writers who will allow you to look deep into their reasoning. Whether you agree with their conclusions or not, you will learn from seeing them think.
Before you waste more time and energy trying to read every article and download every podcast, take a few days to decide what type of fantasy player you want to be and what you want to accomplish this offseason. Then filter your intake to suit your needs.