No matter what kind of league you’re in, there are some tried and true fantasy Golden Rules that can help take your ‘game’ to the next level.  Here are some timeless words of wisdom culled from a variety of successful fantasy strategists, including one 3x champion who wished to remain anonymous (cough cough).

The 10 Golden Rules To Dominating Your Fantasy League:

1. Don’t Pick A QB 1st Round

New England Patriots at Washington Redskins 08/28/09

Keith Allison/WikiCommons

Sure, you’ve heard this a dozen times before.  And yet, year after year some dude picks Brees in the first round.  It doesn’t matter if you predicted Peyton was going to tear up the record books last year, or that two years ago Rodgers would score +40 points week after week.  If you draft a Quaterback first, you’re starting at a huge disadvantage because of how thin the RB position is year after year.  Could you still pull out a Superbowl run?  Of course.  But you’ll be so weak at RB the odds will be stacked agianst you.  No matter how tempting it is to have that elite passer at the head of your roster… resist.  Unlees you have last pick in a snake draft, take an RB or a top 3 receiver like Megatron or Josh Gordon.

2. Defense Wins Leagues

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A.J. Guel – Wiki Commons

Most leagues nowadays place a high premium on DST.  You can usually see 20 points up on the board for at least one or two defenses a week.  Once you have your starting line up filled out, don’t be afraid to be the first to reach for Seattle.

3. Reach For A TE

Jason Witten resize- Ken Durden

Ken Durden/Shutterstock

Is there anything more annoying then plugging and playing a new TE every week?  Save yourself the hassle.  Just like RBs, the Tight End position has a massive drop off after the first 3 or 4.  You may have your genius RB/QB/WR pick all lined up and ready to go, but if Jimmy Graham is yanked, table your gut instinct and snag Witten or Davis.    You don’t want to be left with Jermaine Gresham.

4. Gamble On A Committee RB

Knowshon Moreno resize - Jeffrey Beall

Jeffrey Beall/FLICKR

When filling out your bench, make sure to grab a #2 RB on a team where you think the running game situation is up in the air.  If you didn’t buy the hype on Monte Ball last year, and you snagged Moreno in a late round, you were golden.  Same with Zac Stacy.  Look for an RB by committee that has the potential to turn into a one man show and take a flyer.  If it pays off, you’re playoff bound.

5. Play The Wire

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Jennifer Huber/WikiCommons

Don’t be that guy.  You know the one.  Lose a few early games, checks out for the season.  Play that wire and find those gems.  You should be taking someone off waviers every.  Single.  Week.

6. Watch The Games

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If you’re not watching, you’re not winning.  Trends develop all throughout the season.  Picking up on what Jeffrey Ashlon was doing in Chicago and grabbing him off waivers a week before the rest of your league caught on was money last year.  Similarly, if a defense gets hot and has a cakewalk of a schedule, snatch them up.  Understanding what’s developing in the NFL week to week is the single biggest edge you can have.

7. Find An Advisor You Trust

Eisenberg Richards: CBS sports

CBS Sports/Facebook

Take a few days before draft day and scour all the Fantasy sites.  Find the “experts” who think like you.  Get to know their weaknesses and strengths, and take their advice in stride – but do take their advice.  By mitigating them agianst one another and mixing in your opinions, you can come up with your plan for the week.

8. Know The Injury Report

Reggie Wayne - Craig O'Neal

Craig O’Neal/WikiCommons

If you draft Chris Johnson or Run DMC, it’s not a question of if but when they’re going to get hurt.  Set a reminder on your phone to check the status of injured players at 12pm and 3pm EST.  The NFL releases the official lineups about 1 hour before gametime, and sites like CBS will post the list.  If you lose a game because you didn’t know a guy was out, a pox on your family.  Also, handcuff your studs.  Last year, Reggie Wayne was a top 10 WR for the first few games until he went out for the season.  If you didn’t have backup, your playoff chances were crippled.

9. Don’t Make Desperate Trades

Desperate Trades

Just because you lose a few early games in the season, doesn’t mean you have to throw the baby out with the bathwater.  It’s possible you just front-loaded your bad luck.  Give it a few more games to play out before you do anything rash.  Also, a good rule of thumb is to let the trades come to you.  Just the simple act of offering makes you look weak, because you want something.  Let trade talks blossom naturally over a few beers.  If you throw out a trade, 99% of the time the other guy is going to think you’re up to something.  You start off at a severe disadvantage.

10. Get lucky

Lucky Clover - Wide

Bellezza87/Pixabay

Yeah, who are we kidding?  You need to get lucky as hell to win a championship.  However, take a minute to consider the old axiom that winners make their own luck.  If that’s the case, do your work.  Research before draft day.  Plan several weeks ahead when you play waivers.  And obsess over your line up — like the moving parts of a puzzle, there’s a magic “click” you feel inside when the it’s right.  Confidence breeds “luck”.

Final Thought – Don’t Obsess

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The football gods will punish you if you fail to remember that the whole point of Sunday afternoons is to relax and have fun.  If you find yourself so stressed out about fantasy that you ruin your Sunday with the family, you’re living life upside down.  Try to lock your lineup by Friday (excluding injuries) and then remember to spend time being in the moment with the wife and kids.  Sure, you’ll be sneaking peeks at your phone all throughout the day, but fantasy is just like anything else: the more desperate you are for victory, the less likely you are to attain it.

About The Author

Michael Berman

Father of two, husband of one. Chilldad is basically my blog. Work as content creator for web and screenwriter, having sold scripts to Sony, MGM, Showtime, Disney and Vanguard Films at Dreamworks Animation.

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