How was your first week of fantasy football? Pretty good? For some, it must have been good, because someone has to win, right? But for others, it may have been pretty bad; for some, even downright abysmal kind of bad. It was for me. Yes, me. I am supposed to be a fantasy football expert of sorts. The guy who has been playing fantasy for over 25 years with a good measure of success. And yet, this weekend, this first week of the season, I stunk – across the board, at that. Yes. I lost 5 of 6 head-to-head matches. Finished last in one of my points leagues. Won only $5 in daily fantasy despite all of the entry fees I do not want to discuss here. Yes, I lost. I really stunk it up in Week One. I can only imagine how many other fantasy owners who take this game seriously starred into the darkness the past night or two wondering where they went wrong. I did.
But I am here to tell you something: you weren’t as wrong, and you are not as bad off, as you think. Week One of any NFL season is finicky in fantasy play. So much happens that we do not envision as we work our way as fantasy owners through the offseason and pre-season. There is much you can learn by studying and observing it all throughout the summer, but until the players hit the field for real, you do not really know for real what is about to take place this season. Yes. Without the benefit of one week of actual play, you do not truly have an accurate sense of where this is all going.
Offseason study and pre-season observations have their benefits. In fact, I encourage fantasy owners to do their homework, both on paper and on the field, over the course of the summer. Study and observe what you can. Reach some educated conclusions. Plan ahead as best you can. But the reality of it all is this: you do not know for sure how every team, every player, every scheme will work out; not going into Week One. The key players have not yet displayed their actual potential. The head coaches have been careful to not fully express how they intend to play the game on the field. There is a rhyme and reason for that. And anyone who thinks otherwise is a somewhat of a fool for doing so. No coach in his or her right mind would show the rest of the league what he or she intends to do with their players. And so, all you have left as a fantasy football owner entering the new season is a semi-educated guess, at best, as to how everything will play out. That’s all – nothing more; nothing less.
So, as many of you walk into Week Two of the new NFL season licking your wounds, I would say to you: do not despair. Properly played, fantasy football is a game of informed decisions. And when you begin Week One of the new season, you are most likely ill-informed, regardless of how much research you have done over the course of the offseason. Why? Because you do not have great information; only cursory, potentially applicable information. And that is not good enough. Now that Week One has come and gone, there is data – real, recent, and relevant data. That is the kind of information that leads fantasy owners to make smart decisions. Now is not the time to give up; now is the time to get that extra edge that comes from reading up on and assessing good information. Appreciate and leverage the value of good information.