Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Don't Mind Losing my Fantasy Football League
August 27, 2017 6:14 AM   Subscribe

I am joining a fantasy football league (on ESPN's site, playing against my regional AIGA chapter - yay designers playing fauxfootball!). I need help finding my guys.

I am not unfamiliar with the game of football, however I am absolutely not in the know about the abilities of current players across the NFL. Also, I want to model my team in some fashion after Friday Night Lights so I can be Coach Taylor (because, let's face it, I'll NEVER be able to be the perfection that is Tami Taylor).

I am trying to figure out the best way to accomplish this. Is it by drafting players whose numbers match the various Dillon Panthers? Seeing if there are any Streets, Saracens, or guys named Lance playing currently?

Help me craft my strategy and identify the players that deserve to be on my team (and deserve a smoothie).

I do not care about actually winning. I just care about good times and makin' memories. Texas forever.
posted by stefnet to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (6 answers total)
Best answer: I asked someone who is an expert on both Friday Night Lights and fantasy football. He says you have to go by feel, rather than numbers or names, because if you pick by numbers and names you'll end up with someone who hit a woman once or "allegedly" raped a someone in college. Friday Night Lights feels good. You want good dudes who love football. Here are some names he suggests:

Marshawn Lynch
Cam Newton
Larry Fitzgerald
Rob Gronkowski (more a Riggins type)
Martellus Bennett
Danny Woodhead (tiny guy who plays hard)
Christian McCafferey
posted by OrangeVelour at 7:00 AM on August 27, 2017

Best answer: Jordy Nelson is good at football and life. And Russell Wilson! maybe I have a bias toward people with Wisconsin connections, oh well

(we drafted yesterday! both of them are on my team this year. I play in a league in which, as a rule, no one drafts assholes, even if they are good at football, which is why I like the league I'm in!)
posted by goodbyewaffles at 8:03 AM on August 27, 2017

Response by poster: This is great - thank you! And more suggestions are definitely welcome!
posted by stefnet at 9:05 AM on August 27, 2017

I'm not sure I'd consider some of those guys "good dudes". Martellus Bennett is a well-known asshole. Cam Newton got kicked out of one college for stealing another stidebt's laptop, and then was involved in a recruiting scandal at another. Gronkowski isn't a bad guy in the criminal sense, but his reputation is not exactly Saracen-esque. The Riggins comparison is simply because of alcohol, but while Riggins had a lot of drama in his background that led him to drink, Gronk just seems to enjoy being a privileged jackass who drinks in public often. (And on top of that, he's injury-prone, and many experts advise against drafting him.)

Even for the ones who are unquestionably good dudes (Larry Fitzgerald), you shouldn't go into a draft with a list of only a handful of players, because those players will invariably be taken by someone else, and then you'll be clueless. The best way to approach it is to create three groups of players: like, don't like, and meh. Then, sketch a positional draft order (roughly, RB-WR-RB-QB-TE-WR-Flex-QB-Flex-D-K). Find a comprehensive player ranking list (ESPN and Yahoo do them). When it's your turn to draft, select the highest-ranked player from that round's position on your like list.

In terms of drafting nice people, well, it's pro football. You're limited. But the NFL has a Walter Payton Man of the Year Award every year, and each team nominates a player. You might want to go back through those nominees to find some of the nicer guys.

In terms of resemblance to FNL, I lost my starting quarterback to a potentially career-ending injury at the beginning of last season. I don't recommend this as a strategy.
posted by kevinbelt at 9:08 AM on August 27, 2017 [1 favorite]

I really like the idea of looking at the list of Walter Payton nominees - every team nominates a person, so you can look back over the last 5 years or so for each NFL team and see what names are there.

HOWEVER - fantasy football is a lot more fun if you're at least competitive with the other teams. I once lost every single game in my fantasy football season because my husband drafted for me (he, while being a huge fan the NFL itself, did not know anything about how fantasy football in particular works) and it was, honestly, a real bummer after a while. In addition to trying to draft the nice guys in the league, I would still combine that with following the basic power rankings of fantasy players: ESPN has easy-to-follow cheatsheets that you can print out. Any game is more fun when you're not an automatic loss every week.
posted by warble at 9:58 AM on August 27, 2017

Response by poster: Just following up here to say that my team, after an accidental autodraft due to a migraine on my part and some excellent maneuvering by the Buddy Garrity to my Coach Taylor, won the league.

Clear eyes, full hearts, didn't lose!
posted by stefnet at 5:06 PM on December 31, 2017 [2 favorites]

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