So I have a confession to make. No, it isn’t regarding my love of Hostess Cherry Pies or the TV show Chuck (a geek turns into a spy with a hot girlfriend, c’mon that is tv gold!). I would never reveal those things to total strangers.
My confession is that I don’t get into Fantasy Football. How is this possible? Millions of people play it, websites are dedicated to it, my friends are all owners, yet I have never owned a team, or taken part in a fantasy draft. Which is ironic, because although I don’t get into fantasy football, I am a total draft geek, which is the ultimate in fantasy.
Part of this is because I am a Lions fan, and quite honestly that is generally when it is the most fun to be a Lions fan (how can we lose with Andre Ware as our quarterback?). But mostly because there are so many options pre-draft that can be dreamed up. Let’s see, if the Lions trade the 1 and 3 and 4 picks to move up and get Patrick Peterson, then swap a 2014 pick to get back into the first round to take Von Miller, while leveraging the their 2015 2nd round pick and the rights to Charles Rodgers to get an offensive tackle….you get the picture. The options are limitless, and it turns into an exercise in fantasy.
So in order to maintain the reality, there are few rules for the draft that every person should follow:
- Don’t believe anything anyone in NFL management says in the month of April. Pretend you are listening to a lawyer and just assume they are telling you an “untruth”. Whenever a statement is made, it is to only benefit that person, not a fan base, nor a player nor an agent. Honestly, since everyone knows this rule, I would just tell the truth if I was a GM. Nobody would believe you anyway.
- Nobody is giving anything away for free. Sure, it sounds good to discuss the various ways that the Lions could draft the best cornerback, linebacker and DE available, but it isn’t going to happen. General Managers, with very rare exceptions (don’t say his name!), are smart, intelligent, rational people who are in that position for a reason. Keep this is mind, while there are 500 Fortune 500 CEO’s who are picked from the best of the best and who make millions of dollars doing what they do, there are only 32 jobs available as a general managers of an NFL team. And the ones that are in that position now really want to stay there. So they aren’t going to do anything stupid (unless maybe they are also the owner and can guarantee themselves job security…seriously, a 1st and a 3rd for Roy Williams???)
- You are lucky if you hit on 60% of your draft picks. In a study conducted by Matt Maiocco, a football insider for Comcast Sports, it was determined that of the drafts of the last five years, the best drafting teams (Packers, Saints, Colts, Jets, and Falcons), had an average of 65% of their players still on their team, with 26% being starters. The bottom five teams (Cowboys, Cardinals, Bengals, Redskins, Bills) had an average of 56% of their drafted players remain on the team, with 18% of those picks starting. For reference, our Detroit Lions had 55% of their draftees still on the team, with 23% starting. What does that mean? It means I am an engineer and I like statistics, but it also means that, despite all the scouting, medical reports, and interviews, some things cannot be judged. Until they can determine how a player will react when he is given minimum 500k a year, and can project future injuries, and find a way to measure “heart”, drafting will remain an inexact science.
- Good teams draft well – see note #3 above. So don’t screw it up.
So given all the above, enjoy the draft for what it is: a brief trip to into a fantasy where every draftee is a contributor, and a starter, and maybe even a pro-bowler. Just realize that the fantasy of the draft is much different then the actual results, but also realize that the better that your team is to matching reality to fantasy, the better they are going to be as a football team.