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Back in my day fantasy football wasn’t so tough. Everyone knew who the best guys were. You knew a few extra good ones. And you had a relatively unique strategy.

Doesn’t it always seem like those “back in my day” people are completely intolerable to listen to, until you realize you are one of them?

But when you think about it, it’s true. Now everyone knows all the players. Has the NFL gotten that big or has the industry of fantasy football shined lights into more homes? As our running backs and linemen’s brains fill with more and more CTE, our brains fill with more and more depth charts and situational stats. That rookie backup Cincinnati Bengals running back isn’t sneaking up on anyone anymore. We see you, Gio Bernard, you dirty little devil.

Meanwhile, the teams have wised up as well, with more and more of them hiding their strategies in useless preseason games. The Saints acquired Adrian Peterson this year, and no one knows if they will allow him to try to be his old, best-in-the-league self, or if he will split carries three ways with Mark Ingram and touted rookie Alvin Kamara. Meanwhile, is touted rookie Alvin Kamara touted because he is good (he was a third round pick) or because they want to confuse their opponents about the upcoming dosage of Peterson and Ingram?

But Josh, why not consult with one of the many fantasy experts on the interwebs?

Because in the end, we are all getting the same information from the same guys, who all point out every time they are correct and go silent when their sleepers keep sleeping.

You know who is a very special type of fantasy bloviator? ESPN’s Matthew Berry, who goes by “The Talented Mr. Roto” because there’s nothing like a mediocre 18 year-old film reference to really get you excited to cheer for 300-pounders in tights. That weak sauce nickname makes as much sense as watching Charlie Day talk to a Dak Prescott leg/head Chernobylized centaur.

Already in 2017, before the regular season has even started, Berry has written oxymoronic and self-indulgent longform listicles titled:

  • “The Draft Day Manifesto: Win Your League by Taking a Weekly Approach”
  • “Matthew Berry’s Love/Hate for 2017”
  • “Fantasy Football Marathon Diary”
  • “Matthew Berry’s 10 Lists of 10: Breakout Candidates, Sleepers, Rookies, and the Best Team Names”


And as prognosticators prognosticate at record levels, the game is changing. Teams are increasingly moving away from the single running back set, instead, splitting carries between two or three specialized backs. Gone are the days where a player will get 20-plus carries as the norm. Gone also are the days where running backs play at a high level for more than five years. Back in my day, indeed.

Gee anything else you want to complain about to ruin this fun method of gambling?

Yes! Thanks for reminding me! Injuries play a role in that running back halflife, and also in making fantasy football less and less enjoyable. Already this preseason, the NFL has seen 28 season ending ACL tears, a specific injury that has claimed at least 45 players in each of the last four seasons. Sure, it’s heartless to complain when it’s not your ACL and it’s barely your football team, but injuries have increasingly stolen seasons from the players we spend so much time scouting.

OK, enough grimness Josh! If I wanted to feel bad about football I would read about the Jets. Tell me something about this season. Give me a tip or two, or hit me up with an amazing fact that will make reading this whole thing worth it.

Geez, I really put a lot of pressure on myself here. How about this: This season is the first fantasy football season since Ludacris’ “What’s Your Fantasy?” came out that the Falcons won’t be doing it in the Georgia Dome on the 50 yard line (while the Dirty Birds kick for t’ree)!

That was stupid. What is your best pick for fantasy football that everyone else isn’t saying?

If I must, I really like Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota. He was great last year before injury and the Titans heavily upgraded his receiving corps. When everyone reaches for Rodgers, Brees, and Brady, you can sit back and wait a few rounds. Don’t try too hard—let Mariota come to you, as you fill your team with better WRs and RBs.

Also, if you want a general strategy, pick players on teams with high functioning offenses and crappy defenses. Those teams will have the ball in their offenses’ hands often and will play in a some crazy high-scoring games. If it’s between Drew Brees’ third receiver or the best guy on the 49ers, go with Brees’ guy.

That seems obvious, can you give me an outside of the box strategy?

I’ve always wanted to try picking players who all had the same bye week (A bye week means the player’s team is off that week, so the player has no game. Every team has one bye week randomly assigned between weeks five and 11). Instead of trying to find decent substitutes for a number of different weeks, you would essentially give away one week and have a fully powered team the rest of the weeks. Like using a bidet, it feels a little un-American, but the experiment might prove for a good time.

Can you advise me on how to handle my moral quandary about drafting bad guys like Jameis Winston or Joe Mixon?

The Prompt Magazine© has consulted its lawyer and we cannot legally tell you what to do with the alleged law breakers and has advised us to not mention any names. (OK, the lawyers looked away for a minute so real quick… Even though the Jameis Winstons and Joe Mixons of the world are bad guys who I wouldn’t want to root for, you can’t just draw the line with them. The list of alleged domestic abusers, alleged sexual abusers, alleged child abusers, alleged steroid abusers, alleged recreational substance abusers, and alleged pounds per square inch abusers, is so long, drafting a fantasy team without them is like walking blindfolded in minefield. Meanwhile the NFL picks and chooses which cases they throw the book at, so why can’t you?)

Anything else? This is getting long…

Nope, just go out there and make us proud. And the best way to do that is to draft a team, think about it a little, and talk about it never. See you in the playoffs!

Josh Bard

Josh Bard is a guy. A sports guy, an ideas guy, a wise guy, a funny guy, a Boston guy, and sometimes THAT guy. Never been a Guy Fieri guy, though.

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