Commandment II –
Thou shalt draft your players from around the league.
This does not seem as self-explanatory as some of the other commandments. What does it mean? Besides the obvious bye week conflict issues, drafting players from different teams will ensure that you won’t get burned by one team totally melting down.
After all, you might love the Pittsburgh Steelers. So, in an effort to reconstruct your favorite team, you draft and trade for Pittsburgh’s quarterback, two running backs, two wide receivers, a tight end, the kicker, Pittsburgh’s defense/special teams, and any other reserve Steelers you can find. Well, rather than have two top running backs starting for you, you’re stuck with a primary running back and a backup, both of whom won’t be on the field at the same time. Both of them likely won’t produce the most fantasy points possible. You lose the potential benefit of two top players in exchange for one top player and one second- or third-tier player. I use the example of the Pittsburgh Steelers only because I actually experience that firsthand in a league.
Also, if your chosen team has a blowout day, completing every pass, running free through gaping holes in the line, holding their opponents scoreless, you’ll do fine. But, how often does this happen? Not often enough to count on in fantasy football.
So, the remedy is to spread the risk and reward around. Investors know this strategy. You don’t dump all your money into the hot stock of the day. No, you put some here and some there, picking and choosing carefully, so that each piece fits together and makes the whole greater than the sum of the parts. View your fantasy football team as a portfolio, not of stocks and bonds but of football players. If one team has a blowout week, those players will get you some extra points over and above what you were expecting. If one team gets blown out, those players will provide fewer points than you were hoping to get. But, as an overall unit, things tend to average out and your team will be solid each and every week instead of having giant swings of positive – and negative – performance.
If you have to have the maximum output from each of your players each and every week, it is simply not going to happen. You will have some players on your bench that outperform your starters. You will leave players on the waiver wire who outperform players you chose to start. There is no way to avoid it. That is the nature of fantasy football. But, the idea is to have a steady group of performers that give you consistent results, week in and week out. You might not win every game, but you should win more than you lose, if you team holds up, and might even make it to the playoffs.
My suggestion is to never start more than two players from one team in any given week. In fact, except for kickers and defense/tpecial Teams, I try to limit the number of players from any one team on my roster to two or three. I understand that handcuffs will tend to force you into having more than two members of any one team on your roster, but see my take on handcuffs in Commandment VII.