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Nothing is Certain but Death and Taxes

There are plenty of unknowns in the world of fantasy football, and these questions plague us year after year. Who will be the big bust of the year? The breakthrough sleeper? Who’s going to win your league? Will there be tears? All of these are valid questions and you really have no idea what’s going to happen heading into the fantasy season (except maybe the tears – somebody is probably going to cry so just try to make sure it’s not you). 

Even if you have the first overall pick or a stacked roster in a keeper league there’s no way of knowing just who is going to take down the trophy and bragging rights.  Much like the NFL, there’s a reason the games are played each week as there are no assurances and no guarantees. Well for the most part, and that’s why I’m here. 

The weather is getting warmer, NFL teams are gearing up for training camp, fantasy players are planning their drafts and no one knows what Brett Favre will do. While these typical offseason scenarios play out, I’m here to provide you with a list of surefire guarantees for this fantasy season. No, I’m not going to tell you who to pick with your first-round pick, or who you should take a flier on in the 13th, but whether you’re a seasoned veteran or a first-time player below you’ll find the harsh realities you can count on in 2010 fantasy football.

You’re going to feel great about your team after the draft.

If you prepare properly, rank your players, pick your sleepers, etc., you’re going to end up with a decent-looking team that you’re happy with after the draft. Here’s the rub: so will most owners in your league. You’ll discover this quickly as you dive into the post-draft hot wings and a few adult beverages and everyone gushes about how they got so-and-so or why they passed on what’s-his-name and how this is going to be their year to win it all. You and I both know they’re all fools and are totally wrong, right? Well again, there’s a reason we don’t declare the winner before the season starts as you never know what’s going to happen. 

The key is to draft depth, hope for healthy players and just keep in mind that as good as your team may look you’re never guaranteed a championship. In other words, don’t clear a spot on your mantle for that trophy quite yet as it will only be that much more disappointing when you don’t win and have to put back that weird plate thing your in-laws gave you that your wife makes you keep there.

A first-round pick will be a major bust, and it might be yours.

This isn’t so much a fact, as a very, very reasonable guess. Someone in your league is going to take a guy in the first round that will do miserably this year either due to circumstance or injury. Every year there are the guys to pick. The guys that just have to go first round or just have to go in the top five. And every year, at least one of those will fail to come even close to living up to the expectations. Most often, these are runningbacks, but this can apply to anyone that you take in the first round. 

You don’t need me to name drop here, you know that it happens (okay fine, I’ll name drop just for you, Mr. Forte). The question is how can you avoid being the owner with the biggest first-round bust? Well, unfortunately, you can’t. Sure you can try to minimize it by covering all your bases through the rest of the draft but a freak injury can spell the end of the season for your first-round pick faster than you can say, “I hate you Bernard Pollard.”

At some point throughout the year, you will be faced with rooting for your team or against your team.

Yes, some players on your fantasy team will inevitably cross paths with your favorite NFL squad this season. Try as you may to avoid it, if the matchup works or if you’ve got a “never sit” stud you will at some point have to deal with a matchup between one of your fantasy heroes and the team you root for. Sure, it won’t happen often, but you still can’t justify sitting Maurice Jones-Drew even if he is playing against your beloved Indianapolis Colts.

You just have to keep in mind that even if your stud is sitting on your fantasy bench, he’s still going to get points. I know what you’re thinking, but no, Jack Del Rio is not in the locker room putting on his tie and leather jacket checking your fantasy team to determine whether or not he should start Jones-Drew on the field that day. Jones-Drew is going to play and would still get that 73-yard touchdown regardless of your choice to sit or start him so you might as well reap the benefits. In this example you’ll just need to accept that it’s somewhat bittersweet when he scores and hope that Peyton Manning and Co. do enough to get the win anyway. And hey, if things really work out for you this can end up being a win-win scenario.

You are going to scream at the TV.  Maybe even in public.

Fantasy Football is fun, right? Well yes, and at some unfortunate times, no. In many ways you can equate fantasy football to the game of golf. It’s great to spend time with friends and ultimately you always have fun and wouldn’t dream of quitting, but no matter how well you do there are times when you are downright frustrated. And I mean frustrated enough to almost throw your club into the water hazard, or your remote at the TV. 

You’ll scream at the quarterback for throwing to the third-string rookie receiver in the red zone twice when you have the team’s tight end and top wide receiver. You’ll chastise the coach for putting in the backup runningback on 2nd-and-goal at the 1-yard line and letting him vulture your touchdown. The volume of your screams will double if your fantasy opponent happens to have that second runningback and triple if you’re watching the game together. The coaches and players can’t hear you; it really doesn’t make you feel any better, you know you sound (and maybe look) a little bit foolish, but let’s be honest with ourselves and admit that it’s still going to happen at some point. Just remember though: no tears.

You will eat your words.

If you’re anything like me you know that trash talk is a vital part of any sport and fantasy football is no exception. Whether it’s a season-long bet about who will finish higher, or trash talk between you and the opponent you face in Week 7, you just can’t win them all (as nice as it would be). The important thing is to never back down from the conversation or a challenge and just know that if it doesn’t work out you have to admit defeat and focus on the future.

As a side note, and perhaps a conversation for another day, please be original in your trash talk as no one likes hearing the same insults year after year. Yes, we know about the size of that one owner’s mother, and yes, that other guy drafted a kicker way too early four years ago but let’s move forward and get a little bit relevant here.

Anyway, if you lose that fateful game in Week 7 against the cocky guy who won’t shut up with his recycled taunts, you can just use that as even more motivation to take the championship. And who knows, maybe you’ll meet that guy in the finals, get your ultimate revenge and make him eat his words. As fun as trash talk is, gloating is even better.

Perhaps you may think these points include a bit of pessimism (I prefer the term realism) but these are all things you need to know going into the 2010 season.  So the morals of this story are to draft well and ensure you have depth, expect the unexpected, and please keep yourself together … no one wants to see a grown man cry. Enjoy the season!

About Fantasy Sharks launched in 2003, disseminating fantasy football content on the web for free. It is (or has been) home to some of the most talented and respected writers and content creators in fantasy football.

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