Sunday, August 21, 2011

FF Corner Draft Day Sucker Wheel Bets

Welcome to FF Corner, my column on fantasy football. This time around we focus on bad bets.

Draft Day Sucker Wheel Bets

I worked in Atlantic City one summer back in college. One of the games there was the money wheel, which was nicknamed the "Sucker Wheel" because of the low payouts. Some of the strategies experts advise and people employ in fantasy football drafting are like the sucker wheel. They rarely hit.

These three are my favorites.

1. Pick a quarterback in the first three rounds.

Remember the first time you played fantasy football and you were told never take a quarterback early? Me too. But it only takes a few seasons under the belt before many owners try to break that cardinal rule.

Sure, you might make all the right picks one season. But long-term, year-to-year, drafting a quarterback early means you miss out on players that other teams will start against your lineup. And the difference in points is not enough to make up for it. You will be playing catchup the rest of the draft.

Caveat: If one of the top-three QB's is still on the board in the third round then make that bet.

2. Pick names not tiers of talent.

I see this a lot. I'm gonna go for this guy, then this guy, and I really like this other guy. These are also the same people who say things like this in the draft chat: "Why does everyone keep picking my players?"

Mancrushes do not win fantasy leagues. And they could get you in legal trouble.

Going for names can also lead to over reaching a round or two early, especially if you are on the ends of the snake. Maybe you like the suspense of hoping player x will be there at your turn but the house odds are against you in a big way.

Tiers of talent are the way to go. For every specific player an owner has their heart set on, there usually is another available player that will produce the same amount of points.

3. Draft the handcuff

Many experts throw around this sucker wheel bet: get your top RB's backup. And maybe the QB's too.

I said it last season and I still stick by my words: Handcuffs are a waste of a draft pick and a roster spot. Nine times out of ten the backup is way less talented than the starter. For every Matt Cassell and Michael Turner there are ten Maurice Morris types.

Someone might argue but what about RBBC teams? Same rebuttal: most of the time the committee has two+ backs that are not talented enough to be a fantasy RB1. Why would you want both on your roster?

Since any fantasy team is screwed if their top running back goes down it makes more sense to have a backup that is a clear starter or the #1 in a RBBC than the handcuff.

Agree, disagree, have your own sucker wheel fantasy football bets? Have at it in the comments...

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