Don't let team loyalty cloud your Fantasy Football judgment
For the thirteenth year in a row, your wife has asked, "Now what exactly is this thing you're doing with your friends Friday night?"
And for the thirteenth year in a row, you try patiently explaining again how fantasy football works.
She rolls her eyes, giving you that "why couldn't I have married a grown up" look.
But not all wives are the same.
In fact, fantasy football is so prevalent most women know all about it. Some have actually joined leagues. And sorry fellas, but there will always be those ladies who view fantasy football as a pitiful waste of time.
However, even if your significant other is one of the eye-rollers, she is not what's been destroying your drafts for the last 13 years. No, it's your loyalty to your favorite team that has been keeping you out of the money.
2003...You showed up wearing Cardinals Zubaz and boldly announced, "Emmitt has A LOT left in the tank. You'll see."
2005...Looking back at it now, wearing that #11 jersey with the dreads wig may have been a tell. You know how poker players wear dark glasses? Well, there's sort of a reason for that. See, in aught five, Jimmy from work wasn't really going to take Fitzgerald with the third overall pick. He was just reading your cards, while you were going all-in on your favorite player. It's called bluffing.
3-9. Season over.
2006...You shouted out in the third round. "They don't give Heisman Trophies to just anyone, boys." Matt Leinart in the third? Really? And because you were worried he wouldn't snake back to you in the fourth?
2010..."Kurt who? Gimme Derek Anderson, bi***es!"
2012..."Well, I'm not getting stuck again without one of the top running backs. I'll take Beanie. I mean, how bad can turf toe be?"
This is like going through someone's scrapbook, that is if that someone wanted to keep and preserve their favorite turds in one convenient book.
Alright, it's 2013 now, Cardinal fan. Time to get serious. The guys in your league, they have a nickname for you. "The Donor." You thought they called you that because you reminded them of Shane Doan.
You're short and blonde and your eyes are set way too close together. But that doesn't matter right now. I'm not trying to match you up on a date. I'm trying to get you to win your fantasy league.
Now, do you want to win this thing or not?
Don't worry. You can take a Cardinal or two. (That literally means one or two). Just take them at the appropriate time in the draft. Here's your tip sheet for draft day.
First of all, I'm assuming you're in a 10-12 team league. If not, you might as well join the ladies in the next room for Sex and the City trivia. If everyone in the league has an all-star team, you've pretty much dwindled this league of yours down to "pure luck." Would you rather become a millionaire building a Fortune 500 company from the ground up or by winning millions from a scratcher ticket?
Best offensive player on your favorite team. When do you take him?
The "Old You" shows up in his retired #1 jersey at Pitt and tries to convince everyone you just think Pitt's unis are cool. Next thing you know, you're on the clock with the eleventh overall pick and you convince yourself that your buddy's butthole brother-in-law is going to take Fitz with one of his back-to-back selections just to screw you over. "Fitz!" you scream out. Everyone laughs. Your draft is ruined. And you still have six hours of drafting to do before you can leave to cry.
But the "New You" has read this article and knows better. Despite the excitement you feel for a new quarterback and new offensive system, you understand that it's not like Aaron Rodgers and a 40-year-old Don Coryell were added to the organization. Larry Fitzgerald is being graded by the experts as a late-second, early-third rounder. If you have a hunch and think Fitz is going to pop this fall, go ahead and take him, but be reasonable. Fitzgerald shouldn't go any higher than 20th overall. Preferably, you can land him with your third pick.
"Old You" would forget that you justified taking Kevin Kolb as your starter in 2011 and would make the mistake of grabbing Palmer this year. Don't. Just don't.
Palmer is no better than a fantasy backup, and a low-end one at that. ESPN ranks him as the 21st-best fantasy QB in the league, and most sites don't even rank him as a top-150 player overall. If you want Palmer, "New You," you can wait til the end of the draft and grab him before you take your kickers... wait... Please tell me you wait until the last two picks of the draft to take your kickers. If not, we could have a bigger problem on our hands.
"Old You" would whisper to your wife during the heat of passion, "I think Mendenhall's a real sleeper this year." Later that week, at your parents' house, "Mrs. Old You" would then unknowingly tell your brother the whole creepy story. Great. Now, your brother knows your sleeper, and he will blab it to everyone in your league.
"New You" understands that Mendenhall is going to be the Cardinals' starting running back, and that certainty of carries definitely ups his draft stock. Still, he's a low-end #2 starting fantasy back at best, with the experts saying don't take Mendenall prior to 70th overall. That means no sooner than sixth round, no later than the eighth.
"Old You" wants to climb a mountain and scream, "Breakout player!!!"
"New You" doesn't even like hiking. You like Floyd? Sit on that knowledge. Load up your team with great RBs, land a top-12 quarterback somewhere in the first five rounds, and go ahead an invest top picks in one good receiver and an elite tight end. Then, sneak through the back door on Floyd, grab him in the ninth round, surround him with good depth at the position, and take a calculated chance that your "breakout" hunch was right. But no higher than the ninth round! And preferably the 11th.
"Old You" wants to make him a starter. But "Old You" is an idiot.
"New You" sees his speed, sees that he's clearly the #1 tight end in a pass-happy offense, and thinks he's worth a late-round flier as a backup with upside.
Remind me again, you're not of those guys who drafts kickers early, are you? If so, stop. That's the "Old You." The "New You" is actually trying to win this year.
Chuck Powell, KTAR.com & ArizonaSports.com contributor