Think about your favorite sports team of all time. They could be a champion which brought a city its first title, or maybe it’s a Texas-sized movie that offered a glimpse into the best underdog story of all time. Regardless of your favorite, every team on your short list has one thing in common: Your favorite player is the face of that team.
Team sports don’t operate in the same mold as professional golf or NASCAR, where it’s really about one person. However, for a team to succeed and reach the pinnacle of its sport, it has to have a superstar (or in the case of the Golden State Warriors, they need five). A superstar player gives the team an identity, a focal point, and a centerpiece to build around.
You need to be doing the same thing with your fantasy football team.
It might be hard to target one player early in your draft, because every year your draft pick is probably different, right? You’re usually at the mercy of drafting the best player available early on.
Don’t let that stop you from getting your guy.
The Legend of the Bills D/ST
I first started to play fantasy football in 2005. The 10 of us middle-schoolers were new to the online gamble, so we didn’t really know what to expect. We wrangled up as many snacks as possible, headed over to Kyle’s house, set up shop on the back deck, and our first fantasy football draft was underway.
Fortunately for me, luck was on my side.
That year, Shawn Alexander broke the NFL’s rushing touchdown record, and Larry Johnson rushed for 1,750 yards with the Kansas City Chiefs. Both happened to be on my team as I waltzed to a dominating fantasy title in my first season.
The most infamous pick that year, though, came in the middle first round, and I challenge you to find another selection as terrible.
A friend (who we’re going to name Kanye, for his sake) entered the 2005 draft with a basic, age-old strategy — defense wins championships. Unknown to him, defense does not win fantasy football championships. In fact, they are the least important position you will ever draft.
With the seventh overall pick in the 2005 Moon Area Fantasy Football Draft, Kanye selected the Buffalo Bills Defense and Special Teams.
Remember when I mentioned having the face of your fantasy team? This is not what I meant.
The Aaron Rodgers Effect
For the better part of five years now, my go-to target has always been Aaron Rodgers.
He’s a two-time league MVP, consistently is one of NFL’s best passers who rarely turns the ball over (translating into negative fantasy points), and when he’s on my team, I NEVER have to worry about who my quarterback is going to be week after week.
Oh, except for last year when he fractured his collarbone in week six and was sidelined the rest of the fantasy season…
As an important side note: always have a backup plan. Fortunately for me, I also drafted Carson Wentz.
Having Aaron Rodgers spearhead the top of my starting lineup immediately scores me a win over my opponents. When I draft him, he’s usually the first or second quarterback off the board, so I have to reach to get him, but it’s always worth it.
You have a reliable scorer, a foundation for your team and a new favorite player whose career you can follow.
Do yourself a favor — Find your Aaron Rodgers.
Sticks and Stones
You probably learned the old adage on the playground growing up, by your parents trying to explain how to overcome a childhood bully, or maybe somebody said it to you when you were being a jerk.
“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me.”
Well, in the case of fantasy football, having a bad name hurts, and picking the right one is one of the most important things you’ll do all season.
Select a player as your team’s focus, and make that player a part of your identity.
Now, this player may just happen to fall into your lap. Maybe your target player gets picked right before you, so you have to scramble for the next best option on your big board.
No sweat. There are plenty of options, and even more great team names to come from that. Here’s a list to get the wheels turning.
If nothing else, they’re great for a laugh.
- Baker’s Dozen
- Baby Got Dak
- Golden Tate Warriors
- Lights, Kamara, Action
- Turn Your Head and Goff
- Saving Matt Ryan
- Dalvin and The Chipmunks
- Le’Veon a Prayer
- Yippee Ki Yay Justin Tucker
- It’s Too Late to Say Amari
- 2 Gurley’s 1 Cup
- Mariota Had a Little Lamb
- Turn Down for Watt
Moral of the Story
Pick favorites. Choose sides. Have some fun with it.
For as much science, projections, sleepers, busts and mock drafts as big companies try to shove down your throat, fantasy football is a gamble. There are no guarantees, and there certainly is no such thing as a sure bet.
The best we can do is pick our favorite players, gather a team we can enjoy watching all year, and hope the fantasy football gods are on our side.
Find your Aaron Rodgers.