With the NBA season (and subsequent free agency) coming to a close and MLB playoffs still months away, we’re in a bit of a dead zone for sports fans. Sure, you could try to give the World Cup a chance but, in reality, the next big thing on the American sporting calendar is the NFL season, which means you should probably already be preparing for your fantasy draft.
Of course, as a dad, you probably don’t have time to do too much prep work for your fantasy league but you also really don’t want to end up getting last place (again). Fortunately, Andy Holloway, Jason Moore, and Mike “The Fantasy Hitman” Wright, the three hosts of the Fantasy Footballers, the most popular podcast regarding fantasy football, are here to help by sharing how even someone who has no time to prepare can end up having a leg up on draft day.
But the trio, who are currently on a podcasting tour across the country, aren’t just fantasy gurus, they’re also all dads. And while their work lives might be ruled by the gridiron, that doesn’t mean they expect their kids to be diehards like they are. Fatherly spoke with the trio about resisting the temptation to force their kids to be sports fans and why they hope their kids can follow their own path to whatever they love.
Heading into their fantasy drafts, a lot of dads aren’t going to have time to do their research. What is the one piece of advice you’d give to a dad who is walking in on draft day completely blind?
Andy: Don’t draft a quarterback early. They’re the biggest names in the NFL, they score the most points in fantasy, but you don’t need to draft one until the very late rounds because all of them score a lot of points. Whereas for running backs and wide receivers, the drop off is incredible. If you waste one of those early picks on a quarterback, you’re going to score less points.
Why is drafting a quarterback too early such a common mistake?
Jason: Most new fantasy players assume they should take Aaron Rodgers or Tom Brady first because those are the names they recognize. And so I think that’s one of the biggest mistakes and I think that avoiding reaching for a quarterback is a good overarching principle.
Besides avoiding quarterbacks in the first few rounds, what else will help dads win their fantasy league?
Mike: I would also say never draft solely based on the rankings of the of the draft you’re in. So if you’re drafting on ESPN, don’t just use the ESPN rankings. Find a ranking that you trust, whether it’s our rankings or someone else’s, consult a few sources. Because half the people in a week will be using just the default rankings, so even just consulting a few other rankings from a few different websites will already put you ahead of the pack.
Along with being fantasy experts, you guys are also all dads. As your kids get older, are you hoping that they inherit your love of football or sports in general?
Jason: I don’t think any of us here want to put pressure on our kids to like something just because we do. But I really, really hope that my kids end up loving fantasy football because of the relationships that I’ve seen. We do live events and we get to meet some of the fathers and children that are there together and it just seems like it’s really given them a special bond that can grow through their teenage years. So I wouldn’t push them into it but I do hope it happens organically.
Along with being fantasy experts, you guys are all fans of the Arizona Cardinals. Have you been tempted to try and make your kids become Cardinals fans?
Mike: A few years ago, one of my sons decided he was a Broncos fan. It hurt me a lot inside to hear but I knew I needed to let him be his own fan. And as long as he isn’t a fan of a team in the Cardinal’s division, it’s ultimately fine. I told him, ‘I can accept you as a Broncos fans but Seahawks and 49ers fans are not allowed in this house.’
Have you found that any of your kids don’t have a passion for sports? How have you handled that?
Andy: It’s so interesting to me how the personalities of your kids are so different, like my oldest, who’s nine, he likes playing sports and he certainly, you know, was excited to go to his first game and things like that. But that’s just not his passion like it was for me as a kid. He likes computers. And he likes science. My middle son is the sports nut. He loves analyzing the numbers, memorizing stats, and watching every game.
I try not to keep a double standard with them just because my kids like one thing over another. Every kid is different and I want to expose my kids to different things so that they can discover what they like and don’t like. If my kids play fantasy football, I want them to enjoy it because, at the end of the day, that’s all that matters. I don’t want them to like football to make me proud or because they feel like I expect them to. I’ve never once sat down and thought, ‘Man, I’m going to be so disappointed if my kid doesn’t grow up to be a Cardinals maniac like me. I’m not trying to live vicariously through that child. I’m not trying to drive my kids to be what I want them to be.