How many times have you been waiting for your next pick, and they guy you really want is still available. He survives the turn, and is making the slow crawl back to you. You're about to get the guy you targeted all offseason; just a couple teams left.
And what happens? You know what happens. He gets swiped right before your pick. The trophy you felt was in your grasp now looks a little farther away. You almost resent the replacement guy you have to take, and you look at your team with a touch of disdain. You were so close. If only you could have picked before that other owner.
But here's the thing: You did pick before that other owner. There was the round before, and the round before that. Remember? Unless we're talking about a very early pick, you had other opportunities to get the guy you wanted. You just didn't pull the trigger.
Look, it's enough of a challenge to figure out a guy you really want on your team this year. Maybe the talent, the opportunity and the schedule have all aligned to make a certain player special to you this year. It doesn't matter if it's JuJu Smith-Schuster or Saquon Barkley or Josh Gordon. It could be Andrew Luck or Andrew Hawkins. The player isn't important.
What is important is that you actually get the guy you want. Unfortunately, that's not enough for some people. They want the specific player at the specific round (or lower) that they want him. It's not enough to get the guy. They have to get a bargain, too.
Sometimes everything breaks right and you get exactly what they want. But how many times does that actually happen? How many times do you just miss out on a player instead? Was it worth waiting? Is it that important to get accolades from your league-mates about what a bargain you got? Does it matter if they think you reached for someone?
The answer to those last three questions are all no. It's not worth getting "value" if you miss out on the value. It's not worth denying yourself the guy you want just so you can earn the admiration of your opponents. Ten seconds after you make the pick, nobody cares about whether it was too early or later than expected or exactly where they were supposed to go.
All you'll remember, and you'll remember it all year, is whether you got the player. If you think a guy can be a difference-maker, don't be bound by their ADP or some internal voice that warns you it might be too early to select them. If you really want then, take them a little earlier and secure the talent you need.
Since this is the Internet, a disclaimer is probably necessary: Do not select Smith-Schuster in the first round. Don't draft Luck if Aaron Rodgers is available. Barkley is not a better prospect than Ezekiel Elliott. Take this advice in moderation.
That being said, you'll save yourself a lot of headaches if you stop worrying about getting a good deal, and focus on getting good players instead. Words like "value," "reach," "bargain," "steal" and "overpaid" lose their meaning right around week 1. Your players either help you win games or they don't. A 4-1 dummy who reached for their players is a lot better off than a 1-4 genius who got value in every round, but never drafted the guys they really wanted.
There are no guarantees, of course. But it's your team. Wouldn't you rather go into battle with the guys you like? If your strategy doesn't work, at least it was yours. And losing with your strategy is always better than losing with someone else's strategy and someone else's idea of value.
And will it be that much sweeter to win with your strategy? Of course. Will victory be tarnished because you reached for some players? Of course not. So if you're worried that a guy you really want won't be available when you "should" take him, take him earlier. Problem solved. You're the owner, GM, talent scout and decision-maker. Bill Parcells famously said (I'm paraphrasing here) that if he's cooking the meal, he'd like to buy the groceries, too. So get the groceries you want; not the ingredients someone else thinks you should pick up each round. Bon Appétit!
Do you ever reach for players? is it important to get good value in every round? Have you ever been burned (or vindicated) by reaching for someone? Share your thoughts below.