I don't watch a lot of reality television, but I really enjoy Shark Tank. I like seeing entrepreneurs display new products or services, and either flourish or collapse based on the grilling they receive from the experts.
Their prospects of success are always tied to their level of preparedness, and I think you'll see the same thing in your drafts and auctions this season.
If you watch the show, it's not hard to figure out what hopefuls need to know during their segment. What are the sales? What's the cost to make the product and what's the sale price? What's the cost of customer acquisition? Is there anything proprietary? What will they do with the money? How did they come to their company's valuation?
These are the basic things you need to know before you go on the show. But for some reason, plenty of folks don't have a clue as to the details of their own business. How in the world can they be successful if they don't know the basics? We laugh when we see how unprepared they are. It's silly, right?
It sure is. But it also happens in fantasy leagues every year. When you go into a new season, you need to know the details of each league. Is it a PPR league? How many teams make the playoffs? How is the draft order determined?
Everyone knows that stuff, don't they? Maybe. But there are other answers owners don't always know, and they're just as important. Does the waiver wire reset each week, or can you hold onto your priority? Is there a maximum number of receivers you can have on your roster at one time? Are you required to draft a kicker or defense, or can you stock up on other positions and cut someone prior to week 1? What are the tiebreakers for determining a playoff spot? What are the specific milestone or distance bonuses, if any?
If you're in 10 leagues this year, you probably have 10 different sets of rules and settings. Do you know the answers to all of those questions for each league? If you do, congratulations. But many owners don't know, or make assumptions that turn out to be wrong. And it can cost them later in the year, when it's too late to adjust.
I've seen smart owners assume a league used decimal scoring only to be disappointed in week 1. I've heard people complain when they thought they had locked up a playoff spot, only to learn about an unexpected tiebreaker. And while they knew it was a PPR league, they didn't know that tight ends get two points per catch. And who could have expected that quarterback rushing touchdowns count double?
Not knowing the nuances of a league is like not knowing how much profit your company made on last year's sales. What will the Shark Tank do to an owner who is unprepared? Probably the same thing a competitive league will do. It won't be pretty, and it's going to cost them a shot at some money.
A business owner can have a great product and a lot of passion, but will walk away without a deal if they don't know their numbers. Likewise, a fantasy owner can have a great strategy and a good eye for talent, but won't have success if they don't know the parameters of that specific league.
I'm sure everyone knows the details of their favorite league. But what about the last one on your list? You know, the one you picked up at the last minute because your brother-in-law's work league needed a 12th owner. Does the quarterback get a point for every 20 passing yards, or is it 50? Do you know all of their rules? And if you don't, why bother playing?
It sounds like Fantasy 101, but with so many leagues and the ease of joining them, it's worth repeating: Know the details of every league you join. Before you do any preparations, know what makes each league different, and adjust your strategy to take advantage of their quirks. Don't assume anything.
Well, you can make one assumption: Assume that other owners will be lazy and not know every detail. In a 12-team league, you can bet that a couple owners don't know exactly how it works. And in many leagues, it's more than a couple. Don't be one of those owners. Your first task should be to look over the rules and scoring system and make a note of whatever looks unusual. Then adjust your strategy to take advantage of those specific rules.
Specifically, check scoring, trades and the waiver wire. Those are the main areas where leagues can have weird rules or unexpected surprises. This research is the kind of pre-draft preparation that can really help you. Do it now and you won't have to suffer later.
Has your league had owners who didn't know how something worked and complained once the season started? Have you ever been burned by an unusual rule or scoring system, or have you ever taken advantage of one? Share your thoughts below.