The Fourth of July holiday is more than just one day. It usually means a pretty good week. A little less work, a little more food, and a lot of fireworks. It’s fun for everybody.

Unless you’re a dog, of course. Then fireworks are a terrible tradition that should be abolished.

It’s also a good time to appreciate our independence and the freedoms we enjoy. And with the fantasy season just a couple months away, it’s also time to start thinking about your independence when it comes to finding good sources of information. This is all just a roundabout way of saying that you’re absolutely going to tank your season unless you find independent sources for fantasy football news.

The truth is that when you visit clearly-biased sources, you’re wasting your time and actually avoiding the truth. As you begin to ramp up your draft prep, be on the lookout for time-wasting media.

Now, I can hear some of you saying okay, Michael, that’s nice and all. So how about identifying these places? Well, here’s a shortlist:

Local media. You might think that going to local newspapers, reporters, radio stations, and podcasts from a team’s city will help you get inside information, or at least some data that national media might overlook. In reality, you’re using biased sources, and sometimes they’re hired mouthpieces for that particular team.

As you know, football is a business. And if a media outlet wants access to the local team, they can’t deviate too far from the team’s official position. A certain rookie looks fantastic and is picking up the playbook faster than expected. A veteran is ahead of schedule with their injury rehab. A later-round draft pick is making waves in camp and could play a big role this season. Blah blah blah.

Is it true? Maybe. Maybe not. Who knows? But if an outlet says a newly-signed veteran looks old and slow, or the “new” playbook looks boring, or a high draft pick looks lackluster, the team isn’t going to be eager to grant interviews or give them information. And if they’re an official partner of the team, you can expect the kind of sanitized information that would make North Korea proud. Maybe there’s an outlier here and there, but you can safely skip these sources.

Mouthpieces who gain social currency by saying outlandish things. Some talking heads and websites say things for views and clicks, and that includes making outlandish predictions or silly rankings. They just want to generate buzz by hyping up deep sleepers or “going against the grain." It's not founded on anything except a desire to raise their digital profile.

If it sounds crazy, it's not ahead-of-the-curve information. It's probably just crazy.

Fantasy shows from networks that carry NFL games. Do you think they pay billions of dollars to trash what they’re buying, or take risks as far as evaluations go? Of course not. They play it safe to keep the product looking valuable and not make any waves. They’re about as informative as a pregame show (which I haven’t watched in several years).

Content from daily fantasy sports sites. DFS sites have one goal: To get you to gamble. That's their agenda. Whatever they write about players, the only objective is to get you to deposit money into your account. Do you think they care about your office league, or the 20-year league with your buddies? Nope and nope.

Coaches. Never believe coaches. They're liars because their agenda has nothing to do with fantasy football or helping your team. They might be motivating a player, motivating a backup, drumming up trade interest, protecting their job, tricking their next opponent, or something else entirely. Don't believe any coaches, whether they're head coaches, assistant coaches, position coaches, life coaches, or grade-school P.E. coaches. They lie.

Now, I’m sure you can find some good advice needles in these giant haystacks. But if you rely on these sources for your draft preparations, you’re hurting your team.

So where are the good sources? Well, not to sound self-serving, but this website is one of them. Ian and Andy do a great job of sifting through data to find relevant information that will help your team. And they’re not biased, so you’re getting objective perspectives.

(Well, Andy is a huge Brett Favre fan for some unknown reason that defies logic. But Brett’s retired now, so no worries).

And there are plenty of other sites, of course. And message boards, and Twitter accounts. And podcasts, too (which Fantasy Index also has). Since my leaguemates read this column, I’m not going to give away my favorites. I have a title to defend, you know. But it’s important that you utilize a variety of sources, both before your draft, as the regular season progresses, and even the hours before kickoff each week. Different content has different strengths, so feel free to use any of them as needed.

That's all I wanted to tell you this week. You don’t have to do any heavy lifting now. There’s plenty of time, and many things will change to make today's preparations worthless, anyway. I'm just advising you that it’s time to prepare to prepare. Be skeptical about where you’re getting your information, and put extra effort in finding sources without an obvious bias. In the meantime, celebrate our country’s independence with good friends, family, and lots of food. And fireworks, unless you have dogs. Then maybe just give them a break.

What are your go-to outlets for reliable, objective information? What criteria do you use to determine which ones are the best? Have you been burned in the past by a fantasy website or show? Do you have dogs that actually like fireworks? Share your thoughts below.