Lists That Actually Matter's 2011 Infallible Fantasy Football Preview

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Every year, an estimated 20 million nerds that like to pretend that they're not nerds people play fantasy football. And every year, an estimated 19,999,999 people either perform poorly or only win by some random fluke because I've yet to share my time-tested strategies and tips. Until now. These are the things the so-called "experts" don't want you to know, because they'll probably turn you into an expert, thus flooding the market with experts and potentially damaging the credibility of nearly every balding, portly man in the field of make believe sports, relegating them to a life of writing lists. My methods are foolproof and thoroughly researched, and are not at all the result of us just rushing to get something completed on a popular subject in order to artificially inflate our clicks and appear higher in search engine results. Frankly, I'm insulted by the suggestion that we would do anything of the Fantasy Football Rankings Tips News Team Names Sleepers Win Money Justin Bieber Injury Report Free Leagues Rumors sort. So, without further ado, below are the tips, sleepers and busts that will win you your league this year ... and maybe finally win your father's respect ... but probably just the league.

Buy 10-12 very expensive suits: It's important that a team owner project an air of confidence and wealth to make his or her players feel secure in their team situation. Now you may be tempted to talk yourself out of this one. But lest you be tempted to think that you'll never meet your players so you can just save the money, you should know that Peyton Manning has already developed the ability to see you through your TV screen. It's one of the reasons he agrees to endorse every other product he's approached about. Can the rest of the league be far behind? Pocket squares, everyone!

Construct your own personal rankings: Research is important, so you should be spending 90% of work hours looking up stats from previous seasons that mean nothing now. Like any addiction, you have to be committed and willing to risk financial ruin for yourself and those you love if this is going to work. And look at it this way, you probably would have quit your job when you won the $400 at the end of the year anyway. At some point in your life, you just have to take an extremely irresponsible chance or else you'll always wonder what could have been.

Now the rankings themselves are really a matter of personal preference, so be sure to rank the players as you see fit. But if you want my advice (you do), I would rank them as such: first should be players that eat a good breakfast. Try calling team facilities or local beat reporters to obtain this information. They probably won't be forthcoming with the info, so be persistent. Next should be players that play the game the right way. Then players that just have fun out there. Followed closely by those that would play the game for free. And finally, those that play like a kid out there. Why would I rank those players so low? While their enthusiasm is infectious, there's a trade-off with those that play like a kid in that they're often distracted by their shoelaces and frequently play with the grass as the game is going on around them.

Work out: This has nothing to do with fantasy football. Just look at yourself. Have some self-respect.

Picking a team name: You want something that's easily understandable to your league-mates, but also wildly offensive. Try making it personal about a fellow league member, maybe a dig at a family problem or tragedy that will really hurt their feelings, open up an old wound or possibly plunge them into a depression from which they'll never recover. You know, guy stuff.

Drafting: Whether you're drafting in person or on a computer, draft chatter is one of the most important parts of the experience. You need to be on your A-game because it's not hyperbole to say that the things said at this time will be what everyone talks about for the rest of your lives. You need to be memorable without dominating the conversation. In an online draft, topical cultural references are always a crowd-pleaser. That's why I like to follow my opponents' selections with, "Is that your final answer?" It's fun, slightly intimidating and shows I know the latest catchphrases. Drafting in person? I'd suggest making fart noises after every pick. It's smart without excluding those whose sense of humor is less refined.

Also, asking if a player that has already been selected is still available when it's time for your pick is a big no-no in imaginary sporting drafts. It is probably the most embarrassing thing a person can do short of eating ribs on a first date. So just be aware of who has been taken at all times and find out if your league has penalties in place to address such violations. If not, it might be a good idea to suggest some. Common ideas include small monetary fines, point deductions, systematic poisoning or, worst of all, loss of draft picks.

Now, onto this year's Sleepers and Busts:

Sleepers

  • Kickers with single bar facemasks
  • Local high school stars
  • Kickers who are mules
  • Any player whose dad is the coach (guaranteed touches)
  • Players with spouses more famous than them
  • Invisible players
  • Air Bud

Busts

  • Puppy Bowl participants
  • Players with ill-fitting helmets
  • Retired players
  • Players that wear pageboy hats in post-game press conferences
  • Players from the team you hate because they suck so much and you just wish they would get injured or die!
  • Players that wear jeans to practice
  • Players your wife or girlfriend thinks are handsome

I have this recurring fantasy in which you Like us on Facebook.

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