This past weekend I had the pleasure of joining some of the best minds in Fantasy Football at the Flex Cup Drafts at Monmouth Park Race Track here in New Jersey. In all honesty, I was just there for the free beer and to bet on the horse races, but you never know what can happen at live drafts, so I made sure I didn’t pre-game too early in case one of the experts needed some help. I got there a little early and placed some pick 5 bets and decided to walk around the grounds and check out the horses. It was a beautiful day at the Jersey Shore and before long one of my favorite friends in the industry, Pat Thorman of PFF, walked through the gates and the conversation started flying.
RotoeXperts along with FntasySportsNetwork were sponsoring the event and SiriusXMFantasy was doing live shows all day long from the event. As I walked in Nando Di Fino and Tony Cincotta were on air talking about the upcoming drafts and the room was already filled with Fantasy Analysts ready to talk about their favorite targets and pick the brains of the DFS players, like Tommy G and Mike Leone, for advice. There were even some celebrities walking around like Lisa Ann, Chris Doleman, and Wayne Chrebet.
One thing you’ll notice if you decide to get into the fantasy sports industry is everyone is so nice. When you go to events you are surrounded by like minded people who really, REALLY love sports and decided to concentrate on fantasy when their playing days ended. My friend Joe Pisapia of The Fantasy Black Book and FanDuel was going to be drafting in the 14 team .5 point PPR Flex Cup draft and he immediately asked my thoughts on strategy. It was fun to banter back and forth about safe versus ceiling and I think he talked himself into his strategy through the conversation.
While Jake Ciely (@AllinKid) was getting the draft ready they realized Brandon Marriane Lee of HerFantasyFootball.com and FanDuel wouldn’t be able to draft because she was going to be on air for SiriusXMFantasy from 3-5 with her sisters Courtney and Ashley. I walked over to my friends at HerFantasyFootball and Brandon realized right away that I wasn’t actually drafting today (I was just eating and drinking and betting) and asked if I could Proxy Draft for her. I would do anything for my friends (maybe even give up an hour or two of free beer and food) so I was in the second she asked. Now came what would normally be a frantic few minutes where she explains how she wants me to draft. Instead it was the easiest process in the world and I’ll tell you how each of us contributed to it.
The first thing you have to do when you proxy draft for someone is to put your own ego to the side. If the person you’re drafting for has a specific plan and or strategy you have to be a good listener and work as if you are literally the conduit through which they draft their team. The ladies from HerFantasyFootball.com were on point. Brandon brought a tiered cheat sheet that she wanted to go off of and we had a few minutes to discuss the individuals within each tier. You see all of us have these tiered draft sheets, but there are certain player we target over the others in the same tier. I picked her brain for a few minutes and I immediately got a clear picture of how she wanted to draft.
Lucky for me we had already had deep late-night discussions on a million Fantasy Football related topics earlier in August when we went to DC, so I knew her likes before she even asked. Brandon was picking fourth in a 14 team .5 point PPR and that’s the point where I would normally look at the best wide receiver on the board if it were my draft, but since this was THEIR draft Jamaal Charles was the easy pick based on their sheet. Charles was the fourth running back taken and it was a very safe pick. On the way back in the second round I was almost forced into a conundrum as Jordan Matthews and Brandin Cooks both slid toward Brandon’s pick. The cheat sheet had Cooks above Matthews, but I really really like Matthews more so i was going to be tempted to go rogue already. Lucky for me Matt Camp went with Matthews right before me and it made Cooks the easy pick. After that pick it was all about following her tiered sheet and building the best team possible for her.
After looking at the draft I think her team is one of the stronger teams in the league and even has some upside if one of her RB2’s outplays their draft position or if Austin Sefarian Jenkins makes a second year leap at TE. I had a blast drafting for Brandon and she thanked me a bunch, but she has no idea how much fun I actually have drafting. Drafting Fantasy Football teams, even for someone else using their rankings, is one of my favorite things to do in the world. I live for drafting and there’s going to be a point in a few days when the drafts are over and I’ll have to fill that empty void putting together Daily Fantasy Lineups that I’ll go through a short semi-depression. No more slow draft emails filling my inbox. No more random who do I draft questions from long lost college and high school friends, and even no more preseason rankings tweaks.
I can feel the depression coming on already. Lucky for me I have a few more live drafts to get me through and then there’s always Fantasy Basketball to look forward to. (I know, it’s not the same!)
Here’s a link to Brandon Marriane Lee’s Draft for the Flex Cup 2015. http://football20.myfantasyleague.com/2015/options?L=23918&O=113&DISPLAY=LEAGUE
Let me know how you think we did? I know one person who hated/loved the 3rd round pick….@AllinKid