Writer's note: I'm Carl’s intern who made him a bunch of money for years with my independent NFL betting blog before stepping up to Barstool all of last season.
Let me start by saying that the NFL is happening. I've worked at an ad agency for a decade, and every major brand has dumped their National TV eggs into one basket for the last 4 months of this hellish year. The NFL will heartlessly plow through this season to cash in. Maybe shit hits the fan halfway through the season, but don't let that stop you from necking beers at a fantasy draft and stacking a fucking roster.
I've been playing fantasy since 1998 when I was a wee boy. The Internet wasn't much of a thing; scoring info was sourced from newspapers and tabulated in Excel. My first ever draft pick was Randy Moss in his rookie season, and I've been dominating fantasy since. You could say that I "came out the womb ready."
^^^An awesome celebration as long as you ignore the whole "spreading mom's labia" thing.
Given my experience, I figured I could give you some quick advice prior to your draft. If you're a fantasy hardo then you're already prepared through personal rankings, tiers, mock drafts, sleepers, busts, etc. But if you're a casual player and just don't want to embarrass yourself in your work/family/friends league, follow these high-level draft rules and you'll be in a good spot.
Don't draft a QB early
To be a competent NFL quarterback, you need leadership, maturity, discipline, and poise. To be a competent fantasy quarterback, you need a pulse. Here's a list of some underwhelming QBs that had at least one Top-5 fantasy scoring week last season: Daniel Jones, Marcus Mariota, Teddy Bridgewater, Jacoby Brissett, Gardner Minshew, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Jeff Driskel, Sam Darnold, Mitch Trubisky, and Andy Dalton. You can win your league with players like this.
Patrick Mahomes is the best QB in the league, but if he goes in the first round of your draft, that's too early. Pretty simply, the scoring gap between the #1 and #10 fantasy QB is much slimmer then the gap at other positions. You don't want to sink first-round draft capital at the QB position. Remember, this is not real life - you do not need a face of your fictional franchise.
Grab a late-round QB based on the Week 1 match-up (Big Ben at the Giants or Cam at the Dolphins), and let another drafter deal with owning Kyler Murray at the Niners in Week 1. Then you can stream QBs week-to-week and easily build a Top-10 aggregate QB for the year.
Get RB depth instead of filling out position "needs"
RBs take the most punishment, and quality replacements don't emerge on the waiver wire as easily as other positions. It's also much harder to find late-round value at RB vs. other positions.
Some drafters will say "I got my 2 RBs and 3 WRs, so now I need a QB or TE." Fuck that. Get yourself some more RBs - at least 4 RBs before sniffing a QB.
Don't draft a defense or kicker
Forget drafting these positions late, just don't draft them at all. Yep, just leave those spots empty.
In the time from your draft to the start of the season, some shit can go down, and a defense or kicker will do nothing for you. This year more than ever, you have to protect yourself from injury/illness to skill position players and give yourself depth to adjust until games are played. Let stuff play out over the next 10 days, then drop your bottom-two players and nab your defense and kicker right before the start of the season. Like the QB position, quality kickers and defenses will emerge week-to-week.
Alright, it's Draft Day for this guy. Time to hit the links then proceed to assemble the greatest collection of talent this world has seen. If you have any draft questions, hit me up @DopeRopesChi. Fair warning that I'll be deep into a combination of GTLFs and 3Chi that will have me drafting remotely from another planet.