Fantasy Football: The Best Advice I've Ever Gotten

By Meng Song
Arian Foster Houston Texans
Getty Images

Fantasy football is a game, and like any game, you can learn its intricacies and get better at playing it. But no matter how good you get, there will always be some measure of luck or chance involved. No one can predict an injury or a random seven-TD game. With that in mind, here’s the best piece of advice I’ve ever gotten about fantasy football, and really about life in general.

There is no correct decision. Learn from what happened, but don’t dwell on it.

Trust me, it sounds a lot easier to follow this advice than it actually is. You knew DeSean Jackson was going to have an amazing season, but someone drafted him before you? Maybe you should’ve reached for him despite his ADP. Don’t lose sleep over it. You wanted that promotion but got passed over for Bob, the putz from Marketing? Maybe you should’ve worked harder or expressed more interest to your manager. Move on.

Now it’s important that you don’t misunderstand what I’m saying here. It’s absolutely relevant and valuable to identify what occurred and how it happened. We evaluate results, both good and bad, and we learn from our experiences to better handle similar situations in the future. The problem is that far too often, we revisit the same mistakes and try to come to conclusions as to what the correct decision should’ve been.

We do that when in fact there was no right or wrong decision. You can analyze every aspect of an action before you do it, but there are just too many moving pieces. There are too many variables that affect a fantasy season just like there are too many variables that determine our outcome in life.

Sometimes it’s more important that you made a calculated decision no matter what that decision was. Let’s take a look at a fantasy football example of how this comes into play as well as a real-world example.

Let’s look at a hypothetical situation where you drafted Arian Foster last year without doing any research. Foster was drafted as a top-10 overall player in 2013 despite battling calf and back issues during training camp. Preseason proponents told you that he was a steal to perform as an RB1 if your league mates passed on him, and those against said that Foster would have a disappointing, injury-riddled season.

It turns out the detractors were right and Foster was placed on IR halfway into the season. But no one could’ve known for sure, and Foster might’ve been a top-5 RB last year had he taken a few extra vitamins. Regardless, you should learn from that and make sure to be better informed about any early-round studs with preseason injury reports.

It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have drafted Foster if you decided that he was worth the gamble. It also doesn’t mean that you should avoid Drew Brees this year just because one report comes out about how he has an ankle sprain. Don’t cry over spilt Foster, although I certainly understand your pain if you did.

In a real-world example, say that you broke up with a girl named Arianna Foster. She got a new job in Los Angeles, and you ended up breaking it off instead of moving with her. Now you find out that she’s moved back and is happily engaged to some schmuck.

That doesn’t mean moving to L.A. was the right decision. A thousand things could’ve happened that resulted in her moving back and getting engaged. However, you should probably think back to what your criteria were for deciding against the move. And if your new girlfriend is moving to Dallas next month, use what you learned and make the best decision you can.

As we get closer to the start of football season, remember to learn from the past and apply it to this coming draft, but don’t stew over it. So what if you missed out on Keenan Allen last year? That doesn’t mean you have to draft a breakout rookie WR candidate like Sammy Watkins this year if there’s another available player you like better. Remember that fantasy football often mirrors life, and this advice covers both.

There is no correct decision. Learn from what happened, but don’t dwell on it.

Meng Song is a writer for Follow him on Twitter @ms0ng, “like” him on Facebook or add him to your Google+ network.

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