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Don't B.S. the Reader

I've been reading too much fantasy football copy that substitutes bluster for analysis and certainty for what should merely be a reasoned lean. Don't tell me that player x is a bust, and it's stupid to draft him, or that player y was a reach in the fourth round. Nobody knows what's going to happen this year. If you don't like player x, tell me what his negatives are and what I should be concerned about. And leave room for the possibility that those concerns are unwarranted.

Sounding like you're certain about who's a sleeper and who's a bust is foolish. Give the facts and the analysis and also entertain the opposite argument - what would have to happen for that player to be a good value after all? How likely is it? I think Rudi Johnson is going to be a bust (Former first round pick Chris Perry's around, Carson Palmer's not 100 percent healthy, and Johnson doesn't catch passes). But if you draft him at No. 6, could he pan out? Absolutely - he could be the exclusive goal line back in a top offense that doesn't throw to its tight ends much from in close. Johnson is on my bust list, and I'm not drafting him where I'd have to, but I'm not going to front like I'm certain about it, or that you're an idiot if you do draft him.

I realize people want their experts to be experts and go out on a limb, and we do that all the time. We rank our players, we compile our lists and we give our reasons. But if you oversell your leans to pander to the reader that wants things to be black and white, you're doing him a disservice. It's no different than political talking heads from the extreme left or right that bludgeon all nuance out of the argument. It might be entertaining, but does the reader really want "infotainment" from a fantasy site, or an insightful analysis of the pertinent facts as they relate to player value, team tendencies and overall strategy? As someone who has a hand in RotoWire's football content, I'm betting on the latter.

Ask yourself this: how often do the teams you think are the best right after your draft actually pan out that way at season's end. In any reasonably decent 12-team field of owners, if anyone wants to pick out the top four teams after the draft, and leave me the rest, I'd lay even money on one the "worst" eight winning the league. (Of course, this bet would require that no one knew the identities of the owners and just saw the rosters).

Uncertainly is a major part fantasy football and rather than acting like we're above it, it's better to be honest about it and incorporate it into our strategies. (It's a good reason to draft multiple high upside players in the middle rounds, giving yourself the best chance of one panning out). It's also why you should be flexible and willing to draft a player you're not high on if he slips in your draft.

While we don't know what's going to happen specifically, we can position ourselves to take maximum advantage of the ways things tend to happen generally. We can understand that wide receivers tend to break out in their second and third seasons, that running backs tend to break down after 1500 carries or age 30, that kickers and defenses are notoriously unreliable from year to year. And we can knowingly go against those trends where we feel it's warranted. But either way, we're all flying blind to an extent together, and winning your league is more a matter of positioning yourself wisely and being on top of what's going on week to week, than having special powers of prediction.