Last Month’s Question: How Much
Attention Do We Need to Pay in June & July to Prepare for Drafts
that Happen in Late August?
In last month’s column,
I explained that I am making an effort this summer to spend less
mental energy processing information about the NFL that may not
be relevant by the time the season starts. I asked readers how
much time they had spent moving Ricky Williams around their draft
boards in the summer of 2004 before his “retirement.”
Denny’s answer to that question was consistent with the
tone of most responses to the article:
Sure, I moved Williams up and down my draft board
back in 2004. It was NOT a waste of time for me to do that. When
Williams retired, I took him off my board. Every running back
below him moved up one notch because the work of sorting them
out (according to my own preferences) had already been done. The
point of working on my running back draft order was to be ready
for something exactly like Williams’ retirement. I don’t
sit around this summer thinking, “Oh my God, what will happen
to my draft board if Maurice Jones-Drew gets hit by a bus?”
The exercise isn’t about Mojo or AP; it’s about ranking
the running backs so that if something unexpected does happen
with a top back, I won’t go into my draft panicked and bewildered
because my whole draft was built on the assumption that I would
get _____ with the number _____ pick.
Like Denny, Charlie was skeptical of the procrastination approach
advocated by my June column:
I think you take the idea of inaction a little
too far. You are trying to set up laziness as a virtue just because
it is something that you can get away with in June and most of
July. Your article read to me like a direct response to the emails
that I keep getting from [FF websites telling me that I should
subscribe immediately before I fall further behind] my competitors.
The funny thing is these same websites will be the ones sending
me emails in the middle of September saying that “It’s
not too late to be competitive” if I subscribe then.
One side of the truth coin is it won’t be easy to catch
up to my competitors in September. The other side of the truth
coin is that I cannot really fall very far behind them in July.
Summer laziness isn’t as desirable as you make it out to
be; it just isn’t as terrible as the scare-and-sell approach
makes it sound.
Jack doesn’t buy completely into my procrastination approach,
but he thinks it is partly salvageable with something that I would
call “selective laziness”:
Procrastination on your information gathering is
only good to a point. I agree that [some FFers] spend too much
time in June and July thinking about stuff that will sort itself
out by September. For instance, I am not worried about figuring
out exactly what I think about Felix Jones and Marion Barber right
now. An injury or contract dispute or any number of things could
happen that would send one of them much higher on my draft board,
so I am not thinking too hard about their situation until the
season gets closer. I also don’t worry too much in July
about which NFL matchups are “favorable” during the
fantasy playoffs. Too much can happen between now and the end
of the season for me to believe that a certain quarterback will
be awesome in Week 14 because he will be playing against a defense
that happened to be weak against the pass last season.
But that doesn’t mean that I just stop thinking critically
about developments over the summer. Sometimes speculation in June
is almost as good as speculation in late August. Right now I am
trying to decide what I think about Donovan McNabb working with
Mike Shanahan in Washington. If I try to wait until August to
figure out what I think about that situation, I won’t be
able to take in all the relevant information. By starting to think
now about what I think of McNabb in Washington and of Kolb in
Philly, I will be in a position to make sense of both teams before
The only person who wrote in to agree with me (Matt) did so sarcastically:
I didn’t finish your article because I agreed
with it. I got a couple of paragraphs in before I decided to put
off finishing it until August. Have a great summer!
Funny stuff Matt.
This Month’s Question: What
Policies and Enforcement Procedures Do You Use in Your League
to Make Sure that the Checks Come in and Go out on Time?
Some leagues have no problems with payouts or fee collections
because everything is kept simple. Participants pay a flat fee
before the draft. If they don’t pay, they don’t draft.
The exact amount of the prize money for the winners in such leagues
is known before the season starts. In some cases, the fact that
the commissioner knows the day when he will write the check for
the winner means that he can calculate interest on the fees, deposit
them in an interest-bearing account for the duration of the season,
and structure the payouts to award more prize money than is actually
Other leagues (particularly those that charge transaction fees
during the season) have a harder time managing money. The commissioners
in such leagues may have no clear idea of how much prize money
there is to award until the season is over. They may end up with
the winner breathing down their necks for a check when three people
still haven’t gotten around to sending in their entry fees.
Some commissioners feel pressured into covering the fees of participants
that are too slow to pay the transaction fees they incurred—and
are then compelled to spend the offseason trying to collect dribs
and drabs of cash from various owners. I have heard from multiple
commissioners who have retired solely because collecting the money
for their league turned out to be too arduous and time-consuming
I realize it is the middle of summer and that most of the FF
community is not paying attention to this column, but I urge those
of you who know of leagues with effective policies for fee collection
and prize disbursement to forward this column to the commissioners
of those leagues so that they can send me brief explanations of
which policies have been particularly effective for them over
My next column will be written on August 18th, which should be
perfect timing for many leagues to review their strategies for
handling money matters. I have posed this question in the past
and received excellent feedback, but the timing has not been ideal.
No one likes to change policies mid-season, so I
am hoping to hear from as many commissioners as possible about
time-tested purse-management policies before mid-August.
For responses to this month's fantasy question please email