I just received an invite from a former associate to play in a fantasy football league, just as in years past. Annually, I willfully fork over my annual $10 charitable donation to those cagey people who write and sell the overpriced fantasy football magazines (and you know the ones!) to begin my research. It’s truly amazing how much information some of us feel that we have to digest prior to making such statistically trifling (but, to many of us, emotionally crucial) choices on the upcoming draft night in our favorite fantasy football league.
Sure, you try to know about your potential draftee/player (both veterans and rookies), his team, this year’s schedule, last year’s stats, and why ol’ so-and-so will have yet another terrific year or why you will NEVER select last year’s draft dud ever again. It can be fun, and, at times, somewhat maddening as you to take the annual pigskin cram course in an attempt to become an encyclopedia of football knowledge. You try to become a bit like ESPN’s Mel Kiper (with better hair, let’s hope) – a veritable wealth of both useful and useless facts as you channel your inner Wile E. Coyote in order to outfox your competitors yet again this year.
However, there is another factor which you have to be increasingly wary of again this season. Who are the players who will start the season on the bench? Not due to injury or poor play, but because they have run afoul of the law. One major newspaper published a story which showed that, over a recent 14-year period, there were 713 instances where an NFL player had a reported run-in with the law. 713 teams divided by 32 teams = about 32 arrests per team/14 years = 2.31 players/season who had to deal with their local Sheriff Andy and Deputy Fife.
It can really hurt your fantasy football team’s chances if you don’t pay attention to the player suspensions and arrests prior to your fantasy draft. Just last week, Dallas Cowboy running back Ezekiel Elliott, a sure-fire first round fantasy pick, was handed a 6-game suspension by the NFL for domestic battery. Minnesota wide receiver, Michael Floyd, will sit for 4 games to start the season due to a substance abuse charge. Former Louisiana Tech star and now Baltimore Ravens’ running back, Kenneth Dixon, will be off the field for the first 4 games this season due to use of performance enhancing drugs. And so it goes.
Make sure to factor this information as you do your pre-draft homework. When the draft clock is ticking, and you are making those crucial decisions with each and every fantasy football draft pick, pay attention to the police blotter beforehand to make sure that your next choice wasn’t already demoted to the Leavenworth Lawbreakers to start the NFL season!