THE E-MAILS START FLOODING MY IN-BOX IN EARLY AUGUST. MY FRIEND ERIKA FROM DENVER ANNUALLY CONTACTS ME, AND SO DOES MY FATHER-IN-LAW, JOHN, FROM CHICAGO. THE MESSAGES, WHOMEVER THEY ARE FROM, ALL SHARE THE SAME URGENT REQUEST: "MY FANTASY FOOTBALL DRAFT IS COMING UP. HELP!"
This is one of the by-products of being the editor of this 156-page fantasypedia, as well as—I humbly submit—the back-to-back champion of the fantasy league I play in. I'm more than happy to share my title-winning secrets. These friends and relatives, after all, don't play against me.
That got me thinking, If I'm going to help them, why wouldn't I help you, too? So here you have it: the proven title-winning strategies that you need to follow to have a successful 2012 season. Learn them, live them, love them. Please don't forget the tip jar.
PLAY IT SAFE IN THE FIRST ROUND
DON'T BE CUTE AND TRY TO HIT A HOME RUN BY SELECTING, say, A.J. Green because you think he's this year's Rob Gronkowski. Take the most reliable point producer that you can, regardless of position.
DRAFT ONE OF THE FAB FIVE QUARTERBACKS
PLACE HIGH VALUE ON THE TOP QUARTERBACKS THIS SEASON: Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Matthew Stafford and Cam Newton. Because the NFL has become a passing league, elite QB production can be more predictable than, say, elite running back numbers. Just ask yourself this: Whom do you trust more to produce a big year, Brees or Ryan Mathews? The drop-off from Newton to my sixth-ranked quarterback (Michael Vick) is steep.