Groom Duties

20 Rules for Fantasy Football and, Oddly, Wedding Planning

You gave it a chance. You tried reading up on wedding planning. Really, you did. But no matter how many links your fiancée emails you, no matter how many articles she recommends…You Just. Don’t. Care.

Your only hope, your final hope, is that someone, anyone, can translate this nonsense, this insanity, this hell that is wedding planning into a language you can understand.

Done and done.

20 rules that apply to both fantasy football and, oddly, wedding planning:

Rule 1
Don’t Sweat the Kickers

Kickers are a dime a dozen, you can easily fetch them off the waiver wire, and they won’t make or break your season. If you draft a kicker before the 8th round, you’re either batshit crazy, unaware of the rules, or your name is Matt Millen. There are plenty of “kickers” in your wedding: flowers, centerpieces, all that junk. Ignore it. If your bride wants to squander 40 hours reading The Knot’s article on 900 centerpieces? Fine, let her, but you should be off the hook. Which brings us to the second point…

Rule 2
Bone up on the Draft, Then Coast

If you have a strong draft, your team should thrive. If you have a lousy draft, your team will flounder. Simple. Yes, you can tweak your team with trades and savvy midseason pickups–and you can’t fall asleep at the switch–but 80% of your performance is a direct result of your draft. For your wedding, the “Big Three” decisions are the venue, the guest list, the date. Once you nail down those three variables, the rest will fall into place and you can mostly relax, just keeping the occasional eye on the waiver wire. (More on the 80/20 rule and your budget here.)

Rule 3
When Someone Offers You a Trade, Make a Counter-Offer

Don’t be afraid to negotiate. If someone offers you a trade, unless it’s Tom Brady for Donald Driver and a sack of magic beans, you should never accept the very first proposal. It’s a back-and-forth. Negotiate. And the same goes for wedding vendors. Yes, you’ll often be stuck with their first offer or boilerplate contract, but it never hurts to push them for a better deal, especially in these tough economic times.  (Note: the media is contractually obligated to use the phrase “in these tough economic times” in every wedding article.)

Rule 4
You Can’t Have Enough Good Running Backs

If you do nothing else in your draft, get quality running backs and cushion yourself in case of injury. It’s critical. So what’s the wedding parallel? Think of the one thing–the crucial thing–that every reception must have or else it fails. The one thing that you absolutely, can’t do without: Love. Kidding. The one thing you must have: booze. Don’t cut corners here. Get good Running Backs, get good booze.

Rule 5
Remember Bye Weeks

Ignore bye weeks at your own peril. If Week 6 rolls around and both your quarterbacks are off, it’s a near guaranteed loss. When you schedule your wedding weekend, don’t do something moronic like choose Super Bowl weekend or March Madness. Get a full list of what to avoid here.

Rule 6
Laugh at the “Experts”

Most wedding advice (ahem) is like the CBS Sportsline player updates: it’s obvious and unintentional comedic gold. If Drew Brees goes 20-24 with 5 TDs and 1 INT, CBS might give you a “Consider Brees a must-start in all leagues.” Thanks, guys! Some real insider info. Similarly, if you really want a good chuckle, leaf through a stack of wedding-porn. Speaking of, be sure to check out how wedding-porn is brainwashing your fiancée.

Rule 7
Know When Lineups Are Due

It happens every year. You’ve seen it: A couple of slackers will try and change their starters just seconds before kick-off, even though the league rules clearly state that they have to be submitted an hour in advance.  Know the rules. Know the vendor cutoffs. You need to know when your deposit is due, when you can no longer cancel, and when your caterer needs a final head count.

Rule 8
Practice Moderation

Have some restraint. You need to be on top of your roster, but there’s no need to refresh your league’s website every 15 seconds to make sure your player didn’t stub his toe on the way to the team bus. Similarly, don’t dwell on the wedding plans every hour of every day. For most guys, this shouldn’t be an issue. For anyone at risk of becoming “Groomzilla,” chill the f#$k out. (Hat tip to Brian Cronin from Sports Legends Revealed.)

Rule 9
Beware the Nut-Jobs

Only draft a Terrell Owens or Michael Vick with extreme caution. Personalities matter. Ditto for the guest list. If you have some crazy-ass friend that has a 13% chance of organizing a dogfight in the parking lot behind your reception, think twice about inviting him.

Rule 10
Look for Sleepers

Everyone knows about Chris Johnson. Not everyone knows about the walk-on running back who sneakily moved up the depth chart in preseason. Look for values in the later rounds and focus on upside. And when you’re looking for your venue, you can score a much better deal by settling on an off-the-beaten path church, an unconventional reception venue, or bringing your own booze.

Rule 11
…But Don’t Get Too Cute with Sleepers

Some owners just think they’re so damn clever, and they convince themselves that their darling sleeper is worthy of a 3rd round pick. He’s not. Don’t value wild speculation over a no-brainer. Stick with the tried and true. So unless the economics are truly dire, avoid a sleeper choice like, “Hey, my cousin got a new camera, maybe he can take the pictures for the wedding!”

Rule 12
Beware Vulture Running Racks

Random service fees at wedding venues are like the vulture running back. They have no real purpose but to suck points away from your star RB and dollars from your bank account. (Like a sneaky $2,000 fine-print charge from a venue.) Before you pick your venue, make sure you’re aware of any hidden service fees.

Rule 13
Keep Your Draft Strategy to Yourself

In April, months before the season begins, no one gives a shit if you want to take the top WR at the end of Round 1. Keep this to yourself. For your wedding, don’t blow your wad early and tell all your guests a year in advance about your awesome plans for the weekend. Why? Apart from you sounding like a tool, some of it might turn out to be too expensive, and you’ll leave them disappointed. Keep your cards close to your vest.

Rule 14
Respect the Commissioner

Your league’s commissioner also has a full-time job. And he has to deal with a bunch of administrative crap that you would find tedious and time-consuming: organizing draft dates, managing waivers, keeping tabs of league’s finances, etc. It’s a thankless job. You should always, always, always respect and be thankful for your commissioner. Same goes for your fiancée.

Rule 15
In a Pinch, Take a Flyer on a Rookie

Would you draft a rookie wide-out in Round 2? No way, not since Randy Moss did that make sense, and even that was a reach. But if it’s late in the draft, it’s better to roll the dice on a rookie than a 33-year-old scrub with no upside,  a la Ike Hillard. The wedding parallel?  If you’re scrapped for cash, you can probably find a hungry vendor who wants to cut their teeth and get some clients for their portfolio.

Rule 16
Stay Organized

Only a rookie, idiot, or annoyingly indifferent owner will show up to the draft with no research and no preparation. Get your shit organized. We have some spreadsheets here and here that help with the guest lists and budgets. That said…

Rule 17
Don’t Be Captain Overkill

There’s a fine line between being a responsible, well-prepared owner and being “That Guy,” the one who prints out a binder of player bios and stats. Don’t be a geeky weasel. Likewise, don’t be groomzilla who gets too into things. Let’s keep this in perspective, okay? You’re planning a frickin’ party, you’re not invading the beaches of Normandy.

Rule 18
The Wedding Band Is Like a Star Backup QB

It’s a luxury. If you can afford one, great. But not every team can stash a Matt Cassel (’08) on its roster; sometimes you have to make do with what you have. Yes, it’s critical that you have good music, but no, this doesn’t have to be an expensive wedding band. More on music here.

Rule 19
Watch the Waiver Wire

Keep an eye on the waiver wire to see who’s available. It’s not like you’re locked into that #1 draft pick if she’s not performing–think about an upgrade or midseason replacement. Um, actually, wait, no, this one doesn’t really work…

Rule 20
Value Your NFL Team Over Your Fantasy Team

The most important rule. Inevitably, every fantasy football owner, at one point or another, is confronted with an ethical quandary: what to do when your NFL team is pitted against your Fantasy team. Let’s say you’re a Redskins fan, but you have Peyton Manning, and the Colts are playing Washington. This sucks. You’re torn. An evil little slice of your brain is rooting for Manning to lob 6 TDs and the Redskins to win a 63-58 barnburner, but still, you know that at the end of the day, you must pull for your NFL team. That’s what really matters. Fantasy has to take a backseat. So. In those rare times when fantasy football (the wedding) gets in the way of what actually matters (your relationship and your fiancée) always side with the team that counts.

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