Over the weekend, many people held their fantasy football drafts—and many people were disappointed shortly after making key draft choices in Colts quarterback Andrew Luck and Texans running back Lamar Miller. Luck, one of the best players in football, retired out of nowhere because of the numerous injuries over the last few years. While Miller suffered a torn ACL in a preseason game.
The real-life implications are worse than anything that can happen to your fantasy team—Luck had an emotional retirement press conference that made it clear he was just worn down by the sport he loves, and Miller loses an entire season of his career because of an injury. However, these two events were yet another example of you should wait about as long as possible to hold your fantasy football draft.
In the case of Luck, it was a shocking event that could’ve easily happened a couple of weeks earlier or a couple of weeks later. But the fact is those that would’ve waited for the ideal time to hold their fantasy drafts wouldn’t have a team with a wasted draft pick.
The sweet spot to have a fantasy draft is after the entire preseason is concluded and final roster cuts are made on the Saturday before Labor Day—so ideally, Labor Day weekend or the Tuesday or Wednesday evening before the start of the NFL season. At the very least, you should be waiting until after the third week of the preseason is over. Miller was the only big injury this year, but it’s too risky to lose a player before the fantasy season even starts.
Now, the argument is that drafting early is an indication of “skill” because the average fantasy player can easily draft a winner when the preseason is over and more information is out there. That’s not a good argument. If anything, drafting early brings more luck into the equation, as one team that looks like it would be stacked could easily lose two of the top handful of draft choices during meaningless preseason contests.
It’s not the end of the world if it doesn’t work out, but you shouldn’t choose to have your fantasy draft early if it can be prevented. Some leagues are just for fun, but other leagues have big buy-ins where it can feel like you’re getting robbed if a draft pick doesn’t get to play a snap during the regular season.
Of course, especially for older people that begin having extra responsibilities and different schedules, getting a draft time that works for everyone can be difficult. It might be impossible for some leagues to secure a draft date in the week before the season.
League commissioners and league members should do whatever makes them happy—no league should be considered inferior just because of when the draft is held. But if it’s a possibility to get everyone together closer to the regular season, waiting to hold your fantasy draft is unquestionably the fairest way to go.
We draft Labor Day when possible. No one makes plans. No work. Good to go.
Ok but What about LeVeon Bell? Was that fair?