Today is Friday the 13th, and it’s time to talk about something scary. Of course, the real-life implications for players is far worse than losing some imaginary games. But for fantasy football players, it doesn’t get much scarier than losing a player before the season begins.
Many drafts occur throughout August (and some even sooner), but the best course of action—in redraft leagues in particular—is to have your draft after the turn of the calendar to September. Ideally, you can wait until Labor Day weekend when hopefully your leaguemates are free and not on vacation.
Last year wasn’t bad with injuries during the summer, but unfortunately that might change with the preseason back this year. Naturally, there is a bigger risk of long-term injuries occurring over the next few weeks. And just a couple of years ago, Andrew Luck retired out of nowhere after many people already held their fantasy drafts.
Again, fantasy football implications are nowhere near the real-life implications. However, fantasy football fortunes during the summer can be somewhat controlled. Simply hold your draft close to the season, at least after all the preseason games have ended.
No one wants to lose a draft pick or two due to preseason injury. A mid-round pick would be frustrating enough, but imagine losing your top pick before the season even begins. For early drafters, it’s not totally uncommon for a team to lose a couple of selections from the first four or five rounds. In 2019, a team easily could have had Andrew Luck and Lamar Miller (unfortunate season-ending knee injury) in an August draft. (The situation didn’t work itself out until the regular season, but imagine if they had Antonio Brown—when he held out from the Raiders—too.)
Early drafts can put teams at a major disadvantage before the fantasy season kicks off. Team owners can easily have a sour taste in their mouths, and it’s even worse if it’s a money league with a buy-in, which is often the case. League commissioners should try to ensure an even playing field by making the draft late, if possible.
On Friday the 13th, let this be your annual reminder to try and hold off on your fantasy draft date for as long as your league can.