DETROIT – In 2015, 56.8 million people are participating in some type of fantasy sport in the U.S., and Canada. That's up from 41.5 million in 2014.
A 2006 study showed 22 percent of male adults in the U.S. participate in a fantasy football league -- but it's not just a man's game. In 2014, women accounted for 20 percent of all players.
Chances are, if you're reading this, you are probably one of the people in a league, or at least considering it.
I'm not here to tell you who to draft, who to start or who to trade. I'm here to help you survive. It's a rough road out there, be sure to use the buddy system.
These are the typical team owners you need to watch out for. Most leagues have one of these, if not more.
The Drafter: This person takes the draft way too seriously. They have notebooks full of notes, podcast subscriptions - and magazines (who buys magazines?!?). They also think they know every sleeper pick, and that every single one of your picks is a REACH! (They may yell REACH at you)
The Adviser: This person works in the shadows. They pretend to advise other owners, or "friends," on potential picks, trades or acquisitions, but really - they are trying to catch a deal themselves. (The drafter and the adviser are often the same person)
The Drinker: This person drinks way too much during the draft, and ends up taking a kicker in the seventh round or a player in jail. Happens every year.
The Time Waster: This person takes WAY too long to make their draft pick, no matter the round.
The Proposal Guy: This person tries to change all of the rules every year. They will try to raise votes to things, and get shot down. No, we don't want to have a 10-team playoff, dude.
The Champion: This person is the defending champion of your league, and they won't let you forget it. When The Drafter yells REACH at The Champion, things may get tense.
The Forgot To Study: This person hasn't looked at a rankings list since their team missed the playoffs last year. They are drafting free agents and injured players.
The Loyal Person: This person faithfully drafts players from their favorite team, even if that person is horrible. Hi, Eric Ebron.
The Trash Talker: This person will trash every pick in the draft, even if they are great picks. Just ignore this person.
The "in my other league" guy: This person will talk to you nonstop about their "other leagues," and how they totally could have won last year if Dez Bryant caught one more touchdown.
The Anti-Commissioner: This person is always proposing that we overthrow the commissioner.
The New Guy: Often, leagues will have a new member on a yearly basis. This person will bear the brunt of jokes and "easy matchup" labels.
The Never Pays on Time Guy: This person still owes dues from the previous year, and at this point, it's just sad.
The Trade Guy: This person proposes the most outlandish trades in hopes someone accidentally falls asleep and lands on the accept button. This person thinks they're a real general manager.
The Skype Guy: This person can never make the draft in person, so you Skype him in. This person doesn't hear any of the picks.
Here are some things you definitely need to do to not get laughed at during your draft.
Bring a pen: Seriously, do this. Make sure it works, too.
Bring a printed sheet of players: This will help you track who's been taken and who's available.
Bring a laptop or use your phone: There is no way you'll know everything about everyone -- you may need to do some on-the-spot research.
Get there early: There's nothing like having a bad seat at a draft. Get a spot with a good view of the draft board, or you may be the one managing it.
Don't bring friends: Don't do it. They will be bored for 4 hours, and come on, this is a tradition. Have some respect!
Study, a little: You don't need to have a month long study session to be prepared for a draft. Just take an hour or two, look over some articles. Make sure you know who is playing.
BASIC LEAGUE ETIQUETTE:
Follow these basic rules, and you won't have your league's owners at your door with pitchforks on Tuesday morning.
Fill your lineup: Never, under any circumstances, NEVER, EVER, EVER start a bye-week player. Or an injured player. Make sure your roster is filled with active players, no matter your record in week 13.
Don't collude: Collusion is often fun, but it will not work. This usually means, don't trade all of your good players to your buddy when your team goes down the toilet.
Check the boards and polls: Your commissioner will often use the league message boards and polls to take action on things -- check them often, and participate. Don't make life hard.
Your team name matters: Put some thought into your team name. Be creative.
With this simple guide, you too can be a mediocre fantasy football owner! Good luck, everyone!