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By Jane Wu Brower of Goalposte

Follow Goalposte’s founder, Jane Wu Brower from week-to-week as she plays Fantasy Football for the first time.

This past week we held our highly anticipated draft!  If you read my last blog post, you know all about my fastidious preparations, in the weeks leading up to the draft.  After running the numbers on last year’s data, I tried to keep my mind sharp by wandering the halls of college math departments solving random equations on chalkboards.  Finally, after all my tireless research and analytics, it was here… Draft Day. And I was ready to Moneyball the crap out of it.

But I wasn’t the only one. The night before, we received this intimidating email from one of the members of our league, Ryan:

Guys, got an email a couple hours ago saying that we have a draft tomorrow…. What?! Oh my. Goodness gracious! Holy automated reminder email!! I wish I had planned ahead more…

…and DONE NOTHING DIFFERENTLY. All that advice you’re getting through ESPN is mostly the notes I’ve thrown away because they were only brilliant. I’ve seen an intern going through my garbage at night.  It’s true. Nate Silver sends me fan mail.  There are at least two teams of Russian hackers trying to figure who I’m drafting first.

Exhibit A:

Click to enlarge.

That one is for free.

 Clearly, Mark Sanchez is the key to everything.

The ravings of a mad man?  Perhaps.  But everyone called Einstein crazy, too.  Ryan even generously offered to share some of his pearls of wisdom for Goalposte Insiders—for a small fee, of course.

The other members of our league took a range of approaches.  Lori just gave birth to a baby, so understandably, she had other things on her mind than researching running backs.  My husband was so busy with work he ran out of time to prep, so he picked up a Fantasy Football magazine and thumbed through it at the last minute.

Elise, another member of the league who had taken intense and careful preparations suffered a serious blow 40 minutes before the start of the draft, and sent out this email:

I just realized all my notes and research went out with the trash today so LOOKOUT LEAGUE I’m playing from the heart! #cleareyesfullheartcantlose

Needless to say, I was feeling pretty confident.  A few minutes before draft time, the hubby and I settled in with a whole chicken from Nando’s and got ready to make our picks.

After our initial outrage and skepticism that the Commissioner of our league, Rob was “randomly” assigned the #1 pick (mmmhmmm), the Draft went smoothly and quickly—maybe too quickly… because a bunch of folks got flustered and ended up auto-drafting a couple players. Hellllllllo, Blake Bortles!

I had the 8th pick in our 12-person league and I spent the whole time going back and forth between my uber-comprehensive spreadsheet, draft app, and chicken drumstick.  In the end, here’s what I ended up with as my starters:

I know what you’re thinking: “That’s a ragtag group if I’ve ever seen one.” And you’re right. There are definitely other teams in the league with more superstar players and highly-touted picks. In fact, based on ESPN’s projections for this season, my team is only projected to score 1535 points on the season, 8th in my league. Not great.

But there was a method to my madness.  I used a purely analytical view based on the relative value of each player using last year’s data to try and get the best steals of the draft.  Based on 2015 data my players would have scored a total of 1667 points last season, the most points by nearly 80 points of my next nearest competitor. Now, I just need them to do EXACTLY what they did last year. Please. Please. Pretty please. That happens right?  Please.

Looking across both last year’s data and projections for this season, Lori, Rob, and Adam walked away with the best hauls of our draft. Tune in next week to see whether those draft results translate into wins on the field!

Do you have any Fantasy Football tips for me?  Tweet at me.

Don’t forget to sign up for Goalposte to get my email newsletter with daily sports updates!

This piece originally ran on Goalposte. Republished with permission.