It's often said that what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, but of course that's not true. People return with all sorts of unintended things: spouses, neck tattoos, Manilow collectibles, hepatitis ... lots of regrettable things. I recently flew to Vegas for the weekend and returned with four St. Louis Rams, which was definitely not a planned outcome.
To be clear, it's not like I had Henry Ellard, Jim Youngblood, Fred Dryer and Cullen Bryant stuffed in a duffel bag. I traveled to Vegas for a fantasy draft and returned with four different Rams on my 16-man roster. Not the ideal ratio. The players in question are all respectable assets – S-Jax, Bradford, Sims-Walker, Kendricks – so at least that helps the cause.
But this is not supposed to be a cautionary tale about the importance of portfolio diversity in fantasy. If you want that sort of advice, you know where to find me. The purpose here is to give you a little metaphor about one of the big keys to fantasy football drafts: impulse control.
See, Vegas is a little bit like draft day -- all kinds of temptation and very little discipline. Those who escape Sin City with profits are like those who "win" their drafts: strong enough to resist the urge to go for broke.
So although we drafted in Vegas, the lesson plays in Peoria: If you find yourself thinking "I feel lucky," step away from the table for a bit.
Now at some point in your life as a fantasy owner, one of your league-mates is going to suggest a draft day road-trip. The 16-teamer in which I'm serving as a Rams repository assembles in a different location each year. Wish I could report that North American cities actually placed bids for our event, Super Bowl-style, but that's not yet the case. The 2011 draft was the third in league history held in Las Vegas, so the group has clearly had a few positive (if not perfectly memorable) experiences.
One of the many things we seem to forget -- because we're talking about a place that specializes in erasing memory -- is that Nevada in August is mercilessly, murderously hot. It's cartoon-hot, like with eggs frying on sidewalks and people dissolving into puddles. My flight landed just after 8:00 pm and the local temperature was 106. The cab drivers say, "It's a dry heat," as if you can be conned into comfort. Fission reactions probably produce a dry heat, too.
Vegas is much cooler indoors, yet no less disorienting. When you're drafting, it's critical to situate your group in the most non-Vegas environment possible. Our league's commissioner selected a hotel conference room way off the strip. That was a pro move. It was so non-Vegas that you might have thought we were in Ames.
The reason you need to dial down the Vegas-ness of your draft room is, again, impulse control. The city itself makes you find ways to deny reason, to act irrationally, irresponsibly, to lunge after the most remote possibilities. And that's all fine until you hit the draft table. I don't give a hoot if you travel to Vegas and put your marriage at risk, or your employment, or your kid's college fund. But when you implode at your draft, then it reflects poorly on your fantasy guru ... and then we have a problem. This holds true outside Vegas as well, so keep this in mind when someone suggests a favorite bar. Make sure to confine the reach-picks to the mid and late rounds and limit the number of insane injury risks you're willing to take. You'll also want to cut off the beverage consumption before reaching the point where you intend to say "Julio Jones" but it comes out "Julius Jones" or even "Jerry Jones."
Wherever you are, create the least Vegas-y atmosphere you can during your draft. That's your key to assembling a respectable fantasy roster while on the road in a hostile environment. For a few hours, make it feel safe and sober. Stay within yourself, as the athlete cliche goes. And if you do go to Vegas, and your biggest regret when you return is that you've drafted too many Rams, then you've probably done fine.
More Fantasy Football On ThePostGame:
-- A League Of My Own: The Best Part Of Fantasy Draft Day
-- Win (Over) Your Fantasy League With These Draft Day Dishes
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