The Nats players held their fantasy football draft yesterday in the clubhouse, and for Stephen Strasburg, it was his first ever. The Nats pitcher knew he had to be prepared.
“I’ve been reading up,” he told me before the draft. “I’ve done probably 15 mock drafts. When there’s money on the line, I’m going to do my homework.”
That’s a lot of practicing, but his eagerness wasn’t a surprise to his teammates.
“He was in the clubhouse the other day in Miami studying,” Ryan Zimmerman said. “That’s him, though. He wants to be the best at everything that he’s doing. I wouldn’t be surprised if he did well.”
Strasburg had the seventh pick in their 12-team league, so going into the draft with a single player to target wasn’t exactly an option.
“From everything I’ve read, you can only go out there and get guys that you think will do well based on last year,” Strasburg said, explaining his strategy. “A lot of times you have to take a gamble on guys and hope that they turn out to overachieve. That’s where you’re gonna win it. In the first couple of rounds it’s a given which guys are gonna get picked. You’re gonna win it on your picks fourth through the last, I’d say.”
While this was his first football draft, it wasn’t his first experience with fantasy sports. He tried fantasy baseball, but said it was “terrible.”
“It was bad,” he laughed. “I had Joey Votto sitting on the bench the whole year and he went off that year. But football is cool because it’s once a week.”
As everyone on the planet knows, Strasburg will soon have some extra time on his hands to pay attention to his lineup. He ended up drafting Calvin Johnson with his first pick, and Strasburg told me post-draft that he thinks that all of the studying and mock drafts helped him. But he also doesn’t want to get ahead of himself.
“Everybody’s talking a good game, everybody’s confident,” he said. “Check in with us in a couple of weeks and see where we’re at, because you never know.”