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It’s all about winning in Fantasy Football. Of course, we want to have fun and winning is the ultimate satisfaction when the season concludes. I will offer some thoughts, draft tips and opinions to help you win the cake in 2014. Of course, as everyone knows from listening to me on Sirius/XM Fantasy Sports Radio and seeing me on the Fantasy Sports Network every morning, no one enjoys a good amount of cake more than I do. When you win, you will get the cake, and also attract cake, if you what I mean.
1. Be flexible. Many people like to go into the draft with a set plan, and while that’s fine, you need to be able to adapt on the fly. Every draft is different, and when a curveball is thrown your way, you had better be able to adjust quickly. Always have a plan in case your picks are sniped.
2. Know scoring system. This sounds elementary and basic, yet many people assume they know the rules without reading them. Make sure you read the rules carefully so there are no surprises and you form a viable strategy. Make sure you are aware of the starting lineup requirements and roster construction. There are so many different league formats and it can vastly change the value of players. If you’re going to use a cheat sheet from a writer you respect, make sure it is conducive to your league.
3. Preparation is vital. There is so much information available now that the Fantasy industry is booming. Showing up to a draft with a magazine and doing things last minute will not cut it. Hard work pays off in the end. Put in the work and study the depth charts, know the position battles and watch preseason games.
4. Don’t let ADP influence you. If there’s a player you really like and the ADP is Round 10, don’t be afraid to take them a round or two early. Someone might have the same sentiment as you, and by waiting to snag the player close to the ADP there’s a risk of losing out.
5. Don’t draft with your heart. It’s natural to want to draft a player from your favorite team. You root for them and watch them often and know the team well. I am a Cowboys fan, but I don’t draft with my heart. I had Dez Bryant on a few teams last season, but it clearly wasn’t a biased pick. If you’re a Raiders fan and you load your team with Raiders, you’re not going to do well.
6. Look at the other owners needs when offering a trade. Many trades fail or insult the potential trade partner because owners don’t look at what their trade partner needs to bolster their team. If the other team has Aaron Rodgers, they likely don’t want another quarterback in return. Go to the roster grid, search for a team that needs what you’re trying to trade away and formulate a deal from there.
7. Pay attention to other teams when drafting at the end rounds. If you’re picking at No. 9 in a 12-team league, knowing what teams 10-12 have on the roster can help you decide what to pick. For example, if it’s Round 8 and you want a quarterback and each of those teams has a quarterback, it makes sense to draft another position and take the quarterback on the way back. Of course, one of the teams might take a backup quarterback there, which is a mistake, but it’s worth the gamble.
8. Don’t panic if you have a bad draft. I highly doubt any of you will have a bad draft, but if you got a lot of cake the night before or that morning, have a hangover or are having a bad day and happen to mess up the draft, don’t worry. Working the waiver wire, making trades and setting the lineup are also key parts to success. The draft is only a small part of the season.
9. Don’t hold grudges. This is a huge mistake that many people make. I am sure many feel this way about C.J. Spiller after he was selected in the first round last season and disappointed. It happened to me too, but I will draft Spiller again.
10. Wait on selecting a quarterback. Of course, this is dependent on your scoring system. If you start two quarterbacks or can use one as a flex, then ignore this and take at least one early. In leagues with 10 or 12 teams that start one quarterback, there’s so much depth that you can wait.