Top 6 Mistakes Fantasy Football Owners Make
Fantasy Football owners always ask, "How do you win regularly?" or "How can I get better at Fantasy Football?" Well, I'm here to give you the Top 6 Fantasy Football mistakes owners make every year. There are more strategies, tips, etc. you can find all over the internet, but these are the biggest mistakes you can make as a Fantasy Football owner this year.
1. Arrive to the Draft Unprepared
This includes owners who pick up a magazine a few days early, or worse, on the way to the draft. I'm not saying Fantasy Football magazines are worthless – heck, I contribute to some – but for player rankings, you're better off asking your eight-year-old niece.
The strategy articles are extremely helpful and most of the sleeper and bust picks hold true, but rankings from 2-3 months ago are worthless.
If you truly care about winning your league, take a few hours the week of your draft to prepare. Read some articles, study rankings (preferably mine) and even ask us (Fantasy analysts) questions on Twitter. This doesn't include looking at your site's preset player rankings. Those are often outdated or based on ADP (Average Draft Position) which use weeks of data and are often skewed.
2. Plan to Pick a Particular Position/Predict Available Players
Alliteration much? Plenty of P's there, huh. Every year, I see hundreds of questions asking about particular positions or players for owners' picks. I'll get, "Should I go WR/WR with the 10th and 15th picks?" or "Do I take Calvin Johnson with the 14th pick?" It takes everything I have not to rage out at these people. To be fair, they don't know better, but that's what this piece is about: mistakes.
People, you can't predict drafts. I don't care how well you know the other owners, you just never know who they're going to take and especially who will be available with your picks (unless you're picking first or second). You can't plan to take a specific position because let's say you want to go "WR/WR" at pick 10. What if seven of the first nine picks are receivers? You can't take a receiver there because it's terrible value. The best value lies in a running back in that case. The same holds true if we flipped it to running backs or a particular player. What if you said, "I'm taking Odell Beckham with the 11th pick," but nine running backs come off the board, so Dez Bryant is sitting there. You don't take Beckham, you go Dez!
Stick to your rankings/the ones you like best. If you prefer the safety of receivers these days, you can use that to break a tie, but don't go into your draft with a preset plan to take a position or player. That's how you miss on value and lose your season.
3. Buy Preseason Hype
Every year, there are players who rocket up the ADP charts thanks to preseason practices, beat reporters loving everyone on the team and/or game performances. Don't get caught in the craze.
Most teams use vanilla defenses and many players deep on the rankings end up doing big things against the second and third units. It's rare that a no-name explodes in the preseason and then carries it through the year. Just look at Lorenzo Taliaferro, Justin Hunter, Brice Butler, Brian Tyms and Joe Banyard last year.
As a quick example, Brandon Coleman of the Saints seems to be one of this year's hype guys. Sure, there is potential for any receiver in New Orleans, but he's somewhat of an awkward player and at best, he's third on the receiver depth chart. That's if he passes Nick Toon, which isn't a guarantee.
Take a breath and remember that preseason doesn't mean as much as you think.
4. Don't Pay Attention to Other Teams
This is true in snake and auction drafts. Pay attention to who the other teams have drafted and what they need. If it's an auction, are they running low on money and have several spots to fill? If it's a snake draft and they pick twice before you do, are they in need of the same positions as you? For both formats, do they already have a quarterback and/or tight end?
You need to be aware of the other owners' needs. It will help you decide if you need to attack a position before there is a run, or if you should start tossing out quarterbacks in an auction because you have yours but barely anyone else does. Too often I see owners saying, "Man, I could have waited one more round for this guy!" or "I had to draft a mediocre quarterback because I got caught at the end of a run." You avoid these problems by being aware of your draft's flow and owners' needs.
5. Drafting handcuffs
The idea of handcuffs is overrated… unless you're looking to spice up the bedroom.
Handcuffs – teams' immediate running back backups – are important after the bye weeks and trade deadline are done. Before then, it's more important to draft depth. Many backfields don't even have a clear option who would receive the same amount of work if the lead option suffered an injury. In addition, many backups aren't as talented as the team's leader.
There are a few backups worth drafting, but that's true for any owner in the league. Knile Davis and Ryan Mathews are two examples of running backs that will provide some value each week and would have great value if Jamaal Charles or DeMarco Murray went down. However, other owners will be looking to draft them as well for the same reason, which means if you own Charles/Murray, you have to spend above value cost to make sure you get them.
If either one is there at proper draft value, sure, take him, but it's smarter just to build depth. If Charles tears his ACL in Week 4, but you have David Cobb and Isaiah Crowell on the bench, you're far from dead and can overcome. No, they aren't at Charles' level, but what good does Knile Davis do on your bench all year if Charles never misses a game?
6. Drafting Waiver Level Players
All too often, owners take waiver replacement-level options in the mid-late rounds. I'll never understand why. If a player is a bench option, what good is he as a known WR5 or RB4? Sure, you know what you're going to get from him, but why do you want that? To fill in on the bye weeks? That's a mistake.
Look at last year's common players on winning teams: Jeremy Hill, Odell Beckham, C.J. Anderson, etc. What do they have in common? They were late-round fliers with high ceilings. Yes, with higher ceilings come higher risks, but even if you miss on a guy, so what… just go pick up your Greg Jennings or James Starks when you need him. The way you win leagues is by hitting on just one, maybe two, late fliers. For this year, could Dorial Green-Beckham bomb and be a bust pick? Sure. But he could also breakout and surprise everyone on his way to WR3 value. Would you rather have that potential or stare at Kenny Britt on your bench every.single.week.?
Bonus: Don't Have Fun
Okay, bonus mistake… owners don't enjoy the draft. This is the most important and fun-filled day of the entire season. All of the offseason excitement and anticipation of who you get to draft this year culminates in Draft Day! Enjoy it. Have fun. Talk smack. Joke around. Make sure it's the most fun day of the year!
Image via Getty
Be the first to know
Want FREE Fantasy and Gaming Advice and Savings Delivered to your Inbox? Sign up for our Newsletter.