Our annual “draft prep” series mostly caters to novice players, but every once in a while a veteran player requires a refresher on basics we may take for granted.
These rules are in no particular order, and they apply to all levels of experience among fantasy owners. Just as important as the “what you should do” to create a winner in fantasy drafting, avoiding simple pitfalls is a must.
1) Living in the past: Assuming successes and failures from last year automatically will carry over to this year’s results is a quick trip to Loserville. Each year is brand new and requires a reset of the old memory bank.
2) Stay sober: While it may seem silly, don’t let one draft party of hard boozing affect an entire season of fantasy football. Party it up after the draft and celebrate your soon-to-be championship roster.
3) No one likes a homer: Well, except for that Homer. Heavily drafting players from your favorite team tends to lead to an entire season of hangover-filled Monday mornings. This also includes taking a specific player over a better option just because that player is on your favorite team. Be objective.
4) Draft by the rules: Not knowing your league’s scoring structure, lineup composition, and/or bylaws generally results in utter failure. At a minimum, it translates into lost points.
5) Stretch it out: Flexibility in fantasy drafts is essential. Gamers with a rigid strategy miss out on key value due to their inability to zig when others are zagging.
6) No F.O.M.O.: All too often owners will see or sense a miniature run at a position and overreact out of the fear of missing out. Always having a sound backup plan alleviates concern in this area.
7) Mocking mock drafters: “I don’t need preparation!” declares the eventual last-place owner on draft day. Everyone needs practice. Look back at all of the things in life that required some repetitions before you improved. Don’t take my word for it … ask your significant other.
8) Bye week blues: This cuts both ways — getting caught up in not paying attention to bye weeks as well as outright passing on talent because it would create multiple players at the position on bye. Later in the year, bye weeks are easier — not harder — to overcome due to months of roster manipulation.
9) Leaving money on the table: Specifically for those who participate in auctions, leaving any amount of money on the table is inexcusable. Spend it all, even if you have to pay up at the end of the auction on an inconsequential player.
10) Peer pressure: Let’s face it, even seasoned veterans of fantasy don’t enjoy being ridiculed by 11 mates after making a questionable pick. There’s a major difference between being laughed at for taking a kicker in Round 1 and reaching a round or two for a sleeper at a skilled position.
11) ADP obsession: Time after time, owners get hung up on what the average draft placement suggests. It is merely a guideline, and whenever a service offering ADP compiles the data, it is impossible to completely weed out all variations and nuance. Look for ADP charts that offer date ranges and flexible sorting. Use it for nothing more than a ballpark idea of when positional trends typically begin.
12) Drafting to trade: For some unknown reason, every year I have gamers asking me about which players to target solely for trading purposes. Drafting players for a potential trade bargaining piece down the line is unwise. Way too much can (and usually does) go wrong in this scenario. This is where strictly choosing the “best player available” can lead to unwanted consequences.