Fantasy football, like the sport itself , is a delicate game. One wrong draft pick or an incorrect start/sit decision can be the difference between winning your league and finishing second — or worse, last.
However, while there are things in fantasy football you can do that will have only minor consequences, like starting one tight end over another and losing that week because of it, some things you do will have major impacts – consequences that will likely derail your season before it even starts.
Most of the time, those fateful things happen during the draft. In an effort to help fantasy users around the globe, I’m here to identify those mistakes and then tell you how to avoid them. A championship-caliber team is often built on draft night, but that can only happen if you don’t commit these incredibly costly errors. Here they are, and here’s how to dodge them.
The mistake: Missing the draft altogether.
The description: This is truly unforgivable. Missing the draft in your fantasy football league is arguably worse than missing the birth of your child. The draft is where you carefully handpick each and every member of your roster to ensure that your squad can venture deep into the postseason. It’s the most crucial part of the year, and it cannot be missed.
The advice: Pay attention to your calendar. Once that draft date is set, circle it in bright red marker, and prevent any events from being scheduled 48 hours before or after it — to allow for proper preparation and reaction time. All recitals, birthdays, weddings, etc. that occur in that window must be passed on. Sorry, fantasy first.
The mistake: Letting autodraft make a pick(s) for you.
The description: Sure, the appeal of autodraft is obvious: A machine that knows which player is projected to score the most points and will automatically pick that guy for you while you go to grab some food or leave to see a movie? That sounds great — in theory. But autodraft is a sham and shouldn’t be relied upon. It’s like the difference between store bought and homemade cookies. Do they taste the same? Pretty much. But were they made with the same love and attention? Absolutely not.
The advice: Ignore the temptation. Yes, sometimes a draft will get slow during the later rounds. And yep, some of your friends will likely turn to autodraft when they’re done with a certain amount of picks. But you shouldn’t do it. Take bathroom breaks at the right time, don’t leave the computer for an extended period and don’t quit your draft early. Complete the whole thing on your own.
The mistake: Drafting a player with the same name as the guy you really wanted to draft.
The description: This is a drafter’s worst nightmare. Every once in a while, two players will have the same first and last name, or at least have the same last name and beginning initial. For a few years in the past, there were two Adrian Petersons. This year, there’s a Saints quarterback that is also R. Griffin (not that anyone wants to draft the real Robert Griffin anyway. Hold on while I sob for a few minutes). One slip up in this department could wreck your entire season before Week 1’s opening kickoff.
The advice: Know the players. Know their faces. Know their teams. This mistake can easily be evaded if you know who your true target plays for (which you should) or what he looks like (which you should). Just don’t be careless and don’t be rushed; double check everything before you hit the ‘DRAFT NOW’ button, because remember, there is no ‘undo’ option.
The mistake: Drafting a kicker before the final round.
The description: The idea of getting the top projected kicker is somewhat exciting. “Who knows, what if a game comes down to just a few points? My kicker could be the difference!” we all think. But who are we kidding? Finding a standout fantasy kicker is all luck. The top projected guys have bad years, and no-names have terrific years. So you shouldn’t waste a late-round pick on a perceived “elite kicker,” because finding a steal at running back or receiver is far more valuable.
The advice: Don’t draft a kicker before the final round.
The mistake: Being the slow drafter.
The description: Unlike the above errors, this one probably won’t affect your team’s scoring or record. However, it will make all your opponents/league members hate you. Slow drafters are the participants who use up all of the allotted time to draft every round, and it’s exhausting and infuriating to watch.
The advice: Do your homework, have a gameplan and don’t get distracted. You should have done plenty of studying before the start of your draft, so you shouldn’t be doing it while the event is going on. You should also have your eyes on a few names before your team’s selection comes around, so if one guy is taken, you aren’t stuck searching for another option. And please, stay away from other things during your draft; nothing in your life could possibly be more vital than it, so don’t give your attention to anything else.
THE PETER HAILEY GUARANTEE: If you follow these five simple pieces of advice, you’ll be well on your way to your league’s inappropriately named, inside joke-inspired trophy. Good luck!
Feature image courtesy of Wikipedia
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