Common Fantasy Football Draft Mistakes

Friday, Aug 26, 2016 at 12:00 pm ET

It seems rather obvious, but I'll mention it anyway. Once you make a draft pick, you can't go back and redo it (unless you're using FFN's mock draft tool). There are no mulligans in fantasy football drafts. If you are going to be a homer and take your favorite team's QB with your first round pick, you're the one who has to live with that pick. Our job is to help you make good decisions during your draft - you know, the kind of decisions that lead to championships...which everyone knows is what gives you the unbridled freedom to trash talk with impunity. After all, that's why we play, right? Learn from our mistakes and make this draft the best it can be.

DO NOT Stick to a Rigid Draft Plan

You want to be more Simone Biles here and not so much your Italian uncle Tony. One is incredibly flexible, the other is decidely not. If you have it in your head that you're taking a WR first, but an elite RB is still on the board when it's your turn, don't be afraid to deviate if the right opportunity presents itself. No draft ever goes exactly as planned - particularly if the league has some relatively new players. You think you have a solid gameplan for an auction draft? Yeah, right. Those are always unpredictable.

Every year I get questions from our users who say something along the lines of "Should I go WR-WR-RB or just stay WR-WR-WR?" It's cool if you want to ask those questions (that's what we're here for), but the truth is that we don't know what your second or third round situation is going to look like, so it's hard to say.

Evolution teaches us that it's not the strongest that survives, but rather the organism that is most adaptable to change. The dodo bird went extinct because it couldn't adapt to an environment full of new predators who competed for resources. Be prepared to adapt your strategy when the situation warrants it. Know what the resources are at each position (fantasy football tiers are helpful here). Be ready to adapt to your environment as it changes. Don't be a dodo.

The point here is that while it's important to anticipate your next pick, don't let your strategy dictate your choice. You need to react to the actual situation and not simply what you thought the situation would be.

DO NOT Draft a Position Because Everyone Else Is

We call them "runs" and it's going to happen to you. You're in the mid/late rounds and all of a sudden, QB's or TE's start flying off the board. You're going to think to yourself that maybe, just maybe you should be grabbing a guy from that position before it's too late. Obviously, everyone must know something that you don't, right? Resist the urge. The corollary is that if TE's are flying off the board, that means that wide receivers and running backs are not. There could be great value in the guys left on the board simply because a "run on tight ends" is happening. Always be looking for value with every pick.

DO NOT Fill Out Your Starting Lineup

This is a situation we see happen mostly with new(er) players. They somehow feel the need to draft their starting lineup. Don't be that guy (or gal). Injuries are a fact of life in the NFL. A starter could very easily get hurt, which is why successful players draft their backups if the value is there in the draft. If you even think about drafting a kicker before the last round, you should be banned from participating in fantasy football. OK - maybe not banned, but certainly tarred and feathered at the least.

You should have your backup skilled positions in place before you draft a kicker for example. If you aren't drafting an elite TE, it's not uncommon to have 3 or 4 running backs and 3 or 4 wide receivers before you draft your starting TE. Drafting a starting lineup leaves you vulnerable for if/when an injury happens.

DO NOT Buy Fantasy Football Magazines

Fantasy Football MagazineYou can just as easily grab an iPad or tablet for the trip to the bathroom than an outdated fantasy football magazine. Did you know that most of those are printed in June? How many preseason battles, trades, injuries, and other fantasy-relevant topics happen in June? How about July? The rankings and projections that you're reading in those magazines are likely to be just as accurate as Ryan Lochte's story about a phantom robbing in Rio. If we were at war, we wouldn't drop bombs on a moving target that intel identified months ago, right? We'd want to know where that target is now...not yesterday.

If you see someone come to your draft with a magazine, quietly chuckle to yourself and thank the fantasy gods for your good fortune.

DO NOT Be Donald Trump

I'm going to stay away from the political implications and instead focus on the reality-TV Trump instead. Don't be quick to look at your draft and yell "You're Fired" to guys right away. OK, in true political fashion, let me say that you need to hold onto guys, and at the same time, don't hold onto guys. Does that make sense? If not, then perhaps you should be in Congress. If you drafted a guy in the first couple of rounds, don't be so quick to dump him come September. On the flip side, work the waiver wire, and if a potential hot hand rises in Week 1 or 2, you can then summon your inner Donald and fire one of your late round draft picks.

DO NOT Draft a QB Too Soon

Most teams start just one quarterback. If you're in a 10-team league, that means that there's a strong possibility that you'll end up with a Top 10 QB. The floor for most of those quarterbacks is pretty similar, so why waste an early round pick on a QB when you could have depth at RB, TE, or WR? Cam Newton's ADP was near the 10th round last year. Blake Bortles was similar. Both ended the year in the Top 5. Look for value - not name.

DO NOT Go Into Your Draft Blind

Fantasy FootballThere's a guy in one of my leagues who approaches the draft every year the same way. The day of the draft, he goes online and prints out a cheatsheet from some random website. What website you might ask? I couldn't tell you, and sadly, neither could he. If you had to guess where he finishes each year, where do you think that would be? Last place (or second to last) is almost unequivocally reserved for him. If you don't enjoy winning, go ahead and use that approach. If you enjoy winning, get yourself some award-winning fantasy football rankings, do multiple mock drafts, and have some idea of the latest fantasy football news. Just like the popular public service announcements, The More You Know...the further you'll go.

If you can avoid some of these things, you'll be set up for a great draft. Good luck!

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