Play by the rules: Top 10 fantasy football draft mistakes to avoid

by Tim Heaney on August 15, 2013 @ 08:39:11 PDT


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The 10 costliest and most frequent mistakes made during a fantasy football draft:

1. Winging it

New England Patriots TE Aaron Hernandez
Don't forget to remove him

Don't show up without knowing what you're getting into. You have some sort of stakes riding on this, be it pride or whatever. Act like it. Make a commitment. Don't drag down the league.

2. Using only a magazine

I write for many great periodicals, but even their publishers will tell you they must be used in conjunction with updated sources of information. Maybe the rag has an online code to print out updated player rankings and the like. Combine the static informational foundation of the glossy with current knowledge of what's going on for your best chance at victory.

This way, you won't draft the guy who tore his ACL last week and become the laughing stock of the day and/or season.

3. Getting housed during or the night before the draft

We alcohol fans joke about drafting in an altered or catatonic state. However, you'll quit laughing after you take Aaron Hernandez in Round 2.

4. Chatting with friends

Focus. Keep barb occasional and light, but don't get carried away so much that you aren't keeping up with the process. You can bro it out or gossip later.

Now, to the more technical flubs….

5. Not having an alternate pick … or six

If there are six selections before you're up next, have seven guys ready. Otherwise, you'll face the dreaded panic pick and lose your control over the board. Don't let the other sharks smell blood.

6. Getting caught up in a positional run

Don't feel pressured into taking someone too soon just because others are grabbing the same position. Set your value tiers and stick to them. If everyone else pays for a QB by Round 3, there'll be plenty of RBs and WRs at your disposal. Play the market.

7. Ignoring your scoring system and lineup requirements

If it's PPR, Danny Woodhead will be worth more than BenJarvus Green-Ellis. If you can flex a quarterback, draft three solid ones. But why draft two big-name QBs if you can only start 1? Fair play is overrated.

8. Overlooking potential advantages near the turn

If you're close to the front or back of a serpentine draft, you can play off the rosters of other teams. Say you're at 11 and you need a QB. You should check to see if the 12th pick needs one, too. If he doesn't, you can likely land one after the player makes two selections and cut in front of him on a need both of you have. Always play off the board.

9. Taking a defense before the final three rounds or a kicker before the last one.

Defensive team rankings vary greatly from year to year. Build your depth at the skill spots before buying a position you can easily rotate throughout the season. And kickers … are kickers. Don't believe for a second they can control their destiny. Adam Sandler reminds us about "The Lonesome Kicker."

10. Leaving early and going on autopick

Unless you have a detailed player queue -- via computer or paper list -- you may miss out on some deep sleepers. Why not have complete control over creating your roster?

Do you think Ozzie Newsome just lets some intern sign players for him?

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About Tim Heaney

Tim's work has been featured by USA Today/Sports Weekly, among numerous outlets, and recognized as a finalist in the Fantasy Sports Writers Association awards. The Boston University alum, who competes in the prestigious LABR and Tout Wars, has won numerous industry leagues in both baseball and football.

He appears frequently, including every Sunday, on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio, as well as every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore.

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