Avoid These Common Fantasy Football Mistakes

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When you’re preparing for your fantasy football draft, it can be intimidating, especially if you’re new to it. You’re facing high stakes, a countdown timer, and everyone in your league can see your decisions. 

You might have prepared by reading all the latest fantasy football news and articles, listening to the podcasts, and getting a general understanding of what to prioritize, but still, it’s overwhelming. 

Even for seasoned fantasy players, there’s typically some nerves when they head into the draft. 

With that in mind, the following are some common mistakes you might make in your draft and general that you should try to avoid, if you can, to perform better in fantasy football. 

1. Overdrafting

One of the worst things you can do in your draft is to pick a player rounds higher than what you need to. You’re wasting your draft value, and it looks like a novice, regardless of whether or not you are. 

If you take a kicker in the first round or a defensive player, these are examples of overdrafting. 

Even in cases that are less extreme, you want to be careful here. For example, don’t take a quarterback too early, either. You might also make the mistake of drafting an injured player. 

You can avoid this mistake in a couple of ways. One is to do a mock draft. This gives you a way to practice finding where players are typically being drafted. If you do this enough times, you’ll get a feel for player values. 

You should also go over the average draft position data or ADP before your draft and on your draft day. 

2. Missing Out on a Sleeper

Maybe you’ve done a lot of research to this point, and you have a player who’s your top pick sleeper in the mid-to-late rounds. You have a lot of enthusiasm for this sleeper, and you might structure your entire draft strategy around the assumption you’ll get him later on at a value. 

Then, someone else picks him. 

Your whole plan could fall apart if you find yourself in this situation, but you can avoid it. If you have a player you are really excited about, draft them ahead of when they’re expected to be so you don’t miss out. 

Follow your gut with your sleepers. Make sure you’re reviewing the updated ADP, do mock drafts, and you might also use a scenario calculator. 

At the same time, there’s another mistake that can happen on the opposite end of the spectrum. You may be too much in love with a sleeper who’s not really a sleeper. You could be in a situation where you’re just choosing guys from your favorite team. You have to be impartial rather than emotional when you’re drafting in fantasy. If you’re overpaying, your sleeper’s not a sleeper. 

3. Creating an Unbalanced Team

You can avoid an unbalanced draft by figuring out how to draft each position in the best possible round. The solution is similar to the one for the problems above—mock drafts and draft simulations. 

4. Being Too Rigid

Yes, you want to prepare, and you want to have a game plan ahead of your draft, but you also have to be flexible. You need to feel out how the flow of your draft is going. You might have to take two running backs and three wide receivers in the initial five rounds, but then you might want to adjust your strategy later on. 

Stay open-minded during a draft, and prepare for the unexpected. 

5. Not Preparing

You can’t rely on one single expert or cheat sheet if you want to do well. You need to build your own rankings and bring them with you to your draft. You also want to have your own paper and pen so you can cross off the players who have been drafted and so you can write down the ones you choose. 

If you don’t take in enough information about the NFL, you aren’t going to be a great fantasy football player unless you happen into some major luck. You want not only to keep close tabs on updates on fantasy websites but also plan to listen to podcasts. 

A lot of people who are passionate about fantasy football will also get pretty into college games, so they have an eye out for who the next superstars might be. 

If you’re well-informed and well-educated as a fantasy owner, you have better chances of getting a breakout player before their value soars. You can also learn to identify negative trends so that you get rid of a struggling player before it becomes obvious to other people. 

6. Not Knowing the Rules

Not knowing the rules is one of the biggest but also most fixable mistakes in fantasy football. You don’t want to go into a situation where you’re surprised by your league format. You want no surprises. Make sure you’re clear on your draft time and date and review all the settings. 

Keep an eye on roster size, how trades are handled and how waiver wires work. 

If you’re in a dynasty or keeper league, make sure you know the rules year-to-year. 

Know the details of your league’s scoring too. 

Earning a point per reception is going to make a big difference in your evaluation of players

7. Track Your Draft

Finally, not tracking your draft was briefly touched on as something to avoid above. You want a system in place that’s going to let you track picks as they’re happening. 

If you don’t track your draft, you might try and draft someone who’s already been picked, or you might not realize that you’ve lost a great value because you’re relying on default rankings for your league. If you aren’t tracking your draft, it’s going to be difficult to predict who the players around you are going to pick next. 

Along with having a good old-fashioned pen and paper, you can print out your own cheat sheet or use draft tracker software. You might also use a custom Excel sheet.