Forecasting This Year's Worst Fantasy Football Draft Mistakes

Bryan FontaineFeatured ColumnistAugust 7, 2012

Forecasting This Year's Worst Fantasy Football Draft Mistakes

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    Everyone makes mistakes.

    This includes everyone that plays fantasy football. We often repeat the same pattern of mistakes year after year. You would think we would have learned by now.

    Unfortunately, no one is ever going to unlock the secret formula to the perfect draft strategy. There are so many variables than can occur because of human decision-making.

    There are, however, some decisions that can sink your fantasy season before it begins.

    The best way to prepare for your fantasy football draft is to be aware of the most obvious mistakes your league mates are bound to make this year and to avoid those same mistakes yourself.

Taking a Kicker or Team Defense before the Last 2 Rounds

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    There is no reason to draft a kicker or a team defense before the final two rounds.

    None.

    Some owners have the tendency to fill out their starting lineup as they go through their draft. This is rather than build their bench with positions that are more important.

    The difference between the top kickers or top defense is negligible over the course of a season. That, and it is impossible to predict which kickers or defense will actually rank the highest at the end of the season.

    For example, the San Francisco Team Defense outscored the 12th ranked defense by 56 points last season. That is only a difference of 3.5 fantasy points per week. Did I mention they were the 15th defense according to ADP?

    If you examine the majority of expert drafts, the final two rounds are mostly kickers and defenses for a reason.

Relying on Fantasy Football Draft Magazines

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    It is an exciting time to see fantasy football draft magazines on the newsstands because it means football season is almost here.

    Draft magazines have their place in the fantasy industry. Heck, I even contributed to one this year.

    They can help you prepare your draft strategy, but the information is outdated the day it goes to print.

    Showing up to your live draft with a draft guide tucked under your arm is going to tell your fellow league mates that you will be drafting from an outdated cheat sheet. With player news and injuries breaking every hour through the Internet, you would be foolish to do this.

    Draft magazines make good bathroom reading material.

Taking Sleepers Too Soon

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    By definition, a sleeper player is someone that you can get late in your drafts that will exceed expectations.

    The term is becoming outdated in the fantasy industry with an increase in fantasy football material on the Internet. You could argue that sleepers do not exist anymore.

    You are so sure that Player X is going to break out that you will do extra research. You will review average draft position, ask around to your buddies what their thoughts are of Player X and read every positive article you can find about them on the Internet.

    What you end up doing is taking that player earlier than you should because you are so fearful someone is going to select “your guy”.

    That removes any of the upside they would have had if you had patience to wait.

Panicking on the Clock

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    We have all been there. You are up in a few picks and you have a few players in your draft queue. Then like clockwork, all those players go in successive order leaving you scrambling for another option.

    Most bad draft decisions happen when an owner is not prepared for every possible scenario and the timer starts to tick down to zero.

    The timer almost makes it worse in a live draft. It is mocking you for not knowing what to do.

    Then the panic starts to set in. You do not want to waste the pick and you definitely do not want to look stupid either.

    Do not panic.

    If you have four picks until it is your turn, have five players in mind for your pick

Not Knowing your Opponent’s Rosters

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    This is such a simple task that many do not use.

    Most fantasy owners only worry about themselves during their draft, without regard to what their opponents are doing.

    For example, if you are in a 12-team league and 11 other teams have already drafted a quarterback except for you, you know you can wait a few more rounds to get the next quarterback off the board before they even consider drafting a backup.

    In the meantime, you can help your team in other areas knowing that you have some relative safety with eventually acquiring your starting quarterback.

    Some draft websites make this easy to track during live drafts, but if all else fails, you can keep a running tally for each team on scratch paper.

Chasing Position Runs

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    No good ever comes of participating in a position run.

    It happens in every draft with the positions with the most scarcity of elite options like quarterback and tight end. Once one or two players go in a row, every owner that needs that particular position feels the need to act or risk losing a chance to get a competent starting option.

    If you are tracking your opponent’s rosters, you can anticipate when a run will occur between your current and next selection without being left in the cold.

    Take solace that if you miss a position run, it is a great opportunity to build one area of your team into a massive strength.