For diehard fantasy football players, draft strategy isn't something you just throw together the day before the draft.
Some players spend months poring over data in an effort to get an edge over their opponents, but most of us don't have that much spare time to spend on such ventures.
For those of you who are doing your homework now, there's a good chance you're somewhere in between the last-second scavenger and the fantasy football warrior who doesn't go a day without updating his/her rankings.
Without getting too caught up in the numbers, there are a few things you must avoid that will make all the difference in the world.
Don't Wait Until the Last Minute To Solidify Your Game Plan
Going into a fantasy football draft without having a solid plan is the undoing of many a last-place finisher.
Even if you're not a seasoned pro, have a plan.
Some owners prefer to draft two stud running backs before doing anything else, while others are fond of landing a top-tier quarterback in Round 1 or Round 2.
Experts can spend hours debating the virtues of both strategies.
Regardless of which strategy you think you prefer, make sure you aren't going into the draft with a foot on both sides.
Make a list.
Or, at the very least, print one that somebody else has already compiled and make edits according to your good judgement.
The last thing you want to be doing when the draft is underway is making picks you aren't sure about. Once you do that, the entire season will be full of second guessing yourself while enacting numerous waiver-wire acquisitions as you attempt to fix your mistakes.
Having a firm conviction about what you want to do will give you a better chance of fielding a winning team.
Don't Buy Into Rookie Wide Receiver Hype (With the Exception of Tavon Austin)
Rookie wide receivers don't usually put up huge fantasy numbers in their first year as a pro.
Unlike running backs, who can easily make the transition to the pros, learning how to become an NFL receiver takes time.
The only receiver you should target as a legitimate No. 1 or No. 2 out of this year's draft class is Tavon Austin of the St. Louis Rams. He's going to be Sam Bradford's primary receiver this year and should earn fantasy football owners plenty of points.
But slow your roll on the rest of this class.
Cordarrelle Patterson, DeAndre Hopkins, Terrance Williams, Robert Woods, Keenan Allen and others have the potential to become stars, but they won't make plays on a consistent enough basis to earn you the points you need this year.
Don't Draft Your Defense/Kicker Until the Final Rounds
Don't be that guy/gal.
You know, the one who thinks they're being smart by landing the best defense in the league...in the sixth or seventh round.
Is it ever OK to select a defense or kicker in the middle rounds?
Fantasy football isn't won by picking the top defense or having the best kicker.
Instead of wasting those picks on a top-tier defense or kicker in the middle rounds, bolster your corps of running backs and receivers—the players who will carry you through the season.
Besides, many a smart owner will switch defenses and kickers from week to week—using the waiver wire as their personal bank account—in order to find favorable matchups.
Don't drink and draft.
Save those brewskis and cocktails for after you draft your championship team.
Or, you could just drink and draft.
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