Fantasy Football: One Mistake You Want to Avoid on Draft Day

John ZaktanskyCorrespondent IJuly 3, 2009

MIAMI, FL - JANUARY 4:  Running back Ronnie Brown #23 of the Miami Dolphins plays against the Baltimore Ravens in an NFL Wildcard Playoff Game at Dolphins Stadium on January 4, 2009 in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)

First, a little brain teaser.

You are going to take a seven-day trip to the beach. Checking the long-range weather forecast, six of the days will be sunny and hot. Not a cloud in the sky. The other day will bring steady, heavy rain. As you finish packing, you realize you only have room for one more item. You are left with sunscreen and an umbrella. Which do you take along?

Now, you may be wondering what this has to do with fantasy football. Bear with me. It's my poor excuse of an illustration on why I hate—no, loathe—certain age-old fantasy drafting axiom.

You see, there are certain fantasy football experts who live and die by the 'rule' that you never draft two of any starter with the same bye week. Their mantra is that you must closely watch possible bye-week conflicts and draft accordingly.

Therefore, for example, if you are drafting eighth out of a 12-team league, and you happily draft Frank Gore at spot 1.08 — you better avoid any other running back with a Week 6 bye. So, in the second round, at pick 2.04, you aren’t allowed to draft Ronnie Brown, Marion Barber or Joseph Addai.

Yet, why handicap yourself? If you feel that Ronnie Brown is easily the most talented remaining player when you draft in the second round of said imaginary draft, than why not take him? Why not anchor your team with the best running back tandem possible?

Why not choose the sunscreen?

You see, in the illustration above, the decision between sunscreen and an umbrella is simple. Are you willing to sacrifice one day out of your vacation to improve the other six, or do you fixate on the one day of rain in the forecast, take the umbrella, and then miss out on extended hours of basking in the sun for most of the trip?

It’s much the same way in fantasy leagues. Why limit your team 13-out-of-14 regular season games just so you don't have two players on the same bye week? Why reach for Reggie Bush or Brandon Jacobs if you feel that Ronnie Brown or Marion Barber is the far superior pick?

Those who consider themselves fantasy experts are all about rules for drafting the perfect team. As if they are trying to justify their own existence, they write catchy fantasy columns listing tips and ideas and suggestions and strategies on how to kill the competition on draft day.

And as your next draft pick nears, you get ulcers in your stomach and pull clumps of hair from your head as you wade through the countless barrage of tips and strategies, trying frantically to narrow down the selection.

However, it is all so simple. When drafting, simply choose the best player available that fills a need on your roster.

End of story.

Sure, glancing at bye weeks can be a helpful tool later in your respective drafts if you don't want to lose three bench spots picking up a backup tight end, kicker ,and defense for a one-week fill-in. But then again, in most cases roster spots usually become available over the course of the season as sleeper picks fall into comas and certain players catch the injury bug.

The bottom line is to walk into your draft ready to have fun, ready to select the best player available that fills a need, and ready to bask in the sun of knowing that you chose the best possible team without regrets or hesitations.

Oh, and don’t forget the sunscreen.

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