10. Watch out for Big Names on the decline
Jermaine O’Neal. Tracy McGrady. Shawn Marion. A few years ago these names were marquee assets on any fantasy roster but living in the glory days is like treading on thin ice.
I’m not saying these players cannot be useful on the backend of any roster, but giving these guys round 1-5 draft status will be painful to watch. No matter how good any player was, as their body ages their injury propensity will begin to rise while their athleticism and reflexes will start to decline.
9. Injury Risks are never a good thing (trade or drafting)
Last year I traded for Carlos Boozer as soon as he got injured thinking I got him for cheap. Unfortunately Boozer was injured for months and though he produced very good numbers at the end my fantasy season as toast with his absence. Don’t make the same mistake as I did and be very careful when trading for players with injury risks or even drafting them.
Guys like Tracy McGrady and Elton Brand might have good numbers but in their total production in fantasy will be low and that’s what counts. While their seasonal averages might seem good, those numbers as useless if they are not playing and thus staying away as much as possible from injury risks could save your season.
8. Buy Low. Sell High.
It’s a well known formula in the world of Wall Street to buy low and sell high when it comes to stocks, and it’s not that different in the world of Fantasy. Often times a player on your roster will over achieve for a stretch of time due to an increase of minutes perhaps filling in for an injured player.
While it’s nice to milk his production for as much as you can, selling him at his peak could snag you solid value on the way back for the rest of the season. In the same way if a top notch player has a tough stretch of games sending a trade offer to acquire him might not cost you that much, while the upside of such a deal could really help you.
7. Consistency = Success
During draft night there will always be a few debates on whether to choose a player who has been producing for a long time or a hot-shot who might have a great year if he could put it all together.
In these situations use your head and always choose consistency as you always know what you’re getting with reliable players. Inconsistency is one of the most frustrating things to have on any fantasy squad and inconsistent players will drive you nuts over the season.
The worst thing about inconsistent players is that from time to time they will have great games which will give you a false sense of hope that they can turn it around. Don’t even get to this point, draft players (at least in the first seven rounds) who have proven they can get the job done.
6. Always be mindful of a players environment
The environment a player is placed in can often dictate weather his fantasy stats will be inflated or deflated. For example a third option on the ultra-offensive minded Golden State might be a better fantasy pick than a second option perhaps on a defensive minded team such as Cleveland.
Also keep in mind that winning environments usually produce better fantasy stats than losing ones. There are also certain players that will be changing teams over the off-season and with these players remember for every Pau Gasol who meshes perfectly there is an Elton Brand still trying to figure it out.
5. Shooting Guards usually have the weakest depth
At least for 2009-10 it’s true. While every other position has reasonable amount of depth all the way down this year’s shooting guard class appears pretty weak after Wade, Bryant, Roy and Johnson. With this in mind on draft night it might not be a bad idea to spend a high pick if one of these guys is still available.
It would not only make your fantasy lineup much more balanced but it would save you any worry later in the season your SG is a position of strength on your squad. If your team is loaded with a ton of good big men you could try and package a deal to acquire an elite shooting guard as well.
4. Go into draft night with a plan. Stick to it.
Whether it’s drafting big with a couple good point guards, going with a high scoring lineup, creating a balanced attack both defensively and offensively, or putting together an all-defensive team make sure you stick to the plan.
Often times your draft strategy will depend on your first pick or even the next one...but whichever plan makes sense, stick to it even when there might be tempting options out there to draft better players. Fantasy seasons are not lost on draft night but they certainly can be hindered, so keep focused not matter how difficult it is.
3. Don’t pull the trigger on early season trades
Sometimes it’s hard at the beginning of the season to watch your player’s struggle, especially since you’re looking for a fast start to begin the season. The truth is sometimes it takes a few weeks for a player to get it going and in the same way players who are hot to start the season rarely ever finish that way.
My recommendation is wait about six weeks before making any serious moves, whether it’s on the trade front or searching the waiver wire. The one thing you don’t want is a player you dumped early on to catch fire and burn you on another roster.
2. Watch out for potential breakouts, they might fall to later rounds
Potential breakouts are always looming on the horizon and though they might not warrant a high pick, don’t let them slip through the draft either.
Guys like Anthony Randolph, Andrea Bargnani and John Salmons can all be very good fantasy producers next year without having to waste a top draft pick for them. Breakout potential is always smart to store on the backend of any roster as players with tons of untapped potential could really push you to the top.
1. Don’t panic on draft night! Everyone makes mistakes
It happens to everyone. The moment we select someone we realize there was someone else we could have gotten who would have filled out the roster nicely. Don’t worry, at the end of the season in review there will be players on your roster you will scratch your head over and players that are real draft day gems.
The important thing is to take a deep breath on your pick, relax and make sure you make a selection based on a team focus rather than an individual bias.
Try not to think of a player from all the highlights you’ve seen, or even their popularity but instead remember fantasy is a game of numbers and if you play your cards right you should be on your way to fantasy championship.