Fantasy Football: 11 Mistakes You Made This Year and How to Avoid Them
You may have found yourself studying and preparing for the fantasy football season while dotting every I and crossing every T. However, no owner is impervious to making mistakes.
It happens every year.
Even the savviest veteran player is prone to making mistakes. In this slideshow, I will point out 11 key mistakes made this year and how they can be avoided in the future.
Drafting Peyton Manning
The warning signs were there all preseason.
All summer long, Peyton Manning was teasing fantasy owners if he would play or not. Neither Manning nor the Colts were committal in saying just how serious Manning’s neck injury was.
Many pointed to the fact that Manning never missed a game and that he’d be back as usual and drafted him anyway. That was a mistake, as neck injuries are a serious matter.
Going forward, always take into account serious injuries. It shouldn’t matter if that player is considered an iron man or not.
Drafting Colts’ skill position players
Depending on when your draft was, you may have known Manning was going to be out. For those who knew Manning was going to be out, it wasn’t a wise idea to draft the Colts’ skill position players.
The value of Reggie Wayne, Austin Collie, Pierre Garcon, Dallas Clark and Joseph Addai plummeted with Kerry Collins, Curtis Painter or Dan Orlovsky as their quarterback.
Some thought that these players would still hold value. In hindsight, that would not the case as the Colts have been one miserable bunch.
In the future, if a major quarterback goes down with an injury, be wary of taking their skill position players. Shudder to think what guys like Jordy Nelson and Greg Jennings would be without Aaron Rodgers or Jimmy Graham and Marques Colston without Drew Brees.
Not paying enough attention to the waiver wire
Your team is never complete after the draft.
Paying attention to the waiver wire is of utmost importance. If you avoided the waiver wire or scoffed at it thinking the impact found there is minimal, here is a list of players making significant contributions this year who may have slipped through the draft in 10-12 team leagues: DeMarco Murray, Victor Cruz, Cam Newton, Tim Tebow, Willis McGahee, Jordy Nelson and Eric Decker.
So, pay attention to the waiver wire. You never know who can carry your team to prominence.
Playing the Free Agent Market Too Aggressively
I admit this contradicts what I just said. However, you have to find the delicate balance between pouncing on a player of significance (i.e. Newton, Murray, etc.) and overreaching on your usual one-week wonders (i.e. Ryan Torain etc.).
Just think who has the opportunity to have a long-lasting impact and work from there.
Usually, players who have been in the league three years or less have a good chance to bust out. Try to avoid players off the waiver wire who have been in the league for a while, as their performance most of the time are a mirage.
Not Building on Depth
This is an addendum to paying attention to the waiver wire, as bolstering depth usually occurs through making key pickups.
Whether through the waiver wire or via trades, you have to build depth no matter how good your starters are in the case of a major injury or freak occurrence.
Building depth through handcuffs is great way to ensure success. If you had Arian Foster on your team, you hardy missed a beat if you also had Ben Tate on your roster. The same can be said for the owner who had both Felix Jones and DeMarco Murray.
Not trusting your studs
Some players will go through their funks and/or recurring injury problems, but always trust your studs.
Take Arian Foster for example.
Foster started off the season injured, came back in Week 2 only to rush for 33 yards and then again miss Week 3. If you didn’t have trust in your studs (in this case Foster), then you may have found yourself trading him for a bag a peanuts—or, gasp!—cutting him.
Frank Gore is another good example of always trusting your studs.
Gore started the season only rushing for 148 yards through the first three games of the year. Now Gore is one of the top 10 rushers in the game.
Don’t always fall in love with the hot hand. Have faith in your early round draft choices.
Drafting Chris Johnson
Ok, while you have to trust your studs, some can still single-handedly cripple your team.
Take the case of Chris Johnson.
Johnson has ruined many fantasy squads this year by only accounting for 509 yards rushing and two touchdowns. If the future, if a major star is holding out late into camp, take into consideration the case of Chris Johnson.
Try to not let it happen to you.
Ignoring the impact of rookies
Running backs usually don’t fall into this rule as they are quick learners who typically bust out of the gate from the start (DeMarco Murray this year; Adrian Peterson and Matt Forte from years past).
However, rookie quarterbacks and receivers usually take a while to adapt to the intricacies of the game while reading defenses and learning routes.
This year, though, some rookie quarterbacks (Newton, Andy Dalton) and receivers (A.J. Green and Julio Jones) have taken to the NFL like a fish to water.
We could be looking at a new breed of player who may have enough talent to compensate for their lack of experience. Next year, maybe you shouldn’t shy away from the likes of Andrew Luck, Justin Blackmon and Michael Floyd.
Falling for the Eagles’ preseason hype
Almost everyone fell for the Eagles in the preseason.
How could you not?
They had some of the highest scoring skill position players in the league, including Michael Vick, LeSean McCoy, DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin.
While McCoy and—to some degree—Maclin have lived up to the hype, Vick and Jackson have been disappointments.
Vick has been beaten, rattled and battled nagging injuries while Jackson has sulked most of the year because he hasn’t gotten his payday.
You had to know the Eagles would have a bull’s-eye on their chest and would have to take on their opponent’s best shots. If a team is that hyped, the pressure will mount and sometimes the players can’t hold the weight of the expectations.
In the future, be wary of drafting players on teams built on hype.
Buying into the Bills' Early Season Hype
Each year a team will dazzle you with early success and eventually some fantasy owner will think they are onto something.
The Buffalo Bills got owners hook, line and sinker. Ryan Fitzpatrick, Steve Johnson, David Nelson and Scott Chandler have regressed and have become dregs on most fantasy rosters. Aside from the steady Fred Jackson, no one on the Bills has built on their early season success.
Going forward, be careful of teams with no great track record of success all of sudden being world beaters.
Beaten by the Injury Bug
There are mistakes that are sometimes unavoidable. Drafting a player only to see him go down for a long period of time falls into that category.
There is nothing you could do in this case. You just have to bite the bullet and hope to strengthen your team through trades and the waiver wire while hoping for the best.
If you drafted the likes of Jamaal Charles, Andre Johnson and Peyton Hillis, chances are you are climbing an uphill battle.