Top 5 mistakes to avoid on fantasy draft day

Dec 11, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Tavon Austin (11) holds on to a complete pass before he is stopped by Atlanta Falcons cornerback Brian Poole (34) in the first half of the game at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

At this time of year, it is easy to get lost in rankings, projections and various fantasy stats. Training camp news, player injuries and ever changing ADP’s become essential information to process. If you are staying on top of all of this, you will most likely be prepared to knock your draft out of the park right? Well actually, it’s not always that simple. The research part leading up to the draft is important, but

Well actually, it’s not always that simple. The research part leading up to the draft is important, but your in-draft execution can be equally as important. Avoiding costly in-draft mistakes will help you maximize your results.

I have learned this lesson the hard way, as most of us have. Here are the top 5 mistakes you should avoid during your fantasy drafts this year.


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1. Drafting Based On Positional Nee

Yes, at some point in the draft you will need to fill out your starting roster and depending on roster construction, your strategy may vary. Overall, I find the best way to draft a championship team is to stick to the ‘best player available’ philosophy. Does this mean that if you have zero running backs heading into the 10th round, you draft Marvin Jones over Matt Forte because you have Jones ranked two spots ahead of Forte? No of course, not. At that

At that point, you need to grab a running back and Matt Forte is still someone that figures to get a steady dose of touches this year. There will always be a point in the draft that positional needs become a priority, but the ‘best player available’ philosophy should guide you through your first 5-6 rounds. If this means you take four wide receivers in a row, then you draft four wide receivers in a row and figure the rest out later.

Drafting based on positional need is an easy trap to fall into, but it can do lasting damage to your team. The most important goal when drafting a team should be amassing as much fantasy talent as humanly possible. It is a long season and you will have plenty of time to address positional needs through trades, and waiver pick ups. The draft is your best chance to accumulate the pure fantasy talent that is required to put you in a position to win your league.

2. Relying Too Heavily On Last Season’s Numbers

It is important to remember that last season is over with. It is time to move on and look ahead to this season. While last seasons’ numbers are an important factor to consider, you shouldn’t let them influence you too much. Drafting your team based on what the players did last year is a really quick way to start off on the wrong foot. Just because Lamar Miller had a disappointing season last year, doesn’t mean you should avoid him this year.

I was completely off the Lamar Miller bandwagon last year and I actually like him a lot this year. His ADP has dropped a full round from where it was going into the 2016 season, so he’s actually coming at a better value this year. Deandre Hopkins is another player I really like this year that suffered through a brutal year in 2016. With the improved QB situation (couldn’t get any worse right?) and the elite talent that Hopkins possesses, I am looking at him as a major bounce back candidate.

Timing is everything in fantasy football. You have to bet on the right player at the right time. Just because a player had an off year the previous year, doesn’t mean he should be off your board and vice versa.

3. Not Forming Your Own Opinion

At this time of year, it is easy to get wrapped up in training camp highlights and coach speak. In August, every player is projected to have a career year. Making it hard not to ‘buy into the hype’. At the end of the day, it is important to realize, that although you can’t completely discount all of it, you have to put it in its proper perspective. Trust your research, trust the work you have done all offseason to learn the players. Most of all, trust your instinct. Just because teammates say that Christian McCaffrey ‘can’t be covered’ in one on one drills, doesn’t mean you are taking him a couple rounds higher than his ADP. Be smart.

4. Getting Caught Up in ‘Runs’

Everyone knows that runs are an inevitable occurrence during every fantasy draft. In 1 QB leagues, a lot of people typically wait on quarterbacks. Once one comes off the board, it sets in motion a domino effect. People see the quarterbacks coming off the board and they think to themselves “geez, I need to grab one before all the good ones are gone”. Getting caught up in a QB run should be easy to avoid when you consider the fact that Andy Dalton is currently the 17th QB coming off the board. The QB position is extremely deep and in 1 QB leagues, there are plenty to go around.

Another run that you are likely to see, is the run on tight ends. After Rob Gronkowski, Jordan Reed, Greg Olson and Travis Kelce, the drop off is fairly significant. Once the big four tight ends are gone people tend to panic and overdraft the best available tight end, even if it might not be the best available player. Avoiding runs like this often present a really good opportunity to swim against the current and find really good fantasy bargains. Let other people in your league get caught up in runs, while you continue to draft the points.

5. Not Finishing Strong

It is easy to exit the draft room and call it a day when you are in the 14th round and only have a couple roster spots left to fill. The draft is moving extremely slow at that point, everyone is bored and the best player available might be Tavon Austin. In fact, typing the words Tavon Austin made me yawn. As hard as it is to push through to the end sometimes, it is still sometimes necessary. After all, Terrell Pryor was a player last year who was being drafted in the 14th round. Don’t you think it was worth sticking around to take a stab at a player like him?

If you hit on the right player in one of the final rounds it could be just as helpful as finding a hidden gem off the waiver wire during the season. The point is, you never know what is going to happen and making every pick right down to the final one could be the difference in you getting a Terrell Pryor over another kicker that the computer auto drafts for you.

– The NFL Talking Heads (Jeff and Seth) cover Fantasy Football for cover32. Like and follow on

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