Five Fantasy Football Draft Strategies To Avoid

by Michael Drahota | Posted on Monday, August 25th, 2014 | 0


The 2014 NFL fantasy football draft season is now in full swing, and it’s getting down to the last minute to comprise a solid strategy to get a leg up on your competition.

As the old saying goes, you can’t win a fantasy league at the draft, but you can certainly lose it. While that may be a bit extreme, there are definitely snippets of truth in that timeless cliché.

If you fall victim to several common mistakes that many fantasy players make, you’ll join the ranks of millions of teams who are left maligning their bad luck, when in reality, they could have made better decisions at the outset of the year. Sure, there will always be a decent amount of luck in fantasy football, but you’ve got to set your self up for success the best way you can.

Here are five fantasy draft strategies you’ll want to avoid in 2014:

Overvaluing quarterbacks:

This is a big one this year, as Peyton Manning had by far the finest season a quarterback has ever had last year.

It’s true that the NFL is becoming more and more of a passing league, so it would seem common knowledge to go for the best passer as early as possible. But with quarterback one of the deepest positions in the NFL, you can find a legitimate starting signal caller that will provide elite value for a fraction of the price.

Using that strategy will allow you to fill a crucial roster spot with a starting running back or wide receiver in the early rounds. Manning will most likely blow it up again in 2014, but most experts have him pegged for a regression at 38 years old.

With each passing year, it becomes clearer that you can wait on a quarterback and still find success by filling up other positions.

Going off of last year’s stats:

Feeding off our first strategy to avoid, you should never draft based solely on what a player did last year. Yes, at the beginning of the year it’s all you have to go off of, but the NFL is an ever-evolving, quickly changing league that is literally different one week from the next.

Players get hurt, they get cut, they get signed to new teams, and only the best offer year-to-year consistency that has them pegged as truly elite fantasy stars. Obviously those players will be off the board early, so you have to use a bit of foresight to prognosticate which players are going to emerge this year and where to draft them.

Much of fantasy football is having a team with potential, and you can’t do that if you’re focused on last season.

Looking too far ahead:

Although you do have to have a good amount of foresight in fantasy, you also can’t look too far ahead. Because the NFL changes so much week to week, it’s a futile exercise to try to forecast what your team will be doing in December in August.

Your team might be completely different by then, so keeping an adapting, organic approach to attacking the waiver wire and managing your match-ups each week will put you on a path to success.

It’s better to build a big lead with a strong start than trying to play catch up because you geared your team for late season success. Try to win now rather than when it’s too late.

Taking a kicker/ defense too early:

This is a tried and true mistake that inevitably rears its ugly head in many a fantasy draft. Someone undoubtedly reaches for the top defense from last year; wasting a pick they could have solidified their running back stable or wide receivers with.

Because defensive success (which is largely based on turnovers) is such a fleeting and unpredictable statistic in fantasy, there’s not much need to draft a defense until the second to last round, or maybe the round before if there’s a potential breakout candidate you’ve really got your eye on.

The same is even truer with kickers. There’s even less of a way to predict their success, so just take one with your last pick and nowhere else.

This strategy has been beaten to death, but for good reason. Do not take a defense or kicker until the very end of your fantasy draft.

Not adapting to the draft by avoiding value to fill a need:

The final fantasy draft strategy to avoid may be the most important one. Every year, teams rush to fill up their rosters, neglecting what could be an extremely valuable pick at a position they may have already filled. As mentioned above, fantasy is a game that is constantly evolving, meaning its players must do the same.

It just doesn’t matter if you don’t have your whole team filled out with an equal amount of players across the board. Take what the draft gives you and pick the player with the most value for the situation.

There will be several lesser-known players that explode from out of nowhere to put up big numbers; it happens every year. So if you truly have a position of need, you should be able to fill it by picking up a breakout candidate if you are watching the waiver wire closely (which, obviously, you should be anyway).

Don’t adhere to a rigid draft strategy, because rarely will your draft play out according to your plans. Instead, adapt and evolve as it plays out, choosing the best player for the given situation. You’ll be glad you did.

About the Author

Both an avid NFL fan and analyst, I’ve been following professional football since the late 1980s. I’m also an avid fantasy football player with several league victories under my belt. Check out my NFL articles on TSM for the latest NFL news, highlights, predictions, and more.

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