Fantasy Football Dos and Don’ts
It’s fantasy season, as the NFL prepares to kick off the 2017-2018 season. Your draft might be coming up any day now, with a season’s worth of bragging rights at stake among you and your friends or co-workers. And if you haven’t set up a draft yet, sites like Playdraft offer easy-to-setup options that will have you drafting within minutes.
There’s no escaping the luck factor, but these tips can keep you from making crucial errors on draft day:
DO: Know your league’s scoring system before drafting
This may seem like an incredibly obvious suggestion, but a surprising number of drafters head into the draft unaware of the nuances of their league’s scoring system. Does your league give points for receptions? If so, players like Le’veon Bell who haul in a ton of catches shoot up the list. Knowing your league’s point system allows you to prioritize players other drafters are overlooking.
DON’T: Buy into the hype with rookies and sleepers
It’s incredibly tempting to think that Leonard Fournette is going to be the next Adrian Peterson and reach for him early. Or to think that this is the year that Devante Parker blows up. And it’s OK to draft exciting young players on the rise, as long as you draft them at an appropriate position. However, reaching a round or even two or three rounds early for too many players is a recipe for disaster. The guys at the top of draft rankings are there for a reason: They’re the safest bets to produce big numbers. Trying to hit too many homeruns means you’re likely to strike out overall.
DO: Handcuff your star running backs
Injuries are a part of life in the NFL, and nowhere is that more true than the running back position. Running backs take a brutal pounding, week in and week out, and a large number of them end up on the shelf at some point in the season. If you draft a running back in the first few rounds, a wise move is to draft his backup in the later rounds of the draft. This way, if your stud runner goes down, you’re able to plug his backup in and mitigate your loss. Handcuffing running backs is a tried-and-true fantasy strategy, but too many drafters make the mistake of not doing it when the opportunity presents itself.
DON’T: Think your job is done when the draft ends
Every once in a while, a fantasy team will just end up being perfect from day one. No one gets hurt, everyone performs great, and you sleepwalk to the championship. But in the other 999 times out of a 1,000, it’s not that simple. The NFL changes in the blink of an eye. Unheralded players come out of nowhere to put up huge numbers. Established stars get injured or see their game fall off. To win consistently in fantasy, you’ve got to be willing to work the waiver wire. If a receiver who’s a free agent in your league puts up a massive game in the first week, you’ve got to be ready to pounce. Or if a running back on a playoff team goes down with an ACL tear, check the free agent pool to see if his backup is out there. Ignoring free agents means your fantasy opponents have access to upgrades you’re not getting.
It’s tough to draft the perfect team, but following these dos and don’ts will give you a leg up on a lot of your competition.
Good luck in your draft and your fantasy football season!