There are a few fantasy football rookie mistakes that even veteran players consistently make on draft day. While you can’t win your fantasy league on draft day, you might be able to lose it. Draft day can be one of the most fun events of the year, but it’s a lot more enjoyable when you are prepared and can avoid making mistakes. In addition to plenty of mock drafting, try to avoid these three rookie mistakes in your upcoming fantasy football draft.
1. Do Not Be Seduced by Your Favorite Team
One of the biggest mistakes you can make playing fantasy sports is being a die-hard homer for your favorite team. It is a mistake that almost every single fantasy manager has made at one point in time, but some are serial offenders. It is all too easy to believe that the players on your favorite team are destined for glory this season.
It is normal to be optimistic about your favorite team in the preseason. You hear the coaches talking up the players and can see how everything can come together for the team. But the more you fall in love with one player or a set of players, the easier it is for you to overpay and select them too soon in the draft. What makes matters even worse is when you draft multiple players from your favorite team.
What happens when your preseason predictions prove to be gross over-estimations? Now, not only do you miss on one player, but the majority of your offense is made up of under-performers, and your chances at getting to the playoffs have all but diminished.
This is not to suggest that you never draft a player from the team that you love. For the most part, every player can be drafted—at the right cost. Putting together a fantasy football team is all about maximizing value. By falling in love with your favorite team’s players, you run the risk of both drafting them too early, thus losing value, and sabotaging your team if the offense doesn’t click.
However, let’s say you are well into your draft, and you see that the running back that you fancy is falling too far and is well past his average draft position. At that point, of course, go ahead and take the player at a positive value. Just don’t be the guy that drafts the player in the second round when you could have drafted him in the fourth or fifth.
Yes, it can be great fun to watch your favorite players excel on your fantasy teams, and it can be easy to be seduced. You also may have a fear of missing out if the player explodes, as you predicted, but not on your team. A great way to combat this is by having multiple fantasy teams to play with. With multiple teams, you can spread out your “shares” in various players, which reduces your overall risk and exposure to busts.
This mistake takes on more significance if you play with a lot of people that all like the same team. Every fantasy manager knows that certain players are going to go earlier in the draft, which causes them to reach even sooner to select them. Instead of being that person, sit back and watch as your league mate reaches for his favorite player, allowing a better player to fall to you in the draft.
2. Do Not Draft a Quarterback Early
Quarterback is one of the deepest positions in fantasy. They put up more points than any other position, and it can be easy to fall into the trap of thinking you need an elite QB. However, the difference between the 10th best quarterback and the 20th best quarterback may not be a very large gap. When there is a large tier of similarly talented players, you want to be the one drafting at the end of that tier and not the beginning.
Of course, elite quarterbacks like Patrick Mahomes are going to go early in the draft, and sometimes they might be worth reaching for. But in general, beyond the top one or two players at the position, any of the next 20 quarterbacks could ascend to or recede from the top ten. What this means is that a quarterback that is drafted in the fifth round could likely be outperformed by a quarterback drafted in the 12th round. There are plenty of good quarterbacks to go around in fantasy football, especially in the modern NFL that caters to the passing game.
The common theme with all three of these mistakes is that they cost you value on draft day, which lowers your team’s chances of success. Let the other teams draft up quarterbacks early as you draft elite players at other positions. Every quarterback puts up a lot of points. Not every QB can put up points like Lamar Jackson or Patrick Mahomes, but beyond the super-elite players, there can be a lot of redundancy. Use that redundancy to your advantage and draft a quarterback when the value is right.
If you want to make sure you have one of the better quarterbacks on your team, it is alright to draft one in the first five rounds. Just make sure to draft running backs and wide receivers in the first couple of rounds, as they will likely make or break your season.
3. Not Selecting the Best Player Available
This rule is simple: draft the best player available. It may seem like an obvious rule not to break, but some rookie players may methodically go down their roster, filling in each position before drafting backups. Just because you already have a running back and a wide receiver doesn’t mean that you should select a quarterback and a tight end next. If the best player available is another RB or WR, take that player. Fantasy football is all about managing attrition throughout the season, and you will need good backups to make it to the playoffs.