The core idea of fantasy football is that you draft players. To draft these players, you might join millions of other Americans who research statistics. You draft players onto imaginary teams that you own. Then, you track their play over the weeks.
Your virtual roster is what you create to compete against the roster of other people, based on the real game stats of the players. You can use the best fantasy football content to learn more about players, but there are also overall optimal practices to keep in mind.
With that in mind, as you can imagine, your draft picks are critical to your success in fantasy football, so the following are tips to help you make the right choices.
Don’t Get Too Obsessed with Rookies
Rookies can create a lot of excitement in professional sports, for good reason. That’s why the NFL draft is so popular—in fact, it’s among the most-watched things on TV.
If you follow college football, then you might have already grown attached to some of the players from their time then. You may feel an attachment, but you have to remember that a rookie will often struggle in the season at some point.
In college, a football player might have 12 games. If they go to a bowl, they’ll play in 13. In professional environments, they’re playing 16 much longer games. They’re going to likely run out of steam somewhere along the way.
You shouldn’t spend your high draft picks on someone who’s not proven as a professional. You might instead want to save your rookies for the second or third round, so you’re getting a better value.
Avoid Basing Your Picks Entirely on the Previous Season
If a player has a great season, you have to remember the teams they’re going to oppose in the next season will hone in on how to stop that from happening again.
Teams make the necessary adjustments to what other players and teams are doing, so you might find that if you’re only looking at the past season, you’re getting a player on the downswing.
Eliminate Emotional Connections
If you want to get serious with your fantasy football draft, mentally prepare yourself to let go of any emotional connections you might have to teams or players.
When you’re in your fantasy draft, you need to view everyone as just another player. If you get too emotional in your draft picks, it’s going to cause you problems in an auction league. If the other owners know you like a particular team, you might end up paying more than you should for a player.
If you’re attached to a team, then you might want to go for a second-string player in your later rounds.
Don’t Overemphasize Training Camp Updates
When you’re involved in fantasy football, you might follow updates from training camp. You can feel like you have some inside source of information, but you have to realize that this isn’t what’s happening.
Why would a team give away its competitive advantages?
Just watch the rookies and the injuries as far as training camp updates but consider the rest as noise.
Know Your League Rules
If there was one big and most common mistake in fantasy football, it’s not knowing the league rules. The league rules are fundamental because you need to adjust your strategy if there’s a serpentine draft versus an auction draft for example.
If you’re part of a league requiring two versus one starting quarterbacks, your approach to drafting is going to be much different.
If you don’t know how a league is scored or how a draft will happen, you’re putting yourself in a rough spot from the start. You can and should request the information about the rules from the league commission well in advance of the draft day.
Your starting lineup will have nine total spots if you look at ESPN default settings. Your nine first picks should not fill out your starting lineup. Not all the positions in a lineup in fantasy football are equal. The most important is your running back spot.
Consider building your roster around the running back, but also think about targeting wide receivers early on.
For quarterbacks, you want the best value.
A general tip is to ensure that you’re not overthinking about your first pick and forgetting about your next four picks.
Finally, know why you’re taking a player. That sounds overly simplistic, but it’s something you might overlook. You want to have an idea of what a player’s role can be and what his level of talent is. Again, you don’t pick someone because of where they went to college. Every pick should be aimed at helping you win a championship in fantasy football.