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Avoid these six common mistakes your team is most likely making for a more successful fantasy football season

Looking back on how other managers try to succeed in the game, they made some mistakes.



We are currently in the midst of Fantasy Football Draft Season, so let’s discuss some common blunders. A few of the errors from last year’s column will be repeated, and I’ll add two new ones at the end. If you have any advice to share, I’m all ears: Scott Pianowski’s Twitter handle is @scott pianowski.

We spend the entire summer teaching you the proper way to play fantasy football. It’s clear that this is a complex and ever-evolving debate, and that its relevance depends on the specific circumstances. I can’t guarantee that what works wonders in my local league will do the same for yours. This game has a lot of flavorful seasonings to try out.

However, there are times when we need to pause and reflect on the ways in which less-than-optimal thinking influences our choices. Repairing any holes in your progress is what we’re here to do today.

Even the best fantasy managers frequently commit these six errors.

Due to a lack of familiarity with the league’s parameters

This may seem like stating the bleeding obvious, but unfortunately it is a frequent blunder. I know, because I make it myself sometimes — and there’s no reason for it.

I get that nobody enjoys having to read the rules or perform an audit of the settings. The rulebooks for some of the leagues I’m a part of are extremely lengthy and difficult to digest. I’m in way too many leagues to keep track of, and like a lot of fantasy managers, I’ve considered taking the easy way out and just making up the stats. But mistakes are inevitable if the rules of the game are unclear.

So let’s just make sure we put in the work and plug this leak. And I’m not just referring to the scoring rules here; I’m talking about every other option that pertains to a particular league as well. Managers making the same mistake of not knowing the start of free agency and the waiver period are not uncommon. Putting in just 30 seconds of time in your digital calendar now can make up for lost time in the future.

Let’s go on a hike]; get the hut ready! Join or start a fantasy football league right now!

Investing in Protection When It’s Not Necessary

The sacrifice bunt is generally frowned upon in today’s baseball. Launch angles and home runs have become so prevalent in the game that sacrificing an out to move a runner from first to second is rarely the right call. When you hand outs to the other team, you cap your scoring upside.

Just how does this relate to fantasy football, exactly? Well, you’re bunting if you actively seek out your starters’ NFL backups (especially at running back) in the draft. The potential gains are being limited by you. You’re playing for the small inning.

I want you to aim high early in the fantasy season. To paraphrase, I want you to construct the most potent, innovative behemoth you can think of. You can draft intriguing stash-and-hope runners to use as backups if one of your starting running backs is injured, but only then. Take advantage of your opponents’ misfortune by selecting the backups who will benefit from it. Create a team that can thrive in the face of chaos, rather than just surviving it.

I hope you don’t draft like your first few picks are doomed to fail. You should draft as if your first few picks were excellent ones. In other words, you need to stop being so cautious and damaging your ceiling.

Let’s be clear: bringing back the backup quarterback at a later date in the season makes as much sense as bunting in baseball. The odds of winning any competition decrease as time goes on, so you should adjust your strategy accordingly. I’ll let you go ahead and use Alexander Mattison to cover Dalvin Cook if you’re absolutely dominating the league in early November and there are no more pressing issues on your roster that need to be addressed. You’ve already posted a skewed total.

That’s the wrong way to think in August. When you first begin recruiting, you should aim much higher.

the practice of securing one’s beliefs by appealing to earlier ones

To win at fantasy sports, you have to pit your best guess against mine. The top fantasy coaches will have a wealth of insights to share. After several years of competition and the acquisition of a trophy or two, one develops a sense of self-worth and pride.

The National Football League, however, has more variation from season to season than any other American professional sports league. Context is king in this fantasy sport, which is why it’s the best fantasy sport. If he ends up in the right offense, a backup running back can become a fantasy king. When playing for a bad team, even a future Hall of Famer like Randy Moss can disappear.

Just like a month ago, three months ago, or six months ago, I have many insightful opinions on both players and strategies. But everything’s written in pencil. A change in the available evidence could cause me to reevaluate my position. I’m also open to revising my position if I become aware of important nuances that I had previously overlooked.

Competitors should try to anticipate your moves as you learn the new season. For this reason, you should be ready to show some measured aggression when appropriate. 14 months ago, Elijah Mitchell was an afterthought draft pick in the sixth round, but he quickly became trusted enough to join the Circle of Trust. Whoever failed to keep an open mind in this situation paid the price.

Rank each position in the 2022 fantasy draft (quarterback, running back, wide receiver, tight end, defensive end, and kicker).

Being paralyzed by fear

The fascinating concept of “Paradox of Choice” describes how even highly intelligent people can become paralyzed by too many choices. A lot of fantasy managers tell me they’d rather have a shallow roster than a deep one because it forces them to make fewer tough decisions each week. (It is common knowledge that a team with a deep bench can acquire an even stronger starting lineup via trade, but let’s not worry about that for the time being.)

Some coaches are reluctant to sit a star player because of the high financial investment they made in him during the draft or free agency.

Some managers are afraid to make a trade or an FA move because they’re obsessed with how bad they’ll feel if the decision turns out to be wrong. The friendliest loss is still a plague on our decision-making system. Far too many fantasy players opt for the option that will cause them the least amount of disappointment if they’re wrong, regardless of whether or not that option truly represents their best shot at victory.

Friends, don’t be afraid to fumble the ball. Making a difficult choice without having it backfire every once in a while is like never calling a bluff in poker. The brave often meet with success. If you always stand with both feet on first base, you’ll never be able to steal second.

I’m not advocating that you engage in bizarre behavior for the sake of it. Yes, I still want you to make wise choices. Rather, think about the potential outcomes of your decision and how likely it is to succeed. Don’t be derailed by the thought of how bad you’ll feel if you’re wrong and you have to regret something. Successful people don’t think that way.

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Holding off on queue maintenance until after the draft

I rarely alter the default rankings in a draft applet because I like to see who my opponents are prioritizing. But that doesn’t give me time to kick back and check Twitter or my inbox while I wait for my picks. Whether it’s an off-apple list I’m updating or the online queue I’m adding and rearranging names in, I’m always working on a list.

If you get kicked off the draft service midway through, having a neatly organized queue will save you from having to autopick, which could be disastrous. Also, this is a great way to remember players who could be sleepers in the later rounds but aren’t necessarily high on the site’s predetermined rankings. You can still keep a queue while drafting without access to a computer; all you need is a pen and some scrap paper. Just make sure no nosy neighbors stumble upon it.

Disregarding ADP

Experienced fantasy players often openly express their contempt for ADP, explaining that they never draft in accordance with any particular strategy. Also, I get it; you have to go after the players in whom you have faith. You should have some idea at least of the range of prices that such players could command in a competitive market.

The draft patterns of rooms over the past week or so are what I find most interesting when I look at ADP. Buggier and less practical will be the more deeply rooted versions of ADP. You shouldn’t try to completely undercut the market on the later-round selections you covet, but rather to undercut it by a small margin. It’s not smart to take your hidden gem in the sixth round when it’s obvious from the surrounding text that you could have waited until the tenth round or later.

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