Avoid These 10 Draft Mistakes (Fantasy Football)

Aug 10, 2017

If you miss out on the elite players, don’t reach just to fill a position

When it comes to draft preparation and executing on draft day, there are simple guidelines you should do your best to follow. Now I could go ahead and list ten things myself, but ten brains are better than one, which is exactly what we have below. Our featured experts all make a living based on fantasy sports, so it’s safe to say they have some solid wisdom to offer. Take a look to see if you’ve fallen into one of the traps below and avoid doing so again with these friendly reminders.

Nail your draft by prepping with the FantasyPros Draft Kit. Cheat Sheets, sleepers & more >>

Q. Please give us one draft mistake you would caution fantasy owners from making in this year’s draft.

“The biggest mistake that I see most fantasy players make in drafts is reaching for players just because there is a run at a certain position, especially quarterback. If you’re in your home league draft and all of a sudden there are five quarterbacks taken in the second round, don’t be quick on the trigger to snag a quarterback. Instead, relish in the fact that you just got a second round player in the third round. Rinse and repeat as needed. Don’t panic, you’ll be able to get Tyrod Taylor as the 15th quarterback off the board.”
– Mike Tagliere (FantasyPros)

“Don’t handcuff running backs unless there’s a clear backup and the team is actually committed to running the ball. While you may want to protect investments like David Johnson, Le’Veon Bell, or Melvin Gordon, no one has emerged behind those players who has any chance of producing even strong RB2 numbers. If any of those players go down, their respective offenses would change dramatically, unlike a team like the Cowboys, who’d likely plug Darren McFadden into a big role if they were without Ezekiel Elliott for any period of time.”
– Matt Camp (Bleacher Report)

“Don’t draft for need, draft for talent and upside. Far too often fantasy owners feel compelled to fill out their starting lineup before adding depth at other positions, but this is a major mistake when it comes to roster construction. It’s more important to acquire the best possible assets in the draft, regardless of position. You can always use the waiver wire or trades to solidify your starting lineup after the draft. Even if a player like Derrick Henry or Kareem Hunt doesn’t address a need, they could emerge as a league-winning starter or a valuable trade chip later in the season.”
– Justin Boone (theScore)

“Tight end is consistently one of the most over-drafted positions in fantasy football. This is in large part because the touchdown rate of a TE fluctuates wildly from week-to-week. The drop-off, in terms of fantasy points, from the top-five players at the position to the next tier is shockingly steep. That’s why, unless you’re targeting Travis Kelce or Greg Olsen, it’s best to wait until, at least, the sixth or seventh round. (Though, personally, I dig Hunter Henry in the back-half of the eighth.)”
– Liz Loza (Yahoo! Sports)

“Don’t reach for QB production. If you don’t get the likes of Brady or Rodgers there are alternatives to still get top notch production. Stacking QBs from the same division can yield great results. In 2016 the combo of Philip Rivers and Derek Carr could have been used to outscore Aaron Rodgers by 190 points while Alex Smith and Trevor Siemian could have given you QB6 production.”
– Scott Smith (RotoViz)

“If you’re a regular fantasy football player, you’ve probably played in leagues hosted by several different websites. So I don’t have to tell you that some of the rankings in the draft room are plum crazy. The draft room rankings can create several problems, including the dreaded autodraft. But also, I guarantee you, you’re going to be sitting there in the eighth round while your competitor drafts someone who should’ve gone three rounds earlier, but who you didn’t realize was still on the board. Just take the 20 minutes and personalize your rankings in your draft room with something you can trust. Personally, I go with FantasyPros expert consensus rankings”
Dan Harris (FantasyPros)

“Because every draft platform has players organized according to ADP, inexperienced owners can show up on draft day totally unprepared and walk away with a team that is just as talented as those who spent all offseason researching, mocking, paying attention to the headlines and competing in draft-only leagues. It can be frustrating, but knowing full well that several owners in your league can be expected to be dependent on ADP can be used to your advantage. Smart owners recognize that relying on ADP to determine when to pick a player can be foolish. Don’t be afraid to take a player a round or two ahead of his ADP if you are confident that he will outperform his draft position. Sure, you run the risk of being laughed at for “reaching” for your guy, but every year we are reminded, usually by the end of the first week, that the fantasy community was collectively too low/high on many players and know that the sting of letting someone else select one of this year’s breakout stars because “He’s always available in this round!” lasts all season.”
– Matthew Hill (DataForce Fantasy Football)

“Do not feel compelled to move too early on a running back if you miss out on the top 9. After the big three, McCoy Freeman, Murray, Ajayi, and Howard are off the board, there are no guys you can feel confident in as a true RB1. Lean towards WRs in the second and third rounds if you don’t like selections such as Isaiah Crowell or Marshawn Lynch as your RB2. Wait on a Dalvin Cook or Kareem Hunt as your RB2.”
– Scott Engel (RotoExperts)

“The biggest mistake fantasy owners can make on draft day is rigidly sticking to a pre-draft strategy. Preparing for a draft or auction is vital, but very often, owners come up with a strategy, like “zero-RB or zero-WR” and follow through on it no matter what. If other owners in that draft are like-minded, that entire strategy can be flawed and lead to reaches, panicked selections, and poor values. By following through on a strategy that can easily be affected by others, you might miss the golden opportunity to recognize value at other positions, and build a better roster simply by capitalizing on you fellow owner’s mistakes. The best strategy is to be prepared, proactive, and flexible. Pay attention to what your league mates are doing, look ahead at your position tiers and values, and never “reach” on a player when a better value falls into your lap due to their mistakes.”
– Jody Smith (Gridiron Experts)

“This may sound a little extreme, but don’t even draft a kicker. The difference between selecting the #3 kicker on draft day or picking someone up hours before kick-off is about 1.5 projected points. With that draft spot, you can add James Conner, DeAndre Washington, Darren McFadden or Jonathan Williams, and should one of their starters go down in the weeks before the season, you’ve got yourself a legitimate RB1 on your hands. While the odds may be only around 3 to 5% for that to happen, the net value is far superior to wasting the roster spot for two weeks on a replacement level kicker.”
– Bobby Sylvester (FantasyPros)

Thank you to the experts for their mistakes to avoid. Be sure to give them a follow on Twitter for more great advice and check out our latest podcast below.

Subscribe: iTunes | Stitcher | SoundCloud | Google Play | TuneIn | RSS

What's your take? Leave a comment

Fantasy Games
DRAFT photo
Get a FREE FantasyPros upgrade with first deposit
FanDuel photo
Play for your share of $1m+
for FREE with first deposit
CBS Sports photo
Serious Fantasy Football
Get our Mobile App!

Enter your phone number below, and we'll text you a link to download the app.

1Todd Gurley (LAR)RB
2Le'Veon Bell (PIT)RB
3Ezekiel Elliott (DAL)RB
4Antonio Brown (PIT)WR
5David Johnson (ARI)RB
6DeAndre Hopkins (HOU)WR
7Alvin Kamara (NO)RB
8Odell Beckham Jr. (NYG)WR
9Kareem Hunt (KC)RB
10Julio Jones (ATL)WR
 View All Rankings 
11Michael Thomas (NO)WR
12Leonard Fournette (JAC)RB
13Saquon Barkley (NYG)RB
14Melvin Gordon (LAC)RB
15A.J. Green (CIN)WR
16Dalvin Cook (MIN)RB
17Keenan Allen (LAC)WR
18Davante Adams (GB)WR
19Mike Evans (TB)WR
20LeSean McCoy (BUF)RB
21Devonta Freeman (ATL)RB
22Jordan Howard (CHI)RB
23Rob Gronkowski (NE)TE
24Doug Baldwin (SEA)WR
25Tyreek Hill (KC)WR
26Christian McCaffrey (CAR)RB
27Adam Thielen (MIN)WR
28Travis Kelce (KC)TE
29Jerick McKinnon (SF)RB
30Joe Mixon (CIN)RB
1Mike Trout (LAA)CF
2Jose Altuve (HOU)2B
3Nolan Arenado (COL)3B
4Trea Turner (WSH)SS
5Mookie Betts (BOS)RF
6Charlie Blackmon (COL)CF
7Paul Goldschmidt (ARI)1B
8Bryce Harper (WSH)RF
9Giancarlo Stanton (NYY)RF
10Clayton Kershaw (LAD)SP
 View All Rankings 
11Max Scherzer (WSH)SP
12Kris Bryant (CHC)3B,RF
13Carlos Correa (HOU)SS
14Corey Kluber (CLE)SP
15Chris Sale (BOS)SP
16Joey Votto (CIN)1B
17Manny Machado (BAL)3B
18Freddie Freeman (ATL)1B,3B
19Anthony Rizzo (CHC)1B,2B
20J.D. Martinez (BOS)RF
21Aaron Judge (NYY)RF
22Francisco Lindor (CLE)SS
23George Springer (HOU)CF,RF
24Josh Donaldson (TOR)3B
25Cody Bellinger (LAD)1B,LF
26Stephen Strasburg (WSH)SP
27Noah Syndergaard (NYM)SP
28Gary Sanchez (NYY)C
29Jose Ramirez (CLE)2B,3B
30Brian Dozier (MIN)2B
1Kevin Durant (GSW)SF,PF
2Giannis Antetokounmpo (MIL)SF,PF
3James Harden (HOU)PG,SG
4Stephen Curry (GSW)PG,SG
5Russell Westbrook (OKC)PG
6Karl-Anthony Towns (MIN)C
7Anthony Davis (NOR)PF,C
8Kawhi Leonard (SAS)SG,SF
9LeBron James (CLE)SF,PF
10Nikola Jokic (DEN)PF,C
 View All Rankings 
11John Wall (WAS)PG
12DeMarcus Cousins (NOR)PF,C
13Chris Paul (HOU)PG
14Damian Lillard (POR)PG
15Jimmy Butler (MIN)SG,SF
16Rudy Gobert (UTH)C
17Kyrie Irving (BOS)PG,SG
18Hassan Whiteside (MIA)C,PF
19Myles Turner (IND)PF,C
20Paul George (OKC)SG,SF
21Kyle Lowry (TOR)PG
22Draymond Green (GSW)SF,PF
23Kristaps Porzingis (NYK)PF,C
24Kemba Walker (CHA)PG
25CJ McCollum (POR)PG,SG
26Mike Conley (MEM)PG
27Bradley Beal (WAS)SG
28Klay Thompson (GSW)SG,SF
29Marc Gasol (MEM)C
30Gordon Hayward (BOS)SG,SF