Saturday, June 12, 2010

Remembering My Worst Fantasy Football Mistakes

I don’t think I’m bragging when I say that I have made just about every mistake a fantasy football owner can make. I’ve been the no-show at a draft that allowed friends or a computer to make my picks. I’ve been unprepared, coming to a draft without even a fantasy magazine. I’ve stupidly drafted quarterbacks in the first two rounds. Tonight, because I’m such a great guy (and I wanna win) I’m going to share with you the five worst mistakes I’ve made as a fantasy owner.

5) Not Knowing the Scoring Rules – Several years ago I was in a league that had some unusual scoring rules. This league wanted to make quarterbacks more valuable so they made passing touchdowns worth ten points and started two QBs. I went with my usual running back heavy strategy and snickered ignorantly as the best quarterbacks flew off the board in the first few rounds. My Tom Brady and Michael Vick duo would have been fine in a lot of leagues but in this one it killed me. Most rule variations aren’t that extreme but it illustrates just how important it is to know how points are scored in your league.

4) Following the “Draft Running Backs Early Strategy” to a Fault – A few years ago I had the good fortune of drafting Shaun Alexander in the first round (he was worth it back then). I cringed when 15 running backs went in the next 18 picks. My next two picks were DeShaun Foster and Kevin Jones. I could have had Peyton Manning with either pick but I came into the draft knowing I wouldn’t select a quarterback until round five or six. While it is a solid strategy to select running backs in the first three rounds you have to be flexible enough to take advantage when an elite player slips too far.

3) Panicking after the First Game or Two – After drafting a nice team I thought for sure I’d have a perfect season if no one got hurt. I was beaten in my first three games and lost my mind. I started paying far too much attention to match-ups and did silly things like start Eddie Kennison over Torry Holt. My panic turned a team that should have contended for the title into an also ran. Patience is extremely important in a fantasy football season. Don’t let bad luck or slow starts ruin your entire year.

2) Leaving My Cell Phone on – I was half way through a draft when my cell phone started to vibrate across my desk. The rest of my league was bidding on someone I had no interest in so I picked up my phone just to see who was calling. It was this girl I had asked out a dozen times only to be denied in dozens of creative ways. I took the call and made a date for that night. It was bad enough that I allowed myself to be distracted in the middle of an auction but I had another auction early the next morning. Of course I got drunk and stayed out with her until 6am. Two drafts ruined with one phone call.

1) Ignoring My Best Instincts – Every year I expend a lot of effort researching players. I come up with a solid strategy and assign a value to every eligible player. But far too many times I’ve allowed all this work to go to waste. I’ve let fear of ridicule or embarrassment keep me from drafting to the best of my ability. I think this is by far the worst mistake a fantasy football owner can make. If your months of research tells you that Ronnie Brown is going to be the top running back of 2006 don’t be afraid to pick him with the #6 overall pick even if the consensus says he’s #10. If Roy Williams is the most valuable player on your list in the third round don’t skip him to pick a lesser player. Of course you won’t always make the right choices but you’ll feel lots better if your risks pan out than you will always making the safe pick and finishing fourth. If it doesn’t work they can’t eat you.

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