4 Downs: Pre-Draft No-No’s


August is a strange time of year for football fans. While we try not to be too invested in the preseason as fans, the fantasy owners in us can’t help but be plugged in on everything from snap counts to depth charts. Any hint of volume or any sight of a niggling injury can actually play a dramatic role in the outcome of many fantasy leagues. Managing the balance between interest and unhelpful obsession can often be tricky and have a significant impact on the way you draft.

With that in mind, here are 4 no-no’s that you’ve got to avoid being dragged into during your upcoming drafts. Many will try, only few will prevail. I will also award bonus points for every member of your league you manage to entice into one of these boneheaded fantasy mishaps.

1st Down | Don’t be a ‘Homer’

While this may be an obvious statement, you will be surprised how many suffer from a bad case of ‘homerism’ still. Yes, we all know that ADP is a guideline and should not be your sole reliance on draft day, but the Cowboys fan who takes Dez Bryant in the first round is not simply reaching for the guy he believes in.

Wasting a high pick (or a higher pick than required) on a player just because you want to see him succeed will unfortunately not will said player to an MVP level season. While I too appreciate the talents of Kirk Cousins, and may in take him at his 8th round price, snatching Cousins off the board in the 6th by clicking your Washington Redskins embossed mouse will not guarantee him QB1 numbers.

Too many people are in fact accused of homeritis, however, there is a balance to be struck between optimism and homerism.

2nd Down | Don’t draft the offseason darling

We see this affliction on a yearly basis. Thousands of fantasy owners each year besiege the fantasy community with the terrible curse of over-drafting. You can smell it in the air. Puff-pieces about hometown heroes are being written. Legions of podcasts are being broadcast all touting the same player and their potential this season. The proof is in the ADPudding (see what I did there?).

One such player in 2017 is Raiders RB and media sensation, Marshawn Lynch. As of today, Lynch’s ADP remains in the second round which is simply outrageous. While he may have fresh legs and a stout offensive line, it is fair to question how much ‘beastmode’ Lynch still has in the tank. With much made about his return to the community, most haven’t paid close attention to Lynch’s remarks when he’s not hitting on reporters. Lynch has been quoted as saying the highlight of his career was retiring and as such did not miss football during said short-lived retirement. It is fair to say his motivation, commitment and potential are all in question for 2017.

Lynch is a prime example of an over-drafted player when the players he is being drafted ahead of are examined. Christian McCaffrey, Dalvin Cook, Isaiah Crowell, Carlos Hyde and Joe Mixon are all available in rounds 3 and 4 and all present much more intriguing options to me.

3rd Down | ADP is a guide

As previously outlined, it is important not to religiously stick to ADP. While this should be taken with a pinch of salt to avoid over-drafting, you need to possess the flexibility to both proverbially pounce and stalk your draft targets.

ADP is an average and so that means players are being drafted both above and below their ADP. Just because Rex Burkhead has a 11th round ADP does not mean you should wait that long to draft him if you believe in his talent. Burkhead, for example, has a likely chance of being New England’s RB1 and so drafting him in 7th or 8th round may even be a smart gutsy decision which could pay dividends in the long haul.

On the other hand, just because a player is valued in the 4th round doesn’t mean he must be taken there. Marshawn Lynch, as referenced before, has a 2nd round ADP. To me, this is far too high and I either won’t draft him or monitor if he falls to a discounted price. Philip Rivers is another example of this. I’m ok with taking him at his 10th round ADP but QBs always fall in drafts and I believe I could ideally wait for another round or two before pulling the trigger.

It’s a tricky balance to find between over-drafting and waiting too long so someone else scoops up your guy. My greatest advice would be to target your favorite guys before a draft and zone in on them two rounds ahead of their ADP. If worse players are going off the board ahead of your guy then go grab your man.

4th Down | Don’t panic

While your wife or your parents might not believe so, drafts are a stressful few hours. While money, prizes, and punishments may be at stake, most importantly pride is also. No one wants to come last in their fantasy league. I can still remember the message boards when I finished last…*shudders*. But when the stakes are so high it is even more paramount not to panic.

“Oh no, there’s a QB run!”

Let those suckers run. The chances are most of those guys will end up injured or underperforming for their draft price anyway and QB is perennially the deepest position in fantasy.

“Argh, Larry Fitz went just before my pick, my baby is crying and there’s someone at the door and clock is ticking!”

Stay calm my friends. One missed pick, and even one bad pick will not ruin your fantasy season. Panicking will only lead to more bad choices and that is the way to ruin your line-up. While it’s important, fantasy is fun and it’s meant to be fun. Relax, enjoy it and do yourself proud kiddo.

Thanks for reading, please follow Will on Twitter @willpendosports




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