We're three weeks into the NFL season, so if you're in a traditional fantasy football league, the team you drafted is starting to show its true colors. Hopefully, for you, that's a good thing! For those of you who play the popular weekly re-draft leagues that allow you to choose a new team every week, there are some mistakes you want to be aware of and cautiously avoid during your season.
Steer clear of these mishaps and you'll be on your way to drafting high-performing teams every single week.
Mistake 1: Drafting With Your Heart
Many people get hung up on this mistake because they are unaware that they're doing it. Does a member of your favorite team or one of your personal favorite players always seem to sneak into your lineup? Should they really be there?
You need to be honest with yourself and make sure you're picking with your brain and not your heart. Fantasy football is based on wins, losses and points—not loyalty. This is one time it's OK to be a little selfish and do what's best for you and only you.
Mistake 2: Not Knowing The Team Strategy
This is a costly mistake that can be avoided with simple research. When you draft a skill position like a RB or WR, look at his team's trends. How many times did that player get targeted or run the ball last week? The week before that?
Many teams use multiple running back systems now, so a big name RB isn't always the best bet. Sometimes it's who is going to get the most opportunities. For example, the New England Patriots have three RBs in their rotation—all of them appear to be about equal in talent. Any given week, either of the three can go off; if you have one of the other two, it sucks.
On the other hand, you could have a team like the Colts (Gore) or 49ers (Hide) who use primarily one RB in their systems. While they may not be the flashiest guys, they get a ton of work and that gives your team more chances to put up points.
Mistake 3: Not Knowing The Matchup
Knowing the team's strategy is important, but it's trumped by the matchup. Let's take the example of the Colts and Frank Gore from the previous point. Yes, he is the primary back and will get a ton of work, but who is he facing?
Pretend they're playing the No. 3-ranked rush defense and the No. 2-ranked overall defense. Chances are they're going to do well at stopping the banged-up Colts from scoring. The Colts get down by a couple touchdowns and completely abandon the run game to try to catch up. Now what?
This is why it's important to look at the matchup and try to predict, to some degree, the outcome of the game. If you think a player has a poor matchup, it may be a good idea to look for another option even if looks like a safe pick on the surface.
Mistake 4: Not Knowing The Scoring Details
This is a huge missed opportunity. Every league has a different scoring system and they all lend momentum to certain positions.
A PPR (point per reception) league gives one point just for catching a reception, plus adds on points for the yards after catch. If you're in a PPR league, it's very easy to take control of a game if one of your players starts catching balls left and right.
On the other hand, some leagues favor QBs with incentives for multiple touchdowns or favorite a RB in the same way. You should know what the scoring system favors and try to set up your team to work within those guidelines.
Many re-draft leagues are PPR so definitely consider starting at least RB who plays a heavy role in his team's passing game, and consider WRs who get an abundance of targets rather than the guys who make a few highlight plays.
Wrapping It Up
Leagues that allow you to re-draft a new starting lineup weekly are becoming the way to go in fantasy football now. Now that you know a few tricks of the trade, you can avoid some major pitfalls and be on your way to bragging rights in your league!