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Fantasy Football Rookie? 11 Things to Remember on Draft Day

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11 Things to Remember on Draft Day for the Fantasy Football Rookie


Fantasy football can be intimidating. You don’t want to lose and have to hear about it all week from Davie in logistics. You don’t want to deal with the humiliation that deservedly comes with drafting Lardarius Webb with the first overall pick. You might not ever live down drafting Adam Vinatieri in the sixth round.

I remember my first foray into fantasy football was when I got invited to play in my then girlfriend (now wife’s) family league. They are diehard football fans. They watch all the games, they know the players. They have the car decals, the team blankets and all the apparel. I wanted to make a good impression and this was my first real chance to connect with them outside a formal dining setting.

My first season in that league didn’t result in the championship, but I didn’t finish last. I had a respectable season. I slowly worked my way up and last season brought home my first championship. A few months later, I married their youngest daughter. Coincidence? Tough to say. The point is if you have a bad draft, you’re going to hear about it, just as if you have a good draft, you could be set up.

As I research football on the regular, I’ve noticed that most of the analysis is rather in depth and treats the audience like seasoned pros. But where do you go if this is your first time? What do you need to know right now as a rookie, and what kind of data can wait for a little bit down the road?

Don’t worry, like Charles Tillman, I got you covered.

Dustin Manko is a contributing writer at Rant Follow him on Twitter @DustinManko, ”Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google

Read more from Dustin here

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11. Don’t Autodraft Your Team


Just don’t. You can use their reference system to determine who is capable of what, but make the final call on your own. The other owners will know if you autodraft, and you will take flak for it all season. If you have success, it will be the computer’s success and if you fail, it will be your fault for not choosing your team yourself.

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10. Beware of Bye Weeks

Jason O. Watson-US PRESSWIRE

Every team has a bye week. Make sure you don’t have your whole team on bye the same week. You will be scrambling for players, the other owners will know it and they will inflate value for players because you are in a pinch.

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9. Forget Your Real Life Team


Alliances and rivalries are one of the best things about real life football. As a fan of the Dallas Cowboys, few things in life are better than having one of my best friends over (who hails from the Maryland area) and watching the Cowboys beat the Washington Redskins. Remember, this isn’t real football, this is fantasy. You need to forget your alliances and draft the best players, regardless of where they really play. That might sting a little bit if you are a fan of the New York Jets and Tom Brady is the best available quarterback, or are a fan of the Chicago Bears and need to draft Aaron Rodgers, but in fantasy, it is the right thing to do.

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8. Take A Flyer On A Rookie

Alex Albright-US PRESSWIRE

Save this for later in your draft. Each season, some unknown rookie goes nuts and just mops up the points. Later in your draft, take a chance on a rookie. If you hit on this pick later, you’ll earn respect and look like a genius, if you miss on this pick, you can always chalk it up to that rookie not adjusting to the NFL.

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7. Wait on Drafting a Kicker and Defense/Special Teams


While in some leagues a top-tier defense and special team (D/ST) can score as in the top 15 overall during the season, wait on drafting these positions until the latter rounds of the draft. Grab a D/ST before a kicker. Many owners will change their D/ST or kicker weekly based on the matchups, possibly giving you a chance to grab a stud D/ST off the waiver wire. Fill out your roster, and have your handcuffs ready before you worry about D/ST then get your kicker. Just make sure you grab a D/ST before the last few rounds.

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6. Trust Your Gut

Trust Your Gut
Christopher Hanewinckel-US PRESSWIRE

This one will get easier as time goes by, but don’t be a slave to the numbers and rankings you see everywhere. Look at the data, watch the games and man up and make a judgment call. If you see something that you think you can exploit, go for it. If it works, you’ll look like a genius. The experts don’t know everything and while some bets are safer than others, nobody can see the future.

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5. Aim to Win The Majority of Your Matchups


Most leagues require that you start one quarterback, two running backs, three wide receivers, one tight end, one kicker and one defense/special teams. In this type of situation, you will have nine head-to-head matchups. Usually, if you can win the quarterback and running back matchups, you have a good shot to win the game that week. Take a look at who your opponent will be playing and do your best to make sure that your player outscores theirs.

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4. Draft Players From High Scoring Teams

High scores

This should be a no brainer. Fantasy is all about scoring points and the teams that score more points mean their players are having better stat lines than teams that don’t. You should target players from the top scoring teams. That isn’t to say players from lower scoring teams aren’t worth your time, but you’ll have a better chance of someone from the Green Bay Packers having a big day over someone that plays for the Jets.

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3. Know Your League’s Scoring System/Settings


This may sound obvious but you need to know your league’s scoring system and settings. They are not all the same. Some leagues reward more for a touchdown than others. Some leagues earn 10 yards per point across the board, some require that a running back gets 10 yards to get a point and a wide receiver to get 15 yards to get that same point. Understand what scores what in your league and use that to determine your strategy. Some leagues have daily waivers while some have them on a weekly basis. Some leagues feature head to head games while others are highest overall score wins. Know the rules.

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2. Have Handcuffs Ready


A fantasy football handcuff essentially means that if you draft player A, you need to have player B on your roster. You can get a look at my article for my top running back handcuffs here. Odds are that you will never make it through a season without at least one or two of your players getting injured. It is a matter of when, not if. Have at least one backup at each position (if your bench space allows) for that rainy day when your starter goes down.

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1. Have a Good Time


Remember you did this for fun in the first place. I’ve yet to see a fantasy football stud owner turn that into an NFL general manager job. You’re probably not going pro, this is a hobby. Have a good time with it!

As always, I welcome your comments. If you think I’m wrong, I’m willing to listen. Just back it up with some facts and solid evidence. Thanks for reading and good luck this season.