10 mistakes to avoid in your fantasy football draft

Fantasy football drafts are all about fun … and winning. If you mix in too much of the former or lose track of your goal, you may wind up having a bad time.

1. Winging it

Don't show up without knowing what you're getting into. You have some sort of stakes riding on this, be it pride or whatever. Act like it. Make a commitment. Don't drag down the league.

2. Using only a magazine

I write for many great periodicals, but even their publishers will tell you they must be used in conjunction with updated sources of information. Maybe the rag has an online code to print out updated player rankings and the like. Combine the static informational foundation of the glossy with current knowledge of what's going on for your best chance at victory.

This way, you won't draft the guy who tore his ACL last week and become the laughing stock of the day and/or season.

3. Having too much fun the night before the draft

Sure, it's fun to joke about drafting in an altered or catatonic state. However, you'll quit laughing when you realize you've picked Terrell Owens in Round 2.

4. Chatting with friends

Focus. Keep barb occasional and light, but don't get carried away so much that you aren't keeping up with the process. You can bro it out or gossip later.

Now, to the more technical flubs….

5. Not having an alternate pick … or six

If there are six picks before you're up next, have seven guys ready. Otherwise, you'll face the dreaded panic pick and lose your control over the board. Don't let the other sharks smell blood.

6. Getting caught up in a positional run

Don't feel pressured into taking someone too soon just because others are grabbing the same position. Set your value tiers and stick to them.

If everyone else pays for a QB by Round 3, there'll be plenty of RBs and WRs at your disposal. Play the market.

7. Ignoring your scoring system and lineup requirements

If it's PPR, Danny Woodhead will be worth more than Stevan Ridley. If you can flex a quarterback, draft three solid ones. But why draft two big-name QBs if you can only start 1? Fair play is overrated.

8. Thinking too much about bye weeks

.. especially if you have a lot late in the season. Your roster is going to change so often that you should target the best talent first before worrying about how to fill in for them later.

9. Taking a defense before the final three rounds or a kicker before the last one

Defensive team rankings vary greatly from year to year. Build your depth at the skill spots before buying a position you can easily rotate throughout the season. And kickers … are kickers. Don't believe for a second they can control their destiny. Adam Sandler reminds us about "The Lonesome Kicker."

10. Leaving early and going on autopick

Unless you have a detailed player queue — via computer or paper list — you may miss out on some deep sleepers. Why not have complete control over creating your roster?

Do you think Ozzie Newsome just lets some intern sign players for him?

(Copyright © 2014 USA TODAY)


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