Every year, millions of people from all over the globe spend countless hours drafting NFL fantasy teams that will inevitably be devoured by other teams and become irrelevant by Week 13. I have been trying to win fantasy football competitions for the last eight years, only to come up short every single time and left dealing with message board warriors laughing at my demise. If you’re like me then you spend plenty time crafting teams that you believe will bring you fame, fortune and glory, but by Week 7 you’ve yet to win a week, completely withdrawn of interest and left to sit on the sidelines while everyone else thoroughly enjoys their fantasy football season.
Fantasy football is a time that represents horror for me. I enter every league with a renewed effort filled with high hopes and aspirations of crushing the competition and becoming the talk of my leagues. In the end it doesn’t really matter because I repeat the same mistakes in all of my leagues and suffer the inevitable consequence of failure. Well, today I’m here to point out these mistakes. Maybe you see one that you make in all of your leagues as well. Maybe you’re a star fantasy player and reading this to see how not to manage a fantasy team. Whatever the case may be, you can somehow relate to these mistakes. Read them carefully because if you don’t avoid them, they will be the inevitable demise of your fantasy team and you will become the joke of your league. No one wants to be that guy. Here are 10 reasons why your fantasy team will suck this year.
10. You Drafted A Player That Isn’t Playing
I’ve seen this already many times this off-season and it shocks me to say this, but if you draft a guy that isn’t playing then your team will suck. This week alone, I have been in leagues where fantasy participants have drafted Kevin White, Wes Welker, Josh Gordon and Kelvin Benjamin. If you’re going to draft a guy, make sure he’s playing this season. Drafting a guy who is currently injured, suspended or a free agent will cause your team to suck because you wasted a draft pick on someone who will not see the field. Don’t make this mistake and do your homework before heading into every draft.
9. You Fell In Love With a Sleeper
Every year there are football players who have a few good weeks, then do nothing for the rest of the season. During Weeks 5 and 6 of last season, Chargers backup RB Branden Oliver ran for a combined 215 yards and scored two touchdowns in those two weeks. I picked up him with high expectations thinking I had stolen the next Matt Forte. Unfortunately, Oliver would not go on to score another touchdown again until Week 16. Falling in love with a sleeper will lead to high expectations that cannot be met and will inevitably cause your fantasy team to suck.
8. Your Player Plays for a Team that Sucks
Sometimes your fantasy team sucks because the player you drafted plays for a team that sucks. Take for example Eric Decker. When Peyton Manning was throwing him the ball in 2013, Decker had 11 touchdowns, 1,288 yards and averaged 14.8 yards per catch. He played for the Jets last season where he had five touchdowns, 962 yards and averaged 13.0 yards per catch. Decker caused your fantasy team to suck last season because he played for a team that sucked. Try to draft guys from winning teams to avoid a decline in statistics.
7. You Drafted with Heavy Bias
As a Browns fan, I drafted Ben Tate last season expecting him to perform like DeMarco Murray or LeSean McCoy. Instead, Ben Tate played eight games for the Browns last season where he rushed for 333 yards, scored four touchdowns and averaged 3.1 yards per carry. Never draft players for the sole reason that they play for your favorite team. Fantasy football plays no favorites and drafting a guy because you like him will not get you very far. Alternately, skipping on a player because he plays for a team you hate will also lead to your demise. Your fantasy team will suck if you draft with a bias, so avoid it at all costs.
6. You Didn’t Account for Bye Weeks
I like to head into every draft with one goal in mind: getting the best players possible. I spend countless hours revising stats, looking at matchups and trying to get guys who will give me their best during 16 weeks. Sometimes, that causes me to have five of my starters on the bench during Week 8 because their teams all have bye weeks. If you don’t account for bye weeks, your fantasy teams will suck. Draft players who have different bye weeks from other players on your team because the last thing you need is to sit Andrew Luck for Ryan Fitzpatrick because you didn’t prepare for the bye week.
5. Auto Draft
Maybe you had to work late, maybe it was your wife’s anniversary and you had to choose between divorce or fantasy football, whatever the case may be, missing your fantasy football draft will cause your fantasy football team to suck. Auto-draft is based on algorithms that don’t account for every variable and sometimes a human touch is needed to guide a fantasy football team to success. Relying on auto draft to guide you to fantasy football greatness is going to leave you disconnected with your team and will cause you to care less about the athletes on your squad. This will cause your squad to suck.
4. You Drafted an Idiot
Look, we’ve all been there, but if your fantasy team sucks then chances are it’s because you drafted an idiot. I’ve been in several keeper leagues and I have Josh Gordon rotting away on my team. There will be players who miss practice because they slept in, got caught abusing the NFL’s substance abuse police or pissed their coaches off and will sit-out a half. Drafting an idiot will definitely keep you away from any chance of making the fantasy playoffs.
3. Your Star Player will get Injured
Injuries are inevitable in football, but make no mistake about it, they make your fantasy team suck. We’ve already witnessed the injury bug that has bitten teams like the Green Bay packers who just lost Jordy Nelson for the year. Injuries happen and it sucks when a star player on your team has to sit out for a few games or isn’t 100% healthy. This season there will unfortunately be more torn ACLs, concussions and torn hamstrings that will inevitably make your fantasy team suck.
2. You Drafted a Guy Based on History
Let’s talk about Doug Martin. I’ve drafted him every year since his memorable rookie season where the former Boise St. Bronco rushed for 1,454 yards and 11 touchdowns with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Last year, Martin played 11 games for the Bucs where he rushed for 494 yards, averaged 3.7 yards per carry and scored a stunning two touchdowns. Every year I hope I get the 2012 version of Doug Martin only to be disappointed. Your fantasy team will suck this year if you draft a player based on something great he did a long time ago.
1. You Overreacted
A defeat early in the season could really crush your fantasy team in the long run. Last season during Week 1, Dez Bryant, who was matched up against the San Francisco 49ers caught four passes for 55 yards. I ended up trading him after this game for Doug Martin and another athlete I cannot remember. Well, Bryant ending up finishing the season with 1,320 receiving yards along with 16 TDs and Doug Martin had a forgettable campaign. Overreactions like this one will crush your team. One bad week does not define your team or season. Stick with the guys that have been statistical warriors in the past and your fantasy team will not suck.
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