3 Draft Mistakes to Avoid

With your league draft being one of the most important and enjoyable parts of the season, you don’t want to mess it up by making big mistakes. You’ll end up kicking yourself all season long and it will obviously detract from your ability to compete for a championship.

Lets skip past some of the most cliché topics like over-drafting players from your favorite team and late QB strategy. Today’s topic is aimed at my own recommendations which stem from observations that I made in 2021 Redraft leagues.

Drafting with your Dynasty Brain

Right off the bat I want to tell you about something that affects seasoned players at an astounding rate – dynasty player value influence. This tends to happen earlier on in the redraft season more than it does closer to week 1. Dynasty players, who have spent the off-season keeping up with Jones’ on the rookie front, come flying in ready to draft a number of young players with a volatile range of outcomes over established veterans with strong roles. These volatile range of outcomes which I mentioned are fantastic in moderation, but when you draft too many of them and you shift the needle from a calculated risk to reckless.

A good example from current events is to compare the Dynasty and Redraft player rankings for the two top Running Backs in this years Rookie Class – Breece Hall and Kenneth Walker.

Dynasty Values – Keep Trade Cut

Breece Hall – RB5
Kenneth Walker – RB12

Redraft Values – Fantasy Pros ECR

Breece Hall – RB26
Kenneth Walker – RB37

The difference in rank at the position from redraft to dynasty is enough to make space for a lot of ill advised draft picks when using your dynasty brain. We can also assume that the variance will grow the deeper the prospect. Guys like Skyy Moore and Christian Watson are going to exemplify this scenario because they add the volatility that comes with a very friendly landing spot. I expect both to be massively over drafted in redraft leagues for the 2022 season.

Locking in on a pick or player

Preparing for a draft has plenty of merit, but it shouldn’t go as far as “pre-planning” your picks in each round. You should be coming into a draft with a good sense of who might be available while remaining flexible at each pick, value is always your best friend. A very common example from home leagues is a GM who comes in with the intention of taking ‘Player X’ or ‘Position X’ throughout the draft. The dangers of doing this are pretty simple.

1) Your vision tunnels toward a player/position and you ignore the highest available player values.
2) You lessen your ability to adapt as your desired players/positions get taken.

Let’s say that you’re dead set on drafting Lamar Jackson as your QB because you love his elite rushing ability. The way that you’ll probably go about trying to secure him is slightly ahead of his ADP. By looking at current ECR QB4 or ADP 54, you might be inclined to reach for him in the late 4th round. This type of thinking might prevent you from drafting a player like George Kittle ECR TE4 ADP 43 in a situation where he has fallen a few spots from ADP. Both are premiere players at their respective positions but Kittle plays a much less common one. At the point where you take Kittle, you’re sitting at the edge of a massive positional tier break. With Lamar, you’re still amidst a large tier of top end QB’s and you can easily pivot to a similar QB style in Jalen Hurts a few rounds later.

Looking to past production

This mistake takes place with newer Fantasy Managers who look to past production from big name players as guiding factor in their decisions. Names like Julio Jones, Le’Veon Bell and David Johnson are incredibly attractive when we think to their past production. Too often, this outweighs the considerations of their present condition. In 2021 Julio Jones teased us with the allure of WR2 upside while being the WR opposite of AJ Brown in Tennessee, a team projected at the top of the AFC South rankings. Many people looked at the scenario with optimism instead of concern. The future HOF player was getting drafted as high as WR15 in 2021 leagues. This draft pick appears crippling by comparison to Chris Godwin who was getting drafted as the WR17.

A current example which I expect to see in 2022 redrafts is a violent over-drafting of Michael Thomas. He set an NFL record for receptions in 2019 with 149 but since then, has only caught 40 passes across two seasons, including one that he completely missed. Add to that a team in the midst of transition and the range of outcomes for 2022 gets very wide. He’s currently ranked as the WR22 in consensus ECR. While the WR22 rank is well within the range of outcomes for Thomas, you’ve also got to think that it implies that he plays 14+ games on the year and connects well with Winston.

Thanks for checking out today’s article. I implore you to start practicing your mock draft process early this year. The best results come to those who are well prepared.

David Carey – @87_Carey

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