Fantasy Football Fallacies You Should Definitely Ignore
If you’re a sports betting fan living in the U.S., you’ve no doubt noticed that a lot of online sportsbooks have vanished. There’s a good reason. U.S. politicians passed laws several years ago banning online sports betting as a form of online gambling. But betting on fantasy football – as well as other fantasy sports – was given a pass. It is recognized as a game of skill, and thus wagering real money for a real-money payout is completely legal.
Lately, fantasy sports fans have been raving about weekly fantasy football contests. Organized and hosted at sites like FanDuel.com and DraftKings.com, these one-week leagues are fun, convenient, and give you a chance to win serious cash payouts. (By the way, did we mention that betting on fantasy football is 100% legal in the U.S.?)
So let’s assume you want to join a league, and have already taken the first few steps. You’ve registered an account at FanDuel and made a deposit. You’ve also gone through the contests listed at the site and picked one to join.
So far, so good.
If you want to score big during the 2013 season, it’s important to separate fact from fiction. That’s the issue we’ll cover below. There are a lot of fantasy football myths floating around online. Some of them are harmless, but others can seriously sabotage your efforts to put together a winning team.
The good news is that the contests over at FanDuel only last a week. (Some only last a day!) That means you don’t have to spend the entire season dead in the water due to making a few bad draft moves. You can just pick a new league the following week.
But why not avoid making mistakes from the outset? With that in mind, here’s the first of 5 fantasy football myths you’d do well to ignore…
#1 – “There’s Always A Ton Of Value In The Late-Round Picks”
Drafting your team on a salary cap means you need to pick up some bargains along the way. You can’t blow your cash on the Aaron Rodgers, Adrian Petersons, and Jimmy Grahams of the season – in other words, high-profile and expensive first-round picks. If you do, you won’t have much cash left over to fill out your team with valuable players.
The problem is, a lot of fantasy football bettors take that notion to an extreme. They sit out the first rounds unless they can pick up players for fire sale prices. Then, they build their team from what’s left, hoping to draft sleepers and low-cost, high-potential players.
That’s a page from the playbook of Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane (a draft strategy immortalized in Michael Lewis’s book Moneyball). But the fact is, waiting until the late rounds to pick up low-cost QBs, RBs, and others is too risky. You won’t always find a ton of value at the bottom of the barrel.
Bottom line: keep your eyes open for sleepers, but don’t be afraid to bid for high-profile, first-round picks who will form the backbone of your team.
#2 – “You Should Draft Players Who Offset Your Opponent’s Players”
This is a bad idea. Here’s how it is supposed to work…
Suppose a competing team owner drafts a QB-WR pair that is expected to perform well over the next several days. A common response – and one that is usually ill-fated – is to draft a QB-WR pair that neutralizes any advantage your competitor might gain by starting his pair.
Notice what’s happening at this point. You’re no longer playing an offensive game. You’re no longer building a team to win. You’re playing defense, reacting to your competitor’s draft picks. That of course means you’re painting yourself into a corner with regard to the players you can start and those you’re forced to bench.
Bottom line: don’t spend the draft responding to your competitors’ picks. You’ll only succeed in handicapping yourself. Focus on drafting established commodities and low-profile, high-potential players.
#3 – “You Should Handcuff Your Top Draft Picks”
The “handcuff strategy” is practiced by a lot of fantasy football bettors. It’s basically a way to buy insurance on your high-priced, big-name players. If your star QB or RB suffers a major hit that takes him out for the week, you can install his backup without missing a beat.
Sounds like a good strategy, right? Well, there’s actually a big problem with it.
In order to handcuff your big-name drafts, you need to spend money on two players: the star and his backup. If the star doesn’t suffer a major injury, your backup may never set foot on the field. That’s a great way to waste money, especially when you have a limited budget with which to build your roster.
Bottom line: forget about handcuffing your top drafts. As insurance, it comes at too high an opportunity cost. That’s particularly true when you play in weekly fantasy football contests, where the odds of an injury are close to zero.
#4 – “Productive Running Backs Are Rare”
This fallacy seems to be a holdover from a decade ago, before one-week fantasy football sites like FanDuel were even around. The idea was that RBs that logged a high number of carries and significant yardage were uncommon. Therefore, it was worth going after the big names during the first few draft rounds, even if you had to spend more cash than you thought was justified to acquire them.
That was a long time ago. Things are much different today. Even a casual glance at the numbers for running backs reveals that nearly every NFL team has at least one workhorse. In other words, there’s no shortage of productive RBs. The key, of course, is to draft the ones who are undervalued.
Bottom line: don’t set your sights on high-profile RBs during the first couple of rounds. You’ll have plenty of opportunities to pick up guys who can carry the rock consistently and productively.
#5 – “The ADP Report Is The Ultimate Guide”
Admittedly, we make a big deal about finding undervalued and under-appreciated players when putting together your roster. Drafting high-potential picks at low-cost gives you greater flexibility to outbid your competitors for commodity players.
One of the tools you can use to pick up “hidden” values is an ADP (average draft position) report. It’s essentially a cheat sheet that makes it easy to identify sleepers and busts. It can be very handy. Check one out here
But don’t let the ADP report run your draft. Yes, the report is a great way to zero in on high-value picks. But ultimately, you want a team that puts up points – a lot of them. Maximizing value for your limited budget is only one piece of that puzzle.
Bottom line: use an ADP report. Learn to love it. But realize that it is merely one of many tools.
Where To Play One-Week Fantasy Football Contests
It should come as no surprise that we like FanDuel.com. The site offers attractive bonuses and promotions, a large selection of contests, and a simple draft process. In addition, it sticks with a common scoring system that should be familiar to you if you’ve played fantasy football.
That means it’s easy to get started.
It doesn’t hurt that FanDuel also has a great reputation among fantasy football fans. Payouts are processed quickly, support questions receive fast and helpful responses, and the rake is reasonable.
If you haven’t yet taken the time to register an account at FanDuel, we highly recommend doing so. Be sure to use the FanDuel promo code “FREAK” new player bonus!