If you play fantasy football, it can be highly competitive. Yes, it may be a hobby, but at the same time, you want to perform well. That sense of competitiveness is why people have such a love for fantasy sports in general. 

Interestingly, legally, fantasy sports aren’t considered gambling in the United States because it’s a game of skill more so than luck. 

You have to know what you’re doing in almost all cases to do well in fantasy football. With that in mind, the following are some things you can do to have a successful fantasy football season. 

Let Go Of Your Allegiances

If you’re already a football fan when you start playing fantasy football, you probably have a favorite team and players you prefer. Often when people are new to drafting a league, they’ll show their allegiances pretty clearly. 

You may find then that you’re overloaded with players from one team, and that’s a risky fantasy strategy to avoid if you can. 

Your draft strategy needs to be just that—strategic. 

You need to research your picks, and some of the things to consider when doing so include:

  • Don’t focus too much on preseason hype. There’s no guarantee that a player will make valuable contributions once the regular season starts. There’s a tendency to overreact to preseason news in fantasy, and most of what you hear is just noise. If you’re an inexperienced manager, it could lead you to make a bad strategy, and that’s not what you want. 
  • Be cautious about recently traded players. You may feel like a recently traded player has a certain appeal, but sometimes, they don’t mesh with their new teams right away. In some cases, they never mesh with the new team. 
  • A great NFL defense is not the same as a great fantasy defense. The two are not equivalent. You want a defense that creates turnovers if possible. 
  • When you’re drafting quarterbacks, don’t do it on name value. 
  • Rely on cheat sheets when you’re getting to know the hundreds of available options as you create your draft plan. 
  • Check on the health status of a player before you start him or offer him in a trade. On draft day, look at the injury reports again to ensure no one recently got hurt. 
  • Read and listen to all available content year-round. There is so much content about fantasy football out there, so if you want to be good and have the best team, you should constantly be consuming this content. You will figure out what you need for a winning season. 

Learn From Your Past Mistakes

If you’re not new to fantasy football, use your past mistakes as a learning opportunity. Most fantasy players don’t win their league title, of course, so if you didn’t, take some time to go back and figure out where you struggled. 

Maybe you made a draft mistake that you couldn’t get past, for example. 

If you don’t learn from your mistakes, you will get better, and you might even keep making the same ones. 

One of the best ways to improve your performance going forward is being able to zero in on your mistakes and deal with them accordingly. 

At the same time, you have to be able to discern between a true mistake and bad luck because both affect you in fantasy. 

There will always be things in fantasy that are out of your control. 

Fix the things that need to be fixed, and realize what can’t be. 

Do a Mock Draft

You might be noticing a trend here—when it comes to fantasy football, being prepared is what will help you succeed. 

You should do a mock draft and make sure you’re doing it early on with that in mind. 

You can fill different slots with varying strategies, and you’re going to give yourself an advantage over your rivals. 

If you’ve ever watched someone go through the draft process without a plan, you probably realize how poorly it tends to go. 

Check Injury Reports

We already briefly mentioned the importance of checking injury reports, and the value of doing so can’t be overstated. You especially want to check reports for rookies. 

Some of the biggest commodities in fantasy football are also players who will miss games. 

If you’re going to pick an injury-prone player, you need to know that. You’re also going to need to draft a good backup. 

Study Projection Models

A projection model gives you the statistical overview you need to figure out what your fantasy players are likely to do in the season. Some people like to read them. Other people put a lot into them. If you’re someone who puts a lot of stock into projection models, make sure you’re consuming a variety of models. 

Go Early with Your Running Backs

Your running backs are very important in fantasy football. You need talent, but also volume. You want to diversify when you’re choosing backups. For example, maybe you draft some running backs who have specifically defined roles early in the season. Then, you might have others with major upside for the second half.  

Land A Minimum of One Elite Wide Receiver

The running backs get all of the attention in terms of relevance in fantasy football, but because of the passing boom, you might want to think about your wide receivers pretty carefully too. 

Don’t Get Too Focused on Bye Weeks

When you go into a fantasy football, you’re going to have to consider bye weeks as you choose your players. 

You should choose if one player is better but has the same bye week as another wide receiver or running back. Then, you can plan to accommodate the bye week later. 

Finally, a good rule of thumb tends to be to avoid trades. If someone comes to you for a trade with a worse record than you, they’re probably trying to get rid of something not great for them for something better.