Activities Sports & Athletics Best Bets and Common Pitfalls in Fantasy Football Team Management Tips on Successfully Managing a Fantasy Football Team Share PINTEREST Email Print Pete Saloutos / Getty Images Sports & Athletics Football Basics Playing & Coaching Best of Football Plays & Formations College Football Baseball Basketball Bicycling Billiards Bodybuilding Bowling Boxing Car Racing Cheerleading Cricket Extreme Sports Golf Gymnastics Ice Hockey Martial Arts Professional Wrestling Skateboarding Skating Paintball Soccer Swimming & Diving Table Tennis Tennis Track & Field Volleyball Other Activities Learn More By James Alder James Alder is an expert on the game of American football, blogs for The New York Times, and appears on radio shows. our editorial process James Alder Updated March 02, 2019 You have picked your players. You are ready to be a champion team owner, right? Well, not so fast. Before you hit send or before you start the snake draft in a room full of like-minded owners, take heed of some key tips to properly manage your fantasy football squad before, during and after your fantasy draft. These fantasy football tips should give you a good start and possibly give you a bit of an advantage over your opponents. Plan Ahead Know the basics of fantasy football, the rules of the league and system of scoring thoroughly before drafting your team. Different systems could lead you to draft differently. You need a plan on draft day. Drafting by the seat of your pants is not usually a formula for success in fantasy football. Have a list of your must-have players. Put tiers of players together. Create a cheat sheet for yourself. Participate or practice building your team in fantasy mock draft style in football forums, simulators or calculators online. Best Bet Build your team around your running backs. Generally, running backs are the most important position in fantasy football with the potential to put the most fantasy points on your scoreboard, so the best are usually the first players off the board. Wide receivers are another sure bet. Pay Attention Keep an eye on bye weeks when drafting your backups. Obviously, it does not make much sense to draft a backup quarterback who has the same bye week as your starter. This can happen very easily if you forget about bye weeks. Be aware of the teams a player will face at playoff time. The object of the game is to win your league, not just make the playoffs. You can gain an edge on your opponents when the fantasy playoffs roll around, generally the last few weeks of the NFL’s regular season. It is important to know who your players will face, and that could be a deciding factor on draft day. Drafting a running back or quarterback who is facing notoriously weak defenses during those fantasy playoff weeks could give your team a huge advantage in the playoffs. Upgrade Your Starters When the opportunity arises, upgrade your starters. This seems like a no-brainer, but some players feel it is important to keep quality depth. Anytime you have the opportunity to improve the quality of your starting squad, it is worth giving up the depth that will only help you during bye weeks and injury situations. Ask for Advice Get lineup and trade advice from other fantasy football owners who are not in your league. It always helps to get a second or third opinion before you pull the trigger on a trade or decide who to insert into your lineup. Do not hesitate to look online for suggestions and forecasts on fantasy football forums or in sports newscasts. Common Pitfalls One of the worst things you can do is to forget to update your lineup for the upcoming week. You could have an injured player in your lineup or your starting quarterback could be on a bye week. Being short just one player can cost you a game, and that one loss could be the difference between making or missing the playoffs. Even though it feels like you should, do not take the strength of schedule into consideration when drafting a player. With the level of parity in the NFL, what looks to be a tough schedule at the beginning of the season often ends up not being the case, so do not go overboard trying to determine who has the most favorable matchups. Do not trade star players while they are in a slump or off to a slow start. If you panic and start trading away players who are underperforming, you are not likely to get a good value in return. Keep Quiet About Sleepers Think you have a sleeper or two on your hands, a couple of players that you believe are going to have a breakout season? Then, do not share your list of sleepers before the draft. If you want to be able to grab your sleepers at a time when they are a great bargain, do not share your thoughts on who you believe the rising stars to be. Also, do not draft your sleepers too early. Make a projection of where you think you can reasonably expect to get them in the draft and stick to it. Trade Secrets Never open trade negotiations with your best offer. As with any type of negotiation, you never start by making your best offer. Leave yourself some room to negotiate, and who knows, maybe you will get lucky and have to give up less than you expected. If you start with your best offer, you will never know how cheaply you might have picked up a particular player. Do Not Quit Please do not abandon your team under any circumstances. This is one of the biggest sins you can commit when it comes to fantasy football. Do not be a poor loser and abandon your team simply because they are not living up to your expectations. By not continually keeping your best squad on the field every week, you can adversely affect the playoff race by giving one of the teams in contention an easy victory.