ATTENTION: If you are in one of my leagues, do the opposite of every one of these tips.
I should start by saying that if I have to tell you NOT to draft a kicker and a defense early, you're going lose your league anyway.
And now on to the good stuff.
Tip No. 1: DO NOT draft based on the team you root for.
This is perhaps the most common mistake of drafters; drafting players because they root for that team. I have seen Patriots fans drafting Tom Brady over Aaron Rodgers.
I have seen Packers fans drafting Aaron Rodgers over Arian Foster. I have seen Cardinals fans drafting Larry Fitzgerald over A.J. Green. These aren't necessarily horrible picks, but they're bad moves because they're biased.
When you're picking a player from the team you root for you have to ask yourself, am I picking him because he is the best available player? Or am I picking him because he is my favorite player?
Tip No. 2: DO NOT take too many risks.
Taking some risks will help you win your league. Taking too many risks will cause you to lose your league.
A risk can be drafting an unproven player based on his upside. Or a risk can be drafting a player that is an injury risk. David Wilson, Lamar Miller, Le'Veon Bell, Montee Ball, Darren McFadden, DeMarco Murray, Maurice Jones-Drew, Ryan Mathews (duh), Danny Amendola, Hakeem Nicks, DeSean Jackson, and Rob Gronkowski, are some of the players that would constitute as risks.
When is comes to risks, my strategy is I allow myself to take a max of two within the first eight rounds.
Tip No. 3: DO NOT shy away from drafting an elite quarterback.
Fantasy "experts" have been telling people all offseason not to draft a quarterback early. And while I agree that you shouldn't draft a quarterback early, I do think you can draft a quarterback earlyish.
What I mean by that is, you shouldn't be the one that drafts Aaron Rodgers in the first round, but you can be the one to draft him in the second.
If you're sitting in the middle of the second round and Rodgers or Brees are available, don't be afraid to draft them. The same goes for Peyton or Brady in the third round, or Newton in the fourth.
Elite quarterbacks can help you win championships.
Tip No. 4: DO NOT shy away from drafting a running back that was injured last year.
Last year I got Adrian Peterson with the 11th overall pick and my friend got Jamaal Charles in the second round, because people were afraid to pick them. This year running backs like LeSean McCoy and Maurice Jones-Drew will drop a little because of last year's injuries, don't be afraid to pick them up.
Just to be clear, I'm not talking about injury risk running backs, I'm talking about consistant running backs that happened to get injured.
Tip No. 5: DO NOT draft an injury-risk player ahead of his ranking.
Let's say you have the 37th overall pick and Hakeem Nicks, who is ranked as the 45th best player, is available, don't take him there. The best option is to wait until the player has passed his ranking and then get him as a possible steal.
Speaking for all fantasy owners, there is nothing more annoying than a injury risk player. The weekly 'will he play or will he not play?' is something no owner wants to deal with. So do yourself a favor and don't reach for an injury risk player.
Tip No. 6: DO NOT draft a player based on last year's performance.
Drafting players on past performance can be a very dangerous thing. Players rarely put up the same numbers from one year to another.
Statistical output changes, sometimes for the better but often for worse.
You have to be aware of situations that may have changed, such as competition at the position. For example, Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker were both studs at the receiver position last year, but their production will go down this year due to the addition of Wes Welker.
Another example would be Brian Hartline, who caught 74 passes for 1,083 yards last year, but he won't repeat that performance this year because the Dolphins signed Mike Wallace, Brandon Gibson, and Dusin Keller.
It is also important to anticipate how likely it is that a player will put up the same numbers as he did the year before. This does not necessarily have to be based on facts, it could also be based on your gut.
For example, do you think that Doug Martin and/or Alfred Morris will repeat the performance they had last year? Personally, I don't think they will. But if you think they will, then draft them. If not, don't draft them.
Tip No. 7: Wait to draft a Tight End.
Unless you're going to draft a top tier tight end in the 4th or 5th round, wait to draft a tight end.
I'm not saying that if a tight end is the best available player you shouldn't pick him. I'm saying that if there are better players available, pick them, even if you have already filled up all of your starting slots and tight end is still open.
Tip No. 8: Running Back before Receiver.
This one is a bit more obvious, if you have a choice of a solid running back or a solid receiver, choose the running back.
There are (officially) 64 starting receivers in the NFL and that doesn't include the slot receivers, but there are only 32 starting running backs in the league. So if I have to spell it out for you, it means that running backs are a lot harder to find.
Tip No. 9: Handcuff your running backs, but not too early.
Handcuffing running backs is only semi-important, because the backups usually don't produce like the starters. But you should still handcuff your running backs so you aren't totally screwed if one goes down. Just wait until the very late rounds to do so.
In case you don't know: handcuffing a running back means drafting their backup.
Tip No. 10: Follow your initial instinct, usually.
When I was studying for the SAT my teachers kept telling me to "trust my initial instinct". The same is usually true when conducting a draft, your first instinct is the correct one.
For example, I was helping someone with his draft last year and his pick came and he said "I'm picking Julio Jones". But then he started thinking and he decided to pick Larry Fitzgerald instead. FYI he didn't win his league.
Be careful though, if your initial instinct is to pick Mark Sanchez over Tony Romo, don't do it.
If you have any questions or thoughts leave them in the comments below or tweet me at @ETwPhoneHome.
Good luck in all of your leagues this year.