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So you want to win your league, do you? Are you tired of losing to that guy that always seems to finish first? Is he really that lucky? Well, let’s change history, shall we?

They say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. Well, this year you’re getting out of the institution and changing your approach.

In Fantasy sports, luck always plays a big part — you can’t dispute that. But I have put together a list of 11 things that you can do to win your league without relying on gettin’ lucky.

This list of 11 is guaranteed to put you in a better position for winning your league. Follow this list and you just may be hoisting the trophy in January.

1. Prepare 

Yeah, this is a no-brainer but you’d be surprised how many people show up with an outdated magazine and a cheat sheet on draft day. I knew this person that annually picked up a Fantasy magazine on his way to his draft every year – he almost always finished last. Don’t be that guy. Make sure you are updated with the latest news and injury notes. Know the depth charts for all the skill position players from each team. Have an idea of what players you want and when you are willing to take them. Be familiar with potential sleepers and busts. The more you know, the weaker your competition will be.

2. Mock Draft

This can be categorized under Prepare but it’s so important that it deserves its own number. Mock, mock, mock. Don’t just do three mock drafts, do 30. The more you do the more confident you will be on draft day. That is a 100 percent guarantee.

When you mock draft, you will get an idea of where players are being drafted. It will give you better insight on which rounds to take players so that you don’t reach too early or wait too long. It also allows you to see which players are being overvalued and undervalued.

Mock drafting is essential for building a championship team. Can you win without it? Sure, but your odds decrease if you don’t. Remember that luck thing? If you choose not to mock you’re going to need it. So do yourself a favor and mock draft this year. You’ll be glad you did.

3. Know Your Competition

Does Christopher always draft quarterbacks early? Is Gary always the first to take a defense? Does that Chuck guy hoard all the running backs in the first few rounds?

Knowing your league mates plays a big part in drafting the players that you want. If you want Jeremy Hill but the guy drafting after you is a big fan, you know that you may have to draft him a bit earlier to get him on your team. If that Chuck guy is notorious for drafting running backs with his first three picks and you want to wait on the running back position, know how to work around his hoarding if he continues the trend.

Knowing your league mates and how they draft isn’t always going to tell you how your draft will turn out. But having an idea of who does what allows you to out-strategize your league and get the best players you can with your given draft position.

4. Know Your League Rules

This cannot be stressed enough. If you don’t know the scoring rules of your league then you shouldn’t be playing.

It’s that simple.

In addition to knowing your leagues scoring system, you must know your starting roster grid. In other words, how many QBs, RBs, TEs, etc. you can play in your weekly lineup.

Need an example? In a league that I do with some friends, we had a new guy join. This league is extremely wide receiver heavy. You are only able to start two running backs at most, but can start up to four wide receivers. Well this new guy kept drafting running backs because he thought he was getting value. He was wrong. His team ended up very thin at receiver and full of running backs he couldn’t play – he finished second to last.

The new guy didn’t look into the league’s roster format and paid for it, literally. You have to know your scoring system and your roster grid or you are already at a huge disadvantage.

5. Don’t Draft With Your Heart

You won’t win many Fantasy championships drafting players from your favorite team. If you’re an Eagles fan and you draft DeMarco Murray in the first round, that is understandable. If you’re an Eagles fan and you draft Sam Bradford in the second round, you have issues. Drafting with your heart is a recipe for losing. When trying to assemble the most competitive team during the draft, you need to draft the best players available. Avoid the urge to pick your favorite player on your favorite team unless the player warrants the pick.

6. Do Research. No, Really

When preparing for your Fantasy draft don’t use just one site. ESPN, Yahoo, Socalledfantasyexperts, etc. are great sources, but the more knowledge you can get, the better. Each sight offers great insight and great articles, but they are not the end-all be-all.

Writers at these sites offer great analysis, rankings and information that are sure to help you win your league. But you want to collect as much information as you can from multiple sources so that you can make the best possible decision when it counts.

Reading a ton of different articles from different analysts is like sitting at a huge roundtable and having them plead their case to you. Now that’s insight!

Keep in mind that some articles you read are written to bring attention to certain players or ideas. They are not something that you should follow religiously. Read each article with an open mind and make sure you follow your gut on draft day.

7. Stick to Your Plan

In preparation for your draft you should always have a plan. And when draft day rolls around, prepare to execute it. Trust me, it’s tougher than it sounds.

When it’s crunch time and you’re on the clock and certain players are available when you didn’t think they would be, they’ll be tough to pass on. If those players are part of your plan, then dive right in. If it throws you off, proceed with caution. If your plan is to gobble up wide receivers, then stick to it. What good is your draft plan if it can’t be carried out?

With that being said, there are always a few exceptions, as you want to keep your draft strategy flexible to a degree. You can deviate a bit, just don’t go all helter skelter on your plan. If you stick to your plan, you’ll dictate the draft. And when you dictate the draft you’ll crush your league mates. Keep your foot on the gas and go for the jugular. Remember, you’re playing to win.

8. Draft Talent Over Need

In other words, draft high-impact players over less-talented players regardless of the position.

When you look at the previous year’s draft board you’d be hard pressed to find any team that nailed half their picks. In Fantasy sports, drafting a player that will have an impact all year is more uncommon than you think. Only about 25 percent of all players drafted on draft day return their draft value.

Don’t believe me? Take a look at any previous year’s draft. Count the number of players drafted, then divide that by the players who performed to the level they were drafted in. Your number will be around 25 percent. With only 25 percent of the board returning its value, don’t you think it’s more important to draft talent over need? In the first four or five rounds you’ll have a tough time bombing those picks. The importance of drafting talent comes into play in round six and on.

Drafting talent over need isn’t going to work 100 percent of the time, but it will more often than not. Take players that have a high likelihood of returning draft day value over a player with nice upside but massive bust potential. If you can get more than 25 percent of your team to return its value, that’s a team that is destined for Fantasy greatness.

9. Work the Wire

Remember that 25 percent returned value thing? That means a lot of players will be shifting into unexpected roles and you will find a lot of them on the waiver wire.

The draft is only the beginning. You need to work the wire to really mold your team into a champion. Every year the waiver wire produces Fantasy heroes. Getting these players on your team is monumental in getting your team into the playoffs. If you neglect the waiver wire throughout the year – thinking that you did enough in the draft – your team is destined for failure.

In the past, players like C.J. Anderson, Odell Beckham, Jr., Miles Austin, Victor Cruz, Peyton Hillis, DeMarco Murray, Alfred Morris, LeGarrette Blount, Cam Newton, Dennis Pitta, Colin Kaepernick and many, many more were all waiver wire players that became elite Fantasy stars during the season. Don’t miss out on these players, as their production could vault you into the championship. If you draft a strong team and reinforce it through the waiver wire, you can’t lose.

10. Be Patient

It’s a battle that we all have with ourselves every year. We draft a player and he doesn’t perform right away. By Week 4 he’s still wetting the bed. Growing impatient, you cut his sorry ***. Then, right on cue, in Week 5 he blows up. For the rest of the season he puts of very good numbers. . . On someone else’s team!

This happens does happen. Every. Single. Year.

We all want the players we draft to start off hot and be amazing the entire season. The truth is, it’s not going to happen for most players. Sometimes it takes a week or two for players to get going. Sometimes it takes half a season. Some players never heat up. Regardless, you have to be patient.

There comes a certain point in the season where dropping a player regardless of where you drafted him is acceptable. There is a rule in Fantasy for this: it’s called So-Called Rule #1. Subtract the round you drafted the player in from the number 15. That is the week you can drop your player in. If you drafted Player-A in round four then you can’t drop him until Week 11. This gives him adequate time to shake off a slow start and prevents someone else from picking him up and causing you to lose sleep. Of course injuries negate any So-called rule. But – hey, it’s your team. Do what you want.

11. Stay Focused

Regardless of whatever shrewd comment you hear on draft day from that owner that thinks he knows it all or from players doubting your picks, stay the course.

You prepared for the draft better than anyone and not a single person in that room or on this planet can predict what will actually happen during the season. All the projections we do and analysis we give you are based off of previous numbers, potential playing time and our own knowledge and experience. It is all just an educated guess on who will do what. Ignore the know-it-all voices in the draft room or even the “experts” that guarantee certain things will or won’t happen. Stick to your guns, stick with your gut and as long as you’ve done the No. 1 thing on this list you’ll be much more successful.

Photo Credit: Imgacademy

Charles Lentz

Charles Lentz has been playing Fantasy Sports for close to 15 years. His idea of a perfect office would consist of a comfy leather seat, sports on multiple televisions, a squat rack, some dumbbells and a loaded refrigerator -- and, oh yeah, two laptops. One of his biggest goals in Fantasy is to compete at LABR or Tout Wars. He lives in New York City, but is originally from THE Front Royal, Virginia.

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