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The Antidote to Head Games: Confidence

Over the years I have penned several articles about head games that owners can employ to undermine their fantasy rivals. This year, though, I think it would be worthwhile to look at the other side of the coin - how can fantasy football owners (whether old veterans of the hobby or first-time neophytes) overcome the psychological warfare that occurs in almost every draft at this time of year? How can you sail through shark-infested waters and come through with a championship team on the other side?

It really boils down to one thing: confidence. In order to implement a successful draft strategy, you have to believe in what you're doing. And that isn't as easy as it sounds.

First of all, owners should go into a draft aware of all the latest NFL news: knowing that Mike Anderson is on top of the RB depth chart in Denver heading into the latter part of the preseason is a vital fact that you just won't find in a fantasy football magazine (all of them went to press well before August). The last thing that you should do is go into a draft ignorant of the latest news - if you do, you are opening yourself up to A) making a bad pick and B) being teased unmercifully.

Secondly, you need to be confident using the drafting tools that you bring along with you to the draft, whether that be a hard-copy list of players or a really great drafting application like our Draft Dominator on your laptop. The Draft Dominator is a powerful application that can smooth the path to victory - if you are familiar with all of its features, and know how to use the application while under time constraints. Take the time to practice handling your drafting tools - then you won't get flustered when the pressure is on and you have to make the call between drafting Brett Favre as your #1 QB or snagging Larry Fitzgerald to headline your WR corps.

Third of all, it's very helpful to go into a draft with a plan - knowing which positions and perhaps even which players you want to target with your early round picks will help ease you into the rhythm of the draft and overcome any nervousness you might be feeling. Of course, unexpected "value" picks will emerge as you go along, so don't be afraid to deviate from your gameplan if necessary (but you can only identify good values if you have a solid plan in place from the get-go). The plan you build for your picks will vary from draft to draft depending on where you end up on the queue, so analyze each league draft as a stand-alone case.

If you walk into your league draft prepared with a solid plan, timely drafting materials, and aware of the latest NFL news, you'll be well on your way to running a superior draft. You'll be able to shrug off any ribbing the other owners throw at you and give back as good as you get. Being confident and sure of yourself will discourage the sharks in your league from coming after you, and they'll look for easier targets somewhere else in the room. In the meantime, you'll be building a championship-caliber team.

Happy Drafting!

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