The fantasy Football season is finally over and it’s time to look at some lessons learned so that we don’t make the same mistakes again next year. Drafting busts can often cripple a team’s playoff chances, especially if it happens in the first few rounds. On the other hand, drafting steals in the later rounds can increase the odds of a successful fantasy football season that results in a championship. Let’s take a look at five lessons we learned from the 2016 fantasy year.

1. Don’t draft quarterbacks early

Why do people continue to draft Cam Newton in the earlier rounds? The difference in points between the 10th best quarterback and the best fantasy quarterback is negligible when you look at the difference between the best running back and 10th best running back.

So why spend a top fantasy pick on a player that might turn out to be a bust when you can get sleepers like Matt Ryan, Derek Carr, Marcus Mariota, and Dak Prescott later in the draft instead?

2. Don’t draft players from bad teams

We all fell for Allen Robinson and DeAndre Hopkins after their huge years last season. Todd Gurley, who was one of the highest scoring running backs in 2015, was a top 3 pick. But none of these players play on teams are very good. That limits the fantasy ability of these players and can result in far lower output. This is in contrast to a team like the Steelers, which moves the ball effectively and essentially relies on Le’veon Bell and Antonio Brown for production. In the future, fantasy owners should strive to focus on drafting people from good teams that will always have productive offenses.

3. Don’t reach for a defense

This season is proof that defenses should be streamed and not owned. In fifteen weeks, thirteen different teams led fantasy defenses in scoring each week. Why on earth would a fantasy owner spend a 8th round pick on the Seahawks defense when they didn't lead a single week of fantasy scoring all year?

It doesn’t make sense and owners should strive to avoid drafting a defense simply because it looks good on a paper and should instead rely on streaming matchup based defenses every week.

4. Never be reliant on just your starting core of wide receivers and running backs

Fantasy owners need to have two solid running backs, two solid wide receivers, and an extra flex among these position groups.

That’s five roster players already! And you should have at least two more of each group sitting on your bench in case one, two, or even three go down with injury. Keenan Allen, A.J. Green, Sammy Watkins, Jamaal Charles, and Adrian Peterson are all proof of the havoc that injuries can wreak on fantasy rosters. Make sure that you have enough depth to survive one or more of those injuries.

5. Don’t draft a tight end early

This could be one of the worst years ever for fantasy tight ends. Even Rob Gronkowski, who is usually rock solid at the position, got injured. Aside from Jordan Reed and Greg Olsen, unknown players like Hunter Hunry and Cameron Brate became top ten fantasy tight ends. Those who drafted Coby Fleener expecting big fantasy performances thanks to Drew Brees were left disappointed.

2016 proved that you don’t need to reach or draft a tight end early because the production is just so weak at the position anyway.

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