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Four last-minute fantasy football tips

Chris Wesseling and I used to make a living dispensing fantasy football analysis. So it's only natural that our conversation on "The Around The League Podcast" sometimes ventures into fantasy talk.

We dove into some topics on Monday's show, including some last-minute draft tips. Here's a sampling, with a few extra thoughts thrown in:

1. Don't overrate early season absences

Fantasy owners are way too focused on Week 1. Think about November, not September. Rob Gronkowski, who might be back by Week 3, is falling way too far in drafts (fifth or sixth round). There often is great value in taking players like Josh Gordon, Santonio Holmes and Le'Veon Bell who have various early season issues. Have faith in your ability to draft depth that can make up for their absences in the meantime.

2. Don't aim for WR3/Flex mediocrity

Wesseling made this point in the podcast, and it's a great one. Don't "aim" for receivers who can fill your third receiver slot or flex position. Aim for players who have high ceilings and can be starters. Guys like Danny Woodhead, Daryl Washington, Nate Washington and Davone Bess (in the past) are examples of guys who get overdrafted because owners aim for mediocrity.

To put it another way: Don't look for receivers who will put up 800 yards and three touchdowns: WR3 numbers. Don't go for running backs who get eight to 10 touches a week but won't ever be high-impact starters. Look for players with potential to be difference-makers, not roster fillers. Take more chances.

3. Don't overrate last season

A player's 2012 performance matters. But it shouldn't be the sole ingredient toward deciding draft value. I'm not big into draft strategy, but here's one that works every year: Take talented players who are in their prime and being overlooked. Bonus points go to players who have shown they can produce. Essentially, pick the "uncool" pick. Take the guys who don't get a "nice pick" on draft day.

Miles Austin, Ryan Mathews, Jermichael Finley and DeAngelo Williams all would fit the bill in this category this year.

4. Don't worry about taking a player "too early"

Take the players you want. It doesn't matter if it's the fifth round or the third round. All those draft rankings you read are going to be wrong 5,000 different ways. They are a source of information, not an instruction manual. Your gut feeling is going to be just as accurate as any "expert."

Check out our entire Monday podcast here, which also includes award predictions.

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