Draft Prep 101: Basics For a Beginning Fantasy Footballer

For most, mid June is a bit early to be thinking about their fantasy football drafts.  But for others, their drafts and the NFL season can’t start soon enough! The experienced player keeps tuned in year round, constantly seeking information that will help them in the upcoming season. Late in August when most training camps are ending, the inexperienced will eagerly run down and purchase their favorite fantasy football publication set upon, what they are sure, is the best way to draft a championship team. A few may diligently read the whole magazine, but about thirty minutes before draft time, most of them will mark the rankings page, stuff it in the back pocket of their jeans and confidently drive to their fantasy drafts with great expectations, and dreams of domination. Sure, it’s possible, some might get lucky and draft a winning team with little or no preparation, but it’s highly unlikely.

Hopefully, together, we can prevent you from becoming that person! Here are a few very easy ideas you can start doing, before the season starts, to help you draft a great team. This won’t be difficult or time consuming, but if you plan on having fun, a.k.a. winning, you’ll surely benefit from a small investment of your effort. Let’s dig right in!

• Do yourself a huge favor and watch NFL Total Access on the NFL Network. It airs twice a day, 7 p.m. and again at 10 p.m. ET. They have off season reports and important breaking news stories on every NFL team that will keep you abreast of what’s going on in the NFL. They also have daily fantasy football advice segments that are worth a few minutes of your attention, especially if you’re a beginner. Tune in!

Read as many articles on fantasy football as you can find. There are plenty of sites on the web you can access, and most are produced by some very intelligent, knowledgeable and experienced fantasy football gamers. You’ll find player rankings, draft strategies, and in season recommendations and advice. FakePigskin.com is a great place to start for everything fantasy football!

• Keep track of as many training camps as possible, they’re the foundation of every NFL team, and they can be for your fantasy team as well. Injuries during camp are inevitable, pay particular attention to news concerning player injuries; I can’t stress this enough. One of the worse feelings you’ll have is to confidently announce your selection, and immediately hear someone yell, “He just broke his leg in camp yesterday!” It’s a mistake you’ll make only once I assure you! Hopefully your commissioner is smart enough to schedule your draft after most training camps have ended so injuries won’t be a problem. Listen to training camp interviews. Players are experts at using clichés to answer most questions, but sometimes they slip and give you valuable information. Head coaches often do the same thing, but are more likely to give up insights on how a player is doing in training camp, how he will be used, and more importantly, how much he will be used.

• Take time to find and participate in as many mock (practice) drafts as possible before you buckle your chin strap for the real deal. Doing mock drafts is probably the one most important thing you can do to prepare for your real draft that I can recommend. MockDraftCentral.com will allow you two or three mock drafts a day for free, or for a mere $5 subscription, you can get unlimited drafts for the season. Depending on how many teams your league has, practice selecting from every draft slot so you have confidence from any position you happen to draw. This is especially important if you don’t know your draft position until your draft party or draft date. During your real draft, as in mock drafts, you’ll be required to make your selections within a specified time frame and this will come more easily the more you practice doing it. If you do enough mock drafts, you will start to learn the value placed on each player by others, and what round to select that player in to maximize your investment in him.

Use Twitter! I’m not kidding! The fantasy football industry is driven by information, and the smallest shred of it could help you make better decisions on draft day and throughout the season. Most fantasy football experts, including the entire staff here at FakePigskin.com, and sports media reporters who cover the NFL use Twitter and often tweet breaking news stories concerning injuries and other relevant information. They also tweet about updated rankings, expert opinions and announce newly penned articles found on their websites.

These easy, but important, suggestions won’t interfere with your busy day too much, but it will give you valuable information that your opponents may, or may not, bother with. Either way, you’ll have confidence knowing you started preparing in June, when others started the last week in August. As the season, training camps and fantasy drafts draw near, I will have more thoughts, strategies and insights on how to draft the best team possible, and who knows, maybe even help you win a championship! Vince Lombardi once said, “The only place success comes before work is in the dictionary.” Remember, stay calm, be flexible, stick to your draft plan, and don’t be afraid to take chances!

One Comment

  1. Matt Lane

    June 18, 2013 at 12:36 pm

    Great advice as usual. I’ll point some rookie british players over here!

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