Nothing gets fantasy football addicts excited like draft day, so as the time is drawing nearer, I thought I’d impart a some advice and a few tricks to employ in preparation for the big day to give you that winning edge in your draft an ultimately your league.
- Go for value, not merely big names
Your draft should be about getting the right player at the right time. Don’t overpay for someone just because he’s a big name. Every pick you make is an investment for the season ahead (or perhaps longer), so don’t rush into any pick. This year I’d advise to wait on QBs and try and get someone like Romo in round 8 or later. If he isn’t there wait further and get a combination of Cutler, Vick or Palmer in the last rounds before you take D/ST and K. For Tight End it’s a similar story, there are several TEs out there this year ranked after 10 that are going to offer incredible value. Brandon Myers, Owen Daniels and Antonio Gates. I’d grab these guys late and pick up another on waivers if you get the chance. Early picks have to be at RB, and then WR. If you can end up with 2 of the 10 (in my opinion) stud RBs then you’re giving yourself a superb foundation of your franchise. There is WR value both late and early, but you can still pick up some bargains in the middle rounds (Jordy Nelson, Greg Jennings, Stevie Johnson). Make sure you’re picking a guy because he offers you the most value at that point, not because you like watching him play or he’s your favourite player.
- Tailor your strategy to your draft position
Waiting on players to fall can be frustrating, but if you’re picking near the tail of the snake (within 2 or 3 picks of the double pick) then make sure you’re aware of other team’s rosters. If you’re waiting on QBs for example and its round 8 and Romo is there, before drafting him, check the teams picking between the current pick and your next one, if all 2/3 teams already have QBs and are short at say WR then you can probably wait till your pick comes around again. Fantasy is all about risk but this is an example of how calculated risks can pay off and you can get another starting WR instead of burning the pick on Romo whilst others bag a stud you could’ve waited on. If you’re drafting nearer the middle of the pack, then you don’t have this advantage, however you are in a position to estimate if a player will fall to you each round. Picking at say 2nd or 9th in a 10 teamer means one of your picks is going to be so far away from the next you may have to overpay to get somebody because you don’t believe he will be there in 17 picks’ time. There are advantages to be gained from drafting at either the middle or end of the snake – make sure you are aware of these advantages and use them well.
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- Try to hold firm to your strategy
Whilst it’s tempting to cave in when a run begins on a certain position, sometimes its best to not go with the flow. Quite often, when a run is made at a position, many of the picks will be in frustration (since the owner expected the position to fall) or even without viewing other options available. If I’m picking 5th and 5 QBs go before me n the first round, then I’m taking Peterson, because he offers more value than the 6th QB. Breaking the trend can be better than following it. Saying this though, it’s also important to be flexible, though not to the point of breaking your strategy. If you have a gut feeling about something then sometimes you may just have to go for it. Fantasy drafts need the numbers and the statistics and the draft boards to give a greater chance of success, but the odd deviation is not the end of the world.
- Strive for balance
Some fantasy owners have a win-or-bust mentality and draft a whole team of upside players with no safety net attached. To me this is an exciting way to draft but balance is often the key. If you’re drafting a guy like Kenny Britt, known for injuries and off-the-field issues, then ensure you have a safe backup. Preparing for the worst (ie. A week 1 injury or suspension) will stand you in good stead. In a similar way, several players out there are designated as boom or bust players, who could go one way or another. These guys with high ceilings and low floors (and massive houses) are not bad picks, but should be complemented by players who are no-doubt going to be effective, but don’t have as much upside. Denarius Moore and Lance Moore may be a good partnership of these two types of players. A balanced roster of young and old, combustible and calm, is a good way of covering all bases, offering you a lot of potential without betting away your season.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help!
There are so many fantasy resources out there on the web that you don’t have to look far for help or a second opinion. Get on twitter, fantasy football forums, websites and blogs and ask for advice, or even a second opinion. There is no shame in asking other people what they would do, and you don’t have to take their advice. The more you know the more informed your decisions will be – and having someone disagree with your pick may force you to re-think why you like the player. Either way, your decision will be more rounded in the end and your fantasy team will ultimately benefit.
In the end, everyone has different strategies in their fantasy drafts. This articles has tried to show you a few tips, tweaks and tricks that you can apply to any strategy and enhance your draft technique to give you that advantage on draft day.
Oh, and one last thing… Don’t forget to mock!