Fantasy Football Draft Tips
In any fantasy football draft you want to come with a plan of attack. If you are organized and have a basic concept of players and strategies you could have a very successful team. Here are some tips I’ve learned over the years that helped make my teams successful.
1. Do not fall in love with a sleeper candidate- Every year in fantasy sports there are dark horse guys who are predicted by a group of experts to be “sleepers.” Many owners will read up on the sleepers and say, “I need so and so he’s the 36th ranked running back but will have a monster year!” There is a reason they are called sleepers, not guys who are going to be in the top ten. I have seen this all the time, a sleeper who should be drafted in the 12th round will be drafted in the fifth by an owner who thinks he just got the steal of the draft. If you fall in love with one player it could jeopardize your draft board. What if the sleeper is actually a bust? You wasted a fifth round draft pick on the 36th ranked running back, and the talent on your team just dropped to embarrassing levels. Don’t get caught up in the hype of a “sleeper” so much that you are drafting one before proven stars.
2. Wait on a QB- When I first began playing fantasy football it was back in 1995, it was dominated by running backs. Nowadays, fantasy football along with the NFL is dominated by passing. Quarterbacks are reaching ultimate levels with passing yards and touchdowns. Waiting on a quarterback gives you the flexibility with your roster, being able to draft your starting running backs, wide receivers, and build depth throughout your team. Below are two quarterback’s stats from 2014. One was drafted on average between round one and three. The other was drafted between rounds seven and eleven.
QB1 (rds 1-3): 4,381 yards 38 TD’s for and average of 27 fantasy points per game
QB2 (rds 7-11) 4,410 yards 30 TD’s for an average of 23 fantasy points per game
The two quarterbacks: Aaron Rodgers (QB1) and Eli Manning (QB2)
The NFL is such a passing league now every quarterback is throwing with such volume, the difference between a top three quarterback to a top fifteen quarterback is only a small amount. The other positions (RB, WR) are not like that. Waiting on a quarterback will make the overall depth of your team better.
3. Learn the Bye Weeks- I’ve heard a lot to not look at bye weeks when drafting a fantasy team, “experts” say looking at bye weeks doesn’t allow you to draft the “best available players.” Well, my response to that is what if my best available players are off on the same week? It’s especially important with your backups, why draft a backup quarterback who has the same bye as your starter? I’m not saying every player you draft should have a different bye week, but consider them before you draft every player.
4. Take what the Draft gives you- A lot of fantasy owners go into the draft with a game plan or strategy, draft RB-RB or RB-WR with their first picks. Then the draft begins and there are a run on wide receivers, and the elite ones will be gone before you planned on drafting your first one, in the third round. When your draft starts and it starts to go a different way than what you had envisioned, adapt and make your picks based on the draft. It’s fantastic if you a solid strategy to draft a tight end in the 13th round, but if eight tight ends are gone by round six you may want to revise your strategy towards the trends in your draft.
5. Consider Age- This is a very important one in fantasy football. With players declining production once they hit 30 (or even younger) you must take age into consideration when drafting. A lot of fantasy football rankings are based on prior years production, but that player is a year older with more pounding on his body. Running backs are the key example to this, their bodies take such abuse it cannot be sustained for years on end. So when drafting a player I would look and see if they are near the terrifying 30th birthday.
Dan Schalk covers Fantasy Football for MyFantasySportsTalk, you can follow him on Twitter @FFSportsTalk