Fantasy Football Draft Strategy and Tips
Going into your redraft league, there are plenty of different strategies you can take in how you draft and build your team. Every league is different and ensuring that you come in fully prepared with the right strategic elements in mind can guarantee you a spot in the playoffs and ultimately a fantasy title. Here are some tips that will have you holding that trophy at the end of the season.
Know your scoring and settings
Take some time to analyze the scoring and setting of your league as it can affect what type of players that you won’t. Some leagues stick with “standard” scoring that gives points to offensive players for yardage and touchdowns while more leagues are moving towards “PPR” scoring that awards points for receptions. If you are in a PPR league, players like the Steelers Antonio Brown and Packers Randall Cobb become extremely valuable at the WR position while the Bears’ Matt Forte and the Giants’ Shane Vereen will gain you extra points for their high reception numbers. Standard leagues will award RBs and WRs who do well in the red zone and score touchdowns (as that is where most of the points come from). Two RBs who should go higher in standard formats than PPR formats are the Redskins’ Alfred Morris and the Bengals’ Jeremy Hill. Morris doesn’t feel like a spectacular fantasy option, but he is a very good red zone back who will score TDs when the opportunities arise and likely rack up plenty of yards. Jeremy Hill broke out as a rookie, but Giovanni Bernard is the pass catching back for the Bengals while Hill’s points will be scored when he hits the end zone. Recognizing the differences and these key players can help you get steals in your draft.
Be on the look out for more crazy scoring options your league may have like awarding points for return yards or giving QBs a ton of points (like 1 point for every 10 yards passing,) and give preference to players that fit that scoring.
Know your league-mates
Using your opponents weaknesses against them can be huge in fantasy drafts. If you are in a local league in Dallas with a bunch of Cowboys fans, they are likely going to overdraft Cowboys players and may bypass Giants players. Zigging while your league is sagging can get you steals and players who will produce.
Be sure to know the experience level of your league as well. If players are inexperienced, they could overdraft deep positions like QB and not take WRs as high as they should go. You can continue to go the other way and wait on positions they are stocking up on while having strong cores where they are weak.
Know your strategy
There are plenty of strategies floating out there, but make sure you come in with a flexible plan that you can adjust if you need to during your draft. Fantasy drafts are all about getting players who will produce at a value while not wasting your picks. It is important to have a general idea of where players will go so you don’t reach for them. For example, you may love RB Lamar Miller, but taking him in the 1st round when you could have gotten him in round 3-4 doesn’t help you very much, even if he is great. Knowing ADP (Average Draft Position,) of these players can be a good starting point when combined with knowing your leaguemates. A good resource is MyFantasyLeague.com’s ADP statistics taken from hundreds of drafts. If you in a league with experts or experienced fantasy players, they will likely stick closer to ADP than your usual local league.
Waiting on deep positions is key to building your team. Though QB is the most important on the football field, it is by far the deepest in fantasy football. In a 12 team league, you could be the last person to take your QB and still end up with an extremely viable option like Tom Brady or Tony Romo. You don’t have to take Andrew Luck or Aaron Rodgers to win your league.
Your first few rounds can be the difference between playoffs or not. RB is a much more shallow position than WR, but also has a higher bust rate of early draft picks. About half of the RBs drafted in the first round will not be among the top 12 RB scorers at the end of the year. For WRs, about ¾ of those drafted in the first round will end up among the top 12 WRs at year’s end. It is a lot safer to draft WRs early and load up on later RBs who could win starting jobs (think guys like Bishop Sankey and Doug Martin).
Draft your kicker and defense in the last two rounds
You don’t need to draft kickers and defenses earlier as they are extremely volatile. Defenses like the Chiefs and Panthers weren’t drafted in most leagues but ended up top 5 in fantasy. Kickers were all over the map and rarely see much difference between the #3 kicker and #12 kicker.
Practice for your fantasy drafts this summer with Fantasy On the Clock!