Fantasy Football Preview: Drafting Strategies
Total Pro Sports – With the start of the NFL football season only a few weeks away it is time to start thinking about your fantasy team(s). Total Pro Sports is here to help you as we will feature a fantasy football related article each weekday up to opening kickoff on Thursday, September 10th, and continue this throughout the regular season.
To begin, we are going to talk a bit about draft strategies. There are several mindsets to enter your fantasy football draft with. Here are just a few you may want to consider (or avoid):
1. Draft You Starting Lineup First – This strategy is a popular one as many people will tell you that it is you starters who get you your points, not you bench players. With that being said, many individuals will draft each position for their starting lineup before grabbing a single bench player. A smart strategy for reasons noted above, but it can be costly if your starters at key positions (QB, RB) do not perform or sustain injuries. You will be left with little depth on the bench.
2. QBs And RBs Top Priorities – This is also a popular strategy, one that is executed by using your first three picks on a quarterback and two running backs (assuming you play in a standard league with one starting QB and two starting RBs). Then you may want to fill in some receiver slots, but at the same time continue to monitor the remaining RBs and QBs in order to provide yourself with depth at these key positions. You may not get the stud wide receivers taking this route, but the wideout position is one with loads of options and depth.
3. Stack The Backs – Many experts will tell you that the most important position in fantasy football is running back. This year, with plenty of backs expected to go in the first two rounds, you may want to get your hands on two or three of them. This is the strategy for you. With your first three picks of the draft, take running backs. In doing so, chances are you can solidify at least two players that will produce on a consistent basis for you. Some may say that it is not smart to use a third round pick on a bench player. I would say that sometimes there is a price to pay in order to get yourself a dominant backfield.
4. It’s All About The Passing Game – Seems odd to say this right after preaching the importance of the running back position, but as we have seen in recent years, the passing game is becoming an even more important part of fantasy football. Those who had Tom Brady and Randy Moss two years ago will tell you that when you can put together a top tier quarterback with two premiere wide receivers, it doesn’t matter what your running back does for you. While I would not go that far, using your first three picks to go QB-WR-WR or WR-QB-WR does have potential for greatness if you get the right guys. Just hope that you can get your hands on a good sleeper running back afterwards.
5. Take The Best Guy On The Board – Here is another strategy that I am highly in favour of. You may go into your draft with a certain perception on how things will turn out or what positions you are going to take in each round, but if there is a guy on the board who has slipped and it is your turn, don’t be afraid to take the best guy on the board. You may want to go with running backs in the first two rounds, but if the likes of Tom Brady or Drew Brees are around for your second pick, how can you possibly pass them up? Those are the types of moves that have owners kicking themselves in the ass at season’s end.
Here are a couple other things you may want to consider during your draft:
- Defense and kicking wont win your fantasy football league – They may get you points, but defense/special teams and kickers are not worthy of early or mid-round draft picks. If you want my advice here, I say take them with your last picks. There will still be some good ones around.
- Handcuff your studs – If you pick up Adrian Peterson, try to get your hand on Chester Taylor later. Michael Turner…Jerious Norwood, and the list goes on. Should your top gun go down, you have the right guy set to fill in for him.
- Look at the teams, not just the players – If you are taking a running back with an early pick, you may want to make sure he is playing for a good team. Remember, bad teams are often forced to abandon the running game when trailing. If you running back is on a bad team, he may not get the carries you are looking for. Wide receivers and quarterbacks of course are a different story.
- Know who your opponents are drafting – This is an important thing to remember, but one that many do not pay attention to. Know who the other owners of your league have taken. If you are trying to decide who to take between two players and aren’t sure which is more likely to be there next round, knowing who others have already drafted is key. But be careful. In a recent draft, I had the second last pick of the third round and the second of the fourth. I let Kurt Warner go and took Anquan Boldin because the guy with the next two picks already had Drew Brees, so I figured my quarterback would still be there. Think again. It’s a bad move on his behalf taking his backup QB in the third round, but you will encounter stupidity like that at any draft.
There you have it. Use these strategies wisely, but remember. When you step into your draft room and players begin to come off the board quickly, you may be forced to change your strategy on the fly. Be prepared for anything.