Fantasy Football Draft Day Advice

Don’t be a Draft Day Dope

Avoiding Draft Day Embarrassment

by: Carlos Bonier

 

            First things first – before you come in all juiced up, rocking your favorite jersey, carrying your briefcase full of cheat-sheets, rosters and your fantasy mag (we’ll get to that later) – you must pick a team name. I cannot stress the importance of this enough, whether it’s a live or online draft – YOU MUST PICK A TEAM NAME. Nothing emits the stench of weakness like Team TBA or Dave’s Team. You need to submit a team name that lets the rest of your league know you’re here to dominate, hard. The Mass Murderers, The Decapitators, or The Hacksaw Jim Duggan’s would all be good choices. You could also go the clever route and choose a name like Waistband Boner Tuck or Big TITanS to let your league know you aren’t just some dullard ready to get trampled. I can hear you people who like to name your team after a stud you drafted whining from way over here. Come in with a temporary team name, you can always change it to Big Swinging Vicks later. So that’s it. Just pick a killer team name and put the autopilot on “Steamroll to the ‘Ship.” Just kidding, although coming in with a boss team name gives you a monumental leg-up before the first player is even picked, believe it or not, that’s not enough to bring home the fantasy bacon (or turkey bacon for the Jewish readers). To give oneself the best chance of bringing home that savory pork (sorry Jews – something really good and kosher) we dream of all offseason, read the following advice and treat it like scripture.

Prep Work

          Walk or drive to your local CVS and purchase the fantasy mag with the freshest cover, promising the most content. Congratulations, you just took the first step towards BEING A BUM and going 0-14 (depending on playoff schedule). You’re a jabroni if you show up to your draft with a just a fantasy mag – don’t be like your Uncle Mike. We have this thing called the internet now, it contains the entire world’s knowledge and it’s up to date, use it. But I don’t wanna bring a laptop to the draft… waaaaa! Find a printer. It’s imperative to have the most up-to-date rosters, projected depth charts, injuries and perhaps even a summary of key off-season transactions. Did you remember that Brandon Marshall and Michael Bush are now Bears, Vincent Jackson a Buc and Brandon Llyod a Pat? If not, it’s probably a good idea for you to find a list of key offseason moves or, I guess… buy a mag that has such a list – if you are worried about paging through rosters or depth charts because you haven’t been paying attention this offseason. Often times, Rotoworld will publish a Free Draft Kit complete with this type of information. I would highly recommend bringing the entire kit to the draft.

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Know Your League’s Settings

          Duh, right? Wrong. You’d be surprised how times during a draft someone will ask, “How many WRs do we start? Is there one flex or two? Is our flex a WR/RB or WR/RB/TE? How many points per reception do we get? What!? This is a two QB league!?” Don’t be that guy. Know the rules, the scoring format, playoff format, when playoffs start, how waivers work, if players will be free agents or go on waivers after the draft, if there’s an individual defensive player(s) spot(s), and know whether there is a limit to the number of players you can draft at each position etc…

Have a plan a stick to it – Grabbing a Stud QB, Waiting because it’s a Deep Position and more…

                Have a plan a stick to it – for the most part. If you plan on taking a QB early, do it. The 3 top QBs in this year’s draft are really in a league of their own as far as big games (20+ points) and consistency goes. These three guys are Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady and Drew Brees. Chances are you will be able to draft 1 of these 3 guys if you are dead set on grabbing a QB in the first round – people love drafting RBs in RD1. If you are in a 16-team league or drafting toward the bottom of a 12-team league and none of these guys are available, you might want to consider waiting until RDs 2 or 3 to grab Cam Newton or Matt Stafford. These 5 QBs are probably the only guys I would take before rounds 5 or 6 when you can get someone like Mike Vick, Big Ben, Romo, Rivers or one of the Mannings. I think if you can land one of the big 3 in RD 1, do it. Yes, the QB position is deep and the most consistent, but that means everyone will have decent QB play, BUT if you can have elite QB play you can give yourself a big leg-up on the competition.

The running back position is as shallow as it ever was. This might tempt you to take RBs with your first two picks. I do not think this is a good strategy anymore. What kind of RBs will be left in RD2? Chances are no one without injury, contract or platoon issues. Did you know that 42% of RBs and WRs that finish in the top 20 were NOT drafted in the top 20?  Also, 39 RBs had top 20 performances last year – 39!!. Fantasy football is a week-to-week game and there are very few matchup proof RBs anymore. In my opinion the only matchup proof RBs at this point in time are: Arian Foster, LeSean McCoy, Ray Rice and…. no one. That’s it. Other than those 3, every other RB in the NFL is either in a platoon or has some serious question marks. Adrian Peterson would obviously be on this list, but he is still recovery from the torn ACL he suffered last season. MJD would be on this list too, but he is currently a camp holdout and it’s unclear if he will play this season at all or be as sharp in the early going if he fails to report to camp. What about Fred Jackson? Injury concerns and CJ Spiller. Marshawn Lynch – arrested possible suspension. Mendenhall? Nope, Injured and the Steelers aren’t the pound the rock Steelers of yesteryear. Jamaal Charles – No. Chris Johnson – HA.  The list goes on and on. Frank Gore, Steven Jackson, Run DRC and Michael Turner would be solid 2nd round picks, but who knows how much these guys have left to give and if DRC can actually play 10+ games.

The WR position…. OH THE WR POSITION. This is the hardest position to predict. The only sure fire thing that one could say about this position is that Calvin Johnson is absolutely worthy of a 1st rd selection. He was one of 11 players to have 8 or more 20+ point games. The other players included 5 QBs (Rodgers, Brees, Brady, Newton and Stafford), 3 RBs (McCoy, Rice and Foster) and 2 TEs (Graham and the Gronk). I am not going to breakdown this position, just don’t reach on WRs. You can get good value in mid to late rounds at this position. This is the other position that is highly influenced by matchups. However, if you go in with the mantra that you want to have consistent WRs and not have to sweat it out week to week, take them early and make sure you grab a QB in the process. If you want to load up on WR talent, DO NOT go RB, WR, WR, RB. You will need a stud QB to make up for your inevitable whiff on one of these picks.

Hey, tight ends – this position is as deep as it ever was. Therefore, I think you should wait to draft one unless you are at the end of RD1 or top of RD2 and take one of Jimmy Graham or THE GRONK. These two guys are worthy of 1st round selections. In general your first 3 or 4 picks should be able to win weeks by themselves and these two guys certainly fit that bill, each scoring over 20 points in 8 plus games.

 

Closing Points

 

  • DON’T EVEN DRAFT A KICKER. Take another position player and pickup a kicker off of waivers before the season starts. Kickers are meaningless.
  • If you wait to take a QB, make sure you don’t wait too much longer to take a good backup. E.G. you take Romo in the 6th and Eli in the 8th rounds – nice job. You take Romo in the 6th and RG3 in the 15th… ugh.
  • Don’t reach on defenses, very few defenses are worthy of being selected before the last 3 rounds
  • Be active on the waiver wire, especially early in the season.
  • Be early to the draft; get acclimated to your surroundings.
  • Make sure you’re well fed; hunger can lead to brash and boneheaded decisions, but avoid a food coma.
  • Wear a Jersey to your draft. Just make sure it is an actual player jersey and doesn’t have your name on the back. You don’t play in the NFL.

 

Well that’s it folks, everything you need to know to not look like a fool on draft day. Reading this may not win you your league, but hey, you’ll look like you know what you’re doing. In today’s world that’s all that matters, right – appearances? Right.

 

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About Kate Potter

Kate Potter is a professional sports better and a semi-pro fantasy football player.

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