Draft Tips and Tricks

You have your draftlist ready to go, now how do you use it?

1.  Craft your draft strategy to how your league scores points.  You want to load your team with players who will benefit from the way your league scores points.  If you play in a standard league your Running Backs and Quarterback will be much more important than Wide Receivers or Tight Ends. If you play in a PPR league, it's flipped so Wide Receivers and Tight Ends are much more important and the Running Backs you should target are the ones that catch a lot of passes.  If you play in a league that gives points for return yards, get yourself a wide receiver or running back that also returns punts or kickoffs.  Every round you should look for the players that will best exploit the point schedule of your league.  As an example, for the 2015 draft the top 5 picks were Adrian Peterson, Marshawn Lynch, Eddie Lacy, Jamaal Charles and Le'Veon Bell.   If you were drafting in a PPR league, the guys you should target are Peterson, Charles and Bell because these guys will catch a lot of balls.  The value of Lynch and Lacy are reduced because they are not as prolific in the pass catching department, in fact they have a 2nd round value because of this.  On the flip side, in a standard league all of these players have first round value, so

2.  Know when you will be drafting.  I have sorted this list by M-ADP to give you the most accurate representation of when players are getting picked.  Sometimes leagues let you know in advance what place you will be selecting players, other times it will be a mystery until draft day.  If you know your placement, look at what players are going to be available at each of your draft picks.  So if you pick 1st in a 10 team league you will select at #1, #20, #21, #40, #41, #60, #61, etc.  Review the list and find out who should be available around each of your picks and select your favorites.  I like to assign a color code to each player around my draft pick.  Green means take if available, Yellow means take if all the greens are gone, Red means take if all the Greens and Yellows are gone.  This way you always have a backup plan and you wont get flustered if the guy right before you takes your guy!  Using this method also allows me to ignore players that I have a very low probability of drafting (in the above example, you're probably not going to be able to draft guys with a M-ADP around #10, #30, #50, etc., so don't worry about them).

3.  Practice on mock drafts.  Mock drafts aren't perfect, but they do help you deal with the dynamics of a live draft and a timer.  Using this list on a mock draft will help you see if there are any gaps on your draftlist.  Maybe your list has too many filters on it, so there are spots where there are not enough options.  You can always go back and modify your filters to make them less restrictive. 

4.  Use a fresh draftlist everytime you draft.  There is a lot of stuff happening right now.  Players are getting injured, or coming off of an injury.  Some players stock is rising or falling sharply.  This list is dynamic, so I'm making adjustments to it as these news stories happen.  If it's been more than a day, you need to go back into the app and reprint your draftlist.  Don't forget to do this on draftday as well!

5.  Prepare for Rushes with Quarterbacks and Tight Ends.  It never fails, you've got your list.  It says your QB won't go until the 45th pick.  All of a sudden some guy takes your QB with his 30th pick.  Then 4 more Quarterbacks get taken before your next pick.  Now you're scrambling, you panic and take the next QB available because you don't want to miss out.  This happens all the time!  When it comes to both these positions, most of these players are picked in their draft order (Andrew Luck goes 1st, Aaron Rodgers goes 2nd, Russell Wilson goes 3rd, etc.)  On draft day, I keep a tally of how many QBs and TEs have been taken.  If I'm targeting Tony Romo (he's currently sitting as the #8 QB off the board), I wait until 6 QBs are selected and then I take him with my next pick.  This means you will take that player a little early, but you will have a high probability of getting the player you want.  Likewise, having a backup plan (say you'll take Brady, #10 QB, if you miss Romo), will allow you to not freak out when the rushes happen.  I also do the same with my backup QB, If I want Phil Rivers (currently the #14 QB off the board), I wait until the 12th QB is picked and then I take him with my next selection.

6.  Don't reach too far for a player!  When you look at your list, I'm sure you're thinking something along the lines of:  "Wow, Look at player X!  He's being selected 56th but his value says he's the 23rd best player this season.  I'm going to grab him in the 3rd round for sure!"  PLEASE DON'T DO THIS.  Success in Fantasy Football requires you to get good value from each of your players.  If you take this 6th round player in the 3rd round, no only have you destroyed his value but you have bypassed other 3rd round players that are critical to your team's success!  If you really want that player, take him with your 5th pick so you're still getting value and the risk isn't as high should he not live up to expectations.

7.  Don't Gamble or Speculate in the first 6 rounds.  The Top 60 is filled with question marks: rookies, older players that may be on the verge of breaking down, players past their prime but still highly valued, and injury prone players.  You want to weed those players you feel are too risky from your top 6 picks.  After that point, go nuts.  Speculate the hell out of the middle and later rounds because the risk is significantly lower and it won't kill your team if you're wrong.  You want the core of your team to be as reliable and consistant as possible.

8.  Take a defense with your second to last pick.  Defenses are the most speculative player on the board in my opinion.  They usually don't score that many points (about on par with an average TE), and the risk is exceedingly high.  Look at last season for example.  Before the 2014 season most everyone had Seattle and Carolina as the two top defenses for the upcoming year.  They were typically taken in the 7th round.  I had a team that ended up getting Seattle and do you know what they did for me? They scored a TOTAL of 23 points in their first 6 games.  After that I dumped them onto the waiver wire and of course they turned it on in the second half of the season.  Unfortunately, it didn't matter because when a defense that you picked in the 7th round scores 2 points, you're going to lose!  Carolina was also a disaster.  In the meantime, neither Detroit nor Philadelphia were drafted and they both ended up being Top 5 defenses last season. 

9.  Take a kicker with your last pick.  I always enjoy it when the kicker rush happens, usually in the 9th round.  All of a sudden kickers start flying off the board.  All you need to do is smile and keep picking RBs, WRs, TEs and QBs because you can still get really good players in the middle rounds.  Year after year it is proven that there is virtually no advantage of taking a kicker early.  The difference between the #1 Kicker and the #12 kicker is less than 2 points per week on average.