How to Have a Successful Draft
***Please note that many references are to the 2008 draft. While the strategy will not change, references will and I will update accordingly.
#1) Make sure you have a CURRENT draft board. Almost everyone uses a draft board, but most have pretty short shelf lives. If you’re not careful you could be the laughing stock who picks a certain receiver too high, who’s been suspended for the first two games for punching his teammate (read: Steve Smith), or pick the Chargers defense unaware that their star, Shawne Merriman, has a torn ligament and will be out for who knows how long. Definitely avoid those supermarket draft guides that are published three months in advance. They might be exciting to see when you’re in the doldrums of summer and salivating for training camp to start, but I guarantee they will be outdated by your draft day. My favorite draft board is Pro Football Weekly; just make sure the board is updated.
#2) Take some risks. What percentage of people who pick every favorite in their March Madness pool actually win the whole thing? Forgetting this most recent anomaly year, where all the #1 seeds made The Final Four (first time in NCAA history), it’s generally quite difficult to win using that strategy. Same goes for your fantasy football draft. Look for a Randy Moss type – a “cancer” guy with sick talent who has something to prove. What about the rookies? It’s pretty tough to know their true value since they haven’t played a real down. In fact, a couple of trusty 2007 fantasy draft boards didn’t even have then rookie Adrian Peterson in their top 25 RUNNING BACKS. Another good way to outsmart your draft board is with defense. Sure, there will always be the defensive powerhouses (Vikings, Giants, Bears) that will probably allow minimal points and create turnovers no matter what. But what about the defenses who just happen to luck out and play really bad offenses, the type that gift wrap turnovers. Sounds like a lot of work? Well, it is, and that’s why I’m providing you with my Rookies to Watch, Guys with Something to Prove and Defensives with Soft Schedules.
#3) Big Guns First Make sure you have filled out the starting lineups for your money making positions – QB, WR, RB, TE* – prior to drafting anyone else. If you ignore this rule of thumb, one of your starters might not actually start for his own team.
*For leagues starting a tight end, of course.
#4) Bye Bye Bye Know bye weeks. If you start three WRs, and all three have the same bye week, you could be screwed. It’s pretty simple.
Week Four: Lions, Colts, Dolphins, Patriots, Giants, Seahawks
Week Five: Browns, Jets, Raiders, Rams
Week Six: Bills, Chiefs, Steelers, Titans
Week Seven: Cardinals, Falcons, Jaguars, Eagles
Week Eight: Bears, Bengals, Broncos, Packers, Texans, Vikings
Week Nine: Panthers, Saints, Chargers, 49ers
Week Ten: Ravens, Cowboys, Buccaneers, Redskins
#5) Delay of Game Please don’t be that ultra annoying person that every draft seems to have that either picks someone already taken or asks if x, y, and z have been taken. Write down everyone’s picks.
Other than that, have fun and pick players and defenses that will score you a lot of points.