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If you’re like me (and let’s not kid yourself, you definitely want to be like me) over the last month you’ve probably heard all the fantasy advice clichés you can stand. You’ve ranked your players, you’ve tiered your positions, you’ve identified your sleepers, and you’ve done a silly number of mock drafts while at work, but now as draft day approaches you’re getting nervous. Or maybe you’ve screwed the pooch and draft day is in 15 minutes. Either way, don’t freak out, just remember a few simple tips and you can draft like a seasoned pro, or at the very least you’ll make it look you like spent more than 20 minutes preparing.

Tip 1: Be aware of your surroundings.

No joke, depending on where/how your league drafts, different times/locations/styles/formats can have significant impact on your draft success. For example, if you’re drafting in bar or restaurant, buy your leaguemates drinks and plenty of them, preferably shots. If you’re doing a live internet draft, make sure the draft application works on the computer you’ll use, find a comfortable chair, and hurl insults mercilessly from your mom’s basement to other players; hopefully they’ll be too busy conjuring rebuttals they won’t be able to focus on the task at hand. If doing auction, bid up players you know other owners have mancrushes and remember to throw down a Tight End joke when you successfully get them to bid too much on Greg Olsen.

Tip 2: Take risks.

Fantasy sports are not won by going down the list of ranked players and picking the next best available player. You’ve seen this before: guy shows up with magazine purchased 10 minutes ago on the way to the draft. Guy picks players from the overall 100 list until his roster is full. Guy loses. Don’t be that guy. Be prepared to reach for some players you really like, be prepared to pass over a “sure thing” or the big name if you have a gut feeling. Remember winning requires a combination of skill and luck, without taking a risk here and there you’ll significantly reduce your potential for catching Marques Colston in a bottle.

Tip 3: Don’t draft backup QBs, and in some cases a Kicker.

Many perts advocate waiting till the final round to draft your kicker, and that’s fine if your drafting late in the preseason, but I take this a step further. If I’m drafting with a couple weeks or more left in preseason, I ignore the Kicker and backup QB positions altogether and many times I’ll bypass D as well. By freeing up these picks, you can make a few more high upside picks at the WR and RB positions. When the start of the season rolls around, you’ll have a much better idea of which of your sleeper choices are going to get playing time, then drop or trade some players to grab a waiver wire kicker and defense. Barring injury, you won’t need your backups until week 4 at the earliest (when bye weeks start).

Tip 4: Have fun.

Remember that it’s just a game. Have fun, drink some beers, make some passes at the waitress or leaguemate’s sister. If you’re so stressed about fantasy football your blood pressure is rising, you shouldn’t be playing. Seriously, take up poker because most of us don’t want to play with you. Enjoy the camaraderie of the league and use the draft to catch up, crack jokes, and have an all around good time. If you do this, I promise you won’t be so bummed when Adrian Peterson gets his knee destroyed in a vicious frog-splash pancake tackle by Shaun Rogers in week 1 (you heard it here first!).

  1. AL KOHOLIC says:
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    ha,me and hippo will be drinking,in ours,dont tell paullie

  2. AL KOHOLIC says:
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    that hit on brady looked bad,he landed with his right arm streatched out and 320 pounder on top of him,hope it isnt bad

  3. Rock says:
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    Not bad advice, with the exception of the Kicker and the backup QB. Many leagues, including the one I’ve played in for the last 10 yrs, requires that you draft a player/team to fill EVERY starting position on your roster, no ifs ands or butts. After that, it’s all up to the team owner, but that is a steadfast rule we keep, and I feel all leagues should keep. I feel that actually helps make it MORE competitive, and puts everyone on the same playing field to start with.
    As far as the backup QB goes, unless I am drafting a stud, one who rarely, if ever gets injured enough to miss game time(Manning, Brees, etc), it’s always good strategy to get that solid backup seeing as how there isn’t as much play in that position as there will be in all the others…

  4. paulzone says:
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    i have the #1 pick in my draft next week. i was offered a swap by another owner. i would swap positions to #5 and then i will get his 6th or 7th round pick and he would get my 11th round pick. 10 team league, no keepers, no ppr, 15 rounds (9 starters / 6 reserves).

    What do you all think?

  5. G says:
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    I just finished a draft in a 14 team ppr league. What do you think of my team? Im really worried with my 2 RB’s because they are injury prone and should I trade some of my players for an elite QB? Here’s my roster

    QB- Cassel
    WR- Andre Johnson
    WR- Jennings
    WR- Anthony Gonzalez
    RB- Ronnie Brown
    RB- Reggie Bush
    TE- Winslow
    WR/RB/TE- Moreno
    K- Gould
    Def- Panthers
    Ben- Josh Morgan, Ahmad Bradshaw, Orton, Norwood, Galloway, Engram, Scaife, Collie, Mike Goodson, Redskins Def
    what are my strengths and weaknesses?
    thanks in advance

  6. AL KOHOLIC says:
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    doc,mike bell,michael bush or james davis,pick 2

  7. Doc says:
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    Tweeting from espn fantasy championships @razzball

  8. Rock says:
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    @G:

    Really strong at WR, but man, you could be in for a long season…

    Unless Reggie surprises, you’ll get more output out of Bradshaw…

    One of my fav rules of drafting: Except for QB, K, and D, think young, no injuries, and upside…

    3 of your starters are big time injury prone, that’s too many for the starting line-up…unless they are late rd gambles, pass on those folks…

  9. Doc

    Doc says:
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    @G: I’m worried mostly about your QB. I think you can switch Moreno out with Bush when he is hurt. I do think you could use a another RB for insurance, but you may just have to roll with it. I don’t see Cassel working out. Orton may end up being the better pick.

  10. Doc

    Doc says:
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    @paulzone: I’d hold tight. I think the drop off is steep from AP in non-ppr leagues. I’d be more likely to trade for the 10 hole.

  11. Doc

    Doc says:
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    @AL KOHOLIC: Bush and Bell

  12. AL KOHOLIC says:
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    @Doc: do ypu like mike bell much,pierre thomas injury questionable

  13. Doc

    Doc says:
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    @AL KOHOLIC: Yeah, I’m a little worried about the MCL. Probably be ok, but Bell would be a good pickup if it lingers or he reinjures it.

  14. the robbie says:
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    im in a ppr league, and i don’t trust mjd. should i propose this trade?

    Santana Moss
    Maurice Jones-Drew

    for

    Greg Jennings
    Ladainian Tomlinson

  15. Doc

    Doc says:
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    @the robbie: I like MJD so it is hard to judge this, but I think it would be an even trade with your reservations about MJD.

  16. AL KOHOLIC says:
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    @Doc: is our draft est time?

  17. Rock says:
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    @AL KOHOLIC:

    “doc,mike bell,michael bush or james davis,pick 2″

    You HAVE to take Davis as one of those two. He should be starting at some point…

  18. Doc

    Doc says:
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    @AL KOHOLIC: Davis is starting to win me over as well.

  19. paulzone says:
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    @Doc: why do you like the 10 hole? i’m sure the team drafting 10th would trade me for the 1st pick. i could prob get a swap on later round picks too. if you would make this swap, what would you suggest for other rounds? 5th round pick for my 7/8th pick?

  20. Doc

    Doc says:
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    @paulzone: I’m not big on trading for picks really, but I would rather have #1 or 10. I like going back to back. Just a preference. But I usually just focus on the slot i get and prepare for that slot.

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