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Welcome back for another strategy session, where you and I sit down, group our intellect together, and prepare to discuss fantasy football ad nauseum… and then promptly get distracted by RedTube. So pretty much every other Wednesday. (Well, for me, at least.) We already have a Beginners Guide to Fantasy Football, for those of you who had no idea fantasy football existed… I’m sure there are dozens of you. DOZENS! But now that we have the “101” stuff out of the way, we arrive at the “Do’s and Don’ts” of a draft. As what should be pretty self explanatory, there are things that you should do and things that you should not do. Crazy stuff! I know. Granted, these are based on my own experiences within the fantasy football landscape, so take them for what you will. Which frankly, should be lots. Because it’s free. Free stuff is always good. Unless it’s crayfish in your pants. That’s something that’s free, mysterious, titillating, and scary all at the same time. Much like my lovemaking.

 

DO:

  • Come prepared to your respective drafts. Unlike the VELVEETA® Mac and Cheese slogan, don’t be that guy (or gal). You know who I’m talking about… the person who takes the clock to the three second mark every single pick, only to draft someone like Darrius Heyward-Bey in the 3rd round, and then plays off all the snickers and “ugh’s” by saying he/she based that pick on “sleeper potential”. Yeah, he’s a sleeper, in that, he’s probably taking a nap to avoid the fact of how irrelevant he is. As I’ve said before, you don’t have to be spending 18 hours a day preparing like there’s a doctorate available for this kind of stuff, but some kind of cheat sheet with rankings, a napkin with some sort of scribbling of what looks like player names, or just a drawing of Tom Brady… something, anything would work here.

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This cheat sheet is way too dreamy for use.

  • Sort of a branch, or I guess a root from the previous “do” is to know your league settings. It seems obvious, but league settings are like the fine print of a contract. And from the way I started this blurb out, it’s probably a contract with a tree or some kind of shrubbery… pretty much anything that has branches or roots I guess. So just be careful, especially of fire. And aphids maybe.
  • Balance your risk-taking. This can be a delicate procedure, as no one really knows what’s going to happen during the season, and no one player is a “for sure” thing, but there are players who are considered safer than others. As last season showed us, there’s a better way of building your team than going C.J. Anderson or Eddy Lacy in the second round. If you went Marshawn Lynch or, I dunno, Mark Ingram in those rounds instead (probably a bit later on Ingram_, well, things probably turned out a bit better for you. I’m not saying go safe all the time, but mix it in a little bit if you find yourself leaning on guys that have had issues with either health or stable production.
  • Know that while it’s important to have running backs on your team, don’t force yourself into an uncomfortable situation to do so. The NFL is changing more and more towards the vertical game, and so is fantasy football, even in  non-PPR leagues. Add on top of that the number of dreaded running back tandems or RBBC (running back by committee) situations that are forming around the league, if you find yourself outside looking in on running back depth, it’s pretty easy to defend drafting out of the receiving waters. I’m going to be hammering the fact that the depth for running backs this years is pretty non-existent, and the opposite is true with wide receivers, so the point I’m trying to make is, if you can’t land an elite option, don’t force yourself into a bad situation. Bad situations is why Darren McFadden is still employed. (Is he still employed?)
  • Realize that plans can change, and don’t be afraid of this. Certain positions have good depth this season. Quarterback, for instance, still has tons of depth carried over from last year, and you might be better off waiting on the tier 2 and 3 guys than trying to nab a tier 1 player as you hit the third-to-fourth round. As mentioned just above, you can wait on receivers a bit. Just remember, every draft is different, but once you get a feel for the who’s being selected and where, you can change your plan on the fly and adjust. Don’t remain static is what I’m saying.
  • Sorta-kinda pay attention to bye weeks. I’m hedging here, not because I’m a bush (it’s official, we’re going for a shrubbery theme for sure now), but because while it’s good to pay attention to how your bye alignment is turning out during the draft, don’t let it control your draft. If you drafted the entire Pittsburgh Steelers offense last year, you’d lose one game for sure, but probably won it all. Now, that’s an extreme example, but if you are hesitating on a player you really want because you already have a couple other guys with the bye, go ahead and pull the trigger. Tackle that week when it comes. (+5 for proper metaphor usage. Current score: -464,897 points.)

 

DON’T:

  • Draft a defense or kicker if you can help it. If you’d like to use the last few rounds to do so, that’s fine… but there really is no reason to pay more than that. In a 12-team, and especially in a 10-team league, there are simply just too many streaming options and match-ups to play with. And remember, on a bye week for these positions during the season, you might have to carry two kickers and two defenses, possibly strangling your roster in the process.
  • Get caught up in the hype. A perfect example of this, and already mentioned above, was last year’s C.J. Anderson and perennial hype-monster Carlos Hyde. You could even include guys like Christine Michael (how is he still a thing?) or Joseph Randle in this category. While a guy like Ezekiel Elliott has talent and a good enough argument to be drafted fairly high, the hype might just to big to get any kind of proper value. Be weary of overpaying for these types of guys.
  • Panic before, during, or after the draft. Having a winning team on a piece of paper (or I guess a computer screen, since this isn’t the 80’s) before the season guarantees absolutely nothing whatsoever. Neither does having a derpy draft. These things are all fixable, unless you draft Mohamed Sanu in the third round. That, you really can’t recover from. But that selection does come with two bowls of gravy, so could be worth it…

 

 

  1. Paradise Paved says:
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    I spoke to you a few days ago about being in a dynasty league where I have the option of keeping Antonio Brown, Eddie Lacy, Mike Evans, Matt Jones, and Russell Wilson. We keep up to 4 players and lose the draft pick (round 1-4) if we keep anyone.

    . I am on my final year of keeping Brown and Lacy. I retain the rights to them until the start of the 2017-18 draft. Would you trade Brown for Beckham or Julio Jones straight up? Each owner is in the 2nd of the 3 years for keeping each.

    I was also offered Allen Robinson/TJ Yeldon plus a 4th or 5th draft pick for Brown. The Robinson owner also has Gurley and AP if you can think of any counter offers?

    Possiblly a trade like Gurley/Robinson for Brown/Lacy?

    We’re all from Pittsburgh, so Brown is a fan favorite within our league. Thanks. I appreciate the advice.

    • Paradise paved says:
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      @Paradise Paved:
      Or another offer of brown/lacy for aj green/dez/Hyde? This would require me to make some additional moves with having 3 top wrs

        • Paradise Paved says:
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          @Jay:

          If I made the deal of Brown/Lacy for AJ/Dez/Hyde and moved Russell Wilson for a RB 2 (like Rawls) and Evans for a 4th or 5th round draft pick, then would you make the move?

          You were the only person that said no to this deal and I am just curious why…Do you think I am giving up too much for them?

          Thanks.

          • Jay

            Jay says:
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            I like the Evans trade there, but not crazy about getting rid of Brown. It is a fair deal I think though, for what it’s worth.

            • Paradise Paved says:
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              @Jay:
              Thanks again. I got an another offer.

              Is this one any better?
              Brown for A-Rob, AP, and a 6th round pick
              or
              Brown for A-Rob and 4th, 5th, and 9th round draft picks

              • Jay

                Jay says:
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                @Paradise Paved: I like the second pick… but I’ll be honest. I’d probably hold on that one still.

                I honestly think you should be able to get a 2nd round WR (A-Rob) and a 2nd round RB (McCoy for example) in a homer league. The price should be high… remember, they are asking you for the best player in the league right now. How much would you pay for Mike Trout or Bryce Harper?

    • Jay

      Jay says:
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      @Paradise Paved: I’d probably do the Beckham straight up… Jones? I’d probably want one more smaller piece. Since everyone is from Pittsburgh though, I’d milk that. ARob and Yeldon for Brown… even with the pick, I’d ask for a little more. I might even want an extra pick for the OBJ trade.

      • Paradise Paved says:
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        @Jay:
        Thanks for answering all of the questions. Whenever I put AB and Lacy on the trading block, I got a lot of offers. Two more if you don’t mind.

        1) Lacy/Brown for A-Robinson/Gurley
        2) Lacy/Brown/Wilson for ODB/D. Johnson

        I appreciate it.

        • Jay

          Jay says:
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          @Paradise Paved: I wouldn’t do those. I think actually you’re give up too much there. Slightly, not like they are unfair…

  2. Troy says:
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    12-team, Standard IDP Keeper League. Won last year, thanks alot to you and Kevin. I can keep as many keepers as I want, but I forfeit a draft pick for each, starting from 1st round.

    My QB is Rivers, who I love again this year. If I don’t keep him, I’m targeting him later. RBs are thin: Forte, Forsett, Hill. WRs worth keeping are Robinson and Marshall, maybe John Brown. Then Kelce.

    And I really won because of my IDPs: Watt, Norman, Lee, Bowman, etc. It’s always hard to judge what round value they have. If I go WR and IDP heavy, I’m worried I’ll be too thin at RB.

    I’ll ask Kevin his defense opinions once he has rankings up, but how would you approach this situation? Thanks

    • Jay

      Jay says:
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      @Troy: More Kevin I think!

      My opinion of your QB? 👌👀👌👀👌👀👌👀👌👀 good shit go౦ԁ sHit👌 thats ✔ some good👌👌shit right👌👌there👌👌👌 right✔there ✔✔if i do ƽaү so my self 💯 i say so 💯 thats what im talking about right there right there (chorus: ʳᶦᵍʰᵗ ᵗʰᵉʳᵉ) mMMMMᎷМ💯 👌👌 👌НO0ОଠOOOOOОଠଠOoooᵒᵒᵒᵒᵒᵒᵒᵒᵒ👌 👌👌 👌 💯 👌 👀 👀 👀 👌👌Good shit

      I think it’s okay to be thin at RB this year, because there are so many question marks to begin with, it’s almost like you’re already on an even playing field with everyone else. Take stability everywhere else (it’s easier at WR and QB, for example) and I think try to find risk/reward options at RB.

      Do me a favor, email me at [email protected] and I’ll ask Kev on next week’s pod your IDP questions since he doesn’t write for us anymore. Families! What a drag.

      • Troy says:
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        Sent it. Do we know when Le’Veon’s appeal will be decided? How do you value him when drafting? I just listened to your ESPN draft and you took him 12th overall, ahead of Lamar and Zeke, and it seems like you based your whole draft around missing him for the first 4 weeks. So how did you make that decision, knowing there were still tier 1 backs available?

        • Jay

          Jay says:
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          I wanted to take the gamble. Something I didn’t have time to state is that I’ve never owned him before, and I was curious what kind of team I could put together by taking the gamble. I like Lamar Miller a lot this year, as you can see from my rankings, but while I may have created an unnecessary handicap for my team, part of me wanted to embrace the risk and challenge of it. The rewards could be certainly worth it. (Though, this could be a type of “do what I say, not what I do” type of thing…)

          • Troy says:
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            Who do you think had the best draft? Besides you of course. Can you provide a link to the league?

            • Montezuma's Revenge... right now says:
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              @Troy: people don’t always come out of a draft thinking they themselves have the best team, i know all sorts of times i get sniped by 1 or 2 guys who i end up thinking have a better team than me.

            • Jay

              Jay says:
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              @Troy: Honestly, I have a terrible team, but with a really high ceiling I think. The pod for the draft comes out Saturday or Sunday, and my recap will be Monday!

  3. Scott says:
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    This is great stuff, even for us old heads! You can never be too careful when aphids are around…

    • Jay

      Jay says:
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      @Scott: I have house plants. Aphids are a big deal. Make house plants great again!

  4. Harrison Ford in Air Force One says:
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    Hey Jay–thanks for all the continual good content.

    Quick Q on strategy. 10-team standard scoring league with 2 RB, 3 WR, and a RB/WR/TE flex.

    My keeper is Todd Gurley in the 7th round, so feel great about that. I also own the #2 overall pick and then the #13.

    Eliminating other people’s keepers, these are the best available players according to your auction rankings that should be available through pick #13

    David Johnson
    Ezekiel Elliott
    Dez Bryant
    Jamaal Charles
    Alshon Jeffery
    Allen Robinson
    Mark Ingram
    Jordy Nelson
    Devonta Freeman
    Doug Martin
    Mike Evans
    LeSean McCoy
    CJ Anderson
    TY Hilton
    Brandon Marshall
    Le’Veon Bell
    Eddie Lacy

    The owner with the 1st pick is keeping OBJ and I believe he will take David Johnson. I am leaning then towards taking Dez Bryant since I should be good at RB with Gurley. Obviously we’ll have to see where things go on draft day, but what would you recommend doing at #13? Feels like WR is super deep, so do I take a Lacy/Shady/CJ Anderson type? Or get another solid WR like Marshall or TY?

    • Jay

      Jay says:
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      @Harrison Ford in Air Force One: Thanks for tuning in!

      I think you might need to go WR if those are your choices… none of those three excite me. Is there a chance that Bell gets there? I might do that.

      • Harrison Ford in Air Force One says:
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        @Jay:

        Sounds good, I like the Le’Veon angle. Had him last year. He’s just gotta lay off the dope for a second!

      • Harrison Ford in Air Force One says:
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        @Jay:

        And you agree with the Dez pick over Ezekiel?

  5. BlakeStreetBomber88 says:
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    This might be staring at the tea leaves too much, but it’s worth a shot:
    Do you consider the first 4-6 weeks of a players schedule when measuring their draft value? My thought is two parts. 1) players who struggle during the first half of the season and my team is left chasing a playoff spot the rest of the year, or 2) players who you don’t think will be very good from a seasonal outlook but have favorable matchups the first couple weeks and will see a big jump in their trade value.

    Great article BTW, I appreciate the (apparent?) hard work you guys put into this site.

    • Jay

      Jay says:
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      @BlakeStreetBomber88: Kind of, as this should be the period that sets the tone for the rest of your season. I think your assessment is fair, but sometimes it gets thrown out the window. In an expert draft yesterday, I drafted Bell in the second round… risky I’d say.

  6. james mcgough says:
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    scout fantasy =THIEVES

    Received subscription for free last year when renewing my dynasty team . Received e-mail 8/17 saying that it was renewed on 8/2 . I didn’t authorize or request renewal. Called and cancelled subscription 8/18. Received e-mail saying (your subscription will be honored through your anniversary date based on payments made .Per terms and conditions ,no refunds can be given for cancelled subscriptions.) Immediately called back 5 times and received message that the call center was closed even though they just opened 10 minutes prior. Called back 2 hours later and told they won’t refund my money. Like I would pay for this shit .

  7. mak says:
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    in a 2 qb league, where should i draft my first quarterback? is it better to go best RB/WR available and then pick a QB with my 2nd pick? or wait to draft QB till later?

    • Jay

      Jay says:
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      @mak: I personally think it’s best to go QB/QB or QB/WR-RB/QB. I’ll have a post on this later in the week I believe. Maybe even earlier actually.

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