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 Pornhub.com. So pretty much every other Tuesday, 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, now 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 practices and experiences, 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.

 

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 Mohamed Sanu in the 6th round, and then plays off 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” and 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 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 becareful, 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. Spiller in the first round and David Wilson in the third. If you went Marshawn Lynch and Peyton Manning in those rounds instead, 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 like Montee Ball or Michael Floyd.

…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 of top-5 draft positions, it’s pretty easy to defend drafting out of the Calvin Johnson, Jimmy Graham, and Demaryius Thomas waters.

…realize that certain positions have good depth this season. Quarterback, for instance, has tons of depth, and you’d be better off waiting on the tier 2 and 3 guys than trying to nab a tier 1 player. When you look at the production value, there’s not much difference between Matthew Stafford and Philip Rivers, yet one of them is constantly ranked near the top-5 and other levels out at around the top-15 area. Hint, the higher ranked guy has a Transformer helping him out.

…sorta-kinda pay attention to bye weeks. I’m hedging here, not because I’m a bush, 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 Denver Broncos offense last year, you’d lose one game, but probably win 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 five 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, you might also 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 Spiller and David Wilson. You could even include guys like Christine Michael, Trent Richardson, and Doug Martin in this category. While guys like Sammy Watkins, Mike Evans, and Bishop Sankey all have talent and a good enough argument to be drafted fairly high, the hype is just to big to get any kind of proper value. Be weary of overpaying for these 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 JaMarcus Russell 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. tim says:
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    I have a specific draft strategy question. I was invited to take join a 10-team PPR, 2RB, 2WR, 1 flex league, with one keeper (player selected in rookie draft last year) and one rookie (from rookie draft this year). I have the second draft position in both drafts. My question is should I offer to trade out of the second slot to move lower in the draft, with the idea of going with two top ten WR, getting RB later? What kind of compensation should I ask for, if say the person with the 9th slot wants to trade? As an aside, who do you like as the second best rookie for this year and next only?

    • Jay

      Jay says:
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      @tim: I’d go Watkins, then Evans for rookies. As for your specific question, I’d say draft Forte and be happy. If you do trade down, can you trade normal draft picks or just the keeper ones?

      • Tim says:
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        @Jay: I can trade regular draft spots… The reason I hate the second spot is I have have a bad feeling about Charles this year… Forte is probably where I would go, he won me a couple leagues last year as a second round pick

        • Jay

          Jay says:
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          @Tim: Eh, I might shop it for a steep price, maybe for a lower end first, high second and a third, but I’m fine with Forte there. Or Charles.

  2. Nimrod says:
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    Thanks for the hints. I keep track of bye weeks for the purpose of not drafting my QB2, RB2 and WR2. I don’t want them the same as my #1 guys at those positions. I know it’s only one week but if I’m trying to decide between two guys then the bye week clinches the deal for me. Just saying…..

    Is there going to be any thoughts on survival football strategy?

    • Jay

      Jay says:
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      @Nimrod: Yes, that part changes from league context, but in standard leagues, it’s not a huge hindrance. As for Survivor leagues, we’ll be most likely folding that coverage into our betting series this season…

  3. Allan says:
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    Jay, I’m in a non ppr 14 team league. We can keep one player. I can keep Eddie Lacy in the second, Andre Ellington in the 16th, or Keenan Allan in the 16th. Don’t know draft position yet. Who to keep?

    • Jay

      Jay says:
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      @Allan: I’d go Lacy… Allen is tempting, but Lacy in the second is still good savings.

  4. Bryce Krispie Treats says:
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    I have noticed over the past 3 years in all three sports (MLB, NFL, NBA) that all of the auction prices have gone up quite significantly at the top of the draft. It wasnt too long ago that you could have gotten AP for 50 bucks because thats the value that Yahoo gave him.

    Are these top tier players worth selecting in an auction draft based on their prices? I like to spread my money out and have a little bit of depth on my bench, but if I select Mccoy, Charles, Peterson, or Calvin, thats over 1/4 of my budget. Do I pass on these players or are they really worth the premium?

    • Jay

      Jay says:
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      @Bryce Krispie Treats: Yeah, I’d try to target three high priced guys that I’m smitten with, and try to land one of them. Then balance the rest.

  5. Cole says:
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    Hey Jay, I have a keeper question. Keep 4, standard scoring, shallow (like me!) 8 teamer. The first 3 keepers take up the first 3 rounds (replaced by a pick if empty) and the 5th round can be pick can be filled by a deep sleeper or FA added.
    Dez
    Julio
    Murray
    That’s my standard round keepers. I can keep Ball or Stacey as my 5th rounder. Or keep both and drop Murray. I have an offer for Ball for the 31st pick. I’d keep Stacey then and take a WR and backup RD in the first non keeper round most likely. Would you accept that or keep ball instead? Thanks!

    • Jay

      Jay says:
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      @Cole: Yeah, I’d rather have Stacy than Ball. Not crazy about him. But I’m in the minority…

  6. the_hungary_hippo says:
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    Pretty standard 14-team league with .25 PPR.

    Draft slots get selected by each team… Picks 1-4, 10 and 11 have been selected already.

    What draft slot would you take?

    Thanks

    • Jay

      Jay says:
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      If that’s the case, I go for the 6 spot.

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