By Adam Harris-
(CBS) Fantasy football is fun. It can also be work, week after week. But it all starts with draft night. The most important night where every team in the league has high aspirations and constantly makes dumb decisions but then convince themselves that Adrian Peterson’s torn ACL is completely healed in eight months time.
There is no such thing as a perfect draft, but the following are ten great tips that will help you get through the draft with less second-guessing, giving you more time to gloat.
1) Know Your League
This falls into two categories: 1. Rules/Points and 2. Personnel. Know every way points are awarded and draft accordingly. If QB’s get 6 points per touchdown, take QB’s early. Know your waiver system, and when your lineup needs to be locked in.
KYP: Know your Personnel. Generally, people draft with friends or acquaintances. Know who tends to reach, who tends to get quarterback happy and who seems to like Michael Vick a little too much. This can be a low draftee’s favorite team, noticing they are wearing a Ben Roethlisberger jersey on draft night, or simply by their team name. For example, if team “That’s My Forte” is drafting ahead of you, and Matt Forte is on the board, prepare for him to take…you guessed it…Matt Forte.
2) Make A Plan, But Be Willing To Change
Drafts never go as planned. Someone might take Cam Newton in the top five because, A) they are stupid, and B) they think Newton will rush for 14 touchdowns again. Coming into a draft with the thought, “I am going to take a running back and then get a quarterback on the turn” is great. Be prepared, however, to adjust as the draft goes on.
3) Make A List Of Secondary Targets
This will help you change your strategy mid draft, based on picks from other teams. Have a list of three or so players at each position you are willing to take at all times. Then, have a second list of players at each position you are content settling with if the others are drafted.
4) Know Your Tiers
A tier separates the great from the good in a given position. For example, Calvin Johnson scored 46.9 more fantasy points than the second wide receiver in standard scoring leagues last year. Megatron is in tier one as a superstar, while tier two has players like A.J. Green, Larry Fitzgerald and Andre Johnson. Understand the jump from tier to tier based on positions so you don’t take an A.J. Green ahead of a Matthew Stafford. Both in the example fall in the second tier at their position, but the jump from tier one in QBs to tier two is much less than in WRs.
5) Draft Kicker And Defense In Final Two Rounds
Don’t be “that guy” and break the seal with the San Francisco Defense or Sebastian Janikowski in the 7th or 8th round. Those rounds are where you win or lose the league, not the first few. Don’t be cute, be smart. Take position players to deepen your team in middle rounds.
6) Always Back Up Your Star Running Back
Running backs are fragile. We have seen stars go down from Priest Holmes to Sean Alexander to Jamaal Charles and Adrian Peterson. The backups are a must if you are to invest a first or second round pick in a stud running back.
7) Don’t Be Afraid To Reach
There is generally a negative connotation to people who reach for a player (draft the player earlier than expected), but in some cases I disagree. As long as you are reaching for a statistical or concrete reason to get a guy you think will perform extremely well, I say grab him while he is there. There is no worse feeling than holding out one more round for a guy you think will perform above expectations, and then someone blindly snatches him up. *DO NOT, HOWEVER REACH FOR FAVORITE PLAYERS OR FOR PERSONAL REASONS*
8) Ignore All Table Talk
Do not get sucked into anyone else’s rankings, or beliefs on any one particular player or draft strategy. Pretend you are playing poker, and know that everyone at the table wants you to fail with your next pick/hand. Stick to your pre-draft gut feelings, and do not be afraid of some ribbing when you reach to take who you want. Act as if they are idiots and you have the key to success.
9) Table Side Manner
Do not drink too much during the draft and keep good track of who is picked and what team he is on. You don’t want to get drunk and not remember that Rashard Mendenhall is injured for the first few weeks. Also, keeping track of other team’s will help you in later rounds so you know what positions are in need and what positions you can wait on.
10) Don’t Have Plans After The Draft
Being on a time crunch will cause anxiety and will in turn cause rushed picks for you in the middle to late rounds. Do not rush anyone’s pick and you will generally be given the same courtesy.
Follow these simple, but essential, rules and you will have a calm and mostly successful draft. Happy draft day everybody, as another year of fantasy football is upon us.
You can ask Adam Harris any fantasy football questions on twitter @aharris670.