Dominate Your League This Year!
With the preseason coming to a close this week, I thought it would be cool to share my fantasy draft strategy with you. We broke down our biggest fantasy mistakes in episode 1 but now I’m going to show you the strategy I use to consistently finish near the top of my fantasy leagues.
1. Take some time to prepare for the draft.
The first thing you need to do is come up with a game plan before you even look at the draft order. It’s nice to know ahead of time where you’ll be picking, but a few of the fantasy sites like NFL.com randomize the order 30 minutes before the draft begins. This is why mock drafting or creating a draft board is so important.
My biggest pet peeve as a commissioner is when players in my league show up to the draft and say things like, “I haven’t even looked at the players yet.” Why are you playing then?Keith
Making a draft board is one of the simplest methods to implement. Start by making a list of your top 10 players. If you are in a 10 man league you are guaranteed to get one of those 10 players. Most sites have a premade draft board based on ADP (Average Draft Position). This method is fine if you are a beginner and don’t follow the sport enough to make your own board.
Another great way to determine if your pick is a solid value is to separate players into tiers. This can be a little daunting if you are more of a casual player, but there are great free resources out there that will help such as FantasyPros Cheat Sheet. What this allows you to do is plan depending on tier. If you want to get a tier 1 RB in the first round but by the time you pick they are all gone, then it might be smarter to get a tier 1 WR instead with your first pick instead of a tier 2 RB.
2. Make the smart choice with your 1st round pick.
It’s important to make your first round pick a player you can build your team around. This year has a few players that pose a ton of risk based on contract holdouts/new teams.
For example if you are sitting at pick 4 and Ezekiel Elliot is available, you’ll need to ask yourself, “In a worse case scenario, can I build my team around this player?” Right now the answer is no. That’s why you see his ADP falling. You absolutely need to succeed with your #1 pick. His upside may be better than the best WR DeAndre Hopkins, but the potential of not having him play at all is too big of a risk at that pick in the draft. Now if you are sitting at pick 9 or 10, your next pick will be 11 or 12. At that point, it would be a risk worth taking because if you miss on Elliot, your going to have a high value player a couple of picks later. Last year I saw people take Le’Veon Bell with the #1 overall pick. Because their next pick wasn’t until the last pick of the second round, they essentially got little to no value out of the first 2 rounds.
3. Resist the urge to follow the draft trends.
The one guarantee I can absolutely make for this year is that someone will start the QB draft trend early by drafting Patrick Mahomes. Other players in your league will follow suit and start taking QBs in a panic. One of the biggest advantages you can get is to stick to your draft board. The main reason to wait on a QB is the talent gap. The difference between the #1 QB and the #15 QB is much smaller than the difference between the #1 RB and the #15 RB. What that means is that if every team in your 10 man league drafts a QB in the 3rd round. You will still get a great #11 QB in the later rounds. Maybe even as far down as the 10th round. Stay true and take those higher end RBs and WRs.
4. Don’t be afraid to reach on a player you really like.
So you’ve listened to us and other podcasts tell you where players should be taken. Your sitting in the sixth round and you’re concerned you’re not going to get the guy you really want because he’s projected in the 7th. Don’t be afraid to follow your instincts and stretch a bit. Now that doesn’t mean I’d be willing to take Mahomes in the early 1st just because I’m afraid he won’t make it to the later rounds, but maybe in the 5th or 6th round I’d definitely be willing to reach for a player I feel strongly about to make sure I get him.
5. Take some high risk/high reward picks late.
As the draft goes into the later rounds, it’s time to start taking the risky picks. I’d rather have a guy that could be a potential fantasy stud in round 13 than a guy that will get me a consistent 8 points every week. An example for this year could be a guy like Darwin Thompson for the Chiefs. Right now he’s not a starter but by the end of the season he has potential to be another Kareem Hunt type back for the Chiefs. Another example could be a guy like TJ Hockenson for Detroit. He’s young and inexperienced but by the end of the season he has Gronk like potential.
6. Look for potential handcuffs late.
Pay attention to injury history and/or contract holdouts and snatch up their backups. Last year late in the draft, I took James Connor for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Le’Veon Bell ended up sitting the entire season and I got a guy who ended up as a legitimate RB1. A guy that would have been a great handcuff this year was Duke Johnson for the Texans. Lamar Miller tore his ACL and now Johnson has serious high end RB2 potential.
7. Take a kicker with your very last pick.
This one is simple. If you take a kicker any higher than the last round, you are wasting value on that pick. If the league plays like it should, there will only be 10 kickers drafted total. The difference between the #1 kicker and the #10 kicker is minimal at best. DO NOT TAKE A KICKER HIGHER THAN YOUR LAST PICK!
I hope these simple steps can bring you some success in your fantasy league. If you have any questions and would like to ask us for help, just drop a comment on this article.