Draft season is finally upon us and this is where your season is either made or destroyed. There are many popular strategies out there today zero running back, zero wide receiver, take quarterback early, wait on tight end the philosophies go on and on. In this article I want to give you the strategies and tips I deploy in the draft room to help me be a force in leagues year after year. In the last three years I have participated in seven fantasy leagues and I have appeared in six championship games winning two titles. These are competitive leagues and I believe it is due to how I attack draft day. I will deploy my five tips to help you be the same force in your leagues and become a threat every year.
· Homework Not Draftwork:
This is where a lot of owners drop the ball. They think they can go to a Sheetz or Wawa and pick up a fantasy magazine bring it into the draft room and work of the cheat sheet in the back. This tactic would be great if the season started back in February. These types of magazines are essentially useless because they are written and printed four to five months ago and a lot will have changed since that time. Another mistake an owner makes is they google fantasy football ranking and a lot of times that will bring up Matthew Berry and Mike Clay rankings. They hit print and come to draft and begin working down list crossing and circling players as they are chosen. This will work great for the first 2 or 3 rounds, but where drafts matter most in the late rounds is where they will suffer and so will their season. Then we have the opposite end of the spectrum the owner that has notebook after notebook or a laptop or tablet with spreadsheets of data and multiple tabs open. This complicates draft day and does more harm than good.
So, the key is to be like the guy doing research and homework but do it at home. Prepare the months leading up to draft day keeping tabs on any news that will impact teams and players fantasy values. Once you have a good idea of what players are going to be keys to a successful team you start making a draft board highlighting a list of 60 to 72 players and focus on drafting players out of that section until they are all gone. Then since you did your homework you will know values of players and where to take them and will be able to continue to work off your one-page draft board. That’s right one sheet is all you need. So, the first key to destroy your opponents on draft day is keep it simple.
· Wait on Quarterback:
I know most of you are sitting there thinking well that’s obvious but for those in home leagues know quarterbacks go early and often. Many of these leagues will have the first big quarterback run in rounds 4 to 5. This is fine let the run happen because all those wide outs, running backs, and tight ends will be yours for the taking. Last year every team had their first quarterback and many their second before I took my first in the 11th round. I know what you’re thinking and no I didn’t have to ride Blake Bortles all season I was actually able to land the number two fantasy QB last year Matt Ryan. I was able to because I targeted him and knew his value. Many had him very low in rankings last year due to his poor 2017. However, through research I learned he was primed for a bounce back season and boy was I not let down. So key number two to winning the draft is wait on QB because the difference between a good RB or WR to an ok one is a lot different than the difference between a good QB and an ok one.
· Where and When on Tight End:
I am a firm believer that you do not need the top three tight ends (Kelce, Ertz, Kittle) to win your league. Instead, I believe the key to winning your league is to prioritize the position and tie it back into tip one and research the value of each tight end. If you do your research, you will know that the tight ends going in rounds 5 through 8 in most drafts are the ones you want to help your chances of winning your leagues. Think about it, Kelce is going in the second round and the other two typically in the third. Those are prime areas to secure an elite RB and WR. The running back position dries up quick as I will discuss in a bit, so you want to be focusing the early rounds on those positions not tight end. So, tip number three is prioritize tight end.
· Don’t Sleep On the RB:
This is a big one if you want to win draft day. Typically, with your first four rounds you want to come out with three good back options. The position dries up so fast that you want to get as many good options as possible early. This is especially true this year with two top twelve backs in Zeke Elliot and Mel Gordon threating to hold out all season. Other positions are far deeper and offer better values as the draft goes on into later rounds. Therefore, we wait on QB and prioritize TE. So, tip number four is quite simple go running back early and often.
· Wide Receiver Value Will Fall and your Teams Value will Rise:
I can almost guarantee you that if you go RB/RB in first two rounds you will still be able to next a WR1 in the third. This should illustrate one thing to you and that is how deep the wide receiver position is. The position is so deep that you can still find great value well past the 7th and 8th rounds where running backs typically have been dried up since the 5th or 6th and all that’s left is those dart throws. So, by focusing and taking advantage of this value you are securing your RB stable early. I can think of at least 5 wide receivers who I can target in the 14th and later who will end up in my starting line up some weeks and contribute by giving me WR3 numbers with potential for WR2 numbers. So, the final tip is as simple as that let the wide receiver value fall to you.
There it is guys and gals I have just laid out my draft secrets and how I have been successful season after season and a factor in every single league I have been in. Follow these five simple tips and you are well on your way to destroy your draft room and league mates. Now don’t get it twisted winning the draft is just the first step towards being a champion. Keep your eyes open in the coming weeks for more articles that will help you be a contender in your league.