After a recent experts’ mock draft for a fantasy football magazine, all of the participants (including the Sherpa) were invited to describe their approach to a fantasy football draft. Here’s the gist of my response (with some extra thoughts included, since I’m not subject to a word count here, just your patience/willingness to read further!):
I’ll generally take Running Backs (RBs) with my first two picks so that I can avoid Running Back by Committee (RBBC) situations. With more and more teams relying on RBBC, that gives you even more incentive to grab as many RBs not involved in a timeshare as you possibly can early in your draft. Next, I’ll usually grab the two best available Wide Receivers (WRs) and fill any FLEX spots or remaining RB and WR spots, then start looking at Quarterbacks (QBs). However, depending on roster requirements, I’d still consider taking backups at RB and WR before selecting my first QB.
I’ll almost always pick my starting QB and all my backups at QB, RB, and WR before taking my Tight End (TE), Defense (DEF), and Kicker (K). Fantasy scoring is almost totally random for Ks, and only slightly less so for DEFs; those roster spots should generally be filled last. Finally, when selecting reserves, I tend to favor unproven players with high ceilings over steady but unspectacular veterans (think Chris Henry (Bengals’ version) vs. Antwaan Randle El).
I’m a huge believer in position scarcity, the relative drop-off in fantasy value between the top-rated and mediocre options at each position. QBs score the most fantasy points in many scoring formats, so some might be tempted to take a Drew Brees or a Peyton Manning (or a Tom Brady in 2008) with an early pick. However, given that the drop-offs are much steeper at RB and WR than at QB, unless you have a highly unusually scoring system it doesn’t make sense to take a QB until after you’ve filled all your starting RB and WR spots. Don’t waste Bench spots on TEs, Ks, and DEFs - you can almost always find a serviceable alternative in the free agent pool when you need one due to an injury or a bye week. You’re much better off using those Bench spots on RBs and WRs - you can never have too much depth at those two positions!
Hopefully, I’ll be able to stick to this philosophy during tonight’s experts’ draft at 8pm on Mock Draft Central - we’ll see what happens!
Of course, the most important part of preparing for any fantasy football draft is to make sure that the player rankings you’re using reflect all the unique characteristics of your league. If the player rankings don’t reflect your league’s # teams, roster requirements, scoring categories, and point values exactly, then you’re potentially putting yourself at a huge disadvantage heading into your draft.
Until next time,
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