Millions of football fans are waiting, praying, and hoping that there is going to be football this year. The other major sports are resuming their leagues, so as of now things are looking good. Everyone is quietly optimistic that the 2020 dumpster fire won’t claim another casualty. Having said that, it’s time to start talking fantasy football. Draft season is looming as teams bring rookies into training camp, with the veterans not far behind. Drafting this year will pose new challenges as players opt out and longtime stalwarts get cut or traded. There are always some solid rules to follow when drafting your team, though. We present the ultimate fantasy football draft strategy. Use it and dominate your league!
Don’t Be the First to Draft Defense
Every year in every league, there is one idiot who is the first to draft defense. This dummy thinks that drafting a defense in the fourth round is going to take them to the championship. Even if the 1985 Bears’ defense was available, it wouldn’t help. You can’t count on a defense to get you more than a 10-point weekly average. It’s a waste of a pick in any round before the eighth. Shutdown defenses will reveal themselves as the season develops.
Draft a Kicker Last
Reread the previous rule before reading this one. The last pick of every draft should be a kicker for the same reason you should wait on a defense. Kickers might put you over the top in a couple of games if they are consistent with points, but they don’t have high draft value. Back in the days of Sebastian Janikowski, you could draft him early, but he’s the outlier here.
Start With a Running Back
For years, the smart thing to do was draft running backs first, especially if they could catch. The last 10 years have seen a departure from that, but it’s still a solid strategy. Running backs who get 30 carries a game and 10 catches are like black unicorns. Most teams do running back by committee, so if there is a feature back, draft him; there are only a handful of them in the league, so grab one if you can.
Take a QB in the Second Round
Now that the league is a passing league, you must have a top 10 quarterback. Your second pick should be a quarterback—preferably one who can run. Quarterbacks rack up the points with 300-yard passing and 100-yard rushing games and multiple touchdowns. Top 10 QBs consistently score in the 40 and 50s, so get a good one. Look for a solid back in the later rounds too, before you draft a defense.
Don’t Take the Best Available
Beginner fantasy managers make the mistake of trusting the rankings. They look at the draft board and trust the platform’s rankings of players. Huge mistake. Don’t trust what the draft board says about a player’s position or overall ranking. If you only draft based on who the next best player is, you won’t fill out your roster, and you’ll miss out on a top 10 player at a position you need. Draft by what position you need to fill and how good that position’s remaining players are.
Plan Your Draft Strategy
If you want to win your league, then have a plan going into the draft. Don’t freewheel it and figure things out as you go, especially if you are new to it. Start researching the player rankings and find out who is toward the top. Make a list of who you want to get and who you can get. Even a basic plan will keep you from drafting a bunch of backups and scrubs. The day before the draft, make sure that the players you are targeting aren’t injured and are on a roster. It happens every year—a formerly big-name player gets cut on the last day and someone ends up drafting him without knowing.
Don’t Be a Homer
Not sure what that is? A homer is the guy in the league who drafts all the players from his favorite team. He does this because he honestly believes they’re the best players or he doesn’t want to root against his team. Either way, this is a terrible thing to do, especially if your team sucks. If you’re a Chiefs fan, go ahead and draft Mahomes; if you love the Ravens, go with Jackson. Those are both solid picks. Don’t load up on your guys if they’re terrible—it will only lead to heartache.
Do a Mock Draft
Every major fantasy football platform has mock drafts available. You can do a simulation of the draft and see where players will fall and what kind of team you can build. Do as many mock drafts as you can and see what kind of team you can put together. It’s a valuable tool for rookies and veterans because it gives a realistic idea of how a draft will play out. You won’t get the top player at every position, and mock drafts show you how to adjust and find value in the later rounds.
Know Your League Rules
Familiarize yourself with the league rules before the draft. Some leagues are very basic with no surprises. Older, more established leagues have a lot of rules and variables that can trip you up, like PPR (points per reception), certain defensive players, a super flex player like an extra QB, or not having a defense at all. If you are in a league that allows two QBs, that is going to drastically change your draft strategy. Know what positions you need to draft so you get the best possible lineup.
Look for Handcuffs in the Late Rounds
The late rounds are for filling out the roster and finding handcuffs. A handcuff is usually a running back or receiver that is a quality backup. Every season there are injuries, and star players aren’t immune to them. The handcuff is the backup to the superstar who will get some touches and lots of playing time if there’s an injury. Having them on your bench will give you an instant starter. Identify the top 10 running backs and wide receivers and who their backups are, and try to snag them in the late rounds.
Now that you’ve read the ultimate fantasy football draft strategy, get ready for the season with some football jerseys and patriotic jerseys at GreaterHalf.com.