10 Tips for a Great Fantasy Draft

If you're anything like me you've been waiting for fantasy football season to start up again. The fantasy draft is one of the most exciting parts of fantasy football, but did you prepare properly? A bad draft can kill your fantasy season before it even starts, so these are 10 tips that I use to try to avoid a season full of waiver wire work to try to make up for a poor draft.
  1. Get a stud WR - Fantasy football used to be all about stud running backs, but as the league has become more pass happy and every team seems to have a running back committee instead of a workhorse back. Add in the fact that the pounding that RBs take greatly increases the likelihood of injury and a stud WR gives you consistency that you can count of throughout the year
  2. Avoid early round rookie RBs - I'll admit that this is a personal opinion that has formed from multiple years of picking the hot new rookie running back that would make me look like a genius, only to regret my pick all year long. (I'm looking at you Ryan Mathews and Mark Ingram). Maybe, I'd feel differently had I picked up a Le'veon Bell or Ezekiel Elliott, but if those early round gambles don't work you end up sinking your fantasy season quickly
  3. Try to draft your starting skill positions first - Obviously, this one needs to be taken with a grain of salt. If a RB of great value has fallen significantly and you still have an open starting WR or TE slot go ahead and pick the RB up, but it drives me crazy to see people pick up a second QB in round 5 or take a bench spot RB when they don't have any WRs drafted yet. If you can't start that player they can't help your team, and at the same time the quality at the position you haven't filled is likely dropping more between now and your next pick. Worst case scenario as well is if you have too much depth at one position you can give yourself headaches all year trying to figure out who to start, that is if you can't trade your bench depth
  4. Don't draft backup tight ends, kickers or defenses - Most of the guys that you are going to pickup as a backup aren't going to be that much better than the guys that are still sitting on the waiver wire after the draft. Why do you want to waste a bench spot on a player that isn't significantly better than the other guys on the waiver wire.
  5. Late rounds are for high ceiling gambles - the late rounds are where you hope to separate yourself from your league mates. The first 50 picks are usually no brainers, the middle rounds is where you harvest value of players that should have been overlooked and the later rounds is where you should swing for the fences. You want to focus on players that can greatly exceed their draft position. We're talking about players that have great talent, but have performed lower than their expectations, such as Mark Ingram in 2014. Or a player that is talented, but hasn't received a lot of opportunity because of the players in front of them on the depth chart. Trying to forecast injuries is next to impossible so I normally go for the young player that has under-performed for a few years. What you want to avoid is the boring, consistent player. Sure you know what to expect from them, but you also know they aren't going to break out become a possible every week starter. Slow and steady may win the race if you're a turtle, but is something I like to avoid in fantasy football
  6. Have a plan - which players are you targeting with your first few picks? What will you do if those players aren't there? What if a player in a position you weren't planning on drafting drops too far? Do you pick them up, and if so how does that change your plan. I normally like to map out my first 5 picks with different strategies and see how the teams look. Is there a glaring hole in my team if I start RB/RB? What might my team look like if I start with two WRs? What is the best way to do this you ask? Well that's where the next item comes in
  7. Do some mock drafts? - This is one of the most useful strategies for improving your fantasy draft, and with sites like Fantasy Football Calculator it is easy to do. Mock drafting allows you to see how your drafts change with strategy adjustments and will ensure you're not caught off guard during your draft.
  8. Know the Undervalued/Overvalued Players - Which players are being drafted much later than their rank would suggest? Those are the players you want to find. I use the Fandraftic web application from our sister site, but there are other sites out there that will provide this data, for example our site has articles up for these two items. This can greatly impact your draft strategy if you know of a undervalued player that you can grab later. The same goes for overvalued players. Knowing ahead of time which players you should avoid at their current ADP can ensure you don't make a mistake and get bad value out of a draft pick when you're on the clock.
  9. Get an up to date injury report - without fail someone always ends up drafting someone that has suffered a major injury during training camp. What makes it even better is when they walk up to the draft board and say, "I can't believe this guy is still available". You can avoid being that person by making sure you pull a current injury report before your draft. This can protect you in case your projection source hasn't been updated since the player was injured
  10. Trade your depth - Sure you run the risk one of your starting players getting injured after you trade away someone on your bench, but the ultimate goal should always be strengthening your starting lineup. Bench points do you no good, so take the risk and make your starting roster as strong as it can be

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