Saturday, August 23, 2008

NFL Preview Part One: Fantasy Draft Do’s and Don’ts

My first season of fantasy football, I won the league. My second season, I finished ninth out of ten. I learned more from last season’s debacle than from the championship run. I know what works and what doesn’t. With most fantasy football drafts taking place this week, I’ve compiled a list of do’s and don’ts for the draft.

DO stockpile running backs early in the draft. There is nothing harder or more important to attain in fantasy football than a high-scoring running back. Chances are at least one of your RBs will go out with a season-ending injury. It’s not enough to have two, you’ll need at least three and maybe more.

DO NOT draft one of the Jones brothers RBs, Thomas or Julius.

DO go after potentially explosive players rather than solid sure-things. There is no glory in a fifth-place finish in fantasy football. Play for the win and take chances. David Garrard might get you to third place, but he’s not gonna pass for 4,000 yards and 35 TDs.

DO NOT overrate running QBs like Vince Young or Donovan McNabb.

DO think about going after Tom Brady in the first round. Most of the top-scoring fantasy teams last season had Brady on their roster.

DO NOT draft Michael Vick.

DO draft the traditional superstars. You’re not gonna win the league without a few reliable monsters. Put the keys to your fantasy football corvette in the hands of someone who knows how to drive it.

DO NOT draft a Denver Bronco or New England Patriot running back in the first two rounds. He will almost certainly wind up in a platoon and you will almost certainly wind up frustrated and cursing Mike Shanahan/Bill Belichick as one-yard TDs go to the likes of Cecil Sapp and Mike Vrabel.

DO use the chat box to poke fun at inexperienced players who make shaky picks. It’ll undermine their confidence and lead to conservative picks designed to placate the audience. You want your opponents to make conservative picks while you go for the gold. And if you blasted people for taking Randy Moss or Joey Galloway too early in last year’s draft, it will be forgotten.

DO NOT miss the draft and have it auto-drafted for you, unless you want to take a defense and kicker four rounds too early.

DO take chances on potentially explosive rookies at RB and WR. You could wind up with a Ted Ginn Jr., of course, but you might find yourself a Dwayne Bowe or Adrian Peterson. Try to do a little research beforehand to see who’s gonna be getting the ball.

DO NOT waste an early round pick on a tight end this year. You’ll be able to get a producer late in the draft and maybe even off waivers.

DO draft a QB/WR combo from the same team if you enjoy wild emotional swings. Don’t if you want to stay sane during the season.

DO NOT draft multiple kickers, defenses, or tight ends.

DO laugh at those who do.

DO NOT draft your favorite home-team players just because you like them, or because they looked good against second-stringers in last week’s preseason game. Except for Brandon Marshall. I’m all over Brandon Marshall.

DO think about grabbing an aging ex-superstar in a mid-late round. Make sure it’s an ex-superstar like Joey Galloway rather than an ex-star like Joe Horn.

DO NOT trust bigtime producers moving to new teams. Too often they pull an Edgerrin James or Thomas Jones and disappear.

DO look for guys with a chip on their shoulder getting a second chance, a la Randy Moss or Jamal Lewis last season.

DO NOT overanalyze defenses. Too hard to predict.

DO remember that many of the most productive defenses come from teams with high-scoring offenses, as the defenses get many chances to go after the QB and get a lot of late game sacks, interceptions, and defensive touchdowns.

DO NOT waste time on the clock if you know who you’re picking. Pick fast and keep the pressure on your opponents.

DO pay attention to lingering preseason injuries, particularly hamstrings.

DO NOT go into the draft with too many preconceived set-in-stone strategies. You probably don’t know where you’re going to draft; players you thought would be available at certain times will shockingly disappear; the best fantasy football drafters must be able to think on their feet.

DO prepare a spreadsheet of some sort so you’ll know who’s still available, what you need and what your opponents need.

DO NOT draft a kicker until the final round.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

you can be in my league anytime. Im guessing your leveling some of your oppenents with some of these dos and donts. Im guessing your trying to drive down thomas jones in your league cause that one touchdown he scored last year was the bad , but if it would have been 5 tds he would have been in top ten and with Farve he will get more and be a top back this fall.

5:04 PM  
Blogger Spencetron said...

nick folk got me second place in my league last year. Home town player (ex wildcat) although I did draft him in the last round

11:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Donovan McNabb is not a running QB. There may be many reasons to not value McNabb highly, but this is not one of them.

Rookie WRs are sucker picks. Those are the facts.

The Brute

2:50 PM  
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