New To Fantasy Football? Here Are 10 Things To Know Before Going Into Your First Draft Ever
The summer is winding down, so it’s time to talk football. Training camp has started, and teams are ready to compete for that Lombardi Trophy.
This also means it’s time to start thinking about fantasy football.
Fantasy football, whether you’re in a league or weekly fantasy football, it’s another way to stay invested in the NFL season, especially if your team isn’t good (My fellow Giants fans know.)
Never tried fantasy football? I got you covered on what you need to know before you leap.
Haven’t been successful in your fantasy football venture? I got you too.
Welcome to Fantasy Football 101
Before diving into the advice for your first fantasy football draft, let’s discuss the popular types of drafts.
Type of Drafts
Not all drafts are the same.
Depending on the type of draft your league has, you’ll have a different strategy.
Here are the types of fantasy football drafts:
This is the most common type of fantasy football draft.
The teams are assigned a particular draft order, and after every round, it goes in reverse
Example: In a 12-team league the draft order goes 1-12, then 12-1 and that pattern repeats till the end.
This is the favorable draft for everyone, giving each team an equal opportunity to draft players.
Generally, with this style, you select based on the best player available or addressing a particular need on your roster.
This is more of an uncommon type of draft. It works how a standard NFL draft works: you are assigned a particular order, and you draft from that position for the entire duration.
This type of draft is usually for leagues that have been around for multiple years, drafting based on your team’s previous finish, so if you finished in last, you draft first.
You should do your research before you do this draft.
Know where players are being selected; you don’t pick as often, so you may miss an opportunity to choose quality player if you delay.
This type of draft has gained some popularity over the last few years.
You’re given a salary in which you compose your roster.
When your pick is up, you nominate a player, each team owner has an opportunity to bid on that particular player.
Like a typical auction, the person who bids the most gets the player.
This type of draft takes the most strategy; you don’t want to spend all your money too quickly, and you don’t want to spend too little.
Different Types Of Leagues
There are unique components that might be added be to your league.
These can make it more interesting, and give certain players more value.
If you’re new to the league, here are some things to remember:
This means you are allowed to keep one or more players from the previous year’s roster.
Some leagues make you give up a draft pick for that player.
You may give up the pick where you drafted that player, or a pick is taken based on the value of the player.
This means you keep your same roster year after year.
This type of league is for the more experienced. It’s important to draft for the future, also essential to trade and add for the same.
A few wrong moves could lead to years of struggle.
Points Per Reception (PPR) League
“PPR” stands for “Points Per Reception.” It means your player gets points just on a catch.
Some leagues will do half a point or a full point per reception.
It is essential to know if your league has his stipulation because you will want to draft a player that may not get a lot of reception yards every game, but he gets a lot of catches.
Having that type of player can impact your team; those type of players can have an effective game without making any big plays.
Advice For a Successful Fantasy Football Draft
Now you’re almost ready for an actual draft.
You can go just go and pick players; you may even do alright, but wouldn’t you want to be more confident if you have some knowledge?
Sometimes a blind squirrel finds a nut, but I bet he’d do better if went to Lenscrafters.
#1) Complete a Mock Draft
This is something I didn’t develop a habit for until later in my fantasy career, a big regret.
G.I. Joe taught us, “knowing is half the battle.”
Knowing the range average draft position (or “ADP,” you’ll see that a lot) will be beneficial.
You won’t run the risk of taking them too early or waiting and missing out.
#2) Know The Rules of Your League
Fantasy leagues are snowflakes, no two are the same.
There are a different number of players you can have on your roster, players you can start, players at each position, different point systems.
Before your draft, make sure you know all this and adjust accordingly.
#3) Bring Notes
I take a notebook of notes to my drafts.
I have been made fun of repeatedly for it.
I thoroughly enjoy laughing when I see their money in my bank account.
I like having a list of top players at each position.
My favorite is have projected late-round sleepers.
Study up, read articles (specifically the ones I’ll be releasing here, stay tuned), watch videos, and write down notes.
#4) Look At Schedules, Specifically Around Playoff Time
This is something that tends to be ignored when it shouldn’t.
It’s beneficial to have players that are in favorable matchups in weeks 12-15 (traditional fantasy playoff weeks).
Don’t lean on this too much. To have those favorable playoff matchups, you first have to get there.
#5) You Should Usually Draft The Best Player On The Board
A usual strategy is to find all their starters first, then work on their backups.
This isn’t always the best approach.
For example, if you drafted a wide receiver in the previous round, and the best player available is another wide receiver, it might be smarter to take him.
There is nothing wrong with being heavier at one position, and this means you can trade one of those players for a position you need, and still be strong at that position.
#6) Wait To Draft a Quarterback
This happens in 99 out of 100 drafts.
Someone in the third or fourth-round draft a quarterback and then everyone else goes “oh no! If I don’t draft a quarterback now, my team will be terrible.”
There are always at least 15 consistent quarterbacks available every year.
The range of average points per game between the quarterbacks ranked from 2-22nd was four.
You can find your franchise quarterback in the later rounds (10th or later).
#7) Pay Attention To Bye Weeks
There’s a reason why every player has their bye week next to their name.
Too many players on your roster with the same bye, you’re screwed.
This will result in making the tough decision of dropping a valuable player or having fewer players in your lineup.
#8) You Don’t Have To Draft a Defense
We need to admit it, the NFL has become a heavy offensive league.
A strategy that has worked for me in the past is the “streaming defense approach.”
This means you pick a new defense every week off waivers based on their matchup.
You will not the get the stud defense, but if a mid-range defense is playing low-range offense, could be a flash in the pan.
#9) Don’t Draft a Kicker Before The Last Round
#10) Don’t Think The Draft Makes Or Breaks Your Season
Players get hurt, they don’t live up to their expectations, it happens.
Don’t assume that a strong draft means you should start spending your eventual winnings.
Trades and the waiver wire will play a considerable role mid-way in the season.
Good Luck! Happy Drafting!
John “Supi” Supowitz is graduate from Quinnipiac University with a Masters in Sports Journalism. He is also currently a part of the Game Day Production Staff for a minor league baseball team. If you want to pique his interest, bring up the Yankees, pro-wrestling, or King of The Hill. You can follow him on Twitter @Imthatsupi85 and Instagram @Imthatsupi.
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