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Fantasy football isn’t won on the field. It’s won in the war room.
Yes, teams have won leagues after having terrible drafts before and sure the waiver wire is also essential. The draft, though, is everything in the fantasy world and if you have the opportunity to do an offline draft with friends, then it’s also one of the highlights of your entire year. Now, with all of that said, before you head into the draft night there are a few things that should already be checked off your list.
You should already have plenty of these done before your draft so you can see where and how far players rise and fall. More so than just that though, you should get a few of these in so you can see how other teams will react to your moves as well. Getting a better feel for how the board flows is going to be an immense help.
The other major advantage of the mock draft is learning how to work with the clock.
You’re given a tight time frame to make your picks, so being comfortable under the gun is going to benefit you greatly.
While we’d love to say just go off last year’s stats or memory, fantasy football just isn’t that easy.
Sure, drafting a reigning MVP or rookie of the year is never a bad call, but there are a number of guys who have switched teams, been promoted, lost seniority, been demoted, and or are injured.
In other words, they’re not all gimmes, and paying even a little attention to the current state of the league can go a very long way.
To do this, we recommend finding a few go-to sites. ProFootballTalk is a great way to keep up to date on team news.
RotoWorld is another great asset for finding the latest player news and even Google works just fine too. Just punch in the player’s name and select the news tab.
It doesn’t end there either.
Those sites are great ways for you to stay up to date for sure, but the fantasy ranks themselves tell a very different story.
For starters, find the ranking for your type of scoring system – Points Per Reception (PPR) or otherwise.
Then, along with that term, Google yourself up fantasy draft rankings by position. Printing out the top 100 players overall is not going to help you. You need to go at it by position.
Once you have your top ranks, you can of course edit them, print them and or save them to your phone.
This will be a huge time saver come draft day because you can then just scratch names off your list as you go.
Above all though, this will give you a crystal clear idea of who can help your team, where they can help your team, and when they can help your team.
The most common mistake we see is teams entering the draft war room not knowing how their league’s point system operates. Are you in a PPR league? Do running backs have a better point structure than quarterbacks or wideouts?
These are two very good questions that you should find answers to long before your draft strategy starts taking shape.
You should have these answers right from the get-go.
Another part of the settings to keep your eye on is how the waivers operate in your pool. There are a few different waiver systems that can be activated in most leagues and they make a huge difference. Is your waiver system based on a first come first serve basis, the standings or does each team get a FAAB budget at the start of the year?
If it’s the latter, that’ll change your waiver plans a bit because you may not want to be that aggressive in the early weeks to try and save some dough.
If that is the case, it may alter your draft strategy a bit too. Knowing that you’re going to have to approach the waiver wire lightly early on, may force you to be a bit more aggressive when drafting.
You may want to take more risks on guys who could potentially fall out of favor as the season rolls on, but could be key contributors in the early part of the schedule.
It may hurt you in the long run, but you’ll have plenty of FAAB dough to bail you out later down the line.
There’s a number of things that may alter your strategy a bit, but being prepared for even a few intangibles can make a huge difference.
Before you enter the war room, just know this, your draft isn’t going to go according to plan. There will be some guys you wish you took and some others that were nabbed before they could fall to you.
The best move is to create a lengthy wishlist so you’re not putting all of your eggs in one basket.
Aside from that, we wish you good luck and good drafting!
Ryan has worked as a sports writer for the past decade and sports journalism for almost 15 years. He has worked in television, radio, print, digital, and podcasting since 2006. He is also the former co-host of the NFL Weekly Pick 'Em and Best Bets Podcast along with the Prop Drop on WSN.com.More info on Ryan Sullivan
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