Fantasy Football championships are born and die on draft day.
Unfortunately, swinging by your local grocery store and showing up at the draft with multiple Fantasy Football magazines doesn’t guarantee success.
In fact, all it will probably guarantee is that you will take way too long making a choice when it comes to your pick.
Spending a couple days reviewing teams’ ease of schedule compared with run heavy offenses can help you build your own personal top 10 draft list to bring to the draft.
You should always have your first pick well researched and ready to go.
If you end up with an early or a late draft pick, you need to have a strategy in place so you can pick confidently.
Rushing your first choice can cause severe damage and result in playing catch up the entire draft.
Make sure to start with a solid foundation.
Whether you’re the seasoned vet or the league rookie, the following are some great tips to take your game to the next level this year.
Create a Plan
Adjust your draft order to your type of league, but be flexible as bargains become available.
Research who scored the highest points in your league last year and build a plan that will enable you to get the best value no matter where you fall in the draft order.
Example: If you play in a point-per-reception league, running backs like
Brian Westbrook are a rare value and could go earlier than expected.
Usually the running backs are the fastest off the board, especially with so many teams going to the two back systems.
Players that are the solo, featured back on their team will be in high demand this year due to their limited quantity.
Most teams will jump on the running backs early, so plan ahead.
If you are an early draft pick (#1-5), congrats your choice is pretty common sense.
Here you can trust most magazines and websites.
Pick one of the top elite RBs.
Most projections will have the same top 5 running backs, just in different orders.
Use your research of the players, their team’s offensive strategies, off-season additions, and run defense schedules to create your own order for the top 5.
If you are lower on the draft order in your 10 or 12 team league, you may want to consider picking a running back followed by a top QB or WR.
Many times, you can land two solid running backs with a low round position.
Some may have fallen out of the top picks due to preseason injuries or other questions surrounding the player.
Weigh your options and chose wisely, you might find a steal.
Always plan ahead and predict what will be taken before it makes it back to your pick.
Late in the second round, top 5 quarterbacks and top 3 wide receivers will start to trickle off the board.
You don’t want your 3rd pick coming back to you with most top 5 QBs and WRs gone.
You’ll know you chose well if there are moans and groans when you make your choice!
So listen to whispers and big talkers around the room leading up to your pick.
You just may hear a few hints that will tip you off.
Whatever you do, do not take a wide receiver in the first round.
I repeat… it is fantasy suicide to take a WR in the first round.
More than likely, the top 1-2 QBs will be taken in the first round, otherwise it will be all running backs.
Don’t let yourself slip into the 5th round without drafting your starting running backs.
It could be a painful fantasy season if you wait this long.
Anticipation is Key
Everyone that has played in a league is familiar with the phrase “making a run”.
You want to anticipate when there may be a run on wide receivers or quarterbacks and get in early if possible.
After a few years, you can anticipate others’ draft strategies and who they like to take with their first couple picks.
Whether they like to be running back heavy or jump on wide receivers early.
If you can land a couple of elite players at a position before everyone else, then you can move on to new positions while everyone else plays catch up to your supreme draft.
Just don’t sacrifice your top running backs to do this.
Always record who the other teams have drafted and you may be able to predict what everyone else will pick after you so you can be ahead of the curve.
Get In, Get Out, & Make Sure You’ve Got Starters
Never, never, never draft a back-up before a starter.
Always get your starting RBs, QBs, WRs, TE, and DEF before you go back for seconds.
You don’t want to get caught up worrying about a third RB that will replace one of your starting running backs on a bye week while a player like
Antonio Gates is available at tight end.
Don’t get greedy and try to hog all the talent at one position.
Make your choices confidently and move on.
Don’t sweat the bye weeks.
Pick the best talent available.
You may get rocked one week with both your running backs out, but it could be better than being short handed for two weeks.
Many teams will make the mistakes of leap-frogging talent because of bye week conflict.
Remember, it’s just one week… and you’re building a team that can get you to the playoffs, and a couple losses on bye weeks will merely be a bump in the road if you acquire the right talent.
One strategy to consider using this year is drafting two starting running backs in rounds #1-4, depending what opportunities present themselves.
Then wait till one of the last rounds to take your and final running back(s).
The explanation for this erratic thinking you ask?
Every year there are multiple running backs that get the short or long term injury bug and unknowns step up and emerge as stars (Example:
Ryan Grant, Green Bay RB).
By taking 3 decent running backs I’m always afraid to drop one of them and pick up what could be the player that takes me to the Championship, but by getting two strong running backs and one RB with upside potential, I can easily drop my third for a starter if they don’t pan out as the season progresses.
Don’t block yourself from waiver wire gold!
It’s been proven that rookie running backs can be boom or bust.
Simply look at
Adrian Peterson this past year, who seems to be falling in the Top 5 running backs in most 2008 NFL rankings.
Marshawn Lynch had a lot of value in his rookie year.
It all depends on their NFL readiness and the team the end up on.
Some rookies are ready to explode, while others are comfortable earning a paycheck as a year long backup.
Check out “Trash & Treasure in the NFL Draft” for more advice on drafting rookie running backs before you move in on Darren McFadden.
Visit the Fantasy Sharks Message Boards to add more of your successful running back drafting tips.