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THE PROGNOSTICATOR: 2018 Draft Plan

Let the games begin! For those new to the annual Draft Plan, I take you through the fantasy landscape and show you how to navigate it, so that you hopefully find success at the end of the rainbow.

I am fortunate enough to draft against the best this game has to offer and through it all, I kinda’ learn stuff along the way. Important stuff. Stuff that will show you the best way to approach your draft. While we’re at it, we’ll answer some of the burning questions of the 2018 fantasy draft season — since that’s what we do around here.

Before we get stuck into the draft, it’s important to understand what the big picture is in 2018 before we drill down into the details. I say this every year but if you are a player that has one draft strategy that you never waiver from each season, you will not win. The way to win at fantasy football is to adapt your strategy each year to the current state of the available player universe and you need to understand the importance and utilization of each position and how it contributes to their real NFL team. Since fantasy mimics reality, you need to understand reality before succeeding in fantasy.

Some years you want to employ a Stud-RB theory, some years Zero-QB theory and some other years, you are best served pounding the living daylights out of the wide receiver position. Though most years, the answer lies somewhere in between but there is almost always always a tendency, a tell, a position or two that deserves your focus and we’ll get into that.

What I am most excited about this draft season is just how very interesting it is and how unique of a year it is. Your strategy will vary greatly based solely on your draft position and that’s somewhat new of a concept.

But first..

EVERYTHING OLD IS NEW AGAIN

Those of us that have been drafting fantasy football teams since before there even was an Internet remember a time gone by when the game was unequivocally all about the running back position where the draft was almost entirely all about who drafted Terrell Davis, LaDainian Tomlinson, Emmit Smith or before that, Jim Brown or Walter Payton. To be honest, Jim Brown and Walter Payton were before my time but being in the fantasy football industry, like I am, I’ve had discussions with some old timers that did draft players like Jim Brown and maybe you were one of them? There aren’t many of you as the hobby was much, much smaller then. For years, fantasy was all about the Stud-RB Theory which in a nutshell, just meant that you drafted as many running backs as you possibly could because that’s how you won your league.

Stud-RB Theory worked because as we all know, the entire premise behind fantasy football is that it’s a game that mimics the NFL. At a time when NFL teams were focused on getting the ball into the running backs’ hands, naturally, fantasy followed.

Then a funny thing happened on the way to the Championship Trophy. The NFL started to convert to a passing league as quarterbacks got better and the wide receiver position became a focal point instead of an after thought.

TOOT! TOOT!

I was one of the first to switch to a wide receiver focused draft back when stud-RB was all the rage because I noticed in the numbers a change in the force. The NFL was changing and it showed in the stats and since I study the stats and the trends and I believe 1000% in all that we do here at Fantasy Sharks and our methodology, I started to switch my strategy to instead of stud-RB, to focus more on a top notch quarterback and a bevy of talented wide receivers instead. I won a lot because as it turned out, that’s exactly what was happening in the NFL and it took a number of years before others started to adapt their fantasy strategy to match. Sometimes, it’s good to get to the buffet line first. I play in the very first experts league ever created called FanEx, and have for as long as I can remember (and not to toot my own horn) but I have the highest winning percentage of any team that has played more than one season in that league of 24 players and I’ve made the playoffs in that league well.. seven years in a row. It’s a tough league, against names you’d probably recognize and while I’m not one to toot my own horn… Toot! Toot!

PUT THE BLINDERS ON AND GIDDY UP

I’m drifting a little but is it truly drifting if you drift on purpose? Isn’t it really just a purposeful diversion? I did want to make one long-winded point because I think it’s an important one: I have no idea what any other fantasy football site or publication recommends. I don’t read them, I don’t look at them, I never do, and haven’t for years. I don’t want anything to cloud my judgment here at Fantasy Sharks. I myself, use ONLY Fantasy Sharks for everything I do in fantasy because I know what we’ve built and I know how we work and in my mind, it’s the best projection system ever created. We create our projections, ourselves, using our own methodology and today, it’s a very advanced system that is a living data set. Our data reacts to a variety of inputs, some automated, some manual, I don’t want to give too much away but today we project over 180 scoring categories, for approximately 1,500 players, for every week of what we project to be the entirety of their career.. and they update every 30 minutes, 24 hours a day. Let that sink in for a bit.

A simple example of an automated input is an injury feed. Our projections adjust based on an injury status change or a depth chart change, completely automatically without human intervention. Without boring you too much, that’s why I trust what we do. I have no idea what anyone else is doing in fantasy because I am confident in our methodology as we’ve put the time in to get it right and quite frankly, there’s no way the “other” guys have what we have. One day they may catch up and claim it as an industry first (I always get a kick out of that) but the reality will be that we were already doing that years ago. I was at an industry conference recently where a big name site was showing me over breakfast some of what they were working on and how it was going to be the next big thing but.. we were doing that 10 years ago. Fun stuff this.

Sidebar: I should at some point write up how I leverage Fantasy Sharks for DFS because I think it will make an interesting article. I cashed in 14 out of 16 weeks last year (I decided to sit out Week 17 as I felt it was too unpredictable) and I’m not sure that too many others can make such a claim. I have a way of interpreting the data we generate that applies to DFS and maybe I’ll even share it with some of you fine folks? It’s all freely available at Fantasy Sharks already but the trick lies in how you interpret that data; I may start sharing some of that this season, as it’s been uncanny over the last couple of seasons how well things have gone on that front.

About Tony Holm

Founder and President of FantasySharks.com. Five-time nominee for the Fantasy Sports Writers Association's Hall of Fame. Started publishing fantasy content on the web in 1993 and hasn't stopped yet.