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A Few Lessons to Drafting in Early August

Hard to imagine but I’m now finishing up my 2nd draft of the 2005 year and I’m about to start my 3rd next week.  I’ve learned a few lessons that I’m happy to share with all of you.

Now keep in mind I’ve never been a big Value Based Drafting proponent.   Although, there are others out there that are a much bigger “RB-heads” than me, I certainly subscribe to the theory of “get your Running Backs early and often.”  Drafting in early August is certainly without exception to that rule.

Understand, if you draft very close to the start of the NFL season, you’ll have been lucky enough to have seen 4-5 preseason games, a few last minutes deals, a couple of key injuries, and cuts to each NFL roster.  However, drafting in early August means a great deal of uncertainty on each NFL team still remains.  Any idea who’s the starting Running Back in Denver?  How about Miami?  Any takers for the Oakland or Dallas RB? 

That’s my point exactly.  Closer to the start of the season the depth at Running Back deepens dramatically.   It’s not a total disaster to take a stud WR or QB in the 2nd round and eventually come back in the 3rd with another RB.   That’s just not true in early August.  Sure, in the 10th round you might get lucky and choose the starting RB on Miami.  Or you might be unlucky and take Tatum Bell and he never starts.  You just don’t know.

So, if you’re drafting earlier in the preseason, you just cannot wait to choose Running Backs.  You MUST get the ones that (baring injury) are guaranteed starters.  Let the other guys choose the flyers and uncertainties in the later rounds while you pounce on some more WR’s to shore up you depth. 

I did exactly this in the Fantasy Sharks Staffer Invitational.  I ended up with Jamal Lewis, Tiki Barber, and Charlie Garner.  I then added Laveranues Coles, Kellen Winslow, and Jeff Garcia.  I like the base of this team a bunch and think they have an excellent chance to win this year.

Compare that to moving away from this strategy in my Fantasy Sharks Pacific Whale League draft.  I started with Ahman Green, Terell Owens, and Kevin Jones.  All excellent players.  However, by the time I got to my 4th round selection there was not a starter around that was guaranteed starting playing time.  The next two RB’s chosen later in round 4 was De’Shaun Foster and Tyrone Wheatley.  I passed on these guys and ended up shoring up my TE and QB situation.  I then continued to wait on a RB flyer until round 7 when I took a big-time flyer on Tatum Bell.  I’m happy with this team, but not nearly as happy as my Staffer league roster.

So, bottom line jump out of the blocks in an early August draft going triple RB and then shore up the other positions in later rounds.  You’ll have a better draft and will be much happier in the end.  I know I wish I had to do it over again.

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