This article is for newcomers to fantasy football who find themselves drafting last in a snake-type draft. This has happened to me for the last two years. The 2010 season, I was a newcomer to an existing eight-year league and I was assigned the 12th position in the draft of a 12-team league (I won my rookie season). In 2011, we reduced the 12 teams to 10, and thus, since I did win first place the previous year I was relegated to draft at the No. 10 position. I won last year also.
Step 1: Research using magazines (beware the information changes rapidly) and online at your favorite sports news center. Get various draft rankings and compare with your idea of what the draft order should be. Compare and contrast the data and make your own list of rankings or get the average position of the ‘experts’ and rely on their information. Read articles about what players and what positions have the greater consistency, which this year the data has shown me that quarterbacks and tight ends have greater performance consistency.
Step 2: Listen to the advice of the team managers. Get a good sense of how the past drafts have gone and what positions are typically filled first. By the time it gets to your turn to draft, the Top 10-12 players will be gone. Usually the Top 2 quarterbacks, Top 5 running backs and Top 3 receivers and possibly a tight end. So what do you do?
Get a Top 5 quarterback, Top 4 running back, Top 3 wide receiver or a No. 1 ranked tight end as your first pick. Of course, which to choose is dependent upon the decisions of the previous managers ahead of you in the draft. In other words, be flexible and see what positions other fantasy managers are selecting and choose wisely. Refer to your rankings list (Step 1).
Step 3: Go with your gut on ‘close calls.’ Do not waiver from your rankings. You ranked them accordingly, so live by your decisions. The only exception to the rule is if you already have a quarterback or tight end, you do not need a backup for either position because they will only have one bye week each and you can write those two games off and/or pick up any quarterback or tight end when the bye weeks get closer. So, fill up your roster with running backs and wide receivers!
Final step: Stick with your game plan and have fun and confidence in all of your choices. Follow these simple rules and soon you will have the bragging rights of your fantasy football league.
A side note: I will be drafting 10th this year in a 12-team league, because the two newcomers will get the 11th and 12th spots. For my sake, I hope they do not read this article!