Now you have joined your league … or should I say leagues? I’m usually in several leagues each year. Your mouth is watering in anticipation for draft day. You have done tons of research and practically live in the Shark Tank. Your eyes are so bloodshot from staring at a computer monitor, you look like you just got off a three-day drunk fest. You can’t sleep when you do go to bed because you keep thinking about your draft strategy. When you walk down the street people are staring at you for know apparent reason, and then you realize that you are muttering “LT or All Day, LT or All Day.” You walk into the bathroom at your favorite eating establishment as you think about who will be this year’s breakout players. You notice there are no urinals on the walls, but continue debating the stud RB theory as you open up a stall. You sit down and go about your business, only to look down and see high heels, panty hose and a skirt around the ankles of the person in the stall right next to you. Needless to say, you are in big trouble, and in need of a feeding frenzy. Below, I’ll give you a few ideas to help make sure you get to be the one eating at the feeding frenzy and not the chum being eaten!
By now you should know what kind of draft styles (Serpentine, Auction, 3RR) your leagues are going to be using, along with roster sizes and starter requirements. All of this is very important as you prepare for your draft day. I’m also going to assume that you know all the lingo that I’m going to be spitting out at you about – average draft positions (ADP), projections and tiering. If you don’t, you better go back and do even more research. To make things easy, I’m going to run down how I typically prepare for a live, serpentine draft in my hometown league. Not that I think I’m an expert or anything like that, because each owner has his own way of doing things. But, if you follow these basic ideas, your blood won’t be in the water when the frenzy starts.
:If you’re fairly new to the obsession you probably don’t run your own projections for players yet. Player projections are basically predictions about what each player’s statistics will be like for the upcoming football season. People use a variety of things to determine these stats. Past history of the player, team tendencies, schedules, injuries, coaches, the addition of new teammates, the subtraction of old teammates, age, how many kids they have; almost anything can be used. Obviously, the more experienced the person making the projections is, the better the projections will probably be. It still involves a lot of luck, but good projections help you make you own luck better. I highly recommend the projections from our own Tony Holm here at Fantasy Sharks. If you’re like me, you may not ever run your own full projections on every player, but use someone else’s and tweak them to your own liking. However, I would encourage you to check your numbers against more reliable sources when a player’s stats seem out of place.
: When I have all my projections finalized, I then determine how many fantasy points each player is going to score using my league’s scoring rules. I rank them from the highest points to the lowest and break them down by position. I then look for groupings of players that look like they are going to score similar points at each position, and place them in a group by themselves, or “Tiers.” You don’t want your tiers to be too big, so sometimes if might only be 10 points separating one tier from another. A good example would be the TE or QB rankings this year. Most people would rank the top four TE’s, (
Average Draft Position Check
: The next thing I do after getting all my players ranked by position, and in tiers, is check each player’s average draft position (ADP). I put this next to the player’s name for reference. I then look through the rankings/tiers double-checking any low ADP’s with high ranked players and any high ADP’s with low ranked players. This is just to keep myself in check; if I’m confident in my projections, I won’t adjust anything. However, while double-checking myself doing additional research on these differences, I sometimes find little nuggets of information that will cause me to adjust something. Once finalized, I keep the ADP numbers right next to the player’s, as the second number in a sequence of two, for reference during the draft.
: The next thing I do is put the bye week number, first number in sequence of two, next to each player, right in front of the ADP number. I also use these as a reference during the draft. Not that I won’t draft a player strictly because of his bye week, but if I have another player in the same tier with that player, and a different bye week, I might take that other player instead.
Identify Value Players/Players of interest
: At this point, my cheat sheets are pretty much done. I then go down once again and look for high-value players. In most cases those are going to be players that have a fairly high ranking with a low ADP number next to them. I also identify players I am targeting and may be willing to draft a few rounds early in order to get them.
: Now I go get in an as many mock drafts as I possibly can. I use different draft strategies in each one to see which I like best. I might try to get the best player available in one draft, and stud RB strategy in another. I might take a QB or TE early in one or two to see what happens. I use these to see where players are taken and to see who I might be able to target at certain slots. I also look at how far someone might reach up to grab a certain player. Not to mention, mock drafts are just fun to participate in.
At this point, I am pretty much ready for the draft. I print my draft sheet up on one sheet of paper. I do this by separating the draft sheet into seven different columns, one for QB, two for RB, and WR, one for TE, and one for DEF/KICK. I also put my team roster and league draft grid on the back of that same sheet of paper. I like to go into the draft room light, and not with a handful of magazines or a computer. Hopefully, the other owners take that as a sign that I don’t spend much time preparing for the draft, and they take me lightly. I just need to keep up with the latest news, injuries, etc. until draft day. These are not the Golden Rules of draft preparation, but they will keep you from being the chum when the Sharks start feeding.