You’ve done all the preparation, you’ve devoured every word written on this and some other websites. You’ve been in chatrooms looking for advice and doling out your own. You might have even purchased the token magazine for reading material in the bathroom or on the beach during your vacation. You are ready and can’t wait for the draft to begin.
The draft is days away, all that is needed are those final preparations…yet, what should you bring to the actual draft? Keep it as simple as possible. Here are some thoughts on essential items, luxury items, and unnecessary items:
Obviously, this is the most important item that you can bring to a draft. Ideally, this should be something that you’ve personally put together using information you’ve gathered from everywhere. The benefit of this is that you can make all your decisions before you sit down at the draft. Would you draft Fred Taylor over Edgerrin James? Then adjust your cheat sheet accordingly. The only decisions you should have to make at the draft table is which position to take. Your lists by position should be set in stone when you plant your tushy in your chair at the draft. Don’t think that you will remember at the draft that you’d rather have the players ranked differently. The less to think about the better, especially if Sam Adams will be ‘helping’ you draft your championship team.
No time to create your own list? No problem, print out what we’ve got here at FantasySharks.com and go with that. The nice part about this, is that everything fits nicely on one side of a piece of paper. This is another key for your cheatsheets, you don’t want to be shuffling thru papers, keep everything on one piece if possible. Perhaps if you have a few moments, make a few markings on our list to indicate your personal desires. Make a small up or down arrow next to the players that you think should be ranked in a different order. Put a star next to those players that are your sleepers, and ‘x’ out those players you won’t draft no matter what.
The bottom line is that this list has to be your Bible and you should prepare it as if your fantasy football life this season depends on it – because it does!! And bring extra copies with you, invariably, the drunk guy at the draft will be sitting next to you and will ruin your original cheat sheet at some point – be prepared!
Listing of Bye Weeks
Bring with you a list of when each NFL team has its bye week. I would hope that it’s obvious why this makes the ‘essential’ list. You don’t want to have your top four picks all share the same bye week, doesn’t make any sense. Someone at your draft won’t have one, and they will make some drafting mistakes. Be ready to take advantage.
Fantasy Team Grid
I debated whether this item is actually ‘essential’, but to me, it is. You need to know what the teams around you in the draft order have on their roster so you can try to predict what positions they might be drafting. As Rob pointed out in his article, this is especially true of those teams that are close to being ‘on the corner’. And you should keep this going deep into the draft. In the later rounds, you might be looking at either a defense or a kicker, perhaps the team behind you that has two picks between your next pick already has a kicker – you take a defense since it’s likely they won’t be taking a kicker. Voila, you’ve just picked the next kicker on your list later than you would have and got a better defense. These are the little things that can win you the title – and that’s what it is all about.
It used to be that I might include this on the ‘essential’ list, but I don’t think that is the case anymore. However, for some people this can be a valuable tool at the draft. While it might seem like a lot to cross of players that are selected from both your cheatsheet and a depth chart listing, when you are in the last couple rounds of the draft, you can easily take a look at your depth chart and see who is still available that is actually going to get some playing time. Doesn’t take that much time, however, I would recommend doing a trial run at home using a mock draft so that you will be able to locate teams and players quickly and efficiently.
Sheet for Your Team’s Roster
I know, strange to see this as a luxury item, but truth be told, I’m bringing the FantasySharks cheat sheet with me to my draft and I’ll be using the right margin to keep track of my team. Again, the one piece of paper theme. Others may prefer to have a separate sheet with everything mapped out (ie. QB1, QB2, QB3, etc), but over the years I’ve find that at least my personal preference is that the margins do fine. Maybe it’s me, but I don’t like to be shuffling thru paper anymore, gets too complicated late in the draft.
Listing of Injured Players
If you don’t grab a listing of the injured players at the last possible moment that you can for your draft, then you are bound to get burned. Hopefully this list will also include those players that are suspended. I don’t think I need to elaborate on this.
You don’t want to be in a situation where five picks before yours you think to yourself, “…I hope that PlayerA or PlayerB are available,” only to have the guys picking in front of you wait for paint to dry before making their selections. Have some scrap paper handy and write things down so you don’t forget. This is especially key for late in the draft when Mr. Adams is taking its affect.
In this day and age of the internet, there is no need to be flipping thru a magazine at the draft. The information is so outdated that it isn’t funny. That’s not to say you shouldn’t bring them with you and plop them on the table in front of you to try and impress your colleagues, but don’t use them during the draft. Please, Tick, I’m begging you.
An absolute pet peeve of any draft is ‘that guy’ that brings his laptop computer, thinking that he’s going to work off the lists in an excel spreadsheet on his computer. Never works! Invariably, after a dozen picks, he can’t find players to cross them off, he’s jumping between position lists, just a hopeless situation that brings down an entire draft. Editor’s note: After discussion with Doug, it was agreed that if you will be using the FantasySharks Draft Coach, then the laptop goes to the top of the ‘essential’ list. In fact, it becomes the only item you need to bring with you, ‘essential’, ‘luxury’ or otherwise.
If you see someone with a laptop, immediately sit next to the person with your Sam Adams and spill a little bit on the keyboard before the draft begins to eliminate that whole situation. Then offer up your six month old magazine for them to use since they have no backup plan. At least there will then be one team you can beat this season!