It’s here. Draft day is the best day of the year for any fantasy owner. No matter what you did last year, draft day represents hope. You, yes you, have the power to put together this year’s championship team. So, before you enter your draft, do your homework.
Come in with a game plan. If you pick in the top four or five, you should pretty much know what you’ll do. Have your first round mapped out, knowing exactly how you value each of your first round players. This should mean that there will be no surprises. Map out the first round up to your pick, so if you pick sixth, you know who your top six are. If you pick at the end of the first round, map out picks up to your second rounder, and be prepared for the different possibilities. The Boy Scouts are on to something: ‘Always be prepared.’
Anticipate runs. You know they’re going to happen. There will be runs on runningbacks in the first two rounds, runs on receivers in rounds 2 and 3, and then eventually on quarterbacks at some point around round 5 or 6. Know when they’re coming. Always keep an eye on the next 20 picks or so, and look at your roster, especially if you see a lot of a certain position. If you’re going to need someone, take them now, or you’ll miss out. If you’re set at that position, choose a player based on value. But if all else fails, choose the best player, regardless of position, and try to dangle them in a trade after your league-mates miss out on the run.
Follow your opponents’ picks. Keep track of who people are drafting. Most draft software at this point gives you the option to do so, but in many cases, especially at live drafts, there’s too much going on to keep track of everything. Always track other teams, so you know who needs that last stud runningback, who’s set at receiver and who’s going to be looking to grab a quarterback. If other teams are set at a position, chances are you may be able to delay on things because other teams will have needs elsewhere. Also, if you make a pick, and someone remarks how they were hoping to land your guy, make a note of it. If you ever want to make a deal, they’re the first team you contact, because you already know there’s interest.
Practice. Do some mock drafts. Put yourself in different positions. There are plenty of mock draft sites that you can use to hone your draft skills. Vary up what you do. Try a first round where you draft a stud back, and then do one where you draft a receiver, then a quarterback. See how it changes your strategy, and how your team ends up. Once you identify which selection you should make, start focusing in on that, and do a few more mocks. Again, be prepared.
Trust your gut. Fantasy experts are just fantasy owners that spend more time looking at the stats and trends. The problem is that when you look at those stats repeatedly, you can start to see things that aren’t there. Find a set of rankings that you like, or, even better, make your own set. Adapt to the flow of the draft, and react accordingly. Always trust your gut. If you’re looking at two guys and you like the second guy better than the first, pick him. You’ll only regret it later if you don’t trust in your own judgment.
Be confident. In most cases, you’re doing drafts with people you know. So throw in a few sighs when the guy before you makes a selection, as if you’re so happy that your guy fell to you, or mention how because they made the pick they did, you now have to choose between two guys, and thank them for making your job tougher. Always act as if what’s happened is exactly what you wanted to happen.
Good luck with your drafts, unless you’re in a league with me.