Here are five things to do when preparing for your draft and then during the draft itself. Following these tips will have you headed in the right direction and give you an advantage against your opponents.
1. DO … Know Your League Settings
This may sound fairly obvious (and it is) but you’d be surprised at how many people don’t follow this rule. For instance, I’ve been in a PPR league for a few years now, and guys in the league still load up of running backs early and let backs like Reggie Bush slip, not realizing their increased value in PPR leagues.
Whether it’s a PPR league, a league where you start two quarterbacks or some other variation, check your league settings before you draft. You may be surprised and find out something you didn’t know previously which will come in handy on draft day.
2. DO … Come Prepared for your Draft
Again this is as obvious as it gets but still many people don’t. They forgot about the draft and tried to print out rankings at the last minute, but their printer broke so now they have nothing and are asking the guys sitting next to them to share rankings.
I’ve seen this guy, and trust me you don’t want to be him. So do yourself a favor and a week or however long you want start getting your materials together. You can make your own cheat sheet or use one for another Web site. If you don’t make your own, I recommend making a spreadsheet with a few different website rankings on it so it’s more balanced.
3. DO … Mock Drafts Before your Actual Draft
This is something that the casual fantasy player probably won’t do, but it can be very valuable. Different Web sites such as ESPN and Yahoo have free mock drafts running all the time, and all you do is click to join and they e-mail you the results after its finished.
In these mock drafts, you can test out different draft strategies such as taking receivers in the first two rounds, taking a quarterback early or whatever you want. By testing out these strategies, you can get an idea of how your team will turn out before hand, and then you can decide if you want to go that route during your real draft. You can also pick your draft position so if you know what number you’re drafting before the actual draft, I would definitely participate in a mock draft to see how your team could turn out.
4. DO … Draft for Upside Late
The later rounds of your fantasy draft can make or break your team. Everyone knows the top players but what really separates the pack are the late-round selections. If you hit on a couple of these picks you will be in great position in your league.
Now the question becomes who to take with these picks. Most of the guys left at the end of the draft are either veterans where you know what you’re getting or young, unproven guys with upside. When deciding between these two kinds of players, I recommend going with the upside guys. With your first few bench spots go with some proven guys so you have some stability but, for instance, in the last few rounds when deciding between Chris Chambers (veteran) and Josh Morgan (upside) I would go Morgan. These upside guys can put your team over the top while the veterans will likely not do much for your squad.
5. DO … Know your League Members
This rule may not apply for everyone because many of you will be drafting in online league where you know nobody or you got into a league via a friend but don’t know anybody else. But for the rest of you, especially those in leagues where the guys have known each other forever, this can be key.
If you know these guys for years you know their tendencies. You might know that one guy also likes to grab his quarterback late, or another guy likes to load up on running backs, or a guy is a huge homer, or another guy drafts straight from ESPN’s generic rankings. There are tons of types of these guys, and they exist in every league. If you know guys’ tendencies, you can use them to your advantage. Also, these aren’t limited just to how people draft. A few suggestions are: bring some beer to the draft, a couple of adult magazines and that days’ sports line. It’s a guarantee that at least one guy will get distracted making it easier for you.