From year-to-year you see changes on the fantasy football landscape and you need to be properly prepared before you go into your draft. I am not talking about having a cheat sheet that you printed off of the internet at the last minute; I am talking about an actual plan. Way too often I see people come into the draft unprepared, and it shows in the team that they end up drafting. I will discuss the plans you should have at each position and then an overall plan to guide you to your championships this season.
The quarterback position is crazy deep this year. Maybe it is due to the changing of the game to be more passing-friendly. More quarterbacks are putting up big numbers in the passing stats every year. But in reality it is the “running” quarterbacks who have added new depth to the position.
The recent additions in the last two years of running quarterbacks like
Russell Wilson and
Robert Griffin III have created a much bigger pool of quarterbacks that you can be comfortable with as your starting quarterback. It is no longer “the big three;” it is so much more than that. That is why I am advising you to wait before you draft a quarterback. There will be very good options for you in the sixth round or later because of the depth this year. Why waste an early pick when you can still get very good production much later?
It was the old standard that you would get two running backs very early in your draft. That seemed to fade with the transition to a more passing-friendly attitude in the NFL. Why risk a high pick on a running back when the league is passing so much more? That was the general feeling by all experts in the industry the past few years.
Well, not this year. I expect at least eight running backs to be taken in the first 10 picks. The depth at running back really drops after the top 15. So many injuries, rookies and new coaching changes will have that kind of an impact. That is why you need to get your starters early. After those 15, the uncertainties are way too high to be counted on for your fantasy team. I also plead with you to draft plenty of running backs for depth. As I stated above, injuries can greatly harm your team – you need depth to help overcome that.
Year-after-year you see the same names near the top of the wide receiver stats. It is the same few guys at the top, and then the next tier or two of wide receivers could all seem to be interchangeable. I have looked at several different rankings and I would be very comfortable with any of the top 35 to be in my starting lineup weekly. It is crazy deep. I can really only justify one wide receiver to be drafted in round one, and only about five in the second round (and that might even be high). Just like with the quarterback position, I suggest you let others use higher picks on wide receivers and you let them fall to you in your draft.
It is also a lot easier to find a wide receiver on the waiver wire than with other positions. Just look at the last two years –
Cecil Shorts and Danario Alexander were all waiver wire pickups and had very good years. Don’t be afraid to take a chance with someone on waivers. It can pay off!
We have one stud tight end this year,
Jimmy Graham. If you can get him in round two, I suggest you do it. The next four are good, but they all have issues and should not be taken before rounds four or five. After that, the pool of tight ends are all very similar and deep. If you don’t get one of the top four – wait. The next 12 all look to be worth about the same from a fantasy perspective. Do yourself a favor and load up on the other positions and let some tight end fall in to your lap (If only my dates ended like that!)
KICKER AND DEFENSE
I see it all the time – the leaders at the kicker and defense positions change drastically from year-to-year. And year-after-year, the scoring difference at these positions is minimal. Wait until the last two rounds before picking up your kicker and defense. You are better advised to add depth at running back and wide receiver in the rounds before your last two picks.
Do not use a cheat sheet you find online. Those are for general scoring systems and do not know the differences that your league may have for its own scoring. Take the time and create your own. Those cheat sheets can also have personal biases (just like yours might). Take the time to create your own; it also gives you a better chance to know all the players.
Also, don’t be afraid or stubborn enough to not do waiver wire moves or trades. Many of the quarterbacks and wide receivers I listed above are just some of the many gems you can find on the waiver wire. In a regular 16-round draft, I hope you have one quarterback, six running backs, six wide receivers, one tight end, one kicker and one defense. For your depth at running back and wide receiver, maybe have one more spot starter and go for a few players who have high upside potential. Gold can be found there!