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So, you’ve checked gone over all the rankings, sleepers, and fantasy draft prep articles you can handle, and you still aren’t sure what to make of your pending fantasy football season?
If you’re still lost, take a moment to check with our experts on how to effectively operate your lineup throughout your fantasy season, whether it be by trades, the waiver wire, or keeping up with injuries and roster movement.
Read on for all the expert advice you’ll need to get out of your fantasy football league a champion:
The Draft is the most important moment of your fantasy football league. You need to be prepared, do your research, and have several back-up plans. In an ideal world you would have the top fantasy player in every position. This obviously is not the case. You need to come to terms that your team will have the one-two punch of the sixth and eighteenth best players overall. These of course are based off of pre season player ratings, and once the season starts free agency and wavier wire will be your best friend. If this doesn’t sound appealing to you, then its time I introduce you the complexity of the fantasy football draft.
Using last year’s pre-season fantasy football rankings and the example from above, the average team in a snake format draft would be built around DeAngelo Williams (Carolina Panthers), and Clinton Portis (Washington Redskins). Those two names are not something anyone would brag about around the water cooler. They aren’t brand name NFL players. Brand names are players that a casual fan or even a non-fan of he NFL could recognize based on the exposure they receive in the media. Quarterbacks on winning teams and loud-mouth wide receivers are brand names. The point here, though, is that brand names and hype don’t mean anything. If you do not get one of these players, DO NOT PANIC. The worse action you can do during a fantasy draft is to panic.
To assist for a panic-free draft, I have a few draft theories to aid in your draft preparation: best available, adaptation, hand cuffing, hit the ground running, and worst case scenario.
Theory 1: Best Available
This theory states that no matter what positional need your fantasy team has, you should draft the highest ranked player available. Once all bench spots have been filled the focus is moved to filling up starting positions.
The Best Available theory is often used as a starting point for a draft. It is the first round and you don’t want to miss on your first pick. If running backs are going quick the correct decision might be to take the best player from another position as opposed to taking a running back you might be able to pick up in the next round. This could set a trend for your draft; you want to be a trendsetter. Drafting the best wide receiver could cause other managers to panic and go receiver-happy, leading you to draft the best available in another position.
The downfall of this theory is you run into the problem of; should I draft a player to be on my bench, or draft a player I need to complete my starting lineup? The rest of your managers will expect you to go with a starter. If your goal is to create panic, then draft your bench as opposed to reaching for a starter.
Theory 2: Adaptation
This theory states that a team will adapt to the positional needs of the rest of the league when selecting draft choices.
The Adaptation theory is best used if you do not have a clear structure for your team and your very flexible. As the draft progresses this theory only gets stronger as the possibilities of draft picks are limited as lineups begin to fill. If every team has their starting Quarterback you know that they will probably forget about the position for a couple of rounds and you can get a player at a great value later on.
Every league has a draft where a solid player (who is not a sleeper, but well known) is picked up in a late round. This can be contributed to the Adaptation theory. The downfall of this theory is you do not have a plan for your first round choice. The pool of players is so huge that it is impossible to determine another manager’s choice. In addition to unpredictability of choices, you also are at the mercy of the draft.
Theory 3: Hand cuffing
This theory states that a team will draft their bench with the mind-set that some starters may be injured and have no value. When a star player is injured their back-up is snatched in free agency. By having the back-up already on your bench, it prevents other owners from taking advantage of your misfortune.
The Hand cuffing theory does not surface until a team has filled all starting positions. Another version of this theory can be seen in the form of a star quarterback and his receivers. The Hand cuffing theory is all about getting the maximum value for your draft choices. Imagine facing a team who’s star player is getting playing time because your starter is injured; nothing burns more then that. The same feeling arises when your starting quarterback has a monster game, but you lose to a team that has your quarterback’s receivers.
The downfall of this theory occurs if your star player never gets injured, meaning you probably passed on a draft choice that could have added value to your team. Your bench players share the same bye week as your starters, and you can’t afford to throw a week. One week can be the deciding factor in playoff positioning.
Theory 4: Hit the Ground Running
This theory states that a team will hold the running back in such high priority that they will pass at the number player in another position.
The Hit the Ground Running theory is a popular draft theory due to the way that most leagues are scored. Usually running back touchdowns are more valuable than quarterback touchdowns, as well as yards gained. Please refer to your own league’s scoring before adopting this theory.
In the typical starting lineup there are three positions for a running back; two running back spots and flex spot for either a running back or a wide receiver. It is logical to load up you lineup with players containing the most potential to score points. If your league is built for running backs then it is favorable to have three running backs, as opposed to one player in another position who needs to bring their best performance every week. The downfall of this theory is that the rest of your league will know what you are doing early on in the draft. Neglecting other positions can come back to haunt you when other teams are drafting quality bench players while you’re scrapping the bottom of the barrel for a starter.
Theory 5: Worst Case Scenario
This theory states that a team will expect to get the lowest ranked player in each position based on their draft positioning.
The Worst Case Scenario takes a lot of preparation, but this is not a bad thing. For example, let’s say a manager is in a fantasy league consisting of twelve teams. The roster is as follows: QB, RB, RB, WR, WR, TE, WR/RB, K, DEF, and six bench spots for total of fifteen roster spots. The manager using this theory will rank the top 24 quarterbacks, top 36 running backs, top 36 wide receivers, top 24 tight ends, top 24 kickers, and top 24 defensives. These rankings are their draft pool and they will get fourteen players from this draft list. There will be some unexpected surprises but there will be no disappointments. Depending how the other teams draft, you might be able to get two of the top ten running backs and several draft steals that will have the other managers upset that they over looked the choices.
Using the Worst Case Scenario theory, you are not reacting to other picks, but instead you are focused on your draft sheets. It is panic free because you have a list of all the possible players you will end up with. You won’t be the manager who is scuffling through several rankings or making gut picks. This theory is very calculated and you will come off as somebody who is an expert. The downfall to this theory is that you are a prisoner to your rankings. If the proper research is not conducted for your rankings then you will be at a disadvantage.
You might have noticed I’ve named all of these theories and none of them are laws. The fantasy football draft is unpredictable. If one theory is superior to the others, it can easily be rather useless if the rest of your league is using the same theory. In this scenario you would be back to square one: looking at a top overall rankings sheet. The only suggestion I can give you is to go into your draft prepared to use all five theories, learn how your managers draft and most importantly: DO NOT PANIC.