When you are getting ready for your fantasy draft there is one thing you need to lock down. You must have a strategy before your draft starts. Having a plan gives you an advantage from the get-go. Within the first couple of rounds of your draft, you will be able to tell exactly who has a plan and who doesn’t. Don’t be the guy that doesn’t have a strategy and goes into it saying, “I’ll just pick the best available each round.” Trust me that won’t work. First things first, you need to know the rules and scoring of your league. Is it standard scoring? PPR? What are the scoring bonuses for each position? These are all things you must know before the draft. If you don’t know your league’s scoring model, then you are putting yourself at a major disadvantage. The first thing I do to prepare for the draft is find out which positions are at a premium. In a standard scoring league, running backs are the most valuable position. In those leagues, it’s ideal to have your two starting RB’s and a RB in your FLEX spot as well. In a PPR league, WR’s and pass catching RB’s are at a premium. You want to find WR’s that are targeted 8-10 times a game, along with RB’s who will catch the ball 3-5 times a game. Some leagues award you with 6 points for a passing TD. In those leagues, you need an elite QB if you want to have any chance to win. Personally, I hate leagues that have passing TD’s at 6 points. It’s puts too much value on one position.
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In most league formats, I typically employ the same strategy. My goal is to start each team with two RB’s and a stud pass catcher. The order doesn’t matter as much, but I typically feel more comfortable taking a RB in round 1. I say pass catcher, because I’m not opposed to picking a TE early, however, I feel like people often reach to get Kelce, Kittle or Ertz. I’m comfortable waiting it out and loading up on stud WR’s and RB’s, while other reach for their TE. In some years it is slim pickings at TE, but the position is much deeper now than it has been in a few years. Another thing I almost always do in my draft is wait on the QB position. Outside of the top 2 this year, there isn’t a world of difference between the guys ranking from 3 to 10. I’m comfortable with my ability to find an over-achieving QB or two later in the draft. A QB doesn’t have to be “elite” to light it up for your fantasy team. My advice is don’t reach for a QB. If Lamar Jackson or Patrick Mahomes fall to you in a position where they are impossible to pass up, then by all means, do it. Just don’t do anything silly to get those guys on your team, as you will be putting yourself at a disadvantage at other positions.
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I have two more rules for you to live by. First, please do not reach for a defense! There is so much variation from year to year, that it is almost impossible to pinpoint which defenses will show up in the top 5. Wait it out. Take a defense late in the draft and stay active on the waiver wire throughout the year. If you can find a defense that will get you 8-10 points a week, you’ll be just fine. Look for defenses that pressure the QB. Those are the teams that will force the most turnovers and in turn, get you the most fantasy points. My last rule is, never draft a kicker before the last two rounds of the draft. Trust me on this one. You are wasting a pick if you draft one earlier. For the most part, kickers are a dime a dozen. I promise you, your kicker won’t be the reason that you have a successful fantasy season or not. A person who takes a kicker early, is just opening up an opportunity for you to find a bigger contributor for your team.
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I can’t stress enough how important it is to have a plan going into your draft. Learn the rules
of your league before the draft, so you know exactly what type of players that you need to target. Rarely, does the guy who is unprepared win your league. Take the time and do your research. It will help you with your draft and later in the year when you are looking for help on the waiver wire. My last tip in your draft and to pay attention to what other teams are doing. It’s important to know what positions each team needs and what their tendencies are in terms of drafting. By that I mean, are they a wildcard who takes chances or do they go for the safer picks? To be successful in your draft, you need to be playing chess, while other are playing checkers. Have a strategy. Stick to the plan, but be willing to audible if crazy things start to happen. As always feel free to reach out to me on Twitter @jsulli2121 with any
questions you may have. Best of luck in your draft! -Jason Sullivan