Fantasy Football Draft Crash Course

The least information you need to know to not be the TACO (The League).

There is a point in every fantasy players life when they want to take the big step forward. Oh I remember the years where I just came in and had fun, not a care in the world. In 2012, I took RG3 with my 4th round pick and everyone laughed. Strange enough, I was destroyed that year, but I digress…

For my first article as a fantasyreaList, I want to get some stuff out-of-the-way, the real basic stuff. When I wanted to take the plunge into the stat checking injury-report-reading insomnia world, that is a fantasy contender, there were some things that I needed spelled out for me. I want to do just that for all the noobs out there. This article may not be for the vets who remember when LaDainian Tomlinson reigned over fantasy, but for anyone hoping to join our ranks. Everything here is need to know stuff to get to the next level.

In music theory there is one thing that teachers just keep shoving down your throat every time you attempt to be cute, “You got to know the rules, before you can break them.” I am going to present some ideas that I may actually go against at times, but you have to know the basics. We will get to the fun stuff later.

Please note – everything I write is from the prospective of Standard League scoring, with a single flex roster. Of course, PPR and 3 WR formats can change things a little, but most of the ideas should translate.

 

 

The Laws of the land

1)      Never reach more than 2 rounds for sleeper. Never ever reach for a player when you know they will be there later. (If you draft Cam in the 5th round – you are reaching, but it’s gutsy. If you draft Cam in the 1st – you deserve to lose)

2)      NEVER HAVE 2 KICKERS. Okay, maybe you wanted a really good kicker. Maybe you reached for him. Good for you, but never ever have 2 kickers on your roster. The only acceptable reason to ever have two kickers, is that you have Vinatieri or Gostkowski, and one is on a bye. Otherwise drop the sucker, and pick up someone else for the rest of the season.

3)      Never waste a pick. No Bortles. No Tebow. The Late rounds are important too, so study and pick wisely.

4)      If you do not know what to do and time is running out, grab the highest ranked RB. That is the least dumb thing you can do.

Know how many people to draft!

Assuming starting roster is QB/2 RB/2 WR/TE/FLEX/DEF/K with 16 rounds, you should draft:

  • 2 QBs.
  • 5 RBs.
  • 5 WRs.
  • 2 TEs.
  • 1 DEF
  • 1 Kicker.

Note: There are exceptions, but this is the most standard. You honestly do not need a 2nd TE or QB, especially if you spend an early pick on one of those positions. If you do decide to forgo a backup to QB or TE, you can have 1 bonus pick to spend on an extra DEF, WR or RB. Nevertheless, NEVER HAVE 2 KICKERS, for the love of god.

The one stat to know about Fantasy Football – Position Point Difference

Below I have provided the difference in total fantasy points between the 1st and the 10th best players at each position in 2014. For example, at WR, Antonio Brown had 251 points at the end of the year vs TY Hilton’s 172, a 79 point gap.

QB – 79

RB – 111

WR – 79

TE – 85

DEF – 48

K – 28

While this one statistic does not tell the whole story behind draft position, you may be able to deem a lot from this simple example. For instance, you instantly see what makes the RB so unique. If you are able to get two top 10 RBs in the draft, you have a substantial advantage over your peers who are without top-tier RBs.

The least amount of information you need to know about each position

Quarterback 

You can wait for the late rounds to get a good QB. What makes the spot interesting is that every year, QBs score more points than any other position. However, QBs do not score that many more points relative to each other. Aaron Rodgers scored 5 more points a game on average than Ryan Tannehill in 2014,  but I can pick up Tannehill in the 11th round this year. Do you see the dilemma? You can see real results from having a Top Tier guy, but even last QB left in the draft is probably going to get you 15 points a week. So….

Scenario 1: Decide on a top tier guy in the early rounds (Luck to Manning, maybe Brees), then ignore the QB position till the 10+ rounds. The earlier you draft your QB, the later you want to draft the backup.

Scenario 2: Take a mid-round guy (Matt Ryan, Romo), and you can probably follow the same backup plan that you do for the elites. However, if you are a bit squeamish, it is understandable to wait a few rounds and grab another upside QB2 like Eli or Rivers. No one should judge you, or at least I won’t.

Scenario 3: Be the brave one. Don’t even think about QBs till the 10th round. Grab Bradford & Cutler, and see if either one of them remembers how to play football. Guess what? History says it will work out fine.

Running Back

I am not going to get into this very much. If you want to know why RBs are important, read any article ever about fantasy football.

You should be drafting 5 RBs in your draft, and the earlier the better.

For any RBs that you draft in the first few rounds, it is generally considered a good policy to use your 10+ round picks picking up their backups. But only in cases where the depth chart is well defined. You can skip handcuffing if you have picked up enough reliable starting RBs early in the draft, but it is good policy to at least cuff one RB, that way you know you have cornered the market on a team’s backfield.

If you have picked up a DEF or (for fuck’s sake) a Kicker before you have at least 4 RBs on your roster, YOU HAVE FUCKED UP!

Wide Receiver 

No rules here.  This is what separates the men (women) from the boys (girls) when it comes to draft strategy. You can decide how you handle this with research and planning, such as reading articles on www.fantasyrealist.com. But here is the basics:

– You should have WR picks sprinkled throughout your draft.

– You probably want to pick up at least one stud WR by your 4th round.

– You want a good variety of WRs on your roster (Starters/High-upside Situations/Rookies/Guys in New Places)

– You can always find someone with potential in your late rounds.

Side note: I personally picked up Maclin (good situation) and Sanders (new team) last year with my 7th & 8th picks, which was considered a bit early for both. Then Kelvin Benjamin fell into my lap (rookie lotto pick), in the 12th round. It really saved my ass, because my round 4 and 5 “STUDS” were… Crabtree and Cruz. It is important to learn from your past drafts, and this instance shows that balanced WR drafting can work out well.

Tight End 

Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.– Murphy’s Law

One rule: If you don’t get Gronk, then wait. If value falls to you… then you jump, but reaching for TE early can and will burn you.

The second tier of TEs (Olsen, Graham, Kelse) could be worth their prices, but Murphy’s Law.

Very similar to QBs because some people recommend using late round picks on your TEs, but Murphy’s Law.

You probably don’t need a backup TE, but it is not uncommon. If you don’t spend a pick on a backup TE, it can be very smart to grab an extra RB or WR, but you know… Murphy’s Law.

Defense and Kickers

The Wise Advise – A DEF and K should not be chosen till the last two rounds of the draft. The very fucking end!

Now if you chose to ignore that advice (which I do commonly), you must at least follow these simple 2 rules:

1)      Earliest to pick a DEF: 10th round

2)      Earliest to pick a Kicker: 13th round.

If you got all of that, then you are ready for the hard stuff.

Congrats, you are no longer the TACO.

fantasyreaList Writer: Phillip C.

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