The NFL estimate that 19 million people, some from every corner of the globe, play fantasy football. Whether you are playing against absolutely everyone or your mates in your own league you want to win and to win you need to have every trick up your sleeve. Just a single slither of data or advice each week can be compounded across an entire season to make or break your team. But to picking a winning team you need to develop an effective draft strategy, enabling you to draft the best players when you need them.
Winners are made of the smallest details, including the draft strategy.
1. Plan Each & Every Round
Your draft strategy should identify who you are targeting in each round. As you create your Favorites List, you should be including when you expect to draft these players. Average Draft Position is a powerful tool in planning a draft. As you start identifying these players conflicts in each round will start to emerge where you are trying to fit two picks in. This allows you to adjust your strategy and determine the best path to winning your draft. If you know your draft position, you can see which rounds you’ll be waiting to make a pick for. However, you also need to have multiple options across the same skill position, but also across various positions.
2. Roster Goals
It is also important to understand your draft strategy for roster goals. You need starting lineup requirements, limits for your team and a total number of players rostered. From this you should create a target number of players at each position. Below is an example.
With this roster goal you can use your Plan Your Rounds chart and begin to adjust as necessary.
As you are drafting players you need to keep track of how many you have taken at each position. When you get to the later rounds you may find that you have over-selected at one skill position and now your late-round players will not fit on your team.
3. Identify Value Players
Effective player analysis along with factors like average draft position (ADP) will enable you to compile a list of players that you want to draft. ADP will identify players who are too expensive, along with players who are “Value Players” who will go onto have a strong season. After all, every team that wins the Super Bowl have a strong influence from talented rookies.
However, you are building a roster that has limitations. With quarterbacks for example, most leagues have one starting quarterback and the league typically has 10 to 12 managers. The quarterback position is unique because over 12 quarterbacks are typically solid starters. This is why the “Draft a Quarterback Late” theory is very important. To build a great roster, you need to rely on a certain number of value players. You can’t take everybody in the first round and it’s important to maximize each skill position to have solid players.
As you prepare for your draft and follow these draft strategies, you need to determine your value players and trust in your decisions. Don’t worry about what your opponents think or how they’re going to laugh when you take a certain player “too early”. You can’t win a fantasy league by taking zero risks.
Some of your value players will, unfortunately turn out to be busts. But you need to get a couple of quality value players to succeed at the draft. You also need to think out of the box or you will only end up with an average team that struggles against the competition.
Another example of the positional value strategy includes the tight end position. To secure one the best performing tight ends you need to draft them early. Selecting at least one tight end within the first three rounds. Prioritizing value players enables you to identify the real gems within NFL who can power your team to success.
4. Keep Your Head During The Draft
Draft smart and keep your head, allow the other managers in your league to make rash decisions so you can go onto win the league. Drafts are often the most enjoyable part of the season but its important not to get overzealous and start looking for shortcuts and easy options. You need to use the data and execute a plan on how you will maximize your points. You also need to ignore your mates reaction when you make certain decisions, your mates will undoubtedly be trying to use mind tricks on you or copying your own strategies. Trust no one! Don’t allow your friends to influence your decisions. You can of course use your own mind tricks by convincing your opponents to draft players who you genuinely believe will underperform or may even be prone to injury. To win at NFL you not only need to use data and analytics but you also need to be crafty and strong minded.
5. Things To Avoid
When analyzing your opponents its important to not fall in the Group Think trap. Group Think is when you begin to copy your opponents, copying their mistakes. Being able to do your own analysis not only sets you apart but also allows you to identify hot players who are in form and picking up lots of points.
When analyzing players its important to be suspicious and avoiding the shiny toy syndrome. Yes, a new superstar QB will enter NFL but it will still take him a few seasons to fully emerge. Often rookies are drafted before experienced players just because they are new, instead of their performance on the pitch. You need to do your analysis and rank rookies accordingly.
So there you are, five secrets to developing a powerful and effective draft strategy. Now you just need to follow our secrets and go on to win!