How To Win Your Fantasy Draft

Every year, roughly 13,467,962.5 articles are released telling you how you should be drafting your fantasy team. Well I have great news for you. Due to the insane popularity of those articles, I’ve come up with some incredibly unoriginal ideas about how you should draft, and I’ve decided to share them with you! Okay, so hopefully you won’t think they’re completely unoriginal, but with so much time spent on fantasy, some of these ideas may sound familiar. I’m just hoping to put a different, more understandable, spin on them. Here we go:

Having great star players will win you games. Having great role players will win you championships.

Your fantasy team is more similar to an NFL team than you think. Yes, it’s true that your star players are incredibly important. Matthew Berry will tell you that you get around 35% of your total points from the players you draft in the first two rounds. You can’t win your league in the first two rounds, but you can use it. Blah, blah, blah. Wait a minute, I may have used the blah, blah, blah too quickly. Check out the sentence before it: You can’t win your league in the first two rounds, but you can lose it. Why can’t you win your league in the first two rounds? Get the two of the best players and you win, right?

Wrong. It’s about having guys that fly under the radar, but put up solid points for you every week. This is a lot harder than picking a stud in the first two rounds. You have to identify guys that you think are in a good situation, or have enough talent that they can contribute each week. You want to look for a good mix of safe players, guys that you know will score around 10 each week, and high ceiling players, guys who could have big seasons, but could also be a bust. Ideally, you’d like to find guys in the middle of that. Guys who you think have a decently appealing floor, but could also outperform their expectations. Don’t reach for those guys though, like some (including me) did with Jamison Crowder last year. If he was your WR4-5, you were decently pleased with him, but if he was supposed to be your starting FLEX? Not so much. Which brings me to my next point:

Understand a Player’s Value

I’m going to refer to this as the “Jae Crowder Effect.” It fits because Crowder is a very good bench player who was starting for the Celtics. He’s not a great player when he’s starting, so people to started thinking that he was a bum. He’s not, he’s just wasn’t being used correctly. Put him in the correct role, and he could be a very good contributor for a very good team.

There are a ton of guys that will be drafted in your league, in a 12 team league with 16 rounds, it’ll be 192 to be exact. Most of them deserve to be drafted, so it’s not the fact that you draft them, but it’s understanding where to draft them. If you take your flex in round 4, you might be screwed. Or maybe you took a guy who would be a WR2 or RB2, but you have two studs at that position already. Don’t be afraid to pass on guys that you like if it’s too early to take them. If the rest of your league values a player that you think will be decent, but probably not a starter, don’t let their opinions make you take him earlier than you want. Be the Bill Belichick of your draft. Do you think Bill ever gets pushed around by the guys he’s drafting against? I seriously doubt it. He doesn’t give into their pressure. He follows his boards and opinions, and that’s exactly what you should be doing. Next:

Do Your Homework

Remember when I told you to be the Bill Belichick of your draft? Do you think he just shows up the day of the draft with a computer that tells him who the best guys are? Hell no! He does his homework, which is exactly what you need to do if you want to be successful in your draft. Read articles, listen to podcasts, watch fantasy football specials, and don’t just go by what one guy says. Listen to multiple people, and find people that you trust, like the guys at eatsleepfantasy.com (15% off a membership with the promo code: WWP), and then you’ll have more confidence in the things they say. Even then, maybe you will disagree.

For example, everyone had Torrey Smith pretty high in 2016, but I stayed away because I didn’t trust him, and he ended the season with 20 catches. Sometimes, you have to just go with what you think will be right. A lot of times you’ll be wrong, but you’ll have more fun if you form your own opinions using what other people say as a guideline. Last year, I drafted Doug Baldwin. I didn’t want to, because I hate Doug Baldwin, but in the first three rounds I had taken 2 RB’s and Gronk, and he was the highest rated WR left, so I took him. He ended up as the 12th WR, which is borderline WR1. Of course, he was helped by 23 points in Week 17, which didn’t count(thanks a lot), but the point is, I hated having him on my team because I don’t like him as a fantasy player. I know, I know, nobody cares about my fantasy team. The point I’m trying to make is draft the guys you like and have highly rated. Lastly, and probably most important:

Have Fun!

If you don’t enjoy playing fantasy football, then you’re not doing it right. If you’re in a league with a bunch of guys you know, it’s a blast. You’re competing against friends and family, and sometimes people end up actually getting upset, as they do in any competitive sport, but it always blows over. It is a game after all, and it is ultimately just for fun. Clearly no one that lives in a state where gambling has not yet been legalized plays for money, but even if they did, I would hope they do it more for the fun of it, and not just for the money. It’s a great escape from some of the responsibilities and problems we have going on in the real world.

So that’s it. Before you start complaining about me not giving you any players you should be targeting, I’m leaving that up to the experts. The guys at ESF are super interactive and are willing to answer your questions, and honestly, most of the fantasy guys I’ve interacted with on Twitter are the same. Best of luck in your draft this year! Unless you’re in a league with me, of course.

Pat is the host of the Weekend Warrior Podcast

Interact with him on Twitter @wtplane

Photo: Pinterest

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