Hi guys, stmack here.
There's an increasing amount of really good tools and articles and tips out there being created by community members which is awesome. But if you're a beginner it can all be pretty overwhelming, and the first thing as a beginner that you're really worried about is what to do in the draft. So since it's asked again and again what kind of strategies to use I thought I'd come up with a core list of generalities (that I'll tweak based on feedback) for them to draft by. Draft Prep
First things first, find out the details on your league, what is the scoring system (hopefully some kind of simple standard or ppr format if you're new), how many teams are there, and if possible what is your draft position. Also, when is the draft? (have seen too many people show up late or not at all due to mixing up the days or time)
Knowing all this is very important, from here you can find a set of rankings to use as a template for your draft, and then if you're brave and/or confident adjust them based on your personal preferences. There are a ton of these out there: Best for beginners
: More Advanced options
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Alright so you know your league, you've got your rankings, time to draft! You can find tons out there on different draft strategies by I've broken them down into a few generalizations that they almost all follow (assuming we're talking a pretty standard league configuration). In General
This applies to the entire draft, pick your highest ranked player. When I say highest ranked I don't necessarily mean ranked by certain sites, I mean whoever your favorite is. The most important thing about fantasy football is having fun, and lots of times you'd rather lose with your favourite player on your roster than win with a team you don't feel is yours.
It's very important when drafting though to not "reach" too far for a player. If there's a 90% chance the player is going to be available the next round then don't pick him this round, pick your next favourite/top ranked and get that other player next round. A sleeper pick is not a sleeper pick if you pick him 5 rounds before he would have gone if you hadn't! You always want to get your picks as late as possible while still getting them, it's a balancing act.
If you're using a list though because you trust the pros more than yourself (95% of people including me) and you want to deviate from it, I'd recommend never deviating by more spots than double whatever round it is, so if it's round 1, only go as far as two other guys down the list, if its round 5 you can go 10 down the list. Except for when it doesn't make sense to pick your highest ranked player.
When is that? That's when your highest ranked player is a position you already have filled, and by filled I mean you have enough of them for this point in the draft, and that's what I'll be outlining below.
One other thing to watch out for is bye weeks, definitely make sure your back up QB or TE (if you take either one) have different bye weeks than your starters. Some advise it's a good idea to avoid having your top two guys at RB or WR with the same bye week though the value of this is highly controversial (see comments), in the very least don't do it if there's a major difference in value between the player with a matching bye week and the one without. This can be hard to avoid and it isn't the end of the world if it happens anyway (in fact some people purposefully stack a single bye week and sort of forfeit that week), but life can be easier if you spread your byes out when possible.
Another exception can be if a certain position is being grabbed quicker than expected. This is a balancing act because some times if 10 other teams have their QB or TEs early you can wait til round 10 or later to get yours while stocking up on good skilled position players. But if others start grabbing a 2nd one before you have your first you could get screwed. If you ever feel like a player or position you really want isn't going to be available by your next pick, take it now.
This can be hard to judge sometimes and is where doing mock drafts can really come in handy, that said every draft is different, and generally mocks are a little more tame and less panicky than real drafts. If you've never drafted before though I urge you to do at least one mock draft before your draft just so you get used to the flow.
Okay lets get down to some round specific strategies. 1st to 5th rounds
Alright I don't care how you start, RB/RB, WWR or some other combo, you should have at least 2 RBs and 2 WRs
at the end of 5 rounds. For that remaining slot it should be an RB, WR, QB or TE. There's going to be exceptions to this, particularly if there's a QB and TE falling below their value, but this is a solid rule of thumb for a balanced starting lineup. How does this play out though? Never take more than 3 of one of those positions in the first 5 rounds, if you go 3RB to start, which is viable, try and get 2 WRs next. If you go TE/WWR, get 2 RBs next, etc.
Never take a DST or Kicker this early. 6th to 10th rounds
If you didn't reach the above recommendation then fix immediately, then at the end of the 10th round you should have at least 3 RBs, 3WRs, 1QB and 1 TE
. This gives you two remaining slots that should again only be RBs and WRs or maybe a backup QB or a backup TE (though those last two are probably better off being grabbed later, especially if you have a top 5 of that position).
Never take a DST or Kicker this early. 11th to 15th/16th
If you didn't reach the above recommendation then fix immediately, then you want to flesh out your team. If you don't have a top 5 QB or TE it can be worth picking up a back up earlier in these rounds. Otherwise you should shoot for at least 4 RBs, 4 WRs, 1/2QB and 1/2 TE
(if you don't have a top 5 QB or top 5 TE try and have 2, aside from being a backup it will let you play whoever has the better weekly matchup). I would recommend having at most 6 RBs, 6 WRs, 2 QBs or 2 TEs, and never more than 1 DST and 1 Kicker
, unless you have a bigger bench than normal.
Generally you want to pick your DST and Kicker in the last two rounds, but if you have a late pick consider taking either one in the 13th, you'll get and early jump on these positions since everyone else is likely waiting and there's a good chance the skill position player you were going to take otherwise will still be there in the 15th since everyone else is taking DSTs and Ks. Alright this is preliminary breakdown, will add tips as they come to me or people make suggestions, thanks ahead of time for reading it.
Feel free to ask questions, have me elaborate, or call in to question certain points.
Good luck with your seasons!
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