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Draft preparation can become an overload of numbers: projected points, rankings, scoring rules, bye weeks, etc.

Even with the most thorough spreadsheet these figures can cause more stress and indecision than clarity.

I am more of a numbers guy than almost anyone. Even I know that sometimes we need to step away from the statistics. It’s time to focus on some over-arching themes that can help you draft.

These tips can be utilized with any league, big or small, PPR or standard, snake or auction. Having this suggestions in mind during your draft will help clear up some difficult decisions. It can also help lower your stress.

Like Coach Taylor taught us, clear eyes, full hearts…..

(If you don’t know how that ends you are missing out on greatness)

10 Fantasy Football Draft Tips

10. Talk Trash

I am not condoning “Yo Mama” jokes or personal attacks here (although I can neither confirm nor deny that I have been a part of some verbal sparring in drafts) but remember that this is a game. You are competing against each other.

Throw some harmless verbal barbs out like: “Cam Newton in the FOURTH?”  “Is he even starting anymore?” “Didn’t he just get put on IR?” and “You paid HOW much for David Johnson?”

My personal favorite that the commissioner of one of my leagues, Darren, uses is, “Who is he? What does he do?”

Even if it’s not true or you are mad because it was the guy you were hoping would fall to you, keep the charade going. If you can get a couple of your opponents second guessing their strategy and decision making then it is well worth it.

9. Don’t Get Too Drunk

In a league I am in with a bunch of buddies from high school we instituted a Beerlympics last season to determine draft slot selection order. Poker, beer pong, flip cup and a 2-beer speed chug were all events.

Here’s a tip: don’t draft the day after. My friend Dale won the competition and with that got to pick his draft slot first. The catch was we drafted less than eight hours after finishing the beer-drinking. He finished the season next to last.

Whether you do something like this, go to Vegas with your league, or even if you are just kicking back a few during the draft, make sure you have your wits about you.

If inebriation consumes you it will be really hard to follow any of the remaining tips. So let’s drink responsibly. Unless you are in a league with me… in that case, I’ll pay for the Uber.

8. Keep Track of Any League Changes

Most leagues have some sort of open forum a month or so before or immediately prior to the draft where the league settings can be voted on for changes. Make sure that you adjust your strategy if anything is changed.

If you used to start 2RB/3WR, but now it’s 1RB/3WR/1FLEX, make sure to bump your receivers up a notch and running backs down.

If y’all change it to full point PPR rather than half point, give a boost to your Danny Woodhead and Jarvis Landry-types.

If your league is going with 8 playoff teams instead of 4, maybe try to get more high-upside players than consistent since the playoffs will be more of a crap-shoot.

Either way, just make sure any changes are accounted for. Do not leave value on the table.

7. Watch the Other Teams’ Rosters

10 Fantasy Football Draft Tips Knowing what your opponent needs or already has on his or her roster is an under-rated aspect of drafting. I know that you are pressed for time in an online draft. It would be tough to keep track, but most draft applications have it set up to where you can easily click over to a team’s roster.

This is especially important if you are near one of the ends of a snake draft. If you are in the 10th spot, and you notice that both the 11th and 12th owners have already taken a quarterback, you can hold out until after the turn to select your signal caller.

In an auction draft, this can help you determine if someone is trying to drive the price up on you. If your bidding war over Greg Olsen is with the guy who already has Rob Gronkowski, you could end up getting your opponent stuck spending valuable draft currency on someone he cannot start.

It might be too difficult to keep track of it manually. Take a peek at the draft board a couple of picks before your turn and see if there is anything to take advantage of.

6. Deep Sleepers

If your league has a sizable bench, then you probably have your deep sleepers that you want to keep an eye on. These guys wouldn’t necessarily fit into your Top 200 rankings or anything, but they have a chance to break-out if a couple of things go their way.

Keep a list of these guys so you already know where you would be comfortable drafting them as well as when you would feel comfortable enough with your roster to take a long-shot.

5. MOCK MOCK MOCK!!!

There are definitely times when mock drafting can be a futile exercise. Especially if you are doing it live with a mixture of Autopick’s and real people. Hell I even had a mock last season where a guy was trying to drive the ADP of guys he did not want higher (taking 8th or 9th round players in the first few rounds). I did not have the heart to tell him how much that was not going to work.

However, with Draft Wizard, you can have a realistic mock draft completed in less than five minutes. The software that the guys at FantasyPros use gives a more idyllic interpretation of how your draft can unfold. You can even load your league into the software with keepers and scoring settings. The Draft Wizard will adjust to these factors. You also won’t have the annoyance of kickers/defenses getting taken in the middle rounds like auto-draft bots will.

If you don’t know your draft position yet, then it is even more imperative to mock draft at all possible spots so that you are not caught off guard during your real draft. With Draft Wizard, this is an attainable goal.

4. Cheat Sheet

This is really the most important part of your draft preparation. You need to compile all of your information into a single document/spreadsheet.

The best tip I have is that the key to a good cheat sheet is avoiding information overload. You should not be looking at Todd Gurley’s yards after contact average whenever he is running to the left side of a zone blocking scheme against a Top-10 run defense because he might face one in the championship week.

If you are factoring that much information into your preparation, it should be reflected in your rankings. If you try to decipher that kind of in-depth data while on the clock, you will end up making a panic move.

Trust your preparation and rankings for your cheat sheet.

3. Get Value

My mantra all draft season this year will be to avoid taking a running back in the first round. However, if Adrian Peterson is still sitting there at pick 14 and he is the top player left on your board, by all means take him.

Yes, that is an actual possible scenario. It happened in a mock draft I did last week with the top eight receivers, Gronk, LeVeon Bell, David Johnson, Ezekiel Elliott and Todd Gurley going in the first 13 picks.

You have to get the most value you possibly can with each pick. Your draft picks are the currency in Fantasy Football. Would you spend $30 on a shirt that will give you the same value as one around the corner that only costs $15? No!

So do not draft a running back in the first round just because it is what you are “supposed” to do. If you can use a second or third round pick and get almost the same return on your investment then that is the correct route.

This hearkens back to our cheat sheet and knowing value across positions and among tiers. It also leads into our next tip…

2. Stay Flexible

My PPR strategy does not entail taking a running back in the first two rounds. However if Adrian Peterson is available and my Top-8 receivers are all gone in the teens, you better believe I am pulling the trigger. That would be like a value bet on the river in poker. You are not going to bet anything crazy that could scare people off (or draft for all upside with a low floor). You bet enough to maximize the return on having a good hand.


Flexibility is key to getting good value. If you remain flexible throughout the draft then you can take advantage of surprising situations that present themselves.

If I had an 11th tip it would be to not fall in love with drafting a certain player. Let the board dictate the best value. Just stay flexible. Your opponents will reach on their “must have” guys. You then get to clean up the best values.

1. Have Fun!

I know, it is the cop-out, generic go-to of all draft tips but it is not stressed enough. What is the point of playing if you are not enjoying it?

While drafting can cause stress and disappointment, if you follow these draft tips and prepare yourself fully then you can enjoy the game more!

Now on to preparation with some rankings and a recap of the FSTA experts draft.

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Michael Tomlin
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Michael Tomlin

Michael Tomlin is an ESPY-nominated, former college football player who stays associated with the game through Fantasy Sports. He has been writing his personal blog, Dirkland.blogspot.com, for three years and it focuses on Fantasy Sports, as well as handicapping. He was born and raised in the DFW Metroplex, and he follows all of the Dallas teams, along with Texas Tech athletics and Manchester City F.C.
Michael Tomlin
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