Fantasy football draft-day do's, don'ts as you build dominant roster

USATSI/NBC Sports Bay Area

Fantasy football draft-day do's, don'ts as you build dominant roster

So you're joining a fantasy football league. Congratulations.

Before you get started, remember to kiss your loved ones and tell them you will see them in a few months. Just kidding -- kind of.

But I do want to give you some do's and don't when it comes to your league. This is not a post to tell you who or who you shouldn't start, but an overall mentality to use going into your draft day this season.


Pay. Attention. To. Bye. Weeks.

You're probably reading this thinking "well, duh," but you would be surprised how many people get so caught up in their draft they forget they have multiple players who are sitting out on a bye week and they scrambling to look at the waiver wire that doesn't have the players they really need.

But trades are always fun. And I'm even an advocate for bringing some of the trades off the computer like mowing the lawn or paying for a few rounds of drinks.

But that's it. Don't go offering up firstborns for Christian McCaffrey.

When drafting, remember your RBs are your BFFs

When heading into draft day, your Saquon Barkleys and Le'Veon Bells are going to need back up at those positions. And don't get too caught up in the ADP rankings with some of those sleeper picks when it comes to those scenarios (I'll go more into depth with ADP's later). Sleepers are there to surprise you, as you then spend the rest of your Sunday, or Monday at work, being the big man or woman on campus.

Pay your dues

Being a commissioner for a fantasy football league absolutely sucks. It's that person who decided to have fun and round up those close to them -- whether geographically close or not -- and they are in charge of setting everything up. Make it easy on them by paying the buy-in you promised.

Seriously, don't be a butthead.

Participate in mock drafts

Oh hell yes -- be nerdy about it.

This can help in many ways. For instance, you can get a better understanding of a player's value as it pertains to the overall roster and performance. It helps with the fluctuations as well. It's also a big bonus when it comes to the rookies you'll be working with and against once the season begins. You can get a slight edge knowing how they will fare.

It can help with your timing as well if you're doing a snake format.

There also are billions of mocks online that you can view to give you that extra boost of confidence.

Pay attention during the draft

This is mainly for the ones that you have to do from your computer.

I've been to live drafts where a majority of us were present, but we had to depend on Chris and Brian who were across the country and doing the draft on their computer. We weren't physically there to tell Chris and Brian to pay attention and they would usually make their pick at the last minute which left us waiting.

Obviously, you don't want to rush them either. But you get where I'm going with this.


I put this is in caps because it's important.

Twitter is perfect for this. Stay up to date on injuries, starters, match-ups, Antonio Brown #HelmetGate2019 and everything else. I usually put my Twitter notifications on during these times from Adam Schefter, Field Yates, Marcas Grant, Dave Richard, Liz Loza, etc.

There are so many people out there who can keep you up to date, but be careful -- this is also the time of year where everyone dubs themselves a "fantasy football expert." But stay in the lines when it comes to Twitter etiquette (I have some tips on that as well.)


Arrive empty-handed

If you're physically going to a draft party or event-- bring something. A bottle of wine, a casserole, chips and dip -- anything. 

This is just being polite.

@ players on Twitter

Do not. AND I REPEAT -- DO NOT mention players on Twitter in a negative sense.

Don't be that guy or girl who yells at you-know-who because he didn't gain enough yards to have you beat your college roommate who you still hold a grudge against because they ended up with the person you were eyeing and never had the guts to ask out.

Once again, don't do this.

Rely heavily on ADP

ADP (average draft position) is an amazing tool for measurement, but I sometimes view it as a popularity contest. Kind of like depending on average weekly fantasy points. It's a good thing to look at, but you have to look at the entire picture. Plus, it makes you look like you know what you're talking about.

We all like that.

ADP can't measure heart. ADP doesn't measure redemption games. ADP doesn't measure whether a guy is starting or sitting that week.

Yeah, that sounded Nicholas Sparks-y, but you get it. 

Do anything stupid in your draft

The regular rules apply -- go with the running backs first and foremost and go from there with your wide receivers and your tight ends will eventually follow. This, of course, is pertaining to those standard fantasy football formats.

And make sure you are aware of the rounds.

I don't care that you're a huge New England Patriots fan or that you were born in Baltimore (yeah, I made that personal) so you have to take a chance on Lamar Jackson early in the draft.

Stick to the normal rules. Don't make it weird. 

Auto Draft

I get it, things come up. Your wife went into labor, your boyfriend planned date night when he knew you had previous engagements.

You can't reschedule bringing a precious baby angel into the world, but you can reschedule date night -- unless you don't mind her being on her phone the entire night when the deep-fried ravioli is brought to the table. By the time dessert comes out, you have barely made eye contact and your fantasy team will be the least of your worries. 

If not, pay someone a few bucks to stand in for you. But you better trust them. Don't have your cousin draft Tom Brady in the first round. I don't care if he starts having running back yard-gaining abilities and can catch like Davante Adams all of a sudden. 

Forget this is fun

We all love a little competition. I see the way some of you play slow pitch softball, it's quite terrifying. But this is fun -- that's the entire point of it. 

Also, don't forget to take a break from it once in a while and enjoy your real life. This is fantasy football. 

On that note, don't forget to have a prize in addition to the pool money at the end of the season -- and that's making sure the loser suffers.

If you need any ideas on that front, just ask me.


More fantasy football draft kit content

Joe Staley, 49ers give virtual graduation ceremony to class of 2020

Joe Staley, 49ers give virtual graduation ceremony to class of 2020

Joe Staley retired this offseason after 13 years with the 49ers, but on Saturday, he gave The Faithful of all ages a special parting gift. 

The 49ers held a 38-minute virtual graduation ceremony for those of all ages in the class of 2020. Whether you're a young fan moving up to junior high, you graduated high school or even college, the Niners had a message for you. 

No message was greater than Staley's. Decked in a cap and gown, the former Pro Bowl left tackle gave the official commencement speech

“Good evening students, faculty, friends, family, and 49ers Faithful," Staley started his speech. "I’m Joe Staley, proud student of Rockford High School and Central Michigan University. Oh, and former offensive lineman for the San Francisco 49ers.

"I am here tonight to extend my congratulations to the class of 2020. You did it!"

[49ERS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

The 35-year-old went on to send a great message regarding his retirement and how it relates to graduates. 

"Just a few weeks ago, after playing in 192 NFL games, I decided to hang up my cleats. So, I know first-hand how hard it is to close a chapter and open a new one during this chaotic and uncertain time," Staley said. "But I also know we will get through this and come out stronger. Being able to move forward and graduate despite the hurdles that this pandemic has thrown your way, speaks to your resilience.

"Whether you’re leaving elementary, middle, high school, college, or vocational school -- hold your head high, be proud, and know that you are ready for this. You’ve prepared hard and now it’s time to get out there and make your dreams come true." 

In addition to Staley, coach Kyle Shanahan, general manager John Lynch and many others gave inspiring messages. Jerry Rice and Steve Young even stopped by to celebrate. 

[RELATED: York, 49ers commit $1M to organizations for social change]

This year's graduating class, no matter what age or school, dealt with extremely tough circumstances. Watching Staley address so many with such a positive outlook is just another glimpse of what he meant to the 49ers' locker room. 

Staley made strong, lifelong impressions on countless teammates. The same can be said for what he did for 49ers fans as well.

Why 49ers might trade Dee Ford to make room for George Kittle extension

Why 49ers might trade Dee Ford to make room for George Kittle extension

Dee Ford was an instrumental part of the 49ers’ dominant defensive line in 2019. Ford collected 6.5 sacks and forced two fumbles as San Francisco’s front seven fueled a trip to Super Bowl LIV.

But with a massive contract extension expected for All-Pro tight end George Kittle and the significant payday already extended to Arik Armstead this offseason, the Niners’ front office is facing some potential salary cap constraints.

Bleacher Report’s Brent Sobleski posed that one solution for the 49ers could be to find a trade partner for Ford and his $15.8 million 2020 cap hit.

[49ERS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

San Francisco currently has $15.7 million in available cap space, but Kittle and this year’s rookie class remain unsigned. Spotrac estimates that the five-player 2020 draft class will account for just over $7 million in cap space.

Kittle’s agent has remained steadfast in his belief that his client shouldn’t be viewed as a tight end in negotiations, likely meaning he will be seeking well over $10 million per season. Hunter Henry of the Los Angeles Chargers currently is the NFL’s highest-paid tight end at a $10.6 million base salary for 2020.

[RELATED: Former 49ers All-Pro Aldon Smith discusses winding journey back to NFL]

Ford did experience some injury troubles during the 2019 season, missing most of training camp and several games late in the season with knee and hamstring issues.

The 49ers traded a 2020 second-round pick last March to acquire and then sign Ford to a five-year, $87.5 million contract extension. 

If San Francisco could work out a deal to trade Ford, it would greatly diminish the front office’s cap troubles. But Ford’s talent is no joke, as he led the NFL with seven forced fumbles during his last fully healthy season in 2018.

Obviously Kittle’s extension needs to be the 49ers’ top priority, but trading Ford might be the cost to awarding the tight end a record-breaking new deal.