Whether you’re a first-time player or a seasoned vet, everyone needs to go into their fantasy draft with a strategy.
Here are a few tips and tricks to help you build a stacked roster that will have your opponents dreading every matchup with you.
Draft a running back early
With one or both of your first two picks, try and snag one of the top running backs. The position isn’t as important as it used to be in the NFL, so there’s a considerable drop-off once the best guys go off the board. You can find good value at wide receiver and quarterback later in the draft, so if you have the chance to get a Saquon Barkley, Christian McCaffrey or Alvin Kamara-type, go for it. Even if your decision is to pick between Julio Jones and James Connor, go with the back. You won’t regret it.
Don’t pick a quarterback until the fifth round
It’s a pass-happy league, so you’re more than likely to find a productive quarterback from the fifth round on. While it’d be nice to have Patrick Mahomes or Andrew Luck on your roster, save your starting spot for guys like Russell Wilson and Carson Wentz. Suring up your running backs and receivers should be your first priority. A good quarterback will be there for you after that’s done.
Look for handcuffs of top backs
Teams that have premiere running backs usually use them quite a bit. Their offense is centered around a good running back, so you’ll want to target their backups if those top guys go down with an injury. If you don’t get lucky with your drafted running back core, you might be able to make up for it by inheriting a starter in the middle of the season.
Either draft a top defense or don’t pick one at all
Let’s say you’re happy with your skill players, you got a good quarterback in the middle rounds and you have a chance to take a top defense. If the Bears or Jaguars are available, take them instead of a third or fourth RB/WR. If you can’t get a top defense, then just don’t draft one. Good performances out of defenses these days are predicated on matchups, so take a close look at a team’s schedule and pick your defense up off of waivers if you can’t draft one of the elites.
Draft your rival’s best players
This is a no-lose strategy if you ask me. If you pick your least favorite teams’ best players and they do well, you have a big year in fantasy. If they don’t, then you can relish in their failures and the fantasy losses won’t hurt as much. This basically gives you an extra avenue to complain about your favorite team’s biggest rivals. Who’s not looking for more of those?
Don’t pick a top tight end
Using a high draft pick on a tight end in fantasy drafts is one of the biggest mistakes you can make. Not only are tight ends injury-prone due to their occasional blocking responsibilities, the best players at that position rarely produce at the same level as third or fourth tier receivers and running backs. You’re better off getting as many productive skill players as possible and then picking a tight end like Jared Cook, Trey Burton or Eric Ebron.
Don’t worry about bye weeks
Throwing away one week of the season because most of your best players have the same bye may sting, but it won’t matter in the grand scheme of things. If you have a better roster because you ignored bye weeks, then you won’t have to worry about basically forfeiting a game because you’ll probably be 6-1 when that week comes around.
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