With the NFL preseason underway, it's time to think about your
fantasy draft and how you will prepare for the big day. Here are
some recommended do's and don'ts.
Do have fun. Draft Day
is the best day of the year ... well except for the day you clinch
the title. It's even more fun if you and your fellow owners can
make a full day of it. In one of my leagues we have a golf outing
before we sit down to draft and the golf (and beer) bring out
the trash talk early and often.
Do gather as much information
as you need, whether it's through the Internet, magazines
Don't, however, bring too much information
to the draft. It's ok to read and listen as much as you
can, but make it simple on Draft Day. Have a list of all eligible
players and put your notes there. This shouldn't be more than
a couple of pages at most. Too much info and you spend more time
trying to find a name than paying attention to the flow of the
Don't pay too much attention to preseason.
Except for injuries, there is nothing you will learn when a starting
quarterback plays against a guy who will end up on the practice
squad or cut. Here were the leaders from the 2014 preseason -
Mettenberger, RB Lorenzo
Taliaferro, and WR Allen
Do get involved in a mock draft prior
to your most important draft. It helps you get a grasp
of what other fantasy owners are thinking.
Do try an auction. There are
many advantages, particularly if you have a favorite player. He
might already be drafted ahead of your pick in a "snake" draft,
but in an auction he can be yours with just a little patience
and solid financial planning.
Don't be afraid to trade a draft choice. Now is not the
time to sit back when you see an opening. If an owner has made
a tactical mistake, don't let the "other" guy profit.
Do take a chance at least once in the draft, either by
picking a relative unknown or drafting a player you really believe
will blossom, a round too early. Nothing is worse than knowing
a player will have a breakout year and waiting too long to pull
the trigger, then watching all season as someone else reaps the
rewards. Le'Veon Bell was a third-round selection, the 14th running
back off the board, in 2014 (ADP 28.7), but finished as the best
fantasy back in the league. How much better would your team have
been if you had chosen Bell in the second round?
On the other hand, don't overestimate
rookies. Randy Moss (69 - 1,313 yards - 17 TDs), Odell
Beckham (91 - 1,305 - 12) and Eric Dickerson (390 rushes, 1,808
yards - 18) are the exceptions, not the rule. Most times a rookie
will be slowly worked into the lineup as the head coach gains
confidence in the first- year player's abilities. The best rookie
running back from 2014, Jeremy
Hill, produced just 242 yards through the first seven games
of the season, before finishing the final nine games with 929
yards and six scores. In keeper leagues - ignore this paragraph.
Do make sure your league commissioner
is strong and fair. Nothing can destroy a league faster
than a "questionable" trade being allowed or an owner bypassing
a gray area in the rules. On the other hand, if lineups are due
at 12 p.m. and a lineup arrives by e-mail at 12:03 with no advantage
being gained in the slight delay, sometimes the intent is more
important than ruling with an "iron fist." We're all here to have
Don't get drunk. Yes, we're
here to have fun, but being the blubbering idiot who tries to
Rodgers in the 18th round is annoying to the other fantasy
Do set your lineup every week,
even if your team has suffered massive injuries and isn't competitive
anymore. It's tough, but your fellow owners will appreciate your
dedication and some day down the road the good karma created here
may help you win a title when an "out-of-contention" team knocks
off your competition in the "Upset of the Century."
If you don't get the player you wanted
in the first round, don't panic. First- round picks aren't
guaranteed to have a big year. Evaluating 2014, nine of the top-10
ADP selections weren't in the top-10 at season's end. That included
No. 1 overall LeSean McCoy, who finished 45th in my Yahoo league,
No. 2 Adrian
Peterson and his off-the-field issues and total failure Montee
Ball. Half of the top-10 from 2014 finished 45th or worse
in the final standings. Your draft is rarely won in the first
few rounds; it's more about finding diamonds-in- the-rough in
the mid-to-late rounds.
Don't forget to read about the latest
news and winning strategies from the folks at Fantasy Football
Today (shameless plug).
Steve Schwarz served as the fantasy sports editor of The Sports Network and is the 2014 FSWA Football Writer of the Year.