Fantasy Advice

5 Last Minute Draft Tips

By August 28, 2014No Comments

If you’re like me (and I assume you’re at least like me in that you play fantasy football), you’re fully in the swing of fantasy draft season. It’s a joyous time, a hectic time, and a stressful time all in one. Everyone’s got a plan leading up to the draft, but sometimes either nervousness or an excess of booze makes us lose our heads come draft night and completely go off script.

That’s what this article is for. You won’t find any individual player analysis in here (except for this: Gronk is really good), but you will find some general rules for keeping cool and succeeding in your draft. Let’s get to it!

#1: Be Flexible

It’s great to go into the draft with a strategy and a list of players you’d like to target. It’s not great to be so locked into your strategy that you refuse to adapt to the flow of your draft. Say you want to start off RB-RB, and you’ve got the second pick in a 12-team league. That’s great. You’ve got a plan. You take Jamaal Charles with the 2nd pick, so the plan is off to a roaring start.

When the 23rd pick comes around, though, 16 of the first 22 off the board have been running backs. If you stick to to your strategy, you grab the 17th running back (Reggie Bush? Alfred Morris? Toby Gerhart?) off the board. If you’re being flexible, you decide that this draft just isn’t right for RB-RB, and you take the 6th WR off the board (Julio Jones? Brandon Marshall?). Sure, you deviated from your original plan, but you increased your returned value for that 2nd round pick by a lot. Don’t be afraid to stray from the plan when the draft dictates it.

#2: Don’t Let Anyone Get in Your Head

Whether you’re in a live draft or just hanging out in the draft chat room, shit talk is a must on draft day. And your leaguemates will come after you. They will tell you that your third-round pick is terrible, and you’ll be lucky to get 5 points a week from him. Don’t listen to them, don’t let them rattle you, and continue to work your draft the way you want. If you’re reading this article, you’re probably smarter than them anyway.

#3: Don’t Make Picks To Spite Your Leaguemates

This seems obvious, but I’ve seen it happen before. It’s coming up to your pick, and you realize that the guy picking after doesn’t have a tight end, There’s one good one left on the board. You already have a tight end, but you could really screw this guy’s team up by stealing this tight end from under his nose. Don’t do it. You’ll only end up screwing your own team up.

You should ALWAYS be drafting to optimize your own team, not to make anyone else’s worse. Now, if you’ve got a coinflip decision between Desean Jackson and TY Hilton, and the guy picking after you is a Colts fan, then take TY every time. It’s a player that you want, and it’ll probably piss him off. That’s called a win-win. Picking just out of spite, though, will never work out for you. It will only make your team worse.

#4: Know Your ADPs

I love Ray Rice this year. I think he could be a  top-10 back, even with the 2-game suspension. Am I going to take him in the 3rd round? Hell no. Why? I can get him in the 5th. Just because you think a guy is great doesn’t mean you should take him as high as you can. Sure, reaching a round or so on a guy you like is fine, but make sure you have the ADP or every player (in drafts that are the same format as your league) in front of you on draft day.

You could love Mike Wallace in the 4th round, but why would you take him there when you can still grab him three rounds later? Even if he becomes a top-10 receiver, you’re not drafting optimally. By taking Wallace in the 4th instead of the 6th, you’re giving yourself Wallace and Chris Johnson ( a 6th round back) instead of Wallace and Reggie Bush (a 4th round back). Having a good grasp on ADP is a key to any successful draft.

#5: Relax

Kick back. Have a beer or seven. If you’ve done your homework, there’s no reason to panic. If you’re a ball of nerves the whole time, you’re probably not going to have a great draft. Just calm down and trust you’re going to have a great draft. You’ll probably do just that.

You Can Do This

Draft day is meant to be fun. If you’re prepared, it totally will be. Just keep these five things in mind, and I guarantee you’ll be fine. These aren’t groundbreaking realizations, but they are mistakes that even the best of us can make on draft day. So when you find yourself trying to mess up your best friend’s draft at the expense of your own, think of this article. You’ll be glad you did.

Think ADP is for suckers? Need to be tense as all hell to have a good draft? Let me know! As always, I’d love to talk fantasy football. Have a great draft, friends.

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Nick Walsh