10 Fantasy Football Draft Tips for 2016

Sunday, Aug 28, 2016 at 12:00 pm ET

The season is right around the corner and drafts are heavily underway. If your draft is coming up, here are some tips and news that you need to know before you start putting guys into your Player Queue.

10 Fantasy Football Draft Tips for 2016

1. Understand the difference between price and value

As Warren Buffett once said, "Price is what you pay. Value is what you get." Let me demonstrate how that applies to fantasy football. Let's say you spent a 2nd-round pick last year on Russell Wilson and another person spent a 9th-round pick on Blake Bortles. Using last year's numbers, Wilson contributed an average of 21 points per game. Bortles contributed an average of 19.6 points per game. Is that 1.4 extra points per game worth the price that you had to pay to draft him to get a QB seven rounds sooner? That's the question you have to ask yourself before you click that Draft button.

Knowing the depth at the QB position, you could have grabbed a running back instead where the drop-off between tiers in that position is more significant. Bortles had much more value relative to the price that you had to pay.

2. Know Your Scoring

I can't stress this one enough and I see it happen every year. If your league gives points for receptions (PPR or 1/2 pt PPR), certain players are going to be more valuable than others. If your league starts 2 quarterbacks or gives 6 points for a passing touchdown, those players will be more valuable.

Know your scoring before you enter the draft room.

3. Mix safety with sexy

Larry Fitzgerald and Allen Hurns weren't sexy picks last year, but both guys delivered consistent results. They are pretty reliable in that way which makes them safer picks, but nobody wins it all playing it 100% safe. There are times when that sexy pick can make or break your team. The key is finding them and taking the risk of spending a roster spot.

Remember that in 2014, Le'Veon Bell was labeled a "bust" by ESPN before the season began and barely made RB3 status, yet he went on to become the single most dominate running back that year. Odell Beckham Jr. was barely drafted two seasons ago, and we need only look at the 2016 Madden cover to know how that turned out!

Don't be afraid to take a flier on a guy you think has the potential to be something. When your league laughs at your pick, just remember all the laughter when Bell and OBJ were drafted. It doesn't matter who laughs in the preseason. Week 16 is all that counts.

4. Ditch the magazines

If you're using a magazine to help you draft this year, you're better off taking your money and giving it to charity. Your money is as good as gone, but at least with the charitable donation someone who really needs it can put it to good use. Listen, we've all used magazines in the past, but as time-honored as that tradition might be, it's like using AOL's 56K dial-up service to get connected to the Internet. If you use the rankings from Fantasy Football Nerd, we are updating those every single day. Trades...injuries...suspensions...those things all get factored into dynamic player values. The moment a magazine goes to print, that's it folks, and keep in mind that most of those articles are written well before it goes to print. It's as outdated as 56K. Besides, if you're going to spend 8 or 9 bucks on an out-of-date magazine that you can only use for the draft, why not spend $11.95 on an FFN Premium subscription and get access to draft and weekly tools all season long?

5. Be Flexible

No, you don't have to be a master in yoga, but you do have to be flexible when it comes to your draft. Every year I get questions from FFN members who want to know what I think about their draft strategy. Should I go RB/RB or WR/WR? The answer is that it depends. It's helpful to do a mock draft to get an idea of where guys will likely fall, but no mock draft will ever perfectly replicate your actual draft. You may have a RB/RB strategy going in, but if Antonio Brown, Julio Jones, or Dez Bryant are staring you in the face after all the Tier 1 running backs are off the board, you need to pivot and take an elite WR instead. The point differential between a Tier 1 WR and a Tier 2 RB can be significant. Have a plan, but be prepared to take what the draft gives you.

6. Players on the same team

I've watched people pass over players because they feel like they have too many from the same team. The logic generally flows something like this: half my team will be on bye at the same time and if the team does poorly, they'll all do poorly. When I hear that, I like to sit the person down and regale them with fantastic stories about the 2007 New England Patriots and the 2013 Denver Broncos. In both examples, I played in leagues where someone did have a roster full of those players including Tom Brady, Randy Moss, Wes Welker, Ben Watson, Laurence Maroney, and Sammy Morris for the Pats and Peyton Manning, Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker, Julius Thomas, and Knowshon Moreno for the Broncos. Guess what? Each guy lost the week that those teams were on bye, but they completely dominated every...single...other...week. The playoffs were a breeze for them.

7. Sh!t on your neighbor

This is one of my personal favorites and it comes from a card game that I was taught as a young child. Regardless of the name (I've also heard it called Screw Your Neighbor), it's a fun game that any age group can play and it's all about making things difficult for the person on your left. In this case, it's about the person who is drafting immediately after you. The tactic works like this: get your Player Queue lined up before it's your turn to pick. You should have two or three players ranked in the order that you'd like to take them. When it's your turn to pick, grab the top-ranked guy in your queue and draft right away. The person drafting after you generally assumes that he/she has 60 seconds or so to make any final decisions about his/her next pick. By picking quickly, you are forcing the clock on them. People have a general fear of running out of time and auto-picking. Play on that fear and watch as their heart rate increases. Hopefully this forces them to rush into their pick.

8. Take the Best Available Player

Think you need to fill your roster right away? Think again. I haven't had the luxury of drafting Rob Gronkowski or Jordan Reed on any of my teams, so what's the point in rushing to get a tight end? The same can be said about Aaron Rodgers and Cam Newton. I don't own either so why would I rush to get a QB just to fill out my roster? Take the best available player on the board. If that's another running back or wide receiver and your QB spot is unfilled, so be it. Trust me, reaching is only good for getting things on really high shelves. It's not for fantasy football drafts.

9. Draft a kicker LAST

Seriously - if you draft a kicker before the final round, you're in trouble. Given the point contributions, prediction difficulties, and relative variances, I have yet to hear a coherent, logical argument for drafting one before the final round. Oh, and you only need 1. Seriously - drop the one you have and pick another one up on the waiver wire if you have to. That extra roster spot should be spent on another skilled position player.

10. Be Prepared

Yes, FFN is an awesome tool to have, but what if your Internet connection goes down? What if you drop your tablet or laptop as you're reaching for your favorite beverage? What if Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are fighting on your front lawn while aliens are overhead beaming random people aboard their spaceships? Who knows what's going to happen on draft day?!? Be prepared by printing out our fantasy football cheatsheet and taking that with you. Yeah, it's old school, but it's definitely more timely than a magazine, and just like that condom you kept in your wallet all throughout high school, it's best to be prepared for the moment.

Finally speaking of moment - enjoy yours! We talk about things like strategy and which guys to target and when, but rarely do we talk about the fun part of the game. After all, we're not all in it for the money, right? Right? Right?

Have fun! Throw some smack talk. The social aspect of fantasy football is one of the best parts of the game! Trust me - it won't be long before December is here and fantasy season is over.

Good luck in your draft!

Join the Discussion

Brunoboys1 CommentedOct 27, 2016 11:00 am

Such an interesting post! Thank you for sharing valuable tips and information about Fantasy Football Draft.

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