No Luck Needed: Fantasy Championships Start with a Great Draft
2016 Fantasy Football Draft Domination
If you are reading this you’re most likely well underway with your fantasy draft preparation. You have studied or looked at fantasy rankings, you’ve done more mock drafts than you care to admit, and maybe even taking part in a few smaller leagues for practice.
If you’ve not already been researching and planning for your draft(s) then I can only assume you plan on grabbing a magazine from your local 7-Eleven an hour before and that do your best to wing it.
Fantasy football drafting is easy right? -You’re just going to follow the ADP from the magazine that you wasted money on that was written in May or June, because it’s all just a game of luck right…well isn’t it?
Nothing could be further from the truth.
Fantasy Championships start with a great draft and a great draft starts with ample preparation, focus during your draft, and the ability to be flexible during you draft.
Draft Day Preparation
I cannot emphasize enough the importance of preparing for your draft. Preparation comes in many forms and lucky for you the internet is abundant with information.
Personally, I use a few different Fantasy premium services for all of my advanced studying and without being too biased, I strongly believe that Gridiron Experts premium memberships are extremely undervalued. We are so confident in our rankings, cheat sheets, projections, custom guides, and premium articles that we will fully refund your membership within seven days if you are not satisfied. I can speak for the Gridiron Experts team when I say we will be happy to answer your questions as long as we are not too busy preparing for our own drafts. Gridiron Experts can provide you with all of your drafting needs but be versatile and consume as much fantasy football content as you can.
Mock drafting is an underutilized tool that maximizes your ability to be ready for anything on draft day.
Your goal should be to have mocked from each slot position that you may encounter on draft day. If you are in a ten team league you should mock at least once from each spot. The more you mock the more comfortable you will be. The last thing you want to do is go into your draft and land a pick that you are completely unprepared for. If you have mocked from all slots you will be ready and confident rather than panic. Panic leads to poor decisions and poor decisions lead to poor drafting. With that said, bear in mind that you must treat a mock like a mock and take it for what it is. If you have already begun mock drafting (I certainly hope you have), then you already know there are people out there who like to have “fun” and take Tim Tebow in the first round. This throws off the entire draft and frustrates people who are in there for serious business. Have fun when you are mock drafting, but don’t be the troll who pulls a Tebow.
After you have a solid understanding of rankings and have mocked until you dropped, take it a step further and come up with your own rankings to guide you on draft day. There will inevitably be players that you are higher or lower on based on personal taste and gut feelings. Use the resources available to you to get an idea of where players are going, but come draft day you will need to rely on your research combined with your own intuition to make the right decisions.
It is very easy to panic or second guess yourself during your draft. Maybe you planned to take a quarterback with a late round pick but all of a sudden there is a fifth round quarterback run. You panic so you draft Philip Rivers five rounds sooner than you should and you instantly regret it. Do not be that person at your draft. Remember, you have well prepared yourself for this day and you know better than to jump off course. Remain focused and remain confident in yourself and your abilities. In a typical draft you have less than two minutes to make your pick. It is so easy to hit the panic button when you see that clock turn red at the 30 second mark. Preparation and focus will eliminate those feelings of panic.
It is also important to not just focus on yourself but on the rest of the draft partners. Pay attention to what your league mates are doing. It is as equally advantageous for you to not just know yourself but to also know who you are drafting with. If you notice early on that you are in a running back heavy draft then the lightbulb should go off for you that receiver value should be coming your way. If you are in a league with a total homer who is going to reach for a player on their favorite team then you should use that knowledge to your advantage. Focus on the task at hand to dominate your draft and like anything else in life, be keenly aware of your surroundings.
I’ve just preached to you the importance of being prepared and staying focused. I also mentioned that you have to pay attention to your fellow drafters, but you should not follow their trends. I emphasized the importance to stick to your guns and trust your preparation. I am now going to tell you that you need to be flexible during your draft. Remember that mention of not jumping if there is a run on a position? In a situation like that I certainly recommend that you zig when everyone else zags in order to land value, but you need to be flexible. A run on a position could also leave you with lackluster talent so if it makes sense for you then go with the flow. Make those decisions with confidence rather than panic induced impulse.
It is also important to mention rankings and ADP in terms of flexibility. Let’s say it is the fifth round and you decide you need to add depth at the running back position. You are really high on Chris Ivory but you are not sure you want to “overdraft” him. Throw that thought right out the window. Rankings and ADP are meant as a guide, not as a rigid step by step regiment of who/when you can draft. In order to win your draft you are may have to reach for players that you are high on. Finding the superstar of your draft is how you will win your draft and you will want to pounce on that player before your opponents do. Do not be deterred by a players ADP or rank. Trust your instincts.
At this point your goal should be for you to be well prepared for your draft, over prepared even. This will allow you to remain focused during your draft. Your focus will lock you into the task at hand, which will give you the flexibility to adapt to your draft. This will all allow you to have a great draft. You cannot simply rely on luck or the notion that you are going to wing it and pick all the right players. Your draft is just the beginning of laying the pavement on your road to the fantasy Lombardi trophy. Working the waiver wire and being a savvy trade partner will further increase your chances of getting to the big game. A great draft is the beginning of your quest toward a championship.