It's that time of the year where football season is about to begin. That also means the start of fantasy football. Whether you are a veteran player or a rookie with no knowledge, this quick guide should help you out as you prepare for your draft and the season.
Check your league settings and rules
One major mistake that owners make is assuming every league they join has the same scoring settings. How a league scores points can drastically change the way you should draft. For example, a 6-point touchdown QB league means you should prioritize quarterbacks more compared to a 4-point passing touchdown league. A non-PPR league (for some reason these still exist) also devalues certain players that get high volume receptions and do not score often. A few other rules to look at are how waiver work, does your league use bonus points and how many bench spots you are allotted.
Learn through mock drafts
Practice makes perfect and that also goes for fantasy football. Be sure to select mock drafts that have similar settings, like number of teams, positions and type of draft. What I enjoy about mock drafts is the opportunity to see where players are being taken. A great advantage is if you know your draft position early, that way the preparation is even easier. You don’t even need to have a computer to do a mock draft anymore, apps have made it really easy for you to do it on your phone or tablet.
Learn what ADP is
ADP or Average Draft Position has become a very popular statistic people use when evaluating a fantasy football player. What it essentially means is it averages where each player is being taken in the drafts. For some it could be higher or lower than their actual rankings depending on the website you use. It can help you figure out if you are taking a player too early.
Take each player at their value THIS year
One thing fantasy football owners love to do is try and recreate their success from the season before. That usually means drafting a lot of the same players. But you can’t get caught up in the past! You need to look at each player year by year. Just because Adrian Peterson helped you get to the championship a few years ago, doesn’t mean he’ll do the same this year.
Load up on running backs and wide receivers
You can never have too much depth at these two positions. A great quarterback and tight end are also great additions to the team, but they aren’t as volatile or as likely to get injured during the season. The more depth you have at wide receiver and running back, the least likely your season will be ruined by a major injury.
Take a Quarterback late
Quarterbacks are usually the most important player on each team, but it doesn't mean you need to take them early. It'd be nice to get Patrick Mahomes or Deshaun Watson, but I'm here to tell you to focus on other positions first. Instead of using one of your first three to four round picks on a quarterback, get some value on other positions. Quarterback is the one position that has the most to choose from and you can get great ones late in the draft. Currently, Russell Wilson, Matt Ryan, Jared Goff, among others are being drafted late. Those are players you can win a championship with in your league.
Have a plan for the end of the draft
Sleepers are a big part of the fantasy football season. Those players are the ones that are flying under the radar and you're able to capitalize on it. The hardest part of the draft is the later rounds. Once you get in to those rounds, start picking players you think will have a break out year. At this point, the best players have been picked and it's up to you to find the diamonds in the rough. So make a list of some of those sleepers and start grabbing them at the end.
Turn on notifications
Notifications from your fantasy football apps can be helpful with injuries and transactions, but what if you could learn that information even earlier? One of the best kept secrets is following the popular football writers on Twitter and turning on notices for whenever they tweet. ESPN’s Adam Schefter or NFL Network's Ian Rapoport are great follows, they break a lot of NFL news. Writers can get you information on injuries, trades and depth chart changes before the apps. That'll allow you to grab players on the waiver wire first.
Try to take the preseason with a grain of salt
While many of us are excited football is back, you have to be able to watch preseason games without getting too high or too low on players. You must be aware of what level of players are in on both sides of the ball. Just because a player is tearing it up against the second and third team defenses, doesn’t mean it’ll translate to the regular season. That also goes for starters! A bad preseason for a star player doesn't mean it's going to continue into the regular season. Use the preseason as an eye test.
Don’t settle after your draft
While the draft process is an important one, it doesn’t mean you’ll win your league’s championship off the draft. Same goes for those that have poor drafts, you still have a whole season to improve your team. Whether it’s through the waiver wire or trades, your team can always improve no matter where you are in the standings.