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Drafting From The Top

Posted by zewkey on August 31, 2007

by Mike MacGregor

You lucky S.O.B.! You landed the #1 pick in the draft. There hasn’t been this much consensus in the #1 overall pick since, well, let’s see…

  • 2006: Larry Johnson, Shaun Alexander, and LaDainian Tomlinson interchanged the top 3
  • 2005: Tomlinson, Priest Holmes, Alexander
  • 2004: Tomlinson, Holmes
  • 2003: Ricky Williams, Tomlinson – Ricky? Is that right? Yep, 2,200 yards and 17 TD the year before.
  • 2002: Marshall Faulk

The #1 PickExclusive Expert Analysis at Yahoo! Fantasy Football

Its been half a decade since everyone agreed who the #1 pick is. Congratulations. Ah, but you can’t rely on LT and a team of Drew Bennetts’ to get you to the Championship. You still need to know what to do after locking down LT, and that is what we’re going to cover here.

What’s that? You didn’t get the #1 pick, but wound up with the 2nd, 3rd, 4th or 5th pick in the draft? Well boohoo for you. Before you think you’d be better off drafting towards the bottom, understand that is a complete cluster at that end of the draft. You’re in the top half, so consider yourself lucky (just not as lucky as the S.O.B.’s reading this who have the 1st pick).

For the purpose of this discussion we’ll generally assume a 12 team league with normal performance scoring (1 per 20 PaYd, 4 per PaTD, 1 per 10 Ru/ReYd, 6 per Ru/ReTD) with comments thrown in regarding the ever more popular point-per-reception leagues. For those in the 6 per PaTD camp, the difference is not going to be as significant as you might think, but that explanation is for another time. Now let’s get to work.

Sportsbook

Round 1

RB Plan – You have a top 5 pick, you’re taking a RB. Manning? No. But? No, just no. Take a RB. Don’t try to get “cute” by taking Manning unless you can start or flex a 2nd QB. Then I’d consider it, and still may not do it depending on the other starting requirements. We’re now entering the 3rd season since Manning’s 49 TD pass-fest, indicating it was the exception, not the norm.

I got Manning as a good deal in a couple leagues last year. That isn’t happening this year, as people are seeing a bigger difference between the top half and bottom half starting QB. People got burned by the old “wait on a QB” theory last year, but the main reason for that is because they finally took it too far. Did anyone really think Kurt Warner was going to last the season this time last year? My feeling now is people are taking it too far the other way, overpaying for a QB. And with regards to Manning in the 1st, you’re giving up too much at other positions when there are still good QB on the board to be had later.

Now on to which RB to pick. We’ve already established the 1.01, and 1.02 has a very strong consensus as well.

  • 1.01 LaDainian Tomlinson, SD
  • 1.02 Steven Jackson, STL

The next 3 to form out the top 5 are much more debatable, and even at 5 there are very good arguments to put a few others in place of these guys.

  • Joseph Addai
  • Frank Gore
  • Larry Johnson

Not so much red flags, but caution signs with each of these picks. Addai gets the “never carried a full load” label. Gore lost his genius offensive coordinator, and already has a broken hand bringing to the forefront his injury prone history. Larry Johnson’s back in the mix but even with that new contract, are we entirely comfortable with Johnson? Can he buck the heavy workload trend, and what about his sub-par supporting cast?

We’ve been thinking about these top player rankings since April, so at this point it is easy to pick apart each player by identifying their weaknesses. I can see strong arguments for Shaun Alexander, Brian Westbrook, Reggie Bush (in point per reception leagues) and even Travis Henry being considerations in this top group. Ultimately, we could write essays on these top picks and still have uncertainty about who should be taken at each spot.

The only right answer on who you should take with your top draft pick is in your own head and in your own gut. Man, that’s cheesy, but it’s true. The only certain advice I can give you is to take a RB with that pick.

Round 2

RB-RB Plan – You’ve got your RB in the 1st, and let’s assume the 5 listed above are the ones who went in the top 5. You aren’t even going to sniff these guys on the comeback in round 2, picks 2.08 to 2.12 (20 to 24 overall) in a 12 team league:

  • Shaun Alexander
  • Brian Westbrook
  • Reggie Bush
  • Willie Parker
  • Rudi Johnson
  • Travis Henry
  • Ronnie Brown
  • Laurence Maroney
  • Maurice Jones-Drew
  • Willis McGahee

Now that is a RB heavy draft, but true to form 15 of the first 19 picks are RB. The likely candidates to be taken with those other 4 picks are:

  • QB Peyton Manning
  • WR Steve Smith
  • WR Chad Johnson
  • RB Edgerrin James

James may be available depending how much your league-mates can overlook what still may very well be, the same old Cardinals. Usually someone will overlook it, and nab James. Smith and/or Johnson may be available if your league is completely RB obsessed, and instead drafted the likes of Clinton Portis, Cedric Benson or Brandon Jacobs in the mid-2nd. Manning may be available but probably not unless the league starts 7 or more RB/WR/TE versus only 1 QB, and is full of sharp owners.

So if you are set on RB-RB to anchor your team, you are looking to choose from:

  • Clinton Portis
  • Cedric Benson
  • Brandon Jacobs
  • Thomas Jones

Assuming full health, I still believe Portis is one of the top 5 RB in the league in terms of pure talent. The problem is he’s not at full health. Benson impressed me his opening preseason game, but he has 2 years of being a malcontent to overcome before I can completely trust him. Jacobs has great potential, but he clearly falls into the boom or bust category. Jones looks like a potential force on an underrated Jets team, but he’s already injured.If you have a top pick, then RB-RB is a viable plan. Stockpiling RB talent always falls into the “safe play” category. However, I see a clear drop-off from McGahee-James to these 4. You have to consider RB-RB, especially if a good value falls to you, but I’m not expecting it which is why I normally recommend RB-WR start to your draft.

RB-WR Plan – Unlike prior years, instead of only 2 or 3 top tier WR, we’re looking at 6 guys with an equally legitimate shot at finishing as the #1 WR in the land. However at this end of the draft it doesn’t change our strategy that much. If 2 are already gone before the 2.08, that leaves 4. If you drafted 5th overall, and pass on a WR here, then you’re giving the guys drafting 1st through 4th two shots each at cleaning out this WR group. And if you can’t bear to have one of these top 6 on your team like, oh, I don’t know, Terrell Owens (although I tell you, his interviews have been very tame this year with no garbage that usually comes with Owens), then maybe your own top tier is not 6, but 5 or 4 instead.

This is where it really helps to know the tendencies of the other guys in your league. If you want one of the next 4 RB listed above, and one of the top WR coming out of the 3rd round, you should be able to do that, if you play your cards right. I’m not suggesting sneaking into a fellow owner’s house and stealing his fantasy notes, but check old drafts to get a feel for what positions they put their emphasis on. Owners can be surprisingly consistent year to year.

All right, let’s get to these WR. After Steve Smith and Chad Johnson who went at the backend of the draft, these are the guys to contemplate:

  • Marvin Harrison
  • Torry Holt
  • Terrell Owens
  • Reggie Wayne

I love getting one of these top WR, especially if your league starts 3 WR, and even more so if it is a point per reception league. While it is certainly possible to build a WR corps with later draft picks, how good does it feel to drop one of these guys into your lineup every week regardless of matchup? That’s a no stress move if ever there was one in fantasy football.

People may be surprised I added Wayne to this group, but I strongly believe he belongs. In a couple drafts I’ve done he has slipped down into the latter part of the 3rd. I of course was drafting a little later in the 3rd each time, much to my chagrin.

RB-QB Plan – If Peyton Manning is still there in the mid to late-2nd round, many people would jump on it. I personally would not be overly enthused for reasons stated above, but at the same time he gets dangerously close to the “well, I pretty much have to take him at this point” category.

The great thing about Manning is that you can drop in the lineup for every week except the bye, and just watch the points roll in. This is in fact the most stress free move in fantasy football, but there is an opportunity cost here, which is why I list this as the third option to consider.

RB-TE Plan? – Only in a point per reception league would a person start thinking about who else is eyeing Antonio Gates, but the 2nd round is too early to nab him. He should last into the 3rd round. As Matt Waldman would point out, I do have an apparent obsession with adding Gates to my fantasy teams (Exhibits A, B, C… and D), but in every case I don’t think I went overboard on what I paid to get him (forgot to include Exhibits E and F). While Mr. Gut Check chases the “most physically talented [yet unproven] TE in the league“, I’ll take the sure thing in Gates on a great offense. But if even I’m saying don’t spend a 2nd round pick, then its probably a good idea to not spend your 2nd round pick on Gates.

Round 3

A lot of this will be the same as the round 2 discussion, with the small yet significant point that you will have to wait anywhere from 14 to 22 picks until your 4th rounder. First off, you are going to check if any of the players listed above as legitimate 2nd round picks are available. Don’t pull the trigger just yet. Coming out of this round, do we have to have 2 RB? Not necessarily, but understand the implications of not doing it. You will pretty much have to go back to RB with one of your 4th/5th round picks, and maybe both.

Do we have to have a WR on the team coming out of this round? Again, not necessarily but you should be really sure about the 1 or 2 non-RB/non-WR players you added to your roster, and also your ability to grab WR later. If your league starts 3, and you have none in your first 3 picks, then there is a high likelihood that you should take 2 WR in the 4th/5th.

What about having 3 RB through your first 3 picks? Even in leagues where you can flex a 3rd RB I’m not even sure this is a good idea. As your league reaches for more RB the deeper in your draft you go, they get a lot less reliable than the top players at other positions.

I’ll also add, if you find yourself wondering “am I drafting with idiots?” because of the apparently amazing value you’re getting on RB, then you might end up with the dunce cap later on. Inexperienced players may not know the “RB are gold” fantasy rule, so instead of the league draft going RB, RB, RB, RB (ad nauseam) the rookie owners start taking top QB, top WR, top TE. Maybe even a top K and DEF. These rooks surprisingly take you to the cleaners because while you were drafting “amazing value” backups at RB, they stocked their teams at other positions, won’t overpay trading for your backup RB later, and outscore you week after week. Sad, but true. I’ve seen It happen. Don’t outsmart yourself in cases like this.

Let’s run down the positions to consider adding from the 3.01 to 3.05 picks.

QB – Presumably Peyton Manning is already drafted, and not by you. The player most people are thinking about now is the one considered to have the best odds to beat Manning for the #1 QB spot by season’s end, Carson Palmer, with an ADP right in this area of the draft.If you really want a Tier 2 QB, then taking Palmer here looks about right, because all of Palmer’s similarly projected peers, Tom Brady, Drew Brees and Marc Bulger, are being drafted in the mid-3rd to mid-4th on average. That is your long turn, so you may not get any of them back with your 4th rounder.

Personally I really like Carson Palmer, but I would generally not draft him this year. Unless the first 2 rounds of the draft truly went according to my worst case scenario (all players taken that I like, left with scraps), there will be good choices at other positions I’d feel better about drafting first. Plus it is possible Bulger makes it back to the late 4th, and there is always Jon Kitna lasting to the 5th/6th (or later), Donovan McNabb and other “hold their own” choices (will be good enough at the QB position for you) much later.

RB or WR – Depending how RB obsessed and/or WR friendly your league is, you may have all of those choices at RB listed above in Round 3, or you could possibly have none of them. This could dictate what direction you go with your pick.

I’m going to recommend the tried and true, take the best player available strategy. If there are good WR that have slipped through the 2nd round, then grab them now. If there is a RB you are excited about still on the board, and you haven’t drafted 2 already, then go RB.

Let’s assume the first 19 picks were taken that we listed in the prior 2 rounds, down to Edgerrin James. Then Portis, Benson, Jones, Harrison and Holt make up the rest of Round 2. That leaves us with

  • Brandon Jacobs
  • Cadillac Williams
  • Deuce McAllister
  • Marshawn Lynch

and

  • Terrell Owens
  • Reggie Wayne
  • Roy Williams
  • Larry Fitzgerald

…and others of course. The thing is beyond Jacobs, the rest of those RB have a much later ADP than the value of your pick in the 3rd. This really looks like the WR round. If your league starts 2 RB and is not awarding a point-per-reception, then it is tough to justify coming out of this round with a RB-WR-WR roster.

Really look at your 2nd and 3rd picks as a package deal. What pair of players can you take in these rounds to maximize your potential and minimize the risk? Maybe if you are just as confident in Reggie Wayne or Roy Williams as your #1 WR instead of Harrison, Holt or Owens, then back in the 2nd round, go against my earlier recommendation to take a WR. Take a RB instead or even Peyton Manning if he lasted that long. Actually, that sounds pretty good to me having a top tier player at each of 3 positions QB-RB-WR. This is where it really pays to know your league scoring and starting lineup. Can you get away with this, or are 2 RB a must? Make sure you know the answer to this before your 2nd round pick.

TE – Antonio Gates is still there, and my trigger finger is twitching. In the standard setup I’m using for this article though, I don’t pull the trigger. If it is point-per-reception, then I strongly consider it. Many wouldn’t, and instead will recommend getting value in a Vernon Davis or Jason Witten much later. I really like Davis and Witten myself, and they certainly will come at a lesser cost per fantasy point, if that is the way you want to assess value.

What Gates brings to the table though is what I like to call “premium points”. These are points that vault him into an elite tier all himself, that ultimately are worth more because of the separation they create from all other players at his position. You have to pay extra for those. It may very well be worth it.

Will another TE put up points similar to Gates? Possible. Is Gates guaranteed to finish as the #1 TE this season? The only guarantee in fantasy football is that there are no guarantees. However, Gates offers a unique combination of premium points and at the same time is an extremely safe pick, offering more certainty he will hit his projected numbers and be a positive force in your lineup than a Brandon Jacobs or Cadillac Williams.

The safety of Gates is very similar to Peyton Manning. A rock solid, worry free piece of the puzzle. The difference for me though, which is why I’m shying away from Manning a little in this article, is I don’t see the same premium points potential from him. (Not to mention you’re unlikely to get Manning from one of these draft slots.) I can see I’m going to have to expand on this premium points idea some time. Getting back on track though, in non-PPR, Gates = no. In PPR, Gates = very possible.

Rounds 4 and 5

Here are some possible rosters you’ve acquired through 3 rounds:

Team A Team B Team C Team D

The Gore-Harrison-Gates combo is primed for a PPR league. The Johnson-Benson-Wayne is potentially devastating against opponents in a TD heavy league (and assuming a top QB slips back in the 4th).

The ADP varies a lot more from here on out, but time to give it a shot anyway and see what players do not make it back to us having been taken in the 3rd and early 4th round, for a total of 19 picks.

QBs RBs WRs TEs

It was quite the WR run, which is another reason why I put such importance on getting a top WR with either the 2nd or 3rd round pick. These other guys are trying to catch up to you, but they’re having a tough time of it since you already have a better 1st RB, a better 1st WR (other than perhaps the Chad Johnson and Steve Smith owners), and you may have a top tier player at QB (Palmer) or the top TE in Gates. Many of them will have a better 2nd RB than you, so let’s look at that first.

RB – Yikes, I mentioned Cadillac Williams back as someone to think about in the early 3rd, and he slipped all the way back to us in the 4th. Cadillac is similar to Kevin Jones when he was entering his third year, last year. Do we get the guy who ripped it up as a rookie, or the one who stumbled through his 2nd season when those late 1st round drafters (suckers) rolled the dice on him? These are the kind of decisions you need to make waiting to the 4th/5th for your 2nd RB. The choices aren’t too bad though, overall, and you do have an option to double up at RB here if you feel the value is right.

  • Cadillac Williams
  • Adrian Peterson (Vikings)
  • Marion Barber
  • Deangelo Williams
  • Ahman Green
  • Jerious Norwood
  • Jamal Lewis

Double up is not a bad option. There is no rule saying you have to draft all of your starters before your backups. Consider the likelihood of Adrian Peterson taking over the full-time job from Chester Taylor and lighting it up down the stretch. Also consider the likelihood of Ahman Green starting well but fading towards the end of the season as the games and carries on a sub-par team start to pile up. You have to balance your boom-or-bust picks with some steady, reliable guys – or what you expect to be reliable guys.

In a lot of leagues there will not be all of these guys available, because other teams have drafted more RB than my ADP data would indicate. In that case though you’ve been left with some better QB and WR choices from the above list.

QB – Hopefully Brees, Bulger or Brady are there for you. This would be a nice spot to take one of them and secure a quality starter at half the cost of Manning or Palmer. If these are all gone though, then consider these other two guys who have top 3 potential and are a notch up from a larger group of similarly projected QB.

  • Donovan McNabb
  • Jon Kitna

Of course, there is a greater risk with these guys which is why they are getting drafted into the 5th and even early 6th for Kitna. I’m one to tend to push the ADP on the QB position, and what I mean by that is, if I’m not getting a deal, then I’m not buying. So, McNabb I might consider here if I already secured 2 RB and I wasn’t that happy with the rest of the available choices for this pair of picks.

Kitna on the other hand, I would probably pass and just see how far he falls. If he comes back for the 6th/7th round, then great, let’s scoop him up then. If he doesn’t, then move on to the next QB tier and go bargain shopping there. Vince Young’s rushing yards start to look pretty good at that point.

This is not quite the same as the tried and true “wait on a QB to the end” strategy that many people have been preaching in recent years – which failed miserably in 2006. By all means take a top QB. Just don’t overpay for your QB.

WR – Lee Evans is available. Do me a personal favor and draft Lee Evans if he is available for you in the 4th or 5th round (assuming no other remarkable value falls to you). You won’t be disappointed. Well, I don’t think you will. No guarantees and all that. Here is the whole group of WR we’re looking at:

  • Lee Evans
  • Plaxico Burress
  • Hines Ward
  • Reggie Brown
  • Calvin Johnson
  • Deion Branch
  • Laveranues Coles
  • Santana Moss
  • Darrell Jackson

That is a good looking group of receivers to choose from. Yet another reason to thank the fantasy Gods for that early pick.

The only additional comment I’ll make here, after jumping off my Evans soapbox, is if you are keen to draft a guy like Calvin Johnson, make sure to get a steady veteran later you can count on. An Isaac Bruce or Derrick Mason type. Rookie WR do not have a good track record (with known exceptions of course), but Johnson is a rookie, and he could just as easily struggle as any other scenario. You need a guy you can slot in if Johnson does not pan out, or if it takes him a little while to get in gear.

Balance the boom or bust picks. All things being equal, you are almost assured you are overpaying for Johnson here. I don’t mind people taking risks, but take calculated risks and a steady vet in your WR4 spot will help mitigate the risk of having a boom or bust WR2 like Johnson.

TE – This will be a short discussion. Tony Gonzalez is going early 6th as the next TE off the board. I don’t even understand that given Gonzalez’s low TD numbers in 2006 (5) and 2005 (2). Vernon Davis is going mid-6th. Shockey late-6th. Then Heap and Winslow in the 7th. Anyway, it should be apparent that we won’t be drafting a TE in the 4th/5th.

DEF – Bears. Ravens. Yeah, these defenses are good. In most all leagues this is too early. Let’s revisit this in the 6th/7th round.

Rounds 6 and 7 and Beyond

We’ve got the core of our team through 5 rounds. Not all of our starters, but the group of players we are counting on the most. Now it is time to complement them with the remaining starters and quality backups. At this point I would expect most of our rosters consist of 2 RB, 2 WR and Gates or 1 QB or a 3rd RB.

I’m about to pass the 10 page mark on this draft plan, and should almost just turn it over to my tiering article to take it home, but let’s close with some quick comments at each position.

QB – The same applies as I wrote in the last section on QB. If you don’t have one, then look for a bargain. You don’t want to sleep on the position too long, but depending on how keen the others in your league are at grabbing their starting QB, you could still have a fair bit of flexibility here. In a slow draft I’m currently in (not drafting at the top), Philip Rivers was drafted 10th, Vince Young 11th and Ben Roethlisberger 12th. That’s not bad.

One team didn’t even draft his first QB until the 12th round – Eli Manning. Even that isn’t bad in my mind. If you draft your starting QB late though, then invest a little more than you otherwise would on the backup. If you did get Peyton Manning or Palmer, then you can afford to wait longer for the backup.

Deep picks to exceed their draft spot: Matt Schaub and Jason Campbell, each typically getting drafted in the 13th round or later.

RB – Backup your main starter or not? It depends what is costs, but generally, yes, I think you should. Its like buying insurance. If you have LT then why not back him up with Michael Turner who has you covered with continued top 3 RB fantasy points if the cost of that insurance isn’t too expensive? Turner is borderline expensive, so it will depend if someone swipes him on you or not.

In other cases, if the backup isn’t very clear then don’t feel compelled to grab someone. The player still takes up a valuable roster spot. I like Brian Leonard at a very reasonable cost for Steven Jackson owners. Michael Robinson for Frank Gore, maybe, but Robinson may not be suitable for a starter position. The Colts’ backup behind Joseph Addai is such a mess right now, better off just to pass on that situation.

Deep picks to exceed their draft spot: DeShaun Foster (9th), Leon Washington (11th but rising), Adrian Peterson (12th – the other one).

WR – I had a discussion with a friend the other day who was making a deep draft pick at WR. He already had 5 WR on his roster, and was considering Joe Jurevicius (his idea) vs. Maurice Stovall (my idea). My thought pattern: you’re drafting WR late, so go for young and upside guys who have a chance to blow up and be regular starters, similar to Marques Colston and Mike Furrey who came out of no where a year ago.

What good is Jurevicius to your roster? He will never start for your team in a 12 team, start 3 WR league. At least I hope not. If you draft a boom or bust young WR and he is doing nothing, that’s fine, chalk it up to a mistake and cut him for another guy. I know I said balance the boom or bust players earlier, but at WR once you’re filling the 5th or deeper WR, go boom or bust. If you hit one who booms, then your team is remarkably better as you’ve just struck gold.

Stockpile WR is also a good strategy, just for more chances to strike gold. Especially in point-per-reception leagues, and especially in leagues where you can start 4 WR.

Deep picks to exceed their draft spot: Kevin Curtis (9th), Derrick Mason (11th – gut feeling and I’m not sure why) and Patrick Crayton (14th).

TE – The 6th and 7th round is a good spot to grab a TE if you didn’t get Antonio Gates. The targets include Jeremy Shockey, Kellen Winslow, Vernon Davis and Chris Cooley. I’m personally not high on Tony Gonzalez and Todd Heap, so I don’t foresee the TE position being as deep as some would suggest, which I guess goes back to helping explain my obsession with Gates.

While I realize some people are happy waiting for a deeper sleeper TE like Owen Daniels or Eric Johnson, it seems to me like you aren’t getting enough benefit from waiting that long for your first TE. Those guys are better second TE for the time being. Don’t give up a starting position like that because you could get beat by your opponent there every week.

Deep picks to exceed their draft spot: Jason Witten (9th), Owen Daniels (13th – its not like I don’t like the guy; I’m just saying he’s a better 2nd TE) and Bo Scaife (15th+)

K – Last two rounds guys and gals. The last two rounds.

DEF – I used to recommend just not drafting a defense until the late rounds. The Bears and Ravens have been so good though, its been tough to stick to that. Stick to it I will! Just kidding. Well, I personally will stick to it because I’d still rather stockpile RB and WR while the Bears and Ravens invariably get drafted much higher than I’d be willing to take them. I won’t knock someone for taking one of them though, in a league where DEF scoring is significant. The ADP is the mid-7th for both, but will fluctuate quite a bit depending on the league.

Assuming you fall in my camp about taking a DEF late, then I say take them really late. Before the K but not much before. Play the matchups and there will be viable DEF on the waiver wire, so I’m happy to draft 1 short-term DEF and work from there once the season starts.

Deep picks: Jets, Redskins and teams playing against the Vikings.

Final Thoughts

Enjoy having an early draft pick. In fact, rub it in you have an early draft pick to those guys down at the bottom of the draft order in your league, but make sure you back it up by maximizing your draft spot. You’re in position to do it, especially if you are sitting with that prized #1 pick. Lucky S.O.B.

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2007 Fantasy QB Sleepers

Posted by zewkey on August 23, 2007

Sleeper: A draft term for a NFL player that an owner believes is going to have a breakout season. These are usually players who are not rookies, but they can be. For the most part they are not well known NFL players. Usually sleepers are drafted in the middle to late rounds of a draft. From our Fantasy Football Dictionary

Enjoy all the benefits of Yahoo! Sports.

We have classified the following players as sleepers for 2007. We will be updating this list throughout the pre-season.

QB RB WR TE IDP

Name Team Age Yrs
Exp.
Pos. Rank
Green, Trent MIA 37 10 QB – #22
Losman, J.P. BUF 26 3 QB – #19
Romo, Tony Contract Year Player DAL 27 3 QB – #10
         
         
         

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Mock Draft Review: QBs go early

Posted by zewkey on August 20, 2007

August 17, 2007

By Jason Lake

It’s official: The Tom Brady bandwagon has spilled over into fantasy football.

Play Fantasy Football
Weekly Cash Prizes, $100K Grand Prize, and $250K in total prizes!

Our cracked editorial staff held its 18-round draft Monday morning. We’ve got 12 teams separated into three divisions: Animals, Vegetables and Minerals. Yours Truly is the manager of The Torn Labrums, and I’m already giddier than a schoolgirl after what went down at the draft.

Things began simply enough. LaDainian Tomlinson went first overall to the Cowboys, followed by Steven Jackson to the ChalkDogs. But then my divisional rivals, jimmyville, selected Brian Westbrook with the No. 3 pick. Interesting. He was the fourth-ranked RB from 2006 on the Bodog Fantasy charts. Perhaps jimmyville was worried Larry Johnson might be caught up in an extended holdout with the Kansas City Chiefs? No matter. I was more than happy to snap him up with the No. 4 overall pick.

Bodog Nation

Then things really went off-Broadway. The Reds put their faith in Reggie Bush with the fifth pick, and the LTown Wondercats, another charter member of the Minerals division, took Mr. Brady sixth overall. Clearly the Wondercats have been seduced by the major WR upgrade the Patriots enjoyed during the offseason. Otherwise, Brady was ranked No. 7 among QBs last year. So much for conventional wisdom. However, sometimes you have to take the road less traveled to win in a sharp league, which we most certainly are (cough, cough).

The Mels are my other competitors in the Minerals division, and they went with Joseph Addai. He’ll get more touches with Dominic Rhodes moving to Oakland, but this is still a gamble. That left the next three teams drooling to make their picks: Frank Gore to the Confused Moose, Shaun Alexander to the Riggo Redskins, and Willie Parker to the Cougars.

The Seahawks followed up by picking Laurence Maroney, who again figures to handle the rock more often in 2007. Last but certainly not least, the Ancaster Football Club grabbed Peyton Manning with the No. 12 pick. Manning is usually the first QB off the board, and a solid pick this late in the first round.

Other picks of note: Steve Smith (Confused Moose, 17th overall) was the first WR off the board, Antonio Gates (Seahawks, 35th) the first tight end, Chicago (LTown Wondercats, 67th) the first defense, and Adam Vinatieri (Seahawks, 83rd) the first kicker. Let the games begin.

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10 Tips for Fantasy Auctions

Posted by zewkey on August 19, 2007

10 Tips for Fantasy Auctions
David Dorey
August 16, 2007Auctions are the most fun way to have a local draft because it involves everyone in the room on every player. They create the most fair leagues in that way – any team owner can own any player, he just has to want him a little more than anyone else. They also bring an entirely new level of entertainment to the room when people get into heated bidding wars or someone lands a player far too cheaply and everyone looks at each other “why did we let that happen?”.

Yahoo! Fantasy Football – Leader in Fantasy Sports

But those of you new to auctions sometimes find it more daunting since it is more involved than merely reading the next name on a cheatsheet. Some act like they are going into a store in a foreign country with no idea of the value of the currency they are spending while others act like sailors on home leave for the first time in six months when LaDainian Tomlinson comes up for bid. Some previous articles at The Huddle which can help:

The Three Styles of Bidding

How to Budget for an Auction

Following on the lead of those, here are the top ten things to remember when you go to your fantasy auction.

1. Bid on every player if only initially when you know he will go for more money. This helps to cloak who you really are pursuing. If you only bid on “your guys” then it becomes pretty evident that you can be pushed to spend more money.

2. Budget your positions and realize that an auction is about creating an optimal team within the constraints of limited dollars. Re-evaluate your budget each time you acquire a player, but have a strong sense of what you are willing to play overall for positions and then how much for players within those positions.

3. Never get locked onto one player. Unless you are so dead certain that this one individual is going to be a huge difference maker for your team, go for the best values on players. If you acquire players that are priced at or below their true value, it is like having more money to spend than others who overpay.

4. If possible, try to save enough money so that your final picks can go for more than the bid minimum (typically $1). Sometimes there is an amazing difference in the quality of players you can get for $2 over just $1. Once you reach the point where you can only pay minimum amounts, you have lost all control of who will be coming to your roster. This often comes more into play the larger the league because the higher valued top tier players are and many teams will blow their wad on a few players and hope to backfill with minimum cost players.

5. Never, ever finish with money left over. Spend your entire salary cap. That seems obvious but in many auctions, those reticent to spend end up with money left over that could have been used to create a better roster. Budget and spend. Budget and spend.

6. In the initial rounds of a smaller league (ten teams or less), it is usually a good idea to always throw out players that you do not want in the attempt to let people burn up their cash on someone you would have never wanted. Do it early for more desirable players and you can set yourself up to spend less when your favorites come around. Conversely, the larger the league (anything over 12 teams), throw out the players that you do want because there will be a lot of cash sitting around on those other teams and you are likely not going to get any bargains. Throw out the players you want and chase them as far as your budget allows. If nothing else, do this so that you can know you will not get player “X” and can make other arrangements for the position.

7. The first player in his position always seems to go for a lot of money and that often ends up to actually be a bargain. The first player up for bid in a position sometimes will not go for quite as much because other team owners are waiting to see what sort of price the position is bringing.

8. Auctions are about supply and demand. The best values are usually when you are bidding on a player from a position that some already have filled and many others have not. In a twelve team league that starts two running backs, the league will need 24 starters and each team owner will be willing to spend money in order to get two decent starters. So after 6 players or so are out, often values happen because while half the league still needs a starter, there are still plenty to chose from and many are waiting on “their guy”. By the same token, the 11th running back coming up for bid may go for much more than they should because you have two teams desperate for their first starting tailback and they get into a war. This usually happens the most noticeably when the final two or three teams are hunting for their second starting tailback after 20 or so running backs are taken. They get desperate and end up driving the cost of the 21st best back up to the same level of the 10th best back. Happens all the time. Pay attention to your league – it is supply and demand.

9. If you have a big desire for some certain player, the earlier you bring him out for bid, the better off you will be. The worst thing you can do is to fixate on a player and allow great values to pass by only to discover that one or two other team owners were doing the same and suddenly you do not have your player, have missed great values and are looking at far less attractive options for the position. If you gotta have one guy, playing waiting games can burn you.

10. Avoid handcuff players. Like running backs where you would really want their back-ups. That sets you up to need two players to make the set and controlling what you pay for just one of them is hard enough. Best bet is to go after players that do not have an injury history or that are in an unsettled situation because the “other guy” can get stolen from you. Each year there are typically about four to six NFL teams with unsettled backfields which mandate you get both players to be safe. If you can avoid them, you remain in better control of your team and salary cap. You can play the gamble that you have the right one of the two (or three sometimes), but never pay much for that headache.

Auctions are a blast to participate in and they are quite different than drafts in many ways. The end result is no different – full rosters for all teams in the league. But getting there is all the fun.

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Value Based Drafting For Dummies

Posted by zewkey on August 17, 2007

For the fantasy football guru, drafting is like a field trip to candy land. With their unnatural (and somewhat obscene) wealth of NFL knowledge, they’re licking their chops over all the NFL’s treats: studs, sleepers and rising stars. Their sticky fingers will be busy bagging all the great players new and old, and, with no strategy, the only sucker in the draft will be you.

Exclusive Expert Analysis at Yahoo! Fantasy Football

We know the drill. Draft day can be damn intimidating for the newbie fantasy player who just wants to do well but doesn’t know where to start. This is why prep work is key. And what better prep work is there than researching solid drafting strategies?

Enter Value Based Drafting (VBD) – a strategy the pros use to build their teams by choosing the players with the most fantasy value available during the draft. Understanding VBD will help you avoid the pressure to pick up that middle-ground running back “just because everyone else is doing it” when there’s a huge point advantage to picking up a high scoring wide receiver instead. Remember this, young grasshopper: the object of the game is not to assemble a group of high scoring players with zero regard to position. To win, you must assemble a starting roster that serves to outscore your opposition at as many starting positions as possible. This will not only help you figure out what the order in which you should draft your players is, but understand when it’s ok to deviate from your plan to swipe all the best picks.

Master VBD and dominate your draft. It’s that simple.

The Concept

Lots of people think the objective of fantasy football is to “score lots of points!” A monkey can score points. Scoring lots of points does not mean sure victory. To win, you have to distance yourself ahead your competition. The basic idea behind VBD is outscoring your opponents’ teams at each of the players’ positions instead of simply “scoring lots of points.”

And the best part is this: it doesn’t matter what positions you’re using to outscore the competition. The only thing that matters is that you’re outscoring them. Period.

The Theory

Look at what you’re already doing. You probably choose kickers close to last. Why? Because there are lots of similar ones out there to choose from. Their value, then, is relatively low since you’re unlikely to outscore your opponent by very many points with a kicker. For example, our top ranked kicker is Nate Kaeding (who had 136 fantasy points last year), and he is followed quite closely by Jeff Wilkins (who had 131 points). A whopping five points difference. Clearly, choosing one over the other won’t make a huge difference in your overall standings at the end of the day. One the other side of the dime, top ranked running back LaDainian Tomlinson had 483 fantasy points last year. Second in line is Steven Jackson with 419. That’s a 64 point lead if you get Tomlinson.

In Practice

So, you might be asking yourself, “How can I apply VBD to my everyday existence?” Well, Skippy, we’re glad you asked.

1. Projected Fantasy Points

Going by last year’s fantasy points is a mistake so grave, you’ll wish you never lived to regret it. You’re going to want to base a player’s value on his projected points for 2007. If you’re really keen, you can make up your own projections for each player’s statistics and do the math to get projected points for 2007. If you aren’t so confident, you can use projected stats from one of many reputable fantasy magazines or Web sites out there. Regardless of whether you’re doing the math yourself, or using a fantasy site online, be sure to calculate projected fantasy points using the scoring system set by your commissioner. You will find the scoring system by clicking on the league’s name, and looking under “league rules” (found on the drop down menu at the top of the page).

2. Finding Your Baseline

You need to measure players against their peers to determine how valuable they are. You do this by choosing a “baseline” player. The baseline player will be the lowest scoring starting player at each position. All other players will be better or worse than this guy. To figure out your baseline, you will need two pieces of crucial information: the number of teams in your league, and the number of players at each position you have to start. Usually, there are:

– 12 teams in a league
– 1 starting quarterback
– 2 starting running backs
– 3 wide receivers
– 1 tight end
– 1 point kicker

Your baseline players will be the:

– 12th best Quarterback (Matt Leinart)
– the 24th best running back (Marshawn Lynch)
– the 36th best wide receiver (Santonio Holmes)
– the 12th best tight end (Randy McMichael)
– the 12th best point kicker (Josh Scobee)

3.Better or Worse?

To determine a player’s value, we need to see how much better or worse he is than the baseline player in his position. The best way to do this is to subtract the baseline’s projected fantasy points from all the other players in his position.

Here’s an example using our baseline tight end, Randy McMichael:

If McMichael’s projected fantasy points are 131 for 2007, we subtract 131 from him, and every other tight end on the list to get each tight end’s value. So, McMichael will have a value of zero, and Antonio Gates (with projected fantasy points sitting at 206) will have a value of 75 (206 less 131).

You will notice that everyone who has more projected fantasy points than our McMichael will have positive value and everyone below will have negative value.

4. Order Your Players by Value

Your list is ranking players all right, but it’s still organized by position. We all know players aren’t drafted in order of position. So now, you have to sort your players by their value. Dump them all into a spreadsheet together, and sort their VBD amounts in descending order to see how they all match up against each other. You can see how valuable a player is in terms of the entire league, and their ranking should tell you where that player deserves to be drafted, but this doesn’t mean that you have to take that player there. Crunch all the numbers you want, but remember one crucial thing: a successful General Manager won’t draft a player earlier than his opponents force him to.

Now go kick some ass!

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Mock Draft

Posted by zewkey on August 15, 2007

July 2007 10 Team Mock Draft

By Roberto Baltazar, Fantasy Football Cafe Regular

As the “real” drafting in fantasy football leagues will soon begin, 10 Cafe members signed up for a mock serpentine draft, and were given the opportunity to choose their draft spots with the intention of enabling them to practice their drafting skills in preparation for the all-important player selection process, as well as to assess the quality of the fantasy team they would end up with given their respective drafting strategies.

Bodog is offering Free Fantasy Football this year.
Yahoo! Fantasy Football – Leader in Fantasy Sports


The roster requirements for this draft consisted of a starting lineup of one quarterback, two running backs, three wide receivers, one tight end, one kicker, one team defense, and six bench spots, with standard scoring.

Below are the results of the mock draft, and if you are curious to know the reasons why some drafters picked or passed on a certain player read on, as 3 of the drafters have provided their insights regarding these matters. These gentlemen were not merely drafting for the sake of doing a mock, but also to help them build a team of championship caliber in their “real” leagues.

Pick # Player Round Team

Mockers’ Analysis/Opinions:

Mocker: benb18a

My two most difficult decisions were my first two picks of the draft. I was drafting from the precarious fifth position, which I think is the hardest spot in the draft because it comes right after the “big four”, who are the consensus top four picks. After that quartet the next several spots become extremely cloudy. I have seen Alexander, Addai, Westbrook, and Parker drafted and ranked at this spot, with no clear cut favorite. The choice for me came down to Alexander and Westbrook. Both have proven their ceilings can be pretty high, but both are also injury risks. The fact that there was no PPR played a big part in this decision, as so far as TDs and total yards are concerned I predict Alexander will have the better season. I’m not crazy about drafting young or unproven players this high, which eliminated Addai. I also liked how Alexander looked at the end of last season, and the fact that he plays in the worst defensive division in football.

With my second round pick I was faced with the decision of either grabbing an elite WR before they were all gone or getting a top-tier RB2. This was a difficult choice, as I had no idea if a wide receiver run might force me to settle for a WR2 as my WR1. A majority of fantasy players put RB depth as their number one priority on draft day, but I am part of the “starting roster first” camp, so I decided to draft all three of my starting wideouts before getting a RB3, since there were still some decent guys left in the sixth round. I am glad I made that choice, as Travis Henry fell to me in round three, giving me the possibility of having two potential top ten running backs and a top five wideout.

As far as having a drafting strategy, I don’t really employ a certain strategy every time, as all drafts look different after the first round is in the books. I go with the flow, and simply try to figure out who will be there the next round, what position has the best values, etc. This is why I drafted Lee Evans in the fifth round instead of Brandon Jacobs. I decided to give myself a very solid WR3 who has a ton of upside at that position over a running back who has never carried a full workload.

I tried to get an elite QB, but as you can see by the draft results those players were all drafted within three picks before mine, but I didn’t really place too much emphasis on it, as I try not to reach for anybody. I was content to wait until the middle rounds to pick up two quarterbacks to platoon. I am happy with Kitna and Hasselbeck, but not thrilled. They didn’t exactly impress me in 2006 so far as turnovers are concerned, especially if we consider their performance during the second half of last season, but they are capable of having big games and putting up top 10 seasons, so I feel I could use those two depending on their matchups.

I usually wait until the last two rounds to pick up a defense because I was able to use the WW matchup strategy last season with positive results. I ended up with Miami in the fourteenth round, which I was pleased with, as I think they have a decent chance of being a top five D/ST this season. I don’t feel the temptation to reach in the middle rounds for a defense, and I instead picked up some bench players that while not spectacular, weren’t unreliable either.

Mocker: Indys_Time

Running Backs: With my first round pick (1.04) I selected Frank Gore, who I feel is due to mirror last season’s production for an improving team in San Francisco. At 2.07 I drafted Clinton Portis, as even though Portis will likely split time with Ladell Betts he could easily amass 1400 total yards with 10+ total touchdowns, and the timeshare actually makes Portis less of an injury risk since Betts will be taking some of the carries and punishment. For my backups I chose Jamal Lewis (5.04), Warrick Dunn (7.04), and Reuben Droughns (12.07). Jamal Lewis is a solid back who could top 1000 yards with 6+ TDs. Dunn might be near the end of his career, but in a redraft league he still has a fair amount of value. Finally, while Droughns might be #2 on the depth chart in New York for now, I have a feeling he will be the number 1 back for the Giants by midseason.

Quarterbacks: For my starting QB I went with Vince Young (11.04), who I feel is an explosive, fast, invigorating new talent who could easily throw for 2500 passing yards and 20 touchdowns along with and additional 700 rushing yards and 10 TDs. The fantasy points he adds to a roster with his legs are why Vince Young is poised to finish among the top 10 fantasy quarterbacks, and are what convinced me to pick him. Just in case the Madden Curse strikes again I chose a proven fantasy backup in Carolina’s Jake Delhomme at 14.07.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends: In my Starting wide receivers, Marques Colston (3.04), Plaxico Burress (4.07), and Santana Moss (6.07) I have 3 primary receiving options for their teams, and a trio that should give me solid production. My reserve wideouts include a potential breakout player in Pittsburgh’s Santonio Holmes (9.04) and a seasoned veteran in Derrick Mason (13.04). My tight end, Kellen Winslow (8.07), is due to produce again like last year, and should once again finish in the top 5 at his position.

Defense/Kicker: At D/ST I took the Chargers (10.07), as I feel that an elite defense can be the difference between winning and losing some weeks. I finished up my draft by selecting a solid kicker in Neil Rackers (15.04).

Steal of the Draft: The biggest steal that I could see in this draft was likely the Brandon Jacobs pick at 6.10. Jacobs is, for now, considered the starting RB for the New York Giants, and could potentially produce 1000+ yards and 10+ TDs.

Sleepers: There are several “sleeper” picks that I like in this draft. Santonio Holmes, while the #2 wide receiver for the Pittsburgh Steelers, is quite capable in my opinion of gaining over 1000 yards with 7 touchdowns this season. Also, Anthony Thomas of Buffalo, at 14.04, fell very far for a redraft league. He could be a solid starter for most of the year and keep incoming rookie Marshawn Lynch behind him on the depth chart. In a year Lynch will probably have the starting spot, but for now the A-Train might be carrying the Buffalo Bills.

Mocker: BlueBandit24

Round 1: Willie Parker – Parker was the last “stud” RB on the board, and when both he and Westbrook dropped past 1.06 I decided I would take whoever fell to 1.08. He provided a solid #1 back to build around.

Round 2: Steve Smith – With 3 starting wide receivers, taking an elite one seemed like a logical choice in Round 2, especially with plenty of serviceable RBs to be had in the 3rd.

Round 3: Edgerrin James – I felt the need to secure my 2nd running back. Arizona has made some changes that should benefit the running game, and Edge doesn’t have anyone who will compete with him for carries.

Round 4: T.J. Houshmandzadeh – “Housh” is one of the top #2 wideouts and his numbers have improved every year.

Round 5: Deuce McAllister – RB depth is extremely valuable and I see Deuce as having RB2 value. If this were a “real” league, Deuce would be great injury insurance or trade bait.

Round 6: Marc Bulger – With no other players that I really liked available in Round 6, I went with an elite quarterback to further strengthen my starting lineup.

Round 7: Laveranues Coles – Filled out my receiving corps with a very reliable player. Not a “sexy” pick, but I feel very comfortable with him as a WR3.

Round 8: Ladell Betts – I had good RB depth already, so I gambled with Betts. If Portis goes down, he immediately becomes extremely valuable. Even if Portis stays healthy Betts is a good RB4.

Round 9: Brandon Jackson – A high upside running back to provide additional depth.

Round 10: Jason Witten – Not a great tight end, but a serviceable one who fills my need at the position.

Round 11: Robert Meachem – I’ll admit I immediately regretted not taking Matt Jones, but if Meachem wins the #2 gig across from Colston in New Orleans he has excellent potential with Drew Brees at the helm.

Round 12: Denver Broncos D/ST – A Top 5 defense in my opinion, and I wanted to secure a elite unit at that position.

Round 13: Ronald Curry – Hoping that this sleeper receiver comes through as Oakland’s top wideout.

Round 14: Kevan Barlow – Simply a handcuff for Parker, nothing more.

Round 15: Mike Nugent – I never take a kicker before the last round. However, Nugent did lead all kickers in scoring in the 2nd half of 2006, so I’m hoping that carries over.
Special thanks to benb18a, Indys_Time, and BlueBandit24 for contributing commentary for this article.
Robert is an active Cafe member who resides in Asia and is considered one of the best “sig” designers at the Cafe. You can find him in the forums where he posts under the name madaslives911.

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Dominating Draft Day

Posted by zewkey on August 15, 2007

Posted by Will Grant and Chris Smith, Exclusive to Footballguys.com

“The only yardstick for success our society has is being a champion. No one remembers anything else.” – John Madden

It has finally arrived. DRAFT DAY. This is your first real taste of fantasy football as a new owner, and the first head-to-head competition you will have against the other owners in your league. Your entire season will spring from this one day. It is a fantastic mix of tension, excitement, anxiety, anticipation, disappointment and flat out fun. To be successful, you need to out draft your opponents. You need to jump before they jump and restrain yourself when they overreact. In short, you need to DOMINATE your draft; leaving the others wondering what happened to them. Here’s how:

Exclusive Expert Analysis at Yahoo! Fantasy Football

General Tips

Here are a few general tips to observe during your draft

  • Arrive on time. A few minutes early would be even better. No one likes to wait.
  • Be prepared for each pick. When you time comes, double check your short list and make your selection. Don’t go over your time.
  • Stay Focused. If your opponents are in the middle of a backup quarterback run, don’t get caught up in it. Stick to your list.
  • Keep a clear head. Save the serious drinking for after the draft.

Opening Rounds

When the draft starts, you should have your first 2 or 3 picks in mind. These guys will be the bread and butter of your team. They need to be guys who will consistently score better than 80% of the other players in the league. They’ll build the foundation for your team each week. That probably means that you’ll need two solid running backs in the first three picks although that isn’t written in stone. Don’t panic if RBs start flying off the boards. Just follow your list and select the best player based on who is available. These rounds are pretty easy. It’s during the later rounds that things really become interesting. As things start to heat up, make sure to keep a close eye on the players that other owners are drafting. Pay particular attention to anyone who is in your division/conference, especially if you will face them more than once.

Chris Smith Note: Don’t be afraid to skirt the running back position if tremendous value presents itself. If owners are reaching for questionable running back talent in rounds two and three, buck that trend and scoop a top quarterback or receiver instead. It is always nice to have two running backs after the first two rounds, but don’t reach for a questionable talent with top-tier talent at the other positions still on board. You will be able to find players like Ahman Green and Jerious Norwood in rounds five or later. If you can start a fantasy draft with only one running back in the first four rounds but emerge with a top quarterback and two of the better receivers along with the running back then go for it. For example, in a fantasy draft I participated in back in 2006, I started with RB Steven Jackson 5th overall and by the time my pick got back to me (20th selection) almost everyone had gone running back. I managed to scoop QB Peyton Manning in round two, WR Torry Holt in round three and TE Tony Gonzalez in round four giving me a great foundation to build upon. Having strength in all departments will put you on the fast track to success.

Sportsbook

As you head into rounds four through seven, start looking for a way to break from the pack. If every other team has taken a quarterback by this point, you don’t gain much by taking one now. Focus your attention on another position where you can pick up a stud #1 or solid #2 guy. Look at the teams who will draft in between your next few picks. Can you see a possible run on one position about to start? If so, grab the highest player from that position now and START the run. When your next pick comes up, start the NEXT trend. If you can stay ahead of these runs, you’ll be able to consistently out draft your opponents at every position, and even control the flow of the draft.

Middle Rounds

Here is where all of your predraft preparation comes into play. As you try to decide whether to add depth, or finish out your starting lineup, a lot will depend on who is available. Your list will tell you which way to go. Continue to draft the best player available, regardless of position. In rounds eight, nine and ten you should focus on guys who have big upsides, or players who can post big games during the season. These guys can take over for your starters in the event of an injury, or streak of bad play. Keep your off weeks in mind here, and try to balance them whenever possible. Don’t bypass a player strictly because they are off the same week as your starter. However, if all things are equal, take the guy who can start when your #1 guy is off.

Most owners will wait until after round ten to take a kicker and/or team defense. While this is a good general strategy, at some point is will become obvious that you should take one or both. Again, trust your list. If your opponents are waiting too long to fill these positions, it might be time to start another run. If your list is telling you that it is better to take a defense than to add another wide receiver, you should not be afraid to do so. Your predraft preparation was done when you were thinking objectively about how each player could benefit your team. Don’t lose that objectivity in the heat of the moment.

Chris Smith’s Note: Never pigeon hole yourself into one strategy but rather let the draft come to you. It is perfectly acceptable not to select two running backs in the first two rounds but you then must focus your attention on the position in three of the next four rounds before the viable candidates vanish. If you take three running backs in the first three rounds, it would be a smart move to avoid the position for the next few rounds, focusing on the other key positions. Flexibility is one of the keys to a great draft.

Later Rounds

As you enter the later rounds, your focus should turn to filling your roster gaps. If you have off week issues draft players to fill those holes. If you have starters who are injury-prone, consider drafting their backups as insurance (otherwise known as ‘Handcuffing’). Once all of your bases are covered, take a flyer or two on some of the guys that you have earmarked as ‘sleepers.’ Look at your opponents and see if they have made any mistakes in their drafting. Look to exploit those mistakes at this point as well.

Don’t get hung up on drafting a backup for every position. Many teams will go into the season with only one kicker and one defense, adding a backup during free agency. If you are confident in your draft, consider this as well. You can add an additional ‘sleeper’ or two now, and cut the dead wood from your roster during the regular season. If one of your sleepers works out, it will be well worth it.

Keeping Track of it All

Keeping track of everything is a daunting task. Managing your team is hard enough, but following every team in the league is even harder. Analyzing every team on the fly, looking for drafting trends, off week gaps and other mistakes that you can exploit can seem like an impossible task. It is not. Everything that you need is already taken care of by the Footballguys Draft Dominator. Should you take a wide receiver or a tight end? The Dominator will analyze your opponent’s rosters and suggest which player is best for you. Can you lay off a quarterback for a round or two? The Dominator will look at the teams around you and determine if you should wait or not. Have any of your division rivals drafted a defense yet? The Dominator can tell you with a few quick clicks. Based on your scoring rules, your opponents’ rosters and the current drafting trends, The Draft Dominator will suggest which available player is best for your team. Just download projections into it, and let the program do all the work. This year’s model has even more features than ever. If you really want to dominate your draft, and put yourself in a great position to win your championship, you need to check this program out. Your opponents won’t have a chance.

Chris Smith note: In regards to the Draft Dominator, if you haven’t taken the time to download this program and play with it, you are really missing out on something wonderful. For years, I would use an excel-based cheatsheet that I came up with that would help me track the various things happening during a draft. I felt that I really had a step up on my competition in understanding what was going to take place next.

However the Draft Dominator takes that excel-based sheet and expands on it to the tenth degree. Once you are familiar with the various functions of the program, you will have incredible insight to what the other owners in your league are doing, what their next picks are likely to be and which players you should be targeting in your drafts.

Here are some comments by David Dodds on the Draft Dominator tool:

“I am clearly biased but I believe it represents a new breed of logical drafting. Things someone could never do without the aid of the computer. Just as VBD and later Dynamic VBD made their marks on this hobby, the new Dominator will change how you draft.

  1. Imagine if during a draft, you could look at your lineup against your opponent’s lineup and attempt to predict team strength, scoring margin, etc. for every single week of the season while the draft was happening.
  2. Assume for a moment that you could also emphasize or de-emphasize certain weeks during the draft based on how you are faring against your opponents, league rules, etc.
  3. Imagine an auction draft where you know exactly how much everyone has spent, has left and has dynamically adjusted player values after every pick.
  4. Imagine a program that you can tell it not to look for a kicker or defense until after 9 have been taken.
  5. Imagine being able to assign distributions to players (other than normal) for how they will score their points. Think Jimmy Smith here who was suspended for the first four games last year.
  6. Imagine a program that analyzes schedule strength and applies it to select complimentary players for your roster.
  7. Imagine a product that recommends different picks to different teams based on their need and how those players would maximize their head to head play.
  8. Imagine a program that works for all positions (IDP included) and virtually any scoring criteria.

You know what. I do not have to imagine these things. The new Dominator does every one of these and a lot more. I know it does these things because Bruce Henderson and I have been working for the past 3 months to deliver the best product ever to this industry. For those not in the know, Bruce Henderson is a full-time C++ programmer in his normal job. He also is a very skilled fantasy football player. And now working with our staff and soliciting all of the input last season for improvements, we have put together something that WE KNOW will change the industry.

I will say it right now. If you are playing in a high stakes contest (WCOFF, etc.) this season and are not using the Draft Dominator, you are playing from behind. I know that to be true.”

David Dodds, Footballguys.com

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