Sure, fantasy football is a great reason to get together to draft with your friends and eat all sorts of food your parents or significant other or doctor won’t let you have. But then comes the fact that you need to live with the team that you’ve selected after your draft is over.
And if it’s a bad team, you’re going to be the joke of your friends for the next four months. You don’t want that, and neither do I. So for those of you looking for a little bit of help before you draft, let’s take a look at how to approach a draft.
First 5 Rounds
You don’t need an elite quarterback like Aaron Rodgers or Andrew Luck to win your fantasy league. There are going to be one or two people in your draft that will take the big-name quarterbacks with their first, second or third picks when there are better skill players available.
Don’t let those people make you pull the trigger on taking your QB1 that early. There are enough quality starters to ensure you get a solid arm on your team.
Also, look to see how your league is formatted. If you are in a league that starts two running backs and three wide receivers, there will be a greater need to fill those positions rather than the quarterback.
That is why it’s a good idea to spend the first four rounds filling your running back and wide receiver slots. Your starting running back is probably going to get a lot of touches, including receiving out of the backfield.
Dominant wide receivers, on the other hand, are not as easy to come by. Rotowire.com’s Chris Liss explains:
Receivers are typically more durable than running backs, but they’re limited (with rare exceptions) to receiving yards and scores, they see fewer than half the touches that comparable backs do and their production is more volatile, i.e., it’s less consistent on a weekly basis.
That’s why using the earlier rounds to pick receivers who are guaranteed to see a lot of targets is imperative. You won’t have to worry about predicting which mediocre receiver is going to see more action each week.
By the fifth round, there will still be plenty of good quarterback options waiting for you. Look for the likes of Matt Ryan, Eli Manning or Ryan Tannehill. If you are not feeling confident in the quarterback you have chosen, don’t panic.
Last 10 Rounds
Even after everyone in your league, whether it be a 10- or 12-team group, picks a quarterback, there are still going to be those deep sleepers that can be great backups. If you’re feeling risky, take a chance on a dual-threat quarterback like Colin Kaepernick as a player to rack up points through the air and on the ground.
Before you nab your backup, though, you’ll have to toe the line of making sure you get suitable role players while addressing positions that have a lesser impact.
Don’t wait too long before grabbing a tight end. There are only a handful that can put up big numbers, and they most likely won’t be around by the sixth or seventh round. However, a platoon could be developed that ensures you have options each week.
You’ll most likely have a Jordan Cameron-like tight end waiting around pick 75 to 80, which you can take. But then, bringing in another target that plays in a high-powered offense will provide the possibility of some big point gains.
In my draft of 12 teams, I had Owen Daniels of the Denver Broncos sitting in the 13th round. Peyton Manning has shown over his prolific career that he targets tight ends, whether it be Dallas Clark or Julius Thomas.
For defenses and kickers, it’s best to follow the trend of the fantasy league, as much as I hate saying that. If you feel that a good defense or kicker won’t be on the board until your next pick, grab the best available. All the while, continue to search for running backs and receivers who will actually get playing time.
Don’t pick a player just by their name or past play. Make sure they are in a system in which they can get you points if you ever have to insert them into your lineup. It could make the difference between eight months of gloating or eight months of hiding from your fantasy football peers.
Follow Joe Pantorno (@JoePantorno) on Twitter.
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