Football season is almost here, which means fantasy football draft prepartions are in full swing.
Some of us hoisted the league championship last season, me included, while others were hit with player injuries and bad luck. Don’t worry, though. The 2013 season will give everyone a fresh start to bounce back, if you prepare yourselves.
While some have gotten an early start to their leagues, others are in the planning stages. For those who have already drafted, this week’s column won’t be beneficial to you. Over the course of the season, I will provide advice for weekly match-ups, but this week, I’m here to provide last-minute draft tips so you can have a successful year in fantasy football.
All tips will be based on a standard draft format, which features the following: QB, RB, RB, WR, WR, RB/WR, TE, D/ST, K, and bench players.
Tip 1: Target running backs in rounds one and two
This season is the year of the running back. In terms of the top 10 players on draft boards, all but one are running backs, with Calvin Johnson being the other. There are many talented backs this season, but once you reach round three, the stock goes down. The wide receiver and quarterback positions are very deep in 2013, so you can afford to wait if you select two running backs with your picks in rounds one and two. Even if you miss out on the clear number one player Adrian Peterson, don’t worry. There are other valuable players. Names I particulary like: C.J. Spiller, Stevan Ridley, Maurice Jones-Drew.
Tip 2: It’s okay to wait on drafting a quarterback
Like I said, the quarterback position is very deep, probably more than it has ever been. The elites are clearly there if you want the likes of Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, or Peyton Manning, but listen to the names you can get if you wait. In round six, I can get guys such as Matthew Stafford, who puts up huge numbers, or a player coming off a great rookie season like Russell Wilson. Go further down the line and you’ll find Tony Romo, who never fails to put up impressive stats in the regular season. If you wait until the later stages in the draft to get a quarterback, you’ll get a solid guy while your team is already loaded with skill players. My strategy this season was to fill my roster with running backs and receivers before drafting a guy like Stafford in round six, and I came away very happy with my team.
Tip 3: DO NOT draft a defense/special teams or kicker until the final two rounds
It’s that simple. Don’t do it. There will be top defenses such as the 49ers or Bears that will go earlier, but you should wait. Defenses are very unpredictable. Last year, the Eagles were a top five defense going into the season, but finished near the bottom in points. Teams such as the Broncos and Bengals emerged as break-out defenses, and the same will happen this season for teams. The same goes for kickers. David Akers was listed as the third-best kicker last season, but had a miserable year. It’s perfectly fine if you don’t get one of the top guys.
Tip 4: Practice? We talkin’ bout practice!
To be successful, you have to do your homework. Practice your draft strategy before you enter the draft room. To do so, participate in as many mock drafts as possible. Mocks drafts are practice drafts you can join on most fantasy football sites, and are the best way to prepare for the real draft.
I wish you all the best of luck in your drafts this season. Next week, I’ll provide week one match-up advice to help you pick up that first win. If you have individual questions you’d like to ask, just tweet me @corey_adams.