Fantasy Football Draft Weekend Prep
Image courtesy of Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY SportsI chose to be of more service to my fellow man -- by emptying out my fantasy football draft prep notebook.
No need to thank me. It’s just what I do.
Your 2014 Draft Plan
Here’s a quick and dirty plan tailored specifically for 2014. And it all depends on where you are slated to draft in round one.
If you have one of the first five picks in round one…
In standard-sized leagues where the scoring is anything approaching “normal,” including PPR leagues, you will want to take a running back with one of those first five picks. Take one of the big five: Adrian Peterson, LeSean McCoy, Jamaal Charles, Matt Forte or Eddie Lacy.
Or if you get the fifth pick and Charles is left and you’re like me and are leery as heck of him… try to trade down. Bell-cow running backs are a dying breed in the NFL and therefore extremely valuable in fantasy football right now. After these five are off the board, the question marks and warts on the running backs only become more and more apparent as you go down your cheat sheet. Having one elite running back will be a big advantage all season long.
If you have pick No. 6 or later in round one…
Assuming those first five running backs are gone – and they will be in 90 percent of the leagues – you have options once you get to that sixth position. These options include taking one of the elite level wide receivers such as Calvin Johnson or Demaryius Thomas, taking Peyton Manning or selecting Jimmy Graham. Or you could take the sixth or seventh best running back, but where’s the value in that? Manning and Graham are a clear notch above the others at their respective positions, making them extra valuable.
Just know that if you select Graham or one of the top wideouts in rounds one and two (e.g. Thomas followed by Dez Bryant in the second round) you are effectively punting running backs. Once you get to round three the best you’ll be able to hope for are the likes of Alfred Morris or Zac Stacy in your backfield. Hardly awful, but they won’t provide a great deal of confidence when filling out your lineup from week to week.
Keeping it simple
The safest plan for fantasy owners this season, and it’s one that I highly recommend for those who are maybe not as experienced in fantasy football, is to come away from rounds one and two with a very good running back and very good wide receiver. Selecting Manning or Graham can make things tricky unless you really know where to find sleepers and lottery ticket type players later in the draft. Grab the likes of Calvin Johnson and Montee Ball in the first two rounds and then build off that sturdy foundation.
There’s incredible depth at quarterback this year. You can let someone else take Manning in the late first or early second round because you’ll find value picks like Tom Brady, Jay Cutler and Matt Ryan six to eight rounds later.
Quick auction tips
If your league does things the right way and uses an auction rather than a draft to distribute players, congratulations. Here are a few easy tricks you can use to do well in your auction.
- Keep track of every team’s remaining budget and max bids. A white board and/or spread sheet works best for this. Knowledge is power. You need to know how much money the guy you’re bidding against has left in his coffers.
- Nominate players for bid that you don’t want. This is especially important early on in the proceedings as a method of draining the pocketbooks of other owners. It’s always fun spending other peoples’ money for them. However, it should be pointed out that this works best when the player in question that you don’t want is popular enough to draw active bidding (i.e. a big-name player). For example, I am very leery of Jamaal Charles this season so I might throw his name out right away and get someone to blow their wad on him.
- Bid up other owners, whether you want the player being bid upon or not, as another means of spending their money. This must be done selectively and carefully so as not to get stuck with players you don’t want. You’ll get burnt occasionally, but more often than not it’s very effective – not to mention enjoyable.
- Above all else, look for values and don’t be married to obtaining specific players. It’s okay to maybe overspend for one player that you can’t live without, but do this more than once in an auction and you’ll be down to $1 players before your third beer. Group players into tiers on your cheat sheet and, as the auction plays out, go after players within that tier who are going at below market value rather than above. You know, go thrift shopping. Pop some tags or whatever they call it.
QB Jay Cutler, Tony Romo
RB Rashad Jennings, Joique Bell, Shane Vereen
WR Michael Floyd, Terrance Williams, Emmanuel Sanders, Doug Baldwin
TE Dwayne Allen, Charles Clay
Biggest potential busts
The players who have the farthest to fall and show signs (to me at least) of doing just that.
QB Cam Newton
RB Jamaal Charles
WR DeSean Jackson
Oh, and as for that whole Adrian Peterson/Dallas Cowboys debacle… Jerry Jones is a buffoon. That’s my quick take. Join in the conversation about this hot talker in our Vikings Journal forums.
It wouldn’t be a fantasy football draft prep column without my latest cheat sheet, so here it is (now with less Josh Gordon).
Bo Mitchell Fantasy Football cheat sheet 082814VJ.pdf 381.42KB 229 downloads
Also, in case you missed it or don’t know about it, I do a weekly podcast for 1500ESPN.com with Anthony Maggio called the “Fantasy Football Pants Party.” Yes, you read that right. And you’re invited. Take a listen to episode three, recorded Thursday afternoon. Don’t act like you’re not impressed.
Good luck in your fantasy drafts this weekend. Happy Labor Day.
Follow Bo on Twitter @Bo_Mitchell