Fantasy Football 2012: Analyzing the Different Fantasy Drafting Strategies

Quinn Cretton@@QuinnCrettonCorrespondent IAugust 17, 2012

NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 07:   Calvin Johnson #81 of the Detroit Lions celebrates after scoring a touchdown in the second quarter against the New Orleans Saints during their 2012 NFC Wild Card Playoff game at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on January 7, 2012 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Every year, fantasy players enter their drafts with some idea of how they believe the first few rounds will unfold and who they are hoping will be available when they go on the clock.

Inevitably, players come off the board at points where no one could have predicted, and owners often panic and fall back on traditional strategies that have served them well in the past.

While there are a number of strategies, and some have certainly proved effective, it's important to understand why they are used and how they can potentially end up hurting your team in the long run.

The Running Back-Running Back Approach

Why this strategy can work

In a league with fewer and fewer running backs that truly carry the load, taking backs in the first two rounds can lock up one of the hardest positions to draft in fantasy football.

Leaving quarterbacks and wide receivers for later allows you to identify mid-round targets at those spots heading into the draft and makes preparation significantly easier.

Why this strategy can fail

Whenever you lock yourself into a pick before the draft, you can often overlook valuable players that can help your team. In a league that is becoming more and more pass-oriented, those picking in the first round are usually better off selecting an elite quarterback and wide receiver that will give them an almost weekly advantage in that category.

While running back is still a crucial position in fantasy football, building your team solely around that spot is becoming a thing of the past.

The WR-QB or QB-WR Approach

Why this strategy can work

By letting other teams take running backs early, you can ensure that you have a pair of elite talents at two positions rather than loading up at one spot. This strategy can be even more effective when picking in the middle-to-late part of the first round, when you have an early second-round pick in the snake draft.

 Using this method, you have the potential to walk away with a combination of Calvin Johnson or Larry Fitzgerald and either Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Mathew Stafford or Cam Newton.

Why this strategy can fail

Similar to the above approach, you are locking yourself into a certain position and now allowing for the possibility of one of the elite running backs to fall to you in the first two rounds.

Beyond that, it likely leaves you with one of the weaker running back groups in your league, and probably with a couple running back by committee backs who will see inconsistent carries.

The Tier-Draft Approach

Why this strategy can work 

 The basic idea behind the tier-draft concept is that you rank each player at each position, place them into tiers and attempt to land as many players at the higher tiers as possible.

While this approach sounds simple, it also can work to have a level of consistency at each position on your team, preventing weaknesses at certain spots.

Why this strategy can fail

When attempting to build a team with no weaknesses, you can often put together one with very few strengths. While it's important to be able to put out a lineup that has the potential to put up solid numbers every week, you can also leave yourself without the ability to put up huge points on any given week.

This approach can also lead to valuation questions that can make every decision even more critical than usual. If you decide to go with a first-tier tight end over a second-tier running back, eventually, you are going to find yourself picking based on need rather than value.

The Best Player Available Approach

Why this strategy can work

By simply taking the best player on your draft board, you ensure that your team will have the most talent possible. While you may find yourself with stronger players and more depth at certain spots, you should also end up with valuable trade pieces once the season gets rolling.

Beyond that, it is the most adjustable approach and can be shifted based on positional need in the later rounds of the draft.

Why this strategy can fail

If you find yourself in a league where owners are not all that active on the trade market, you can oftentimes be stuck with a few stronger players sitting on your bench.

By not drafting based on position, you can find a level of inconsistency at each position and lack the all-around strength needed to win a championship.

One thing to always remember: You don't have to enter a draft with one set strategy. Some fantasy players, myself included, often head into their draft with the plan to use a mixture of strategies based around the way the draft unfolds in front of them.

If you have any questions about the strategies, or anything else fantasy-related, please post in the comment section and I will be sure to get back to you as quickly as possible.