We’ve finally arrived at the fourth and final installment of Putting Together a Draft Strategy. We’ve already discussed knowing the basics, player values and potential, and how to put together your own strategy. All that’s left are some "dos" and "don'ts."
First and foremost, you do want to make sure you’ve allotted enough time to take part in the full draft. Depending on how fast the other owners pick and how many teams there are, this can take between one and two hours.
If you're drafting by computer, you also want to show up to the draft room at least 30 minutes early to test the application and make sure it runs fine on the computer you're using. That way, if there's a problem, you’ll have half an hour to find another place from which to participate.
When drafting, do remain focused on the task at hand. It's similar to playing poker: Even if you’re not in on the hand, you shouldn't turn your head and watch TV, read a magazine, or entertain yourself otherwise. Music is fine, but your visual focus needs to be on the draft itself at all times.
You need to see who the other teams are selecting and why; doing so will allow you to create a list of at least three options for who your next pick will be. Remember that most applications have a chat application, so trade discussions can be going on at any time.
If you’ve done a lot of research and choose to go to your draft with a bunch of papers and charts, don't forget that you only have a small window of time for each pick. Having to sort through an unorganizaed stack is a good way to miss your pick or panic and make a poor selection. Keep your cheat sheets simple and clean and you’ll be headache free.
I've got some suggestions for when it comes to selecting actual players as well.
If you look back to part three of this series, you’ll notice that no discussed draft strategy included a tight end in the first five rounds. The reason is that, for the most part, even the best tight ends just don’t register points like quarterbacks, running backs, and wide receivers do. Let’s take a look at last season for an example:
Tony Gonzalez of the Kansas City Chiefs was the top tight end last year, earning 158 points in standard Yahoo! and ESPN leagues. The next closest was Jason Witten, who posted 114 points. Only four total tight ends (Gonzalez, Witten, Dallas Clark and Antonio Gates) cracked the 100-point mark, and only eight scored more than 80 points.
Comparatively, 10 wide receivers scored 155 points or more. Thus, it is generally better to select, in almost any order, a quarterback, two running backs, and two receivers before taking a tight end. Gonzalez’s numbers represent a "highwater mark," and you can typically expect the top-tier tight ends to score just above 100 points.
Some receivers that cracked the 100-point mark this season include Ted Ginn Jr., Jerricho Cothcery, Steve Breaston, and Isaac Bruce. Examples of receivers that scored 80 or more points include Matt Jones, Michael Jenkins, and Donnie Avery.
It also recommended to wait on selecting a defense until the sixth round or later. Typically, you can get one of the top-five defenses after the fifth round.
Plus, the difference between the sixth-rated defense, the Chicago Bears, and the 14th-rated defense, the Dallas Cowboys, was just 28 points on the season last year (or an average of 2.3 per week over a 12-week regular season). Altogether, 15 defenses registered 100 or more points last season.
There is a frequently repeated mantra amongst fantasy football players: Only draft a kicker in the last round, and part of the reason for this is that kickers are so easy to find. Consider the fact that 27 kickers scored 100 or more fantasy points last season.
That being said, though, it's not totally out of line to select a kicker earlier than the last round. Stephen Gostkowski led all kickers with 155 points, which is just three less than the top tight end on the board. In fact, 20 kickers scored more points than second-best tight end Witten (114).
Of course, you shouldn't go crazy and use your eighth-round pick on a guy like Gostkowski, David Akers, or John Carney. Even the elite kickers will still be available in the later rounds, so you can spend those middle-of-the-draft picks on decent back-ups or sleepers.
That wraps up our discussion on putting together a draft strategy. Hopefully we’ve helped answer some questions you may have had or clarified pre-existing beliefs of yours.
Whatever the case, we just want to make sure that you enter your next fantasy football draft as prepared as can be.