Fantasy Football Draft Strategy: Tips to Live by When Selecting Your Next Squad

Ryan RudnanskySenior Writer IJuly 10, 2013

GREEN BAY, WI - JANUARY 05:  Running back Adrian Peterson #28 of the Minnesota Vikings runs the ball against the Green Bay Packers during the NFC Wild Card Playoff game at Lambeau Field on January 5, 2013 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The 2013-14 NFL season is about three months from kickoff, and you know what that means.

That's right, it's time to join 10 different fantasy football leagues and continue to look over all of them up until kickoff—then continue to look over all of them for the rest of the season.

Every year, you must re-evaluate the NFL. Will there be a premium on top quarterbacks? How do the receivers stack up against the running backs? What is Tim Tebow thinking about this very moment? (Sorry, had to do it.)

Rarely will one season's strategy be identical to the other's. Then again, there are some standard rules that generally apply.

Here are tips to live by when drafting your next fantasy football squad.


Draft Running Backs Over Receivers

There aren't enough big-time running backs, let alone enough depth at the position, to pass up a star running back for a star wide receiver. Down the line, you generally will pay. 

Why do you think you have three wide receiver slots in standard leagues and only two running back slots? Because you can still find legitimate talent at the No. 3 wide receiver slot, and it's much more difficult in that regard when it comes to running backs.

On top of that, five different running backs posted more fantasy points last season than the leading receiver, Calvin Johnson. That was despite Johnson ranking first all time in receiving yards and fourth all time in receptions.

If you are choosing between a running back and a receiver who are on a similar level, pick the running back. You'll be glad you did.


Don't Focus On Drafting the Top Quarterback

While drafting a quarterback really early may have made sense last season due to the uncertainty surrounding some signal-callers, the fact of the matter is, 11 different quarterbacks posted more than 250 fantasy points. Six posted more than 300.

Peyton Manning had no issues after neck surgery, young quarterbacks Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, Russell Wilson and Colin Kaepernick were terrific, and oh yeah, Cam Newton is back to his old self.

You may love a certain quarterback, but the reality is, there isn't much of a gap from one to the next. This year's crop of starters should please just about everyone, barring injury.

This brings me to my next point.


Do Not Play Favorites

Speaking of loving certain quarterbacks, if you lean toward your favorite players in the NFL without seeing the big picture, you're bound to struggle during the season.

It seems like common sense, but I can't tell you how many people I've seen select a player from their favorite team over a player who was clearly better at the position. We can't help it. We're fans. But don't be a fan on draft day. If you're a Packers fan, pick a Bears player if he's better than your favorite Packers player available. If you're a 49ers fan, don't be afraid to pick a Cowboys player.

Your friends may never talk to you again, but it will be worth it when you capture the fantasy football title. Plus, they aren't true friends if they can't forgive you, right?


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