Remember the days when you showed up to a fantasy draft with a notebook, several magazines and a pen?
No more. Now you can wander in with a laptop, portable tablet or even a smartphone and have all the same info in a much smaller package.
To that end, we're putting together this handy-dandy piece collecting a bunch of strategy, tips and lists into one spot so you can have it all in place come the first pick of your draft.
You'll have your strategy mapped out, but here are a few strategic thoughts to keep in mind during the draft.
1) The quarterback class is deep again this year.
That said, you can get a very good quarterback with a high ceiling and upside much later.
You don't need to reach for a quarterback early in order to get a great fantasy quarterback. Eli Manning, Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, Colin Kaepernick, Tony Romo and Matt Ryan all are available a lot later and will serve very well, with an outside shot at a top-five finish at the position.
So wait on a quarterback.
2) Think bench depth at wide receiver.
Unlike quarterback, there is a pretty big drop from the top tier of receivers and running backs to the next one.
For receivers, you want a few high quality guys and then build your depth.
Get a lot of guys who can be solid producers, with a ton of upside.
Don't chase names; chase potential.
Here are five guys worth a look at who are being overlooked.
- Cecil Shorts, Jacksonville Jaguars
- Kendall Wright, Tennessee Titans
- DeAndre Hopkins, Houston Texans
- Ryan Broyles, Detroit Lions
- Golden Tate, Seattle Seahawks
Think along those lines—rookies with upside, players filling in due to injury or suspension, guys coming back from injury and emerging veterans.
Build a bench of guys who aren't as highly sought after and not only do you have great options each week, but value you can trade to strengthen another spot later.
3) Wait on kickers and defense.
For some of you, this won't be abnormal, but a lot of owners grab defenses and kickers too early.
That is to say, before the last few rounds. As has been stated before, check your rules.
Do you even need to end a draft with a kicker or team defense? One of the leagues I am in actually killed the kicker, so it might not be an issue for some of you.
If you don't need to end the draft with starters at defense and kickers, fill it with value at more vital positions.
If you do need to fill those slots with kickers and defensive units, at least wait until later. Even the best defense or kicker isn't winning you a fantasy championship.
Have Your Resources Ready
Have a depth chart handy, first and foremost. Don't be that guy who picks up someone who was cut last week.
We can't shove all of it here, so have a link ready for updated charts. The best place is OurLads.com, which is updated pretty much daily.
Have a news feed handy and keep an eye on the breaking news here at Bleacher Report. Watch Twitter as well.
Here are three sites I look at for my news during a draft.
I don't always agree with some of their takes on the news, but the constant insight keeps me up to date and thinking.
That's very important if you're doing your draft during camp or a preseason game. Guys get hurt and owners drafting miss it—sometimes spending a high draft pick on a player who just tore his ACL.
Of course, it's handy to have your lists and cheatsheets as well.
I also use several tools including a program called Draft Dominator, which will use your league's rules and format to help you maximize and predict which players will fall where.
I use it a lot to track my late-round players, guys whom I want but am willing to wait on.
Of course, some people like to have a magazine handy for reference. There aren't as many anymore, but in the theme of "mobile content" Footballguys has an IPad magazine. It's a great resource, and I've been impressed with how it turned out.
Ultimately, though, in terms of the draft itself, most people don't need a magazine anymore.
Top 15 Position Lists
And now some lists of players to covet, avoid or sneak onto your roster. Here are my handy-dandy top 15 lists for the major positions.
- Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
- Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints
- Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers
- Tom Brady, New England Patriots
- Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos
- Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions
- Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons
- Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts
- Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco 49ers
- Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks
- Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers
- Robert Griffin III, Washington Redskins
- Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys
- Eli Manning, New York Giants
- Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals
- Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings
- Doug Martin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Arian Foster, Houston Texans
- Ray Rice, Baltimore Ravens
- Trent Richardson, Cleveland Browns
- Marshawn Lynch, Seattle Seahawks
- LeSean McCoy, Philadelphia Eagles
- Jamaal Charles, Kansas City Chiefs
- Alfred Morris, Washington Redskins
- C.J. Spiller, Buffalo Bills
- Matt Forte, Chicago Bears
- Maurice Jones-Drew, Jacksonville Jaguars
- Chris Johnson, Tennessee Titans
- David Wilson, New York Giants
- DeMarco Murray, Dallas Cowboys
- Calvin Johnson, Detroit
- A.J. Green, Cincinnati Bengals
- Brandon Marshall, Chicago Bears
- Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons
- Dez Bryant, Dallas Cowboys
- Demaryius Thomas, Denver Broncos
- Andre Johnson, Houston Texans
- Vincent Jackson, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals
- Victor Cruz, New York Giants
- Roddy White, Atlanta Falcons
- Jordy Nelson, Green Bay Packers
- Marques Colston, New Orleans Saints
- Reggie Wayne, Indianapolis Colts
- Dwayne Bowe, Kansas City Chiefs
- Jimmy Graham, New Orleans Saints
- Jason Witten, Dallas Cowboys
- Rob Gronkowski, New England Patriots
- Tony Gonzalez, Atlanta Falcons
- Vernon Davis, San Francisco 49ers
- Greg Olsen, Carolina Panthers
- Kyle Rudolph, Minnesota Vikings
- Antonio Gates, San Diego Chargers
- Martellus Bennett, Chicago Bears
- Jermichael Finley, Green Bay Packers
- Owen Daniels, Houston Texans
- Jared Cook, St. Louis Rams
- Brandon Pettigrew, Detroit Lions
- Dustin Keller, Miami Dolphins
- Brandon Myers, New York Giants
Avoid the Following Impending Disasters
Don't touch any of the following even as a joke or as emergency depth:
- The Jets quarterbacks
- Blane Gabbert/Chad Henne
- The Jets tight ends
- Ryan Mathews (you can draft him, but I won't at his current ADP of 53, No. 24 back off the board and his constant rash of injuries)
- Any Browns receiver not named Gordon or Little
- Any Lions receiver not named Johnson, Burleson or Broyles
- The Colts backfield
- Marcedes Lewis
- Any Redskin receiver not named Garcon
Seriously, you should skip a pick before grabbing anyone from that list.
Some of these guys will be overlooked because other players at their position are shiny, new and flashy. These guys get the job done at half the price and could be in for big seasons.
Here are three at each position (some of which we touched on earlier).
Sam Bradford, St. Louis Rams
A ton of new weapons and an offense geared to throw. Some questions about the offensive line, yes, but pair him with another quarterback on this list and when he breaks big, you'll be able to trade him or his backup.
Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins
A lot of new weapons, a decent schedule and yet he's flying under the radar. Like Bradford, the offensive line is an issue (so far Jonathan Martin is scaring beat writers in camp), but Tannehill is doing really well. Again, a guy to pair off early but someone who could be huge this season.
Jay Cutler, Chicago Bears
Here's a feast-or-famine guy for you. If new head coach Marc Trestman's offense pops like we think it could, Cutler could have a huge season both NFL- and fantasy-wise.
Running Back Sleepers
Some of these guys might be considered "deep."
Ronnie Hillman, Denver Broncos
As relayed the other day in the "Early Buzz" article we posted, Montee Ball is struggling while Ronnie Hillman is playing very well. More than likely, this will boil down to a running back by committee (and as mentioned in the article, it looks as though Ball will get red-zone carries regardless), but Hillman could see an awful lot of work. Not enough to be a No. 1 fantasy back of course, but he could end up as a great flex or No. 2 back—especially in point-per-reception leagues. Keep an eye on Knowshon Moreno as well, but if I had to choose, it'd be Hillman.
Shane Vereen, New England Patriots
Everyone is watching Stevan Ridley, but Shane Vereen will get an awful lot of what used to be Danny Woodhead's yards. With the dearth of quality receiving options, he should also see a lot of targets and receiving yards.
Bilal Powell, New York Jets
The Jets are going to have to run the ball, but with whom? Mike Goodson hasn't even showed up to camp while Chris Ivory is already battling a hamstring injury. A third-year back, Powell was very effective at Louisville but has been a bit slow to emerge at the Pro level.
While he seemed to be on the roster bubble, some have observed him in camp and feel that if needed, he could step in. At the very least, he will be the No. 2 back on the roster. Honestly, I have long felt that if given time, he will continue to get better and could provide some flex points for fantasy owners by the end of the season.
Wide Receiver Sleepers
Denarius Moore, Oakland Raiders
A third-year receiver who will prove the old "third-year breakout fantasy receiver" adage true, Moore caught 51 passes for 741 yards and seven touchdowns last season. It's the 115 targets that should get you excited, though—clearly the offense will heavily involve him.
He's going as the No. 41 receiver off the board right now and should be worth far more than that. Grab him and have a very good low-end second wide receiver or high-end third.
Golden Tate, Seattle Seahawks
We don't know how long Percy Harvin will be out, though his surgery went well, and Sidney Rice is in Europe looking for treatment to avoid knee surgery. Tate has gone from third wheel to potential savior for this offense in short order. Right now he's the No. 59 receiver off the board—expect the needle to move on that, but he's definitely a guy who could end up as a No. 2 receiver for your fantasy team.
Robert Woods, Buffalo Bills
Don't sleep on Woods, another big-play, QB-saving receiver from USC. With Donald Jones and David Nelson gone, the only thing standing between him and the second WR slot is TJ Graham, a 2012 third-rounder with tremendous straight-line speed and little else.
Woods' hands, route running and complete game will get him the job and plenty of targets opposite Stevie "Stylez" Johnson. You can get him really late—he's got an ADP of 214 and is the No. 71 receiver right now. Therefore, you might not even need to draft him, but it's worth taking him toward the end of your draft.
Tight End Sleepers
With Aaron Hernandez gone and Rob Gronkowski still healing, Jake Ballard has a shot to see some significant targets. Ballard started to look really good with the Giants before getting hurt during the Super Bowl run in 2011. This could be his chance to shine—you need to grab him and stash him on your bench in tight end-required leagues.
Brandon Myers, New York Giants
Speaking of the Giants—this is a team that usually has no problem replacing its tight ends. Martellus Bennett departs? No biggie, next man up. Myers is that guy.
Last season in Oakland, Myers had 79 catches for 806 yards but nobody came knocking in free agency. The Giants don't force the ball to their tight ends, but with Hakeem Nicks banged up, Myers may see more work than a Giants tight end would normally. His upside could be pretty darn high.
Tyler Eifert, Cincinnati Bengals
Everyone likes to talk up Jermaine Gresham but the Bengals need playmakers, and so far he hasn't quite been it. Eifert is a first-round pick who is doing well in camp, impressing the team with his receiving ability and route running. Eifert could very well end up in the slot as well where he will accrue a lot of targets. Don't be shocked either if the Bengals roll out some two-tight end sets.
Andrew Garda is a member of the Pro Football Writers Association. He is also a member of the fantasy football staff at Footballguys.com and the NFL writer at CheeseheadTV.com. You can follow him at @andrew_garda on Twitter.