How To Draft in Fantasy Football

Zach HarrisContributor IJuly 13, 2009

SAN DIEGO, CA - NOVEMBER 23:   Quarterback Peyton Manning #18 of the Indianapolis Colts in action against the San Diego Chargers during their NFL Game at Qualcomm Stadium on November 23, 2008 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)


Written By: Mike Roy

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Before drafting in your fantasy league make sure you know the scoring in your league.  

Most player rankings are based off standard scoring and in custom leagues where the commissioners have the ability to tweak scoring these player rankings could shift drastically.  

For example, points per reception league really skews the order of the top RBs.  

Jones-Drew, Forte, and Slaton may be the top 3 RBs in these type of leagues because although they may not put up rushing yardage like AP or Turner these reception points will cover that disparity and may even make them more valuable.  

Also recognize if points per completion is involved in the scoring because this will drastically change player rankings. For instance a quarterback who gets a point for every completion makes getting guys like Brees and Brady very important.  

In leagues with this system picks 1,2,3, would probably go Brees, Brady, Manning, rather than Peterson, Turner, Jones-Drew because scoring favors quarterbacks ridiculously more than runningbacks. 

Scoring like this demands an elite quarterback.  If you are in a league like this feel blessed with pick No. 1 and having Brees or Brady rather than pick No. 12 where you get Matt Ryan or Eli Manning.  Now they all are good quarterbacks but in a fantasy league with points per completion factored in, having an elite quarterback can make the difference.  

Do not think you have won the season following your draft because your team looks like the best on paper. It’s not. The NFL is a long season and any knowledgeable player will tell you the team he drafted is probably not the team that he will be starting in Weeks 14-16.  Here is an example of one of my starting lineups in week 1 from 2008:


QB Derek Anderson

RB Ladainian Tomlinson

RB Maurice Jones-Drew

WR Braylon Edwards

WR Donald Driver

WR Hines Ward

TE Chris Cooley

RB/WR Laurence Maroney

DEF Seattle

K Phil Dawson


Now same league starting lineup Championship Week 16:

QB Matt Schaub

RB Maurice Jones-Drew

RB Pierre Thomas

WR Brandon Marshall

WR Hines Ward

WR Antonio Bryant

TE Tony Scheffler

RB/WR Sammy Morris

DEF New England

K Stephen Gostkowski


Now, it is easy to understand that following 2007 the Browns pair of Anderson and Edwards looked like a promising duo to have in 2008, and LT just did not live up to the No. 1 pick which he was.

Luckily I picked up Kurt Warner which is what saved my team and got me into the playoffs. But notice no Warner, no Braylon, no LT in my lineup in the championship.  

Fantasy is not always about playing what looks the best on paper. Sure Warner is better than Schaub on paper, but I’d rather play Schaub in Oakland then Warner in the snow at New England.  

It is not wrong to think, “hey what a draft I had, I’m gonna win this league.”  But you better think you are gonna win because the managerial moves you make throughout the season not because of the starting lineup you got on draft day.  

I did not even know who Pierre Thomas and Antonio Bryant were before last season and they were the two guys who made the biggest difference down the stretch.  Make the moves and make the decisions you need to win, plain and simple.