NFL Fantasy Football: Five Rules of Thumb for a Slow, Live Draft

Ken KellyContributor IIIJune 17, 2010

NEW YORK - APRIL 22:  NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell looks on as he stands on stage during the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on April 22, 2010 in New York City.  (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

Our loyal readers know we’ve been participating in a recent slow, live draft with other industry experts lately.

The draft itself has gone very smoothly, thanks to a group of people who understand the etiquette, general expectations and strategy that go along with a slow, live draft.

Draft etiquette and draft guidelines are a couple things we haven’t covered in some time, so here are a few reminders and tips for you if you’re participating in a start-up dynasty league or a rookie draft.

Following these guidelines and unwritten rules of etiquette will ensure you don’t get taken to the cleaners in your draft or become the target of the rest of the league by being labeled “that guy.”


1. Don’t wait on the clock to see if news breaks

This is one of my major pet peeves. I recall a few years back when I was in the middle of a draft when Anquan Boldin went down in a preseason game with an injury. Eight coaches continued to draft and take the injury into consideration, even though there was very little information about it that night.

When it got to the ninth participant, he sat on the clock purposely until it ran out 24 hours later, just to see the extent of the injury.

It’s bad form.

While it may be within the rules of the draft, you’re really alienating yourself and acting selfishly if you do things like this.

In our recent draft, LenDale White was released right in the middle of the fifth round. It would have been easy to sit on the clock to see if the Bills would deal Marshawn Lynch, but coaches didn’t do that because they understood this basic, unwritten rule of etiquette.


2. Check in at least twice a day

Once in the morning and once at night if you’re involved in a draft with a 24-hour clock should be the minimum expectation for a draft. If you can’t commit to that minimum level and don’t make arrangements (pre-draft lists, sending the commissioner your picks, etc.), you may want to reconsider your dedication to the league.


3. Don’t follow the leader

This is a great rule to follow in any draft. Every team has certain needs, but “runs” on different positions tend to start in every draft. Many coaches get too caught up in these and start taking players from positions that aren’t necessarily crucial areas because they’re afraid another player from that position won’t make it to them later.

Be aware these runs are typically short-lived and are really based on tiers. If you don’t have a top-tier TE on your priority list, don’t sacrifice your WR2 or RB3 in order to get one just because a bunch of them have been taken.

If you follow the leader, you’ll find a team with many over-drafted players.


4. Don’t assume you can deal

One of the biggest pitfalls some coaches get themselves into is assuming they can deal players they draft.  Unfortunately, that’s a very weak strategy, and they’ll learn the hard way later.

For example, if you go for all your RBs early and don’t look to add a solid QB1, WR1 or other important players, you’re going to find yourself in a world of hurt.

If you think you can just deal those RBs to other teams and have them overpay for your overstocking of RB commodities, think again. It will be very easy to see your desperation for moving those players since your team will be lacking at other positions. In an ironic twist, it will most likely be you who has to take less than market value, not them.


5. Don’t take forever with your trade decisions

This is the last rule of etiquette we’ll cover. In a slow, live draft, it’s inevitable you’ll get multiple trade offers for your selections. Consider each, but don’t be “that guy” who shops around their pick for 16 hours. It becomes tiring for others and holds up the draft. Understand who you want and have a general idea of what it would take to sacrifice that choice in advance.


Following a few simple, unwritten rules of etiquette and those simple draft guidelines will help ensure your league mates see you as a professional, cooperative, and team-oriented member of the group who they can’t take advantage of—something that needs to be important to you if you ever expect to make future deals with them.