Fantasy Football Strategy 2010: Top 10 Steps To a Successful Draft Day

Mihir Bhagat@mihirbhagatSenior Analyst IIISeptember 1, 2010

Fantasy Football Strategy 2010: Top Ten Steps To A Successful Draft Day

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    With most fantasy football drafts coming up soon, it seems as if everyone is frantically searching the internet and raiding magazine stands for the latest news.

    And that's understandable, as we all want to win our fantasy league and possibly earn some big cash prizes as a result.

    While several of us are so-called 'pros' at the game, there are also many that will be playing for their first time. And since going up against experienced competition can be overwhelming for those newbies, I'm sure they're looking for some simplistic tips and advice.

    Therefore, in order to help you in your efforts, here are my top ten steps to have a successful draft day.

Know The Rules

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    Even though this may the most obvious thing to do, don't overlook it. Fully understanding the rules and regulations is the first step to getting started. 

    Are you going to have an auction draft? Are you playing in a PPR league? What lineup will your league incorporate? 

    Note that not all leagues are run the same way, so be sure to ask your commissioner for help. 

Mock Drafts

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    A great way to get a better feel for where players will be selected is by participating in mock drafts (preferably multiple).

    Try and join a mock with a system set similar to your real draft will be, that way you can get the best possible simulation.

    Plus, take advantage of the chat option and ask questions to the other guys in the lobby. Since you're not competing against them, they will be willing to provide assistance. 

    This is a great way to bounce around ideas and ask for their opinion on some of your strategies. 

Do Research

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    Think of your draft as a test. You wouldn't (or at least shouldn't) take it without preparing. Right?

    Similarly, do as much research as possible.

    Identify who the sleepers, busts, and breakout players will be. Read a few of ESPN Fantasy Football Analyst Matthew Berry's articles and watch his videos for some expert opinions.

    And if you're reading this article, you're taking a great step in the right direction. 

Get 'Non-Expert' Advice

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    While major media outlets can be a great starting point, you shouldn't stop there.

    Ask some people not in your league (this is where mock draft chat rooms can come in play) about their strategies. The benefit from this is that it'll be more personal and direct. 

    The more you can learn from others, the better.

Form Your Own Opinions

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    With all this information that you've gathered, it's time to add some of your own spices in the mix. 

    While this may be a bit difficult if you've never played fantasy football before, try using your preferences in normal day-to-day life. 

    For example, are you the type of guy who tends to play it safe and not take risks? Then, go with consistency as opposed to potential. 

    Do you like to have strengths in certain areas as opposed to a more balanced skill set? Then, go heavy on a certain position and fill in other roster holes with later round picks.


Have A Strategy

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    A solider never fights without a battle tactic and an athlete never plays without a game plan. So why should you draft without a strategy? 

    Determine when you will attack certain positions and what type of players you are interested in taking. 

    Personally, I will be taking a running back and receiver in the first two rounds. Following, I will look for a quarterback. Since the position is so deep, I'll go with the best player available instead if there isn't a signal caller I like.

    As the draft progresses, I begin to take more risks. I like to stash away players who may miss part of the season due to suspension or injury because of the huge dividends they will pay later on. Finally, I finish off with a kicker and defense as my final picks.

    Of course, as I previously stated, form your own opinions. Whatever your strategy may be, just make sure you have one.

Follow Your Gut

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    While being rational is obviously important, sometimes your emotions will determine your ultimate success.

    Despite what your research has informed you to do, don't forget to follow your gut.

    Even if I suggest not to draft Drew Brees due to the 'Madden Curse', if you feel that he'll be unaffected then by all means go for it.

Watch Your Opponents

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    In the NFL, teams are always scouting their competition in order to analyze their strategies and tendencies. 

    My advice to you is to do the same on draft day. Keep an eye out for the moves that your opponents and see what moves they make. It can help you make adjust your plans on the fly accordingly and will give you the best opportunity to come out on top.

    For example, if you along with three other players haven't drafted a quarterback yet, and Matt Schaub is on the board then draft him.

    Why? Because he's one of the final elite quarterbacks in this year's class and there's a big dropoff after him. 

    Be smart and capatilize on the opportunity. If you don't, others will and you'll be left with a big problem.


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    Just like most elements in life, balance is the key to success.

    In terms of fantasy, that means distributing appropriate importance to all the necessary positions with good value.

    If you take too many risky injury-prone players or draft running backs with your first three picks, then you will be in a sticky situation.

    So as long as you mix it up, you should be fine. 

Be Prepared On Draft Day

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    With all the preperation you've done prior, you definitely want to ensure that you execute on the big day.

    Therefore, make sure you're in an area that's distraction free that will allow you to solely focus on your picks. Enter the draft room early, have your lists ready, have snacks and drinks avaiable. 

    And, most importantly, be sure to have fun!