Aug 8, 2014; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson (28) talks along the sidelines during the game with the Oakland Raiders at TCF Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

The Unreliable Truth: Draft Strategy

We’re getting closer everyday to your draft. Some of you are going to be drafting this weekend. It’s time to discuss draft day strategy. Oh, there’s strategy. Like, are you going to RB/RB with your first two picks? Are you taking a stud QB in the first round? How many receivers should you stockpile? These are just a few of the questions many of you are probably asking yourselves. Let’s talk a few strategies that have been popularized the last couple of seasons.

Strategy: Going RB/RB
Idea: Get my backs then stockpile

This is the most popular strategy over the past, I dunno.. 30 years? Running backs can be scarce. Especially these days in the pass happy NFL. The scarcity of really good premier backs is precisely why I have no plans on going running back in my first two rounds. Yes, if I have a top five pick in my draft I will end up with Shady, JC, AP or Forte. On the way back there’s very little chance I take another one. The best thing you can do draft day is get yourself some advantages.

Owning one of the previously mentioned backs would give me an advantage. There are only so many studs to go around. In round two I want to go wide receiver. In my most recent mocks if I drafted inside the top five I had any of these receivers available to me in the second round; Brandon Marshall, A.J. Green, Julio Jones, Jordy Nelson, Antonio Brown.. Owning any of these guys gives you another advantage at receiver. If you’re drafting between sixth and 10th you might go opposite. Including Jimmy Graham, you can take a stud receiver like Dez Bryant or Demaryius Thomas and on the way back you can grab a Montee Ball, DeMarco Murray or Marshawn Lynch who’s ADP has fallen to early second rounders.

Your second running back will quite possibly be your worse player on your team this year. Don’t worry, that’s a good thing. It’s the advantages we are looking for. It’s more likely to own three wide receivers in the top 15 of fantasy scoring than it will be to own two running backs in the top 10.

 

Attention! This is where I begin my 55 touchdown season.

Strategy: Take a stud QB in the 1st Round
Idea: Solidify your QB position then worry about the rest

Depending on your league’s rules this isn’t the worst strategy in the world. If your one of those leagues who allow only four points per passing touchdown this strategy sucks. For the rest of you, you are trending in very dangerous waters. This is like Edward Norton in Fight Club.. You tell yourself, this is the last sofa I will ever need in my life.  Buy the sofa, then for a couple years you’re satisfied that no matter what goes wrong, at least you’ve got your sofa issue handled”

Last season, in my super big time league one of my buddies took Peyton Manning with the 10th pick of the first round. In the second round he drafted Alfred Morris. When the season started he felt very good about himself when Manning had that ridiculous game against the Ravens. What he didn’t bank on was what happened next.

Over the first few weeks he began to realize the only guy on his team doing any real scoring was number 18. He began to ferociously make trades in an effort to gain some receivers and running backs. This was to no avail. See, my friend had that sofa situation handled. Unfortunately, the rest of his place was filled with old card tables and folding chairs.

Do you really think I should draft my self in the first round?

Strategy: Hype-Train Conductor
Idea: Build up a player getting drafted in later rounds to compel another league mate to draft him early

I will admit, I’ve done this. I’m not proud of it but it did work. Remember Michael Vick’s rookie year? He played in eight games only starting in two.  Going into the season there was some question as whether or not the Falcons should start the rookie right away. I figured they wouldn’t and Vick wasn’t going to be a viable fantasy option until year two. Turned out I was right. At the draft that year I talked up Vick to everyone. Especially this one dude.  During the draft I made one little mention about how lucky the guy who drafted Vick would be. Not sooner did I say it but the next guy drafted him. This was in the sixth or seventh round keep in mind.

Try it this year with Johnny Manziel or Carlos Hyde or anyone else for that matter. This is a little gamesmanship, I don’t deny that. We are trying to gain as many advantages as possible on draft day, remember? So if I can convince a guy to take Andre Ellington or Larry Fitzgerald in the second round then why not? Hey, it’s his fault for not being prepared.

Make sure we have our cheat sheets this time.

Strategy: Be prepared
Idea: Have everything you need for a successful draft

This strategy is probably the most overlooked. It’s entirely too simple. Have everything you need. From materials to quick reference checks. The most basic thing you need is a pen and paper. Maybe two pens.. You can’t be too careful. Also, have  two prepared sheets of paper. The first one should be used to record your roster as it gets drafted. This way you know where your team stands and what needs still have to be addressed. The other sheet of paper should be made out to resemble your league’s draft board. Even if you draft online these are important. The website you draft on has, I’m sure all of these things for you. If you write your own you will be able to reference it quicker.

Have your cheat-sheets printed out and next to you with any color highlighter. As the draft moves along you’ll begin to notice certain players who fall or others who might be taken earlier than you expected. Highlight these guys. This way, when you’re between Bishop Sankey or Ryan Matthews you’ll notice no one took Frank Gore because you highlighted him when you knew everyone else had at least one running back.

Bring rations. Water, candy bars, five-hour energy, tuna sandwich. Bring whatever it is that will keep you nourished  and focused. The last thing you want is to get up for a cookie and not see that Matt Ryan is drafted and now you don’t know if you are taking Nick Foles or Jay Cutler.. Tik, tik, tik………

Finally, bring your appetite for fun. Don’t show up at your live draft or online draft stressed out, worried or pissed off you’re picking seventh. This is for fun. Even if you’re playing for some clams fantasy football is one of those things that releases us from the drudgery of everyday life. Enjoy it. Enjoy your friends. Enjoy the mess they make. It might all change one day so keep on doing it for as long as you’re having fun. Seriously though, don’t forget the pen.

Tags: Adrian Peterson Draft Strategy Fantasy Football Johnny Manziel Peyton Manning

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