The most exciting time of the fantasy year is back, as it is officially fantasy football draft season. If you find yourself consistently out of contention to win your league or are simply looking to innovate your draft strategy, here is a set of tips to help you pave your way to glory this season.
Wait on a quarterback, defense/special teams and kicker
Nearly every fantasy draft features teams that reach for each of these positions due to their relative dominance or stardom. Waiting on these positions allows more opportunities each round to build depth at wide receiver and running back, which are much more volatile in terms of scoring. In each of these positions, especially quarterback, lower-tier starters score very similarly on a weekly basis when compared to the studs. Let your friends reach for Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady while you wait for Matthew Stafford or Drew Brees as you stock up your options at more depth-based positions. The lack of a significant drop-off at these positions justifies waiting for a lower-tier starter for these spots.
Don’t pigeonhole yourself and minimize risk
Never feel that you have to take a certain player or position at any point in the draft. Especially in the draft’s early rounds, your priority must be to hit on each pick you make. Drafting players with a long history of injuries, those who are entering the year suspended or those who have a big name that they no longer live up to adds unnecessary risk to the contending roster you’re looking to build. Additionally, don’t feel pressure to take a certain position because you haven’t selected it yet. If it means taking three top-20 running backs in the first three rounds, so be it. Prioritize getting players who are a certainty to score points consistently, regardless of injury.
Don’t worry about bye weeks
People often make a big deal out of drafting players who have the same bye week and why it can negatively impact your team. However, there is no correlation between the number of players on the same bye week and fantasy football record. In fact, stockpiling players who share a bye week and having a lackluster lineup for one of 13 weeks can be more beneficial than being down a starter or two for a month straight. Overall, there shouldn’t be any concern placed on bye weeks when drafting.
Dominate the waiver wire, but don’t force acquisitions
Finally, the efforts that go into winning a fantasy football league don’t stop after the draft. Every season, there are players to be found on the waiver wire that can lead teams to championships. The key to making effective waiver claims is thoroughly researching your targets and ensuring they are worth losing your position on waivers to acquire them. For instance, a wide receiver scoring 17 points on three catches is far less likely to provide consistently high-scoring weeks than a running back who received 15 carries but only scored 11 points. Make sure the player you’re targeting will be a high-usage player moving forward and not just a flash in the pan.
If you follow each of these tips, you are primed to build a team that’s well-balanced and holds minimal risk moving forward. For fantasy football advice throughout the season, check out Pipe Dream’s weekly Start ‘em or Sit ‘em column, which prints every Thursday.