Fantasy Football Draft Tips: 9 Steps To Drafting A Killer Fantasy Football Team
Your success in fantasy football betting is dictated by the teams you create. If you draft players who perform, you’ll stand a good chance of coming out on top. But pick players who falter, and you’ll wish the contest had ended yesterday.
It all comes down to the draft.
One-week fantasy football leagues – like those you’ll find at FanDuel.com and DraftKings.com – have changed the way a lot of folks approach the draft. Rather than putting together a team you’ll be stuck with for the entire NFL season (aside from a few savvy trades), your team lasts a week. Or in the case of daily fantasy football contests, a single day.
And that’s why the draft is so important. You have very little time to trade or drop players. You have a week to make your team work. Below, we’ll give you 9 smart tips for drafting players that bring home a title. And assuming you’re playing in real money fantasy football contests, you’ll (hopefully) make some cash along the way.
Step #1 – Do Your Pre-Draft Homework
You should know the players you want to pick up by the time draft day arrives. That means having a good grasp of their starting values in relation to the values of other players. You should also have a few cheat sheets that reflect how the experts feel about your preferred players. Remember, no expert is infallible. That’s why you want to use a few of them.
The worst thing you can do is show up without doing your homework. Trust me, the other owners will know their numbers. Don’t be surprised if you end up paying too much for a mediocre team that does nothing during the week-long season.
Step #2 – Figure Out The League’s Points System
Suppose you’ve competed in several weekly contests. And each time, the scoring has been the same. The quarterback earned 4 points for throwing a touchdown; your kicker received 3 points for each short field goal; and you earned 6 points for every fumble picked up by your offense. At this point, you know the scoring system like the back of your hand.
But be careful. That doesn’t mean every league you play in will use the same system. Don’t take it for granted. Before the draft begins, take a look at how points are scored. It could change how the players are valued.
Step #3 – Monitor Player Values Closely
You’ll probably be working with a salary cap. That means you need to watch what you spend on each player as you put together your title-clinching team. You don’t want to throw all your money behind a few top-tier guys and be left with horrible starters.
Your fantasy football draft strategy should be to figure out which players are undervalued and which ones are overvalued. You want to pick up the former and get the other owners to pick up the latter. To do that, you need to keep a close eye on player values. That’s the only way you’ll know whether Minnesota’s Adrian Peterson is really worth $50 or if you should pick up Tampa Bay’s Doug Martin for $48.
Step #4 – Wait A Few Rounds Before Drafting Your QB
Quarterbacks get a lot of attention early in the draft. In fact, they get more than they should. And like the price of a company’s stock that everyone is buying at the same time, bids for starting QBs tend to rise higher than their values.
In other words, owners pay too much for them.
You’re better off waiting a few rounds before going after a QB. Instead, while the other owners are getting into bidding wars over Aaron Rodgers, you can quietly fill out your running back positions.
And speaking of running backs…
Step #5 – Pick Up A Few Extra RBs
These days, starting RBs are the unsung heroes of one-week fantasy football leagues (though lots of folks still don’t realize it). And if you have a few who have proven to be consistent rushers, you’ll have the building blocks of a high-performance team.
This is where the ability to accurately track values can be a huge benefit. As other owners fight over QBs, or spend a bunch of cash to build their defensive lines, pick up a few extra running backs. Avoid the top guys, like Adrian Peterson, since they’re usually overvalued. Instead, go for solid – and possibly undervalued – performers like Washington’s Alfred Morris or Matt Forte from Chicago.
Step #6 – Focus On Your Defensive Line LAST
A lot of owners start building out their defensive lines earlier than they should. The bids are low, which makes it seem as if they’re spending their budgets wisely. In reality, defense is one of last things you should worry about during the draft.
To be clear, your defense is definitely important. The problem is, stats show defensive lines are also unpredictable. So you might have ridden your defense to victory in the last one-week fantasy football contest, but watch them cost you this week’s season.
Pick ’em up, but pick ’em up last.
Step #7 – Bid Low To Conserve Your Budget
Don’t allow yourself to become emotionally invested in players. If you’re having trouble picking up the names you want because other owners are bidding for them, be willing to walk away when the bids rise higher than their values. The only thing a bidding war accomplishes is to cause the participants to throw money down the toilet.
There’s nothing wrong with competing for players. But when you start bidding more than those players are worth, you’re in trouble. Let it go.
Step #8 – Encourage The Other Owners To Waste Money
The flip side of conserving your budget is to get the other owners to spend their own foolishly. One way to do that is by instigating a bidding war. But frankly, that’s too risky. You’ll wind up paying too much for a player if the other owner concedes defeat sooner than you thought he would.
A better strategy is to identify top-tier players who will likely be overvalued. Don’t bid on them yourself. Simply nominate them and watch the other owners fight over them. The more they spend on overvalued players, the less they’ll have available to build a strong starting offense.
Step #9 – Roll With The Punches
If there’s one surefire rule, it’s that fantasy football drafts are not going to go according to plan. You’ll need to duck and weave, and sometimes roll with the punches when they connect. Your ability to adapt quickly will play a major role in getting as much value as possible for your budget.
For example, if you had hoped to sneak under the radar and pick up a few RBs early for a discount, but they’re all overvalued, change your strategy. Take a look at the QBs if everyone is bidding on RBs. Or take the opportunity to snag an undervalued wide receiver or tight-end.
In other words, adapt.
The most important lesson in NFL fantasy football betting is that there are never any guarantees. Whether you’re playing at FanDuel (review), Draft Kings (review), or DraftDay (review), every league will be different. Every draft will follow a different path.
If you know your draft strategy and are able to adapt quickly, you’ll be steps ahead of the other owners. With that in mind, use the tips above to put together a team that will help you secure the win and the majority of the cash prize pool.