Notable Nonsense: Fantasy Football Draft Guide

Author: Kevin Nelson

ray ricePreseason Draft Guide

Well, you are a glutton for punishment. Back for more huh, or maybe just back for the first time? Either way I’m glad to have you along for the ride and hope to provide you with more completely useless yet extremely invaluable information. If you missed the first edition, please feel free to check it out here as it will provide a great base for heading into your upcoming draft. Not everyone has gotten the chance to read the Yoda of fantasy football share his thoughts. “Win your league you will.” Most Sunday’s I just sit back and let the force take care of the rest. That is why your draft is so important, it’s not the end all be all, but it’s important. It can be the difference between being the Jedi Master, and being the one left with a weird alien on a planet filled with sand. What? Ok I’m done with the Star Wars, I swear, maybe.  So let’s get to it. I gave you the offseason guide and hopefully by now you are a bunch of sponges ready for the next step in reaching fantasy football glory! This is my preseason draft guide, enjoy.

How to Study


All of you former students out there know, there is a huge difference between just studying and efficient studying. Any ole’ middle of the road student can sit at their desk open a book, or magazine in this case, and try and digest all of the information they encounter. The key is being efficient. Now, I was not a 4.0 student who aced every test during my glory years at the University of Washington, but I like to think I maximized the relationship between hours spent studying and the result that followed. This is especially applicable in fantasy football. In my yearly leagues, I will have members who cram a magazine or two and memorize it front to back for the draft the next day. They got no shot. Just reading straight through the magazine makes it very difficult to identify the key points you are looking for. Football is about changes, offensive philosophies, player movement, coaching movement and so on. Sure rankings are important and helpful but for all you know, the writer had their girlfriend make that list based on which team’s colors she likes best. We have all had that winner in bracket challenge, am I wrong?  So when you start studying, look for key movements and identify how that affects the players involved. For example, a lot of people have Ray Rice pegged to do about what he did last year despite the fact that Baltimore added the best blocking fullback in the game, in addition to losing their goal line vulture, Willis McGahee. Personally, barring injury, I don’t see how Ray Rice does not dramatically improve his standing because of this movement. Rank accordingly. See, don’t just study Ray Rice being ranked 5 or 6 or where ever, study the information that will allow you to understand where YOU feel he should be and why.

Creating Tiers

aaron-rodgers1Now that you are studying like a superstar it’s time for you to make a superstar’s cheat sheet. Hey, takes one to know one right? Creating your own cheat sheet with evaluated tiers is the best way for you to ensure you always make the best decisions during a draft. One of the few guarantees I can give you in this game is that the draft will NOT go how you anticipate. All it takes is one outlandish pick to start a run a full round early and leave those unprepared in a position to reach unnecessarily. If you have a tiered cheat sheet you will not fall in this trap and will able to snag the value that has fallen and give you a rare opportunity to one up your opponents. The first step is evaluating your own rankings. After you have studied and developed your own rankings, the next step is to separate those rankings based on how confident you are in the players ability. For example, from my study there are only two quarterbacks I consider worthy of a first round draft choice. For that reason, I have Aaron Rodgers and Mike Vick as my QB tier one, and I continue from there on. Having different tiers allows you to make a more comfortable decision when moving away from a particular position if you get stuck at the end of a run. Remember, it is always better to start a run than end one. Speaking of runs…….

Draft Value and Avoiding a Bad Case of the Runs

You’ve studied, you’ve created your tiers, and you are ready to learn your draft position. In my opinion, the draft position is one of the most overrated and overreacted aspects of the game. I have talked to many people over the years who insist it is nearly impossible to win a league if you don’t get an early draft choice. POPPYCOCK! From experience, I have won leagues from any position; I have seen others win leagues, from any position. The problem with these “woe is me” drafters is they don’t understand draft value. Just because I draft in the 8 or 9 position doesn’t mean I can’t get an advantage over the guy who takes Adrian Peterson or Arian Foster. Say I take Andre Johnson at the end of the first round and am able to snag Aaron Rodgers on the turn in the second. While my opponents are worried about gathering up these uber-important running backs, Rodgers has finished 1 or 2 in fantasy 3 straight years and Andre is one of only 2 receivers to finish top 10 over the last 3 years. I just guaranteed, or as close as possible from a fantasy perspective myself two top players at their respective positions. Guess what, he only has 1 and will be picking lower tiered options at quarterback and wide receiver when is next pick arises. Is running back important, absolutely! I would advocate taking one of those monsters every day of the week if you get an early pick, but it by no means wins your league automatically. A league is never won with your first or second round draft choice. It’s jamaalcharles1won in the trenches, rounds 6-12 and beyond. It’s won by finding guys last year such as Peyton Hillis, Darren Mcfadden, LaGarrette Blount, Steve Johnson, or Brandon Lloyd to supplement your superstars. Just because they start with a better RB1 than you doesn’t end the game. From any position, the most important strategy in the draft is to stay ahead of runs. If you have pick 9 and 8 running backs go in front of you, don’t start in ninth place by taking the 9th best choice at running back, unless of course you have him in a tier worth more than that. Start a run on receivers or quarterbacks. Odds are if you pick a receiver there, your league mates will get worried that receivers are starting to go and now THAT position will fly off the board. You will now be left with nearly the same running back choices with your next pick as your previous, adding him to your number 1 overall receiver. If you continue this strategy, using your tiers, you will never make a bad pick. The more you stay ahead of your opponents the more competitive your team will be. Don’t get a bad case of the runs, that’s always a lose-lose proposition.


I’m pretty sure if you found any of this babble worth reading you are ready for domination. So go on, get outta here, browse the website, check out the links to other information, and STUDY! Its 4th quarter time guys, the season starts in 3 weeks. You have all the tools my young Padawan. Don’t be pull a Lebron, be like Mike. Pull up your Hanes, throw on your Jordans, grab a Gatorade and win this sucker!

Game time. No Nonsense

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