This is it — the week where most of us will be participating in our annual night of nail-biting, trash-talking and internal turmoil over whether to take Jacksonville’s LeBrandon Toefield or New York Jets’ LaMont Jordan in the 13th round.
So here’s a primer as you head into your draft.
Remember, this is the single most important event of the entire fantasy football season. Don’t blow it!
There, now that you are sufficiently pressured, let’s get down to the do’s and don’ts of the draft.
Do: Pay attention.
The more you are in tune to whom everyone else is drafting, the better your “feel” will be for which player to select next.
If you’re not paying attention, you may miss the fact that the person drafting behind you still hasn’t selected a quarterback by the sixth round, so you can be pretty sure that’s the position he/she will be targeting. So you know if you need a QB, the time to take him would be then.
Do: Have a customized cheat sheet prepared.
Don’t just grab one out of a magazine on the way to the draft. Get something off the Internet that can customize your league’s scoring rules for you. The best is if you can get one that combines the elements of value-based drafting and average value theory.
I could spend a couple columns on those two tactics alone, but it would be easiest if you went to footballguys.com or fantasyasylum.com and did the research on that yourself.
It also wouldn’t hurt to find a list of “average draft position,” which you can use to determine whether somebody you would like to select should be taken sooner rather than later.
Basically this list is just a compilation of dozens, if not hundreds, of actual completed drafts, so it shows where a certain player has been drafted on average, including the highest and lowest he went.
Don’t: Drink too much.
A lot of fantasy advisors tells you to steer clear of alcohol altogether. I’m not one of them.
If you are sufficiently prepared for the draft, a couple cocktails won’t ruin your team. Just don’t get sloshed, or you’ll end up with some third-string running back who you remember having a nice 50-yard run in the second preseason game. Which brings us to …
Don’t: Put too much emphasis on the preseason.
The exhibition games are becoming more and more a tool for the coaches to decide which players they are going to keep on the final roster.
The starters get minimal quality playing time, and the coaches aren’t going to give away their playbook on games that don’t count. Preseason game should be used mostly to gauge players’ health, such as Priest Holmes, who appears to be fully recovered).
Do: Build depth.
Injuries are a fact of life in the NFL. The better you can cover yourself, the better off you will be. Don’t waste too many picks on “sleepers” because most of them won’t have the season you think they will. Instead, take backups to your key players or other available starters.
Do: Analyze each team’s draft afterwards and look for weaknesses and strengths that may fit well with your team.
Don’t be afraid to offer trades, even before the season starts, although most people don’t want to trade until they see how their investments pan out. But if you’ve got four solid running backs (which is a great position of strength) and are a little soft at receiver, maybe offer your third or fourth back for a starting receiver.