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By Sydney Stone

10 Tips for Your Fantasy Football Draft

By Sydney Stone Posted September 2, 2011 at 1:10 am

As the NFL preseason winds down and teams make their final preparations to begin the regular season, Fantasy Football owners everywhere are scrambling for last minute details on their favorite players and teams as they make their own final preparations for the Fantasy drafts.  The draft kicks off the Fantasy Football season and sets the stage for how your team will perform for the remainder of the year; however, the draft is also the point at which some Fantasy owners (or Fowners, as I will call them) may put themselves at the greatest disadvantage. The most common misconception Fowners have about the draft is that a wealth of knowledge about individual NFL players is sufficient preparation to ensure success ; but, the key lies in understanding how the draft works and how to work the draft to your own advantage. Here are 10 tips to make sure that the players left on your roster are nothing short of stellar.  
10.) Know the type of league in which you are playing. The standard league rules for a given website will usually be the most common, but there are many options available to customize your Fantasy league. Two popular choices are “Keeper” and “PPR” leagues. Keeper leagues allow you to keep one or more players from the previous year (or years) on your roster and the rules for keeping players vary based on your individual league guidelines. Being in a Keeper league will influence the way you draft players because this means that one or more of your roster positions will be filled prior to the draft and you must adjust your strategy accordingly. Points Per Reception, or PPR, leagues award an extra point for every reception that a player makes in addition to the points he gets for yardage or scoring. This makes players who catch the ball more valuable, including not only wide receivers, but also tight ends and especially running backs with good hands
9.)  Know the type of draft you are using. In the most common type of draft, Fowners are randomly assigned an order in which to pick their players. If you use a Snake draft, the drafting order is reversed as you alternate rounds to give the person who went last in the first round the first pick in the second round and so on. An Auction draft gives each Fowner a maximum dollar amount to spend  purchasing their players. This means that as long as you are willing to pay top dollar for a player, you will be assured of getting him because this type of draft does not assign owners an order in which they have to pick.
8.) Know the scoring settings for your league. The point value assigned to each statistical category for scoring varies from league to league. Some leagues will assign a passing touchdown 6 points whereas in another it’s only worth 4 points. This means that quarterbacks would be more valuable in the former league than in the latter. The same differences in point value can apply to rushing touchdowns and receiving touchdowns, as well as other statistical measurements for evaluating an on-field performance.
7.) Know your spot in the draft. Obviously, it is useful to know when it is your turn to pick, but it is also helpful to know when and how others in your draft pick in relation to you. The number of teams in a Fantasy league heavily influences drafting as the NFL has a fixed number of players as well as a fixed amount of playing time available to be distributed among the players of a given NFL team. As the number of teams in a Fantasy league increases, so does the demand for high-quality first-team positional players.  
6.) Come to the draft prepared.  There are many websites that offer supplemental information, but there are a few things that are critical. Find a “cheat sheet” that you like, whether you make it yourself or you download it online. Your cheat sheet should rank players by playing position and overall in order of your draft preference. Find ways to keep you informed on injuries because not all websites update the injury status of players for the draft. Team depth charts are also helpful to show which players are likely to get the most playing time.
5.) Pick your kicker last and your defense next to last. Unless you have an insanely high point value assigned to the statistical scoring categories associated with one of these positions, there is no reason to waste any picks before the last 2 rounds on these roster spots. Most Fantasy leagues consist of 8-14 teams. This usually requires just 1 team defense and 1 kicker per Fantasy team, and the odds of not being able to lock down one of the 32 availablein the NFL is unlikely. Yes, some are better than others, but the difference in Fantasy points between team defenses and among kickers is rarely significant enough to sacrifice a pick earlier than the last 2 rounds. 
4.) Know the definition of a sleeper. A sleeper is a player that you pick up in a later round than what their Fantasy value would suggest. Usually these are lesser-known players due for an atypically productive season. The trouble with sleepers is that they are not always a sure bet and some Fowners forfeit critical picks gambling on an unproven player instead of an establishedone in hopes of snagging the next breakout stud. A player is only a sleeper if their Fantasy value outweighs the order in which they were picked. This includes surpassing the value of the other players that you could have chosen instead. Otherwise, it is not a sleeper, but a reach.
3.) Disregard the Bye week. If losing one week means that you are likely to win the rest, it will be well worth it.
2.) Always pick the player with the highest value left on the board. This means taking into account all of the aforementioned tips and carefully weighing your options. I go into a draft not with players that I want in mind which may cause me to reach, but instead only with players that I know I don’t want. For the rest I just try to make an objective decision.
1.) If you don’t know what you’re doing, don’t do it…USE AUTODRAFT. Autodraft is a resource offered by Fantasy Football websites to help people who are not as informed, have a scheduling conflict, or are otherwise unable to attend with their drafts by automatically picking players for them. This formula-based system takes into account certain criteria to ensure that you pick what the computer would consider the next best player available for your lineup. In every league’s draft there is at least one person that leaves everyone else thinking, “What are they doing?!” and by following these guidelines, hopefully it won’t be you.
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