With only one preseason week of the NFL left, there is still plenty of work to be done if your fantasy football league is holding it's draft over the course of the next week.
I could go on and on about how to make cheat sheets, which sleepers are out there and which players to target and avoid. But considering this info has been pumped into your system over the past month, there is nothing I can add onto this that you shouldn't already know.
So instead of rehashing material that's already been talked about, I'd like to talk about 3 more tidbits that you should be looking out for before, during and after your draft.
What Big Name Players Won't Make The Cut?
It's pretty rare that a named fantasy football player gets cut from the 53-man roster, but it's not out of the ordinary. Undrafted free agents who were signed after the NFL Draft, late-round draft picks and players who offer no upside to a team are the ones who are targeted the most as early cuts. Once those guys are gone, coaches really have to analyze whether a player who has been with them for years is more valuable than a rookie with more upside.
The best example of this is Patriots RB Stevan Ridley. There's no doubt that Ridley is the team's best inside runner, but his fumbling problems have already worn thin with Bill Belichick. It didn't help that he lost another fumble in Week 2 of the preseason. Beat writer Mike Reiss, who is considered the top beat writer for the Patriots, doesn't have Ridley listed in his final team roster. Surprised? You shouldn't be considering this is the Patriots. Belichick rarely uses a one-back system, so he could take a chance and hope the trio of RB Shane Vereen, RB James White (sleeper pick if Ridley is cut) and RB Brandon Bolden can make up for the loss. Ridley didn't play very much this past weekend (11 snaps), so the writing could be on the wall. If it's one thing that coaches can't stand, it's a player with fumble-itis.
While Reiss has his pulse on the team above any other media member in New England, the above might not even happen. However, this is just a small example of bypassing a player in your draft because his status is beyond questionable at the moment.
Last Minute Positional Competitions
Most teams' depth charts are completed, but there are several players vying for a spot that will make subtle changes to your rankings.
One such example, and you might think it's not a big one, is for the Saints kicking job. It's been pretty close thus far between K Shayne Graham and K Derek Dimke. While I personally don't pay a lot of attention to kickers (most of our users know this), a kicker on a high-powered offense like the Saints is definitely worth monitoring. Especially since many owners have used a pick on Graham and he hasn't even been named the starter as of this writing. This could be due to owners using their site's rankings, which aren't updated as much as our cheat sheets.
This is a situation you either want to avoid if more news isn't published by the time you draft, or you'll want to keep an eye on this situation up to the very minute before, or even while, your draft is starting.
Eye The Wire "Right After" The Draft
While drafting, we'll get so engulfed in top fantasy football picks that we don't pay attention to what's left on the waiver wire after our draft is complete. Some owners wait it out until after Week 1 to start making moves, but there is nothing wrong with doing some "spring cleaning" on your new roster before the season starts. Or even minutes after the draft is over, if your league allows it.
You'll be surprised when you look at your later round picks compared to what upside could be waiting for you. Panthers RB Jonathan Stewart has still been bypassed in many leagues. I've been writing about that for most of the month. Owners are scared because
- A. Stewart isn't known for staying healthy.
- B. RB DeAngelo Williams and RB Mike Tolbert are around.
The above points don't scare me away from Stewart. He's considered the more talented back of the 3 and he's been a pinnacle of health through the preseason. There really is no reason why Stewart should be on the wire at all, but he is.
So you look at your roster and maybe you have a receiver that you took on the fly because of his ranking and/or ADP. You think he isn't going to be used much with your other receivers in front of him. This would be a good time to look at your wire and see which players were bypassed. Even 12 team leagues yield some exciting prospects, including Stewart.
With Stewart averaging 4.6 yards a carry and hauling in a two-touchdown game, this is a prime example of using the waiver wire to your advantage as soon as possible.