Without being prepared, drafting a solid fantasy football team is extremely difficult. Many factors come into play during a live fantasy football draft. The pressure of the clock, watching players you had on your "list" get picked right before your eyes. Next thing you know it's your pick and you're lost scrambling for a player to draft. Time keeps on ticking away as you fumble through 15 sheets of information. Soon you realize your preparation was fruitless, its just not organized. Alas, you have to settle for a hurried pick and then repeat the entire process again. Anxiety, anger and frustration compound round after round and in the end you're stuck with a fantasy football team that has much to be desired. You know you've been there before, but not this year! Sign up for our 2016 Draft Package and Dominate your league.
Let's get started!
Head on over to our members area and customize your cheat sheet based on your leagues settings, then print it (or export to excel) so you can use it as a reference as you read this guide.
Table of Content:
- A look at the columns and their meaning
- Preparing your draft cheat sheet and strategy for the draft.
A look at the columns and there meaning:
- Player, Team, Bye Week and Position - these are self explanatory, if you need an explanation hit the forum.
- Proj. Points - these are the players projected points for this NFL season based on your fantasy leagues scoring system.
- Available Round - This is the estimated round the player will be available. We base this on current (live) draft data, known as ADP.
- Value - is the number of projected points a players is expected to produce (plus or minus), versus the league average based on the number of teams and number of player slots. For example: Let's say your league has 12 teams and each team has 3 WR slots. This is equal to 36 starting WR. The value is the number of points that each WR will score over or below the 18th ranked WR. This makes it easier to identify the point drop off between picks.
- Next Value - is calculated with the same aforementioned formula however, you can use it to identify the drop off between the players value you're looking at now and the next available player at that position.
For example: Player "A" has a Value of 28 and looking at the "Next Value " you'll notice the next available WR has a value of -28. This is a 56 point difference in overall production between player A and player B.
- Next Available Round - As explained above, this column is used to quickly access when that "Next Value" player is projected to be available.
- SOS - this is the projected strength of schedule based on that players position. 1 being the hardest and 32 being the easiest.
Preparing your draft cheat sheet for the draft:
Login and Customize your draft cheat sheet. Print or export by player position (WR, RB, QB etc) - IDP, Kickers and TM DEF is located in the members area main page.
Step 2 (preparation is the key to success)
Now I want you to highlight or mark all the sleepers and late round options you would like to target. Also, mark at least 3 tiered groups. Example: on your QB list you might highlight the first 4 or 5 QB's. Then the following 6 QB's. Look at the value projections to determine which QB's belong in each group/tier.
Step 3 (mid to late round)
understanding value and how to quickly identify it during a live draft
Our value system is based on your league settings and is averaged based on the number of slots in your fantasy league for each position. It helps you identify drop-offs in projected production for each position. Let's now discuss leveraging value and determining a positions scarcity during the draft. Notice the columns at the top of the draft worksheet named "Value" and "Next Value".
"Value" is the number of projected points a players is expected to produce (plus or minus), versus the league average based on your point system and number of player slots.
"Next Value" is calculated with the same aforementioned formula however, you can use it to identify the drop off between the players Value you're looking at now and the next available player in that position. You use these values to quickly made an educated decision on whom to draft when it's your turn to draft. If you noticed the next value is similar to the highest ranked person on your sheet, but the next ADP is much later, you probably can hold out and find another higher valued player.
Step 4 (ties right into step 3)
Go down the sheet and identify the players (one position at a time) that are ranked high on your sheet but are projected to be available in later rounds. You base this on ADP, these guys are going to drop to you and be your value picks. Remember that everyone else is using "hunches" and generic player rankings and guides. They usually follow the number you see in the "Available Rounds" column.. we know this because this is what live draft data tells us, its how you use this sheet to really spot the players that will out produce other players being picked in earlier rounds! Man you're going to really dominate this year, trust me this works!!
Example: when you're comparing wide receiver A and wide receiver B - Value and Next Value - you can quickly scan down the list about 10 rows for any other "high value" wide receivers that have lower ADP. Check out their Value and determine if you want to draft this position now, or hold off until later. Again this allows you to draft for maximum value for EVERY PICK you make.
Step 5 (early round help)
During the first couple rounds you need to pay attention to position scarcity. Position scarcity means, for example, the drop off in points between the top five RB and the lower ten is much greater than the point drop off between the top five QB and the lower 10.
For example: Let's say you have the 7th pick in a 12 team league. This means you'll first get the 7th pick and then your second pick will be at the 17th draft position. Based on MAKE BELIEVE ADP data the available players around pick #7 are: Drew Brees, Jamal Charles and McCoy.
- Drew Brees is projected for 317 points
- Charles is projected for 188 points
- McCoy for 195 points
So who do you draft? Drew Brees? Well you'll need to figure out what players are projected to be available at pick # 17 (Available Round 2.5) which are:
- Murray is projected for 134 points
- Tom Brady is projected for 290 points
- Frank Gore is project for 132 points
This tells you that if you drafted Drew Brees first at 317 points and Murray @ 134 points your total points would be 451 total points.
Or if you drafted McCoy at 195 points and Tom Brady at 290 points your total points would be 485 total points.
Notice how drafting the RB first then a QB netted you an extra 34 points! This varies league to league.
If you know your position in the draft (your starting pick) you can shade the side of the sheet around the areas where you'll be drafting and pre-plan (plot) you draft. I like to print one sheet for this task. Pull up your cheat sheet and sort by ADP then print it. Highlight the sheet to denote where your picks will be. Now you have an idea of which players could be available when it's your turn to pick.
Kicker: Taking a note from my how to pick a kicker article, you should wait until the last round to draft a kicker.
Defense is important but predicting which defense will hit the turnover lottery this year is damn near impossible. I've always had success simply drafting two defenses and playing them based on matchups against weak opponents. If you get lucky you might hit a stud defense that you can ride out a couple games in a row or even trade! By the third week of the season we usually spot the new "rising defense" and will let you know via our Waiver Wire Updates. Download all 32 team rankings here.
Position Runs (when teams start drafting the same position back to back to back, usually unduly because of fear)
If a run is being made on QB don't just jump on the bandwagon if you're at the end of the run. Analyze the data and realize that the point value between player A, that you can draft now, versus player B you can draft later, might not be but a hand full of points different, this is identified in the value column of the draft worksheet.
Good luck in this years fantasy football draft. I'm confident these five steps will ensure your dominate your league!