The Fantasy Scrambler: Draft Preparation


Training camps are in full swing and the first preseason games are just around the corner. This is my favorite time of year, Fantasy Football Time!

When you can finally put to bed the dreaded losses of last season and look forward to the ultimate glory of winning your league this year. Or, for the lucky few (and I mean LUCKY), this marks the beginning of the defense of your title. Either way, I know we are all in agreement when I say “Are you ready for some Fantasy?”

These are the days when draft strategies are formulated, so, for my first installment of “The Fantasy Scrambler” I will try to impart some draft strategy wisdom I have gained and witnessed throughout my 15 years of playing fantasy.

A draft strategy begins and ends with draft position, so take my advice and apply it depending on where you are drafting. First pick and last pick are drastically different so one must tailor each strategy to deal with the inevitable ups and downs of the draft.

I am going to stick to two basic strategies, keeping in mind that draft strategies are like bar fights: it seems like a good idea at first, but you never know where the first punch is coming from. Just like you can’t tell when the first owner in your league picks Jimmy Graham and starts an unlikely second round run on tight ends.

fantasy-200x300One strategy I have come to embrace includes acquiring three different publications, or any other fantasy sources you like, and using each of their player rankings to get an average.

Example: Source No. 1 ranks Aaron Rodgers the top QB. Source No. 2 ranks Rodgers second and source No. 3 ranks him third. The average rank in this example would be second. So, in my own QB ranking list I would have Aaron Rodgers as the second ranked QB on my draft board.

This kind of ranking strategy takes extreme discipline due to the fact that in my mind, Aaron Rodgers is the clear number one QB. However, by keeping him second on my board, I can go into the draft knowing that depending on my draft position, either Rodgers will be taken before I can snag him and I can now pick the number one guy on my board, or the number one guy will be gone, leaving me the pleasure of picking the QB I wanted all along.

Using this strategy for each position ensures a little stability when someone throws a wrench into the draft by picking all wide receivers in the first four rounds. No matter what curve balls are thrown at you, picking with this average ranking system will give you multiple options when it comes to drafting with your head and drafting with your heart.

If you’re like me, draft preparation is a passion, so doing massive amounts of homework isn’t work at all. However, some of you may not take it quite as serious, or just don’t have the time to prep like a pro. Granted, sometimes lack of preparation works out in the end when the least studious guy in the room is holding the league trophy above his head in week 18.

If you fall into this category I have some very simple advice for you. Download a top 100 cheat sheet and take it to your draft. Cross off each name that is drafted before it is your turn and simply draft the highest ranked player on the list, being mindful of your league rules stating how many players at each position you can draft, of course. This strategy is simple yet effective, especially if you haven’t done your homework. And if it works. Everyone in your league who had pored over websites and stat sheets for the three months leading up to the draft will hate you and want to destroy you every chance they get.

I hope these examples have been helpful and maybe even enlightening. Just remember that no strategy works every time and no strategy is fool proof (heavy emphasis on the word fool.)

Good luck to you all during this year’s draft season and look for more “Fantasy Scrambler” in the coming weeks.

Brian Maahs
Brian Maahs is an avid sports fan, fisherman and youth football coach. When he's not reviewing Portland's best sports bars, he's usually researching fantasy football or planning his next fishing trip.
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