Dominate Your Fantasy Football Draft 2019
Looking for “sleepers” just doesn’t cut it anymore. Dominate your draft like the experts with these 3 tricks.
There are many aspects to fantasy football that will lead to success. However, the most important aspect, by far, is your draft. This is where a manager’s season starts, and on some occasions, also end. If a manager goes into a draft unprepared and naive, they will set themselves up for a disappointing season. Let’s explore the key components to having a successful draft.
#1) Knowing Your League
This is perhaps the most crucial part of the draft. Know the rules, know the scoring system and know your opponents. Knowing your league’s set up can not be stressed enough. Drafting in points per reception league, dynasty league, or a standard redraft league are drastically different. Whether it is valuing pass-catching backs in PPR, or focusing on the young potential in dynasty leagues, each player’s value shifts drastically. A player like Christian McCaffery or James White, have more manufactured value if your league grants one point per reception than backs such as Marlon Mack or Leonard Fournette, who are not as involved in the passing game. Make sure you are aware of your league’s scoring set-up and participate in mock drafts with similar formats. This will help managers evaluate the value of players and where each player is expected to be drafted.
It is also important to know of any bench restrictions. If a team can only roster 6 total running backs, make sure to focus your first 10 rounds on shaping up your running back talent. Wasting a 10th round pick on the Bears D/ST or Justin Tucker just means that RB depth (the key to winning your championship) will take an unnecessary hit.
Finally, make sure to know your opponents. Many managers draft with their hearts and draft the same core players year after year, or simply draft many players from their favorite NFL team. This can help you drive up the price in auction drafts and deplete these managers of their remaining salary. Also, if you are in a league where the majority of your managers went to the University of Iowa, realize that players such as Noah Fant and TJ Hockenson are going to be drafted earlier than they should. Keying in on these little characteristics of your league can help you find value throughout the draft, as managers focus their draft capital with their emotions.
#2 Stay up to date with the NFL
As players reported to training camps this week, monitor players and teams. A.J. Green has already been carted off the practice field, and Corey Coleman’s season has already ended. Unfortunately every year training camp decimates rosters across the league. A popular WR target AJ Green will miss 6-8 weeks with torn ligaments in his ankle and now changes the WR landscape. Make sure to follow injury reports and see who is already dealing with a hamstring issue, which may nag the receiver the entire season. Calvin Ridley, in particular, with be worth monitoring throughout training camp. As one of our favorite value receivers in the 2019 draft season, the former Crimson Tide receiver is dealing with a hamstring injury and the severity is currently unknown. Also, stay up to date with top RBs Melvin Gordon and Ezekiel Elliott as they have still failed to report to camp amid contract discussions.
The Hard Knocks Effect
Another extremely overlooked aspect of each draft season is the impact of HBO’s Hard Knocks. Every year whichever up-and-coming franchise is featured becomes very popular in the fantasy football community. Last year, The Cleveland Browns were featured on Hard Knocks and Jarvis Landry was drafted 1-2 rounds earlier than suggested. Despite being the #21 scoring receiver last season, “Juice” Landry was drafted similarly to WR #9 JuJu Smith-Schuster at $11. Make sure to eliminate any biases and start to key in on trends that can help you spot value this draft season. It’s easy to stand with the crowd and be comfortable, it takes courage to stand alone. Be the trendsetter and set yourself for success by differentiating your draft strategy.
#3 Draft Research
This draft tip is going to set your team apart from the rest of your league. Research doesn’t mean simply see which “sleepers” Matthew Berry and mainstream ESPN flood the fantasy world with. Do your own research and make your own educated analysis.
Not only does ESPN play it safe when suggesting sleepers each season by directing you to Aaron Jones or Kerryon Johnson, but they also unintentionally increase the price of these players. Aaron Jones and Kerryon Johnson are not in fact sleepers. As the premier backs on their respective teams and having already shared successes in the NFL, these running backs are going to be drafted in the 4-6th rounds regardless.
These two running backs were sleepers last year as they were taken in rounds 8 and later. Especially now that ESPN has raved about these 2 backs as “can’t miss sleepers” they are now on every novice fantasy owner’s radar, eliminating any potential value. A true sleeper is someone that is being overlooked for no particular reason and will provide value. Devonta Freeman, Dalvin Cook, and Leonard Fournette are not sleepers, but they provide real value because of public perception. Find which players are not popular in the eye of the public, and explore their upsides. Besides finding value, it is crucial to do some deep-diving into the nitty-gritty.
One trend many fantasy players overlook is looking at league scoring. ESPN leagues keep great historical data for your league. Do some number crunching and find out what the average score each week of the league winner. This will help you build your roster to meet this goal. Will you need a to reach 120 points each week or 90 points? If you think that 110 is a winning score each week, target those consistent RBs early, to generate a steady 20 points per game in the RB1 spot.
Will you need to chase upside? Then focus on the volatile receivers such as Tyreek Hill and Julio Jones. Regardless of what you need, this will help give you a better understanding of what is needed to win. Also, check out how the previous Champion built their roster. Did they focus on top on WRs and pick up RBs either via trades or the waiver wire? Or did they draft high-risk high-upside players? This type of research pays off and will help you dominate your league in 2019.