The following are 10 rules you must master if you expect to be competitive in fantasy football. I can not emphasize just how important the draft is and how hard it is to recover and have a decent season if you screw this up. More than any other fantasy sport, football is the most based on luck. Injuries are a huge part of the game and you must plan accordingly for them before the season begins. The name of the game is “minimizeize risk”. Following the these Fantasy Football Draft Rules will help you to minimize your risk exposure and give you a small advantage which can be the difference between winning and losing on any given Sunday.
1. Know your league rules
A few years back I got killed for not knowing my league rules. This really can have a big impact on player ranking. For example, in a PPR league running backs that catch balls will be ranked highest followed by wide receivers. Another example is leagues where quarterbacks get 6 points for a passing touchdown. In this case, QBs will have tremendous value and for the most part the highest ranked players. In short, be aware of your scoring system as it can have an impact on the ranking system you are using.
2. Forget your loyalties
This really should be obvious, but many do not follow this key rule. If you are playing in a competitive fantasy football league its business not personal. Drafting with your heart rather than following the rules will cost you the season.
3. Beware of Injury
Fantasy Football is a game decided by injuries. Going into the draft you need to know who is hurt or coming off injury. Most rankings are assembled weeks before the fantasy draft season. Not knowing who is hurt can cost you the season.
4. Playing for a contender / bad team = less opportunity
This is an interesting rule, but it should play a role in your draft strategy. When deciding between two players it is best to take the one who plays for a winning team. Running backs who play for bad team teams tend to have the box stacked against them. Furthermore, their teams are constantly playing from behind limiting their running opportunities. QBs on bad teams will suffer from an increased pass rush and swarms defenses. In short, good teams create good situations where players are more likely to post points.
5. Player Projections
I came across an interesting statistical while putting this piece together that stated running back and quarterback projections are generally more reliable than WR / TE projections. When deciding who to draft between players who play different positions you must take into account the standard deviation of the ranking associated with WR / TE.
6. Position Scarcity
Always be aware of who your opponents have crafted. It seems like common sense, if everyone has a TE except for you, you can probably wait a few more rounds to select one. Also, it goes without saying that the running back position is scarce. However, now that there are two back running back systems on almost every team the position is more scarce than ever.
7. Year End (came on strong vs. faded late)
It is best not to take rankings at face value. If two players are ranked right next to one another, think of what is going into the ranking. Did one player come on strong at the end of the season? Is one of the players injury pron? Who is playing on a better team? Does one of the players play alongside an injury pron player? Answering these questions will help who to decide on – surprisingly it often is not who is ranked higher.
8. Monitor the Bye Week
Make sure you monitor when your players bye week is. You can really set yourself up for failure if everyone has a bye on the same week. A typical problem occurs after not paying attention to this, many of your players will have a bye on an early week and you will be forced to drop a talented player. Do not let this happen to you! Likewise, once the bye weeks roll around look out for your opponents who were forced to drop good players due to this situation.
9. Kickers & D wait until the end
Do not get caught up in the Defense run. Let someone else take Baltimore's D in round 6. This is a golden draft rule. Take a kicker in the last round and defense in the second to last round. These positions can be changed every week and are tough to predict before the season begins. I promise you that there will be a top ranked defense on waivers after week 1.
10. Do not overrate sleepers and rookies
Rookies typically play like rookies. Do not get caught up in the hype. The only rookie position we would recommend taking could be a running back. With a plethora of fantasy information there are not many true sleepers these days. Another interesting recommendation I came across on the web is after you identify the sleeper you want, hold off a round. If the player is still there he is a legal sleeper.