It's that time of year again. NFL training camps are finishing up, preseason is winding down, and fantasy drafts are set to begin. So here are a few tips on how to dominate your NFL fantasy draft in 2009.
# 1: Go Running Back In The First Three Rounds
After round 1 most of the “heavy hitter” running backs will be taken. Join that group. You want to have your main running back selected going into round two. If you're lucky you'll have one of the first 5 picks and nab yourself a coveted back but there's plenty of depth to go around the first few rounds at this position. This sets you up to grab a few complimentary backs in rounds 2 and 3. Keep in mind however, that if the other team owners in your league are not following this strategy and start taking receivers and quarterbacks, you have to adapt and realize that the selection is getting thin. So if the flow of the draft is all running backs the first three rounds, good. If not, you will have to pick what others are picking in order to secure a top notch player at that position.
# 2: The Best Player Available Strategy
If you're a rookie to fantasy football and you're not very familiar with how everything works yet, then this strategy will serve you well. Most fantasy drafts have a best player available chart filled with pre-ranked players. It lets you know who the highest ranked player yet to be taken is. If you select the highest ranked player available that will ensure you a decent fantasy team and you will be pretty successful for the most part. However, the real successful owners are the ones who draft according to experience. They know which players are sleepers (I'll get to those in a bit) and which players over or under perform. Trusting your gut when drafting is a skill that will come with experience. But if this will be your first draft, the best player available strategy will not let you down.
# 3: Make A Surprise Selection
If you're new at fantasy football, I would not recommend this strategy because you have to “catch-up” after you make this pick. I know the # 1 tip is to go RB in the first three rounds. Well if you are not lucky enough to secure a top 5 pick, you can make a surprise selection. Say you have the 9th pick. Every selection ahead of you should be running back. You can choose to make a surprise selection of a quarterback here. For example, Drew Brees is the number 1 ranked quarterback in 2009 so by selecting him in the mid to late first round, you are ensuring yourself the best player at that particular position. So instead of getting a second tier running back, you now have a first tier quarterback. This strategy comes with a lot of risk however because you have to catch up on running backs in the later rounds and it could deem costly if you do not make up for it.
# 4: It's About How Long You Can Hold Off
I know sometimes it's painful to hold off on selecting a player but one of the worst things you can do is select a player prematurely. You probably have the players ranked in your mind slightly differently than what their fantasy ranking is. But selecting an undervalued player in a later round ensures that you get a better ranked player first and then you add depth by drafting the sleeper later. However, if you wait too long that player might be swept off the board by someone else who has the same idea. So the goal is to find that happy medium. The goal is to hold off as long as you can on taking a sleeper and when you believe that his time has come, draft him so nobody else can. It's a bit confusing of a concept, but it's what the “top dogs” do.
# 5: Find Out The Sleepers
Here are my top 10 NFL fantasy draft sleepers of 2009:
1. Matt Schaub, QB, Houston Texans
2. Carson Palmer, QB, Cincinnati Bengals
3. Chris “Beanie” Wells RB, Arizona Cardinals
4. Felix Jones, RB, Dallas Cowboys
5. Willie Parker, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers
6. Kevin Walter, WR, Houston Texans
7. Chris Henry, WR, Cincinnati Bengals
8. Troy Williamson, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars
9. Kevin Boss, TE, New York Giants
10. Lawrence Tynes, K, New York Giants