There are three actions you must take if you want to draft a set of players allowing you to compete for the league crown. If you do only two of the three, your draft will likely be disappointing without some good luck on your side. If you do all three, then and only then can you be prepared to enter your draft with gas in your tank, bullets in your gun and map to where you are going. It is as simple as that.
1. Know your players
The first action you must take is to know your players. You not only need to understand what players are good and which ones are not, you need to have them arrayed in tiers so that you can quickly and efficiently evaluate your options when you draft. You need to know what players you consider as relative equivalents and where drop-offs occur. Sometimes those drop-offs are fairly small but sooner than later, they become huge as you progress from NFL starters into back-ups and players not prominently featured by their offense.
Make sure you know player value and tier positions.
2. Know your positions
It is not nearly enough to merely know player value, you have to know how that applies to your league scoring rules by position. You need to know what the relative value of starting positions are to each other and take into consideration that position depth, how quickly that position will be drained and where the benefit is greatest to your team in total points. In many leagues, you could have the best WR's, TE's, PK's and DEF but if your QB and RB spots are weak - you will not be competitive. In others, TE's are pretty valuable and throws a big slant on how they are taken. In some, QB's all score similar and can wait.
After you know the player values within a position, you have know how each one stacks up against all other starting positions to get the greatest value with your picks.
3. Know your draft slot
Okay, so you have that killer cheat sheet with tiers and now you know what positions score in your league. You are ready to draft the greatest team ever except for one small problem - every other person in your league. See, they kind of want all those good players too. While there may be the bonehead pick or two, you have to count on them drafting well and being prepared to get the players that will still be available to you.
Sort of a monkey wrench in the plan when every targeted player you wanted ends up on someone else's team.
Or getting that first targeted player suddenly turns your draft into a game of chase, trying desperately to get positions before the tiers empty and ending up with a whole squad of players where none is better than 10th in their own position. You have to build that team and the only way to maximize your draft is to go in with a realistic plan. Know what you want in advance and you can make intelligent, confident picks. This does not mean you should ignore great value when it drops in your lap, but you need a roadmap on how to get there. When that big value pick falls to you - your team becomes even stronger.
To plot out how I see the season right now, let's set the stage first considering a 12 team league that uses standard performance scoring. Let's walk through each pick and see what unfolds and what plans we can make based on what happens.
Those in a point per reception (PPR) league may want to check out the new PPR league version of this feature.
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