The 2013 fantasy football season is almost upon us! Ok so we are still a good month and change away from kickoff weekend but your fantasy football draft will be here before you know it. If you have dreams of grandeur (which if you are reading this article you clearly do) then you must begin your draft preparation well in advance! There are oh so many question marks this season and far fewer “sure things” than ever before. Which Quarterback is ready to take it to the next level and join the ranks of the elite fantasy football quarterbacks? Which rookie running backs will emerge as the next surefire studs? Which top tier fantasy wide receiver falls off the map this season and who takes his place? With all the New England tight end issues which other tight ends should you target this year? The list goes on and on and while it is important to know the right names heading into your 2013 fantasy draft it is equally important to know when to draft those players. Draft day value is more important than ever in 2013. So what exactly do you need to know heading into your draft this year? Let’s jump right into it;
Know the Rules!
This first one goes without saying but it is imperative that you know your leagues rules! How many owners are in your league? What’s the scoring system? How many players from each position must your start each week? Those three questions alone will dictate a good percentage of your draft strategy. If you are in a PPR league (point per reception) you’ll want to target running backs that catch a lot of passes over those who are not as involved in the passing game. If you must start three receivers or two quarterbacks you will need to draft accordingly to avoid any lame duck starters. The number of players or owners in your league will determine a lot of the value each player carries. In larger leagues (12+ teams) you will find the need to pull the trigger on those thinner positions a lot sooner than you would in say an eight or ten team league. This leads to my next point;
Know your draft position!
This rule only applies to traditional draft formats and snake drafts; does not apply to auction format drafts.
Knowing where you draft each round will be pivotal to your fantasy football success in 2013. Many leagues base this year’s draft order on last year’s final standings. If that is the case with your league you will be in good shape from a draft day preparation standpoint. If your draft order is determined at random just before the draft you can still certainly prepare yourself you’ll just have to work a little harder beforehand and really know your stuff. I highly recommend doing several mock drafts in the months leading up to your fantasy football draft. The best place for this would be espn.com where you will find numerous fantasy football mock drafts running round the clock. If you know which pick you own this upcoming season play out several scenarios, several times. This season I think it’s clear that in most cases you will want to take a running back with your first round selection, so maybe try that first and go from there. Although most will go with a running back in the first round of their 2013 fantasy draft it certainly won’t hurt to see what will happen if you take a quarterback or wide receiver with your first round selection. For those of your picking at the end of the first round this year in 10 and 12 team leagues you may very well be taking a quarterback or wide receiver with your first draft pick depending on your style and preferences. Don’t be afraid to try different things when prepping for your draft, that’s what mock drafts are for! I have never gone into a draft without having done at least 4 or 5 different mock drafts with the scoring system and league size in mind.
You do not have to go with the flow!
The flow in this case would be the inevitable runs that will occur with every position. Runs are when several owners decide to take a certain position one after another which seemingly depletes the inventory at that spot causing increased demand. As expected, there will be a run on running backs in the first two rounds of all standard formats. I cannot stress enough how very important it is to get at least one running back during that portion of your 2013 fantasy draft. Aside from that make sure you are picking for value and necessity, don’t get caught up in positional runs unless it makes sense for your fantasy team. 9 times out of 10 getting a guy at the tail end of a run will turn out to be a wasted draft pick. I would much rather start a run then be selecting at the end of a run. Lets say you have already selected a running back in the 1st round and you notice the run on running backs continues on into the second round, you may want to consider taking a wide receiver or tight end instead depending on which running backs are left (Jimmy Graham should be the only tight end to be selected before the 4th round this season) the bottom line here is don't draft a certain position based on the flow of your fantasy football draft.
Do you homework and have a backup plan!
Going into a draft you should always have targets in mind but be sure to have a backup plan in place should your targeted players be selected before your turn to pick. You do not want to be that guy scrambling around with one minute on the clock trying to find a decent player to select; it is embarrassing and does not bode well for your fantasy success. Use our 2013 fantasy football rankings as a guideline but be sure to create your own cheat sheet based on your preferences and league rules.
Have fun with it!
Remember, this is Fantasy football. Build your team as you see fit. If you have a misstep that’s not a problem, you may just need to pull off a trade or two during the regular season. Do not forget, we are here to help with free fantasy football trade advice 7 days a week! Good luck with your draft!