Drafting a fantasy football league for the first time can be intimidating. Below are five tips for your first fantasy football draft that will make you look like you know what you’re doing.
1. Don’t draft a QB in the first 4 rounds…maybe even 5 or 6
This is the number one mistake I see a lot of first time fantasy football drafters make. It will take self-restraint. It will be difficult. It means you probably won’t get Patrick Mahomes or Aaron Rodgers. That’s okay. There are lots of good quarterbacks available in later rounds, even after every other team has taken their QB. The problem is that there are not as many good running backs or wide receivers available in later rounds. By waiting on a QB you are able to build a much stronger RB and WR foundation for your team.
2. Use an updated cheat sheet or draft guide of ranked players
Using a printed cheat sheet of ranked players from sites like – ESPN, Fantasy Pros, The Fantasy Footballers – allows you to keep track of who’s been taken already, who’s still available, and where they rank over all. Print the sheet right before drafting as that ensures they’ve included or updated to reflect any trends, news, or injuries in those rankings. You don’t want to be that person who drafts an injured/retired/suspended player.
Use this sheet to help you determine what round you should draft a player or when you might be reaching (which means drafting a player in a round that is earlier than their perceived value). This will also help you spot players that were missed or passed by other teams.
3. Don’t pick a lot of players from your favorite team (or the same team)
We love our home team! (even Cleveland Browns fans — now). Don’t let that cloud your judgement. If you have a lot of players from one team and that team has a bad season…your team will stink*. It means that one week one of those players gets hot, and then the next week it will be someone completely different. You end up limiting your points. Pick players from various NFL teams to spread out the possible points and find a player from your home team to make the games a little more interesting.
*The previous statement may not apply to the New England Patriots.**
**I’m not a Patriots fan.
4. Wait until the last rounds to pick a kicker and a defense
New fantasy football players often try to fill out their rosters before picking players for their bench. This results in a 7th & 8th round pick on a kicker and a defense. Don’t do that. Those are the most volatile positions. You should drop and add kickers and defenses all season long (referred to as “streaming” kickers and defenses) based on their weekly matchups. Wait until the last two rounds and pick kickers and defenses with their week 1 matchups in mind.
5. Practice, Practice, Practice – Mock! Yea! Draft! Yea!
Every major site that offers fantasy football also offers the ability to mock draft. When you know what site the league is using – the majors are Yahoo!, ESPN, and CBSSports – practice in a mock draft. A mock draft is a fake draft with real people. This will allow you to not only practice drafting, but also use the platform and understand how it works. This is particularly useful when preparing for a draft. Don’t get to draft day and then find out that you need a login, then need to figure out how the draft page looks, how do I actually select a player, why is there timer counting down—oh, it selected a kicker for me..great…etc. Get that all out of the way before the first draft.
Each site also has a mobile app so you can practice on-the-go as well.
To get the most out of a mock draft you should know
- How many teams are in your league
- What is the scoring system (standard, PPR, Half-PPR…don’t worry we discuss these further when we talk about league scoring systems).
If you follow those 5 tips for your first fantasy football draft your team should start off in the right direction. The most important thing to remember is to have fun!!!….and win. Winning makes it more fun.