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  • Matt 9:13 am on August 22, 2007 Permalink  

    For beginners: A simple draft strategy 

    Don’t let this guy beat you at fantasy football.

    So, for one reason or another, you’ve finally decided to try your hand at fantasy football. Maybe the guys at work have been pressuring you to join the league. Maybe you just got engaged and your fiancĂ©e’s eleven brothers have been patiently waiting for her to get married so they’d have a twelfth. Maybe you’re just trying out your first free public league (Yahoo’s your best bet here, by the way). And maybe you don’t know a damn thing about football. No problem. Here’s an easy-to-follow plan that will result in a very solid team in just about any league with a standard format (1 QB, 2 RB, 3 WR, 1 TE, 1 K, 1 DEF).

    This strategy isn’t for experienced players – it will always result in a good team, but someone who actually knows what they’re doing will have the flexibility to take advantage of the mistakes other drafters make, and thereby build a very strong team. One thing I can guarantee you, though: If this is your first year playing fantasy football, you are far better off using this strategy than you are coming up with one on your own. There’s one guy who does that in just about every league, and the results are uniformly comical. Don’t be that guy. (More …)

    • Dan 10:09 am on August 22, 2007 Permalink | Reply

      The only question I have is why use the 3rd pick on a 3rd RB? If it’s a league with a flex position for RBs (a roster spot where you could start a RB or a player from another position, a common one is RB / WR), I could see taking a good 3rd running back, as that guy will be starting regularly. However, if you’re only starting 2 RBs, is it really that important to snag a 3rd RB right away? It seems to me like at that point, you might be better off snagging a receiver or two and getting your 3rd RB in the 4th or 5th round.

      Or maybe I’m just flat out wrong. Care to explain the logic?

    • Matt 10:24 am on August 22, 2007 Permalink | Reply

      Sure. The running back is the heart and soul of your fantasy team. If you don’t have two solid RBs week in and week out, you’re going to lose more than you win, period.

      Compound this with the fact that there are VERY few quality running backs available (since most teams only give one back a significant number of carries), and you’ve got high demand combined with very tight supply. If one of your RBs goes down with an injury (which happens all the time; it’s one of the most physically brutal positions in sports), your season is half over if you don’t have a solid replacement.

      Wide receiver is an important position, but there’s also a TON of depth there. As long as you go WR-WR-WR for the next three rounds, you’re going to have a very solid group of wideouts.

      Then you grab a QB in the 7th. The QB position has three guys at the very top, then a huge group of similar guys in the middle, then a small group of crappy QBs at the bottom. If you’re not going to take one in the 3rd round, you might as well wait until the 7th – there just isn’t much difference (from a fantasy perspective) between, say, Marc Bulger and Matt Hasselbeck.

      Then you’ve got TE, DEF, and K, none of which really even belong in the game. They’re all crapshoots, with one or two dominant players at the top, then a vast wasteland beyond.

      Make sense?

    • Matt 10:32 am on August 22, 2007 Permalink | Reply

      I should also note that this is a strategy that will consistently result in at least a solid team for beginners – but it’s not for people who know what they’re doing. Experienced fantasy football players should keep an eye on what the other guys are doing and constantly adjust their strategies accordingly.

    • Dan 10:36 am on August 22, 2007 Permalink | Reply

      I figured that was the angle you were going with, as it can definitely be crippling to lose one of your top two backs if you don’t have a solid backup. I’ve had drafts where I’ve waited to grab my 3rd back and have gotten away with it (I still got a decent starter, but he was a little lower quality), but you definitely roll the dice by waiting.

      Given that you’re trying to build a “foolproof” draft plan, I think you’re definitely right in saying it’s safer to take your 3rd back right away.

    • Jeff 7:22 pm on August 22, 2007 Permalink | Reply

      I appreciate you copying the general strategy that I employ, and calling it the “beginner guide”. Jerk. But seriously, I can vouche that it does work, your team will be solid if unspectacular, and you can count on consistent performance week in and week out.

    • Jen 9:05 pm on August 25, 2007 Permalink | Reply

      i have my draft on sunday thru cbs sportsline; however, i can’t be there for it. we have 12 teams and 14 rounds. how do i go about setting my queue for autopilot? i do not know what type of strategy to use. i am 10th, 15th, 34rd, etc. pick. best i can tell, i can not see how to set up my queue to tell the computer to pick a RB round 1, RB round 2…QB round 6, etc. it seems as though the only i can do is rank players in order of preference, regardless of position. with this in mind, how do i set up my queue? any suggestions would be most appreciated.

    • Matt 3:43 pm on August 26, 2007 Permalink | Reply


      Hope I’m not getting to your comment too late; I actually adopted a dog this weekend so it’s been a little nuts around here.

      Unfortunately, I doubt that CBS will let you set it up to draft specific positions in each round. What I’d suggest is that set up your player rankings with a heavy emphasis on running backs at the top. You can see an example of an “overall” cheat sheet like that on Sportsline’s site here. While I don’t necessarily agree with all of their rankings, you can see how they’ve got all of the quality RBs near the top. Hope this helps!

    • Dan 11:49 pm on August 28, 2007 Permalink | Reply

      Hi Matt,

      I am in a 12 team league and I have the fun task of drafting last. I get number 12 and 13 picks. I think they call it serpentine or snake or something like that. We all will pick 15 times. We start 1 QB, 2 RB 3WR 1 TE 1Def and a kicker. and bench six. Will your 3 RB and 3 WR strategy work when picking last like I am? It would seem like there are not going to be many if any quality RB by the time my turn comes around. Your thoughts. I am playing against some good informative guys at work. I on the other hand am just entering my second year and would like to do well and show these guys. Thanks for any input you can give me. Thanks

    • Matt 7:49 am on August 29, 2007 Permalink | Reply


      Your league uses what is probably the most standard setup in fantasy football, and your situations is exactly what I tailored this strategy to. There’s no way around it, having the 12th pick stinks, but the lower-quality backs you’ll get in the first two rounds because you got stuck with a crappy pick make it even more crucial that you get a quality third RB.


    • Evan 5:07 pm on February 8, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      hmmm…. interesting. with my strategy i go.

      rb, wr, wr, rb, wr, qb, rb, wr, te, qb, def, wr, rb, k, and te. i figure you should definetly pound rb’s and wr’s but since the top tier or rb’s will be done by the 2nd round then you can get some decent rb’s as your #2 and 3 on ur roster. i draft like this because i know that you need to be deep on wr’s because they r less consistent than rb’s and u need sum studs on ur team.


    • Daniel van Zyl 7:31 pm on September 6, 2011 Permalink | Reply


      I just recently moved to the US and am playing in my first fantasy league. I don’t know anything about football…yet…but am hoping I will learn the game playing in this league at my work. We have a 14 team league with a 1QB-2RB-2WR-1TE-1K-1DEF-7Bench format. Will your startegy work for this type of setup? We have our draft tomorrow night and not knowing anything about any of the teams/players, I’m hoping your strategy will get me off to an ok start.

      Any other drafting tips you could give me would be great. Also, do you have a blog or any advice for making weekly team selections once I’ve drafted my team?

      Thanks for the help,


  • Brandon 8:48 am on August 22, 2007 Permalink  

    Larry Johnson finally signs (phew!) 

    In case you were living under a rock for the past few days, we just wanted to let you know that Larry Johnson has finally signed his contract extension with the Chiefs, which will provide him with $43.2 million over the next 5 years, with $19 million guaranteed. So all you managers that drafted LJ can finally sleep soundly, and those considering taking him with the 2nd or 3rd pick, feel free to do so with no worries. The fact that he hasn’t practiced at all this year and hasn’t played in a preseason game shouldn’t affect his game play at all and could actually help because he has now taken that many less hits up to this point.

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