Last-minute draft pep talk

For those of you who are drafting this weekend (like Brandon and I in our two favorite leagues), this is an exciting week. Before you head into your draft, here are some last-minute tips on having a successful draft.

Take what the defense gives you – a common refrain in just about any team sport. In a fantasy draft, the same idea applies – you need to stay flexible enough to adjust your draft strategy to take advantage of what everyone else in your league is doing. If you’re dead-set on taking a quarterback in round 3 because you want a top-tier QB, but all the best QBs are taken before you get a chance to pick, pick another position and look for value at the QB position later in the draft.

Use a tiered cheat sheet. I can’t overemphasize how helpful this is. See my article from last year’s preseason on how I build my cheat sheets.

Don’t focus too much on bye weeks. I hardly even look at them when I draft, because time is tight and I’d rather devote that attention to other aspects of my draft strategy. Whether you wind up with six guys on a bye the same week (thus getting them out of the way) or the bye weeks spread out throughout the season, it’s not going to make a huge difference.

Let someone else pick the big-name guys. Unless everyone in your league is an experienced, savvy fantasy footballer, someone’s going to grab the famous players earlier than they should. Let them. Michael Vick used to be the poster boy for this phenomenon, and now that he’s back, I’m confident that he’ll go right back to being the most overvalued player in fantasy drafts.

No beer. OK fine, beer. But take it easy. Waking up the next day to a team full of injured players, assorted “rookie phenoms” who probably won’t play a down, and three DSTs is a sure sign that you overdid it during the draft.

If you’re drafting online, test out your computer beforehand. Most online draft rooms offer some sort of pre-draft computer checkup to ensure that you won’t run into any issues. Use them. You never know, and missing your first three picks while your computer goes through a Java update installation (complete with reboot) is the stuff fantasy nightmares are made of.

    Best of luck, folks.