By Phil Thompson | Chicago Tribune
There’s no need to fear the unknown when it comes to fantasy football drafts. Here are five tips to help you deal with whatever draft day throws at you.
1. Don’t get cute
No trying to “corner the market” on tight ends by drafting Rob Gronkowski early. None of this “Zero RB” nonsense that’s the rage right now.
As a general rule, you draft for balance because nothing’s guaranteed in the later rounds. A rush on running backs in the fourth round could leave you scrounging through scraps in the fifth round for an RB1 when even your sleeper’s gone.
Now, if you can get two elite players at one position, do it. That doesn’t mean you draft Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers back to back — similar to what someone in my league once did — but if your friends are going to let Le’Veon Bell drop to Round 2 — which happened to me last season — you take him every time.
There are no hard-and-fast rules. When it comes down to it, points are points.
2. Don’t oversell yourself on receivers and tight ends
Receivers will be there, and every year the waiver wire yields a few surprises. Look at the Chiefs’ Tyreek Hill. Even in leagues that don’t count his special teams points, here was a waiver-wire guy who outperformed Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders.
As for tight ends, Travis Kelce had the most fantasy points in NFL.com’s format, and he ranked 67th among all offensive players.
3. Expect the unexpected
You can over prepare for a draft and get locked into thinking it’s going to flow like mock drafts you’ve read online. But some goofball is going to take Brandin Cooks way too early because he or she is expecting the second coming of the Brady-Randy Moss connection.
That kind of move can cause a domino effect in the draft. Some owners will let a curveball like that throw them off, and others know how to adjust on the fly.
4. Draft for playoff weeks in later rounds
It’s not always the big names that help you advance in the playoffs or win your league championship. It never fails that some middle-of-the-roster guy has a big game because the usual starter is resting, injured or just struggling.
Look at the schedule and try to anticipate matchups against weak defenses. Also, if you’re torn between two players and the talent is close, let the offensive system be the tiebreaker, not necessarily the big name or the position.
5. Watch how others are drafting
As much as you’re able, look at the big picture in your draft and keep track of which positions other owners are drafting. You know the roster limits, so many times you can anticipate when a rival might draft a certain position.
You might need that backup quarterback just as much he or she does and decide to wait a round for that second-tier tight end.