Fantasy Football: Eight steps to dominate your draft!


It’s Dress Rehearsal Week in the NFL preseason. And that means that millions of fantasy football fanatics will be drafting soon. While I believe that fantasy football drafts before this weekend provided outstanding value on sleepers (Davante Adams anyone?), the owners of Kelvin Benjamin and Jordy Nelson surely are not singing the same joyous tune. For those of you that are finally taking the plunge into fantasy football, I have some sound advice for you that will hopefully help your draft go exactly the way you want it to.

1. First and foremost, the most important rule in fantasy sports, not just fantasy football, is to understand the league settings. Honestly, before you read another sentence, go check your league scoring rules and roster requirements. I’ll wait…

Now that you’re back, is your league standard scoring or PPR (points per reception)? Do you start two quarterbacks or one? Is there a FLEX spot in the starting lineup where multiple different positions are eligible? Is your draft serpentine (snake) or auction? Does your draft require you to fill your starting roster?

If the answer is no to the last question,





(DO NOT DRAFT NOR ROSTER)  a kicker until all NFL rosters are cut to 53 players and/or the rosters lock. It’s the subtle nuances of a league that can give advantages to fantasy owners that know the rules like the back of their hand.

Live Feed

What value does Colts QB Anthony Richardson have in dynasty rookie drafts?
What value does Colts QB Anthony Richardson have in dynasty rookie drafts? /

Horseshoe Heroes

  • Chicago Bears fantasy football: 3 concerning stats for Khalil HerbertBear Goggles On
  • How Baltimore Ravens WR additions impact Mark Andrews in fantasy footballEbony Bird
  • AFC East: Ranking the pass coverage groups—Pats vault to firstMusket Fire
  • AFC East: Ranking the Receiving Groups in the DivisionMusket Fire
  • Why Chicago Bears drafting Roschon Johnson helps Khalil HerbertBear Goggles On
  • 2. We can call this second rule “1B”. Whatever you do on draft day, do not succumb to bias. As an Eagles fan, I absolutely despise other NFC East teams and players (well, all teams for the most part). But you need to approach a fantasy football league as you would a poker table. Leave emotion at the door. According to his ADP (average draft position) Eli Manning on average is the 12th quarterback selected for the 2015 season. We all have our opinion of the younger Manning, but his current draft spot reeks of value in a fantasy sense. Don’t ignore a player just because you dislike the team he plays for.

    The second part of the bias fallacy is over-loyalty to your team. Do you have a feeling that Sam Bradford is going to stay healthy for all 16 games? It’s fine if you do. But if you already have drafted DeMarco Murray, Jordan Matthews, and Zach Ertz, you might want to forego adding another Eagle to the mix. While the Philadelphia Eagles have the ability to put up video game numbers on any given week, there were also four games last season where they scored 21 or fewer points. If you’re starting multiple Eagles on a week they struggle, chances are you’re going to lose.

    Consider this: The Eagles play Buffalo and Arizona at home in week 14 and 15 respectively. That’s fantasy football playoff time. It’s feasible that the Eagles could be playing for a playoff berth and your playoff survival against stout competition. But always know: Draft the best team. Oh, you have five guys with a bye week in Week Nine? We cannot successfully predict the first three weeks of a regular season. And you’re worried about players you might not even have on your roster. Aaron Rodgers agrees with me: RELAX (results may vary in Green Bay).

    3. Know your opponents. While you don’t need to go full Liam Neeson on your league, you should have a basic understanding of their knowledge of the game. Are you in a league with 49ers fans? Chances are they have a strong disdain for anything and everything Seattle Seahawks. And if they are unwilling to take someone like Marshawn Lynch or Russell Wilson, it provides you with opportunity for value. Likewise, if you are drafting with a large group of Cowboys fans, chances are you’re going to have to reach for Dez Bryant, Joseph Randle, or even Tony Romo. For the record, I’m adamantly against drafting Joseph Randle at his current ADP.

    4. Don’t buy a fantasy football magazine. Seriously.

    5. Piggybacking off the third rule, make sure that whatever data you’re using to compose your individual rankings is current. Websites such as update their rankings, tiers, and projections at least once a week. Just be sure that nothing significant has happened in the time in-between updates. If you’re not already on Twitter, consider signing up and following various fantasy football experts (ie. Matt Harmon of and team beat-writers (ie. John McClaine of the Houston Chronicle or Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch). It’s their job to watch these players and teams daily. They see who is performing well, and who is not, in practice, and they tweet about it. And it’s a lot more current than a magazine.

    6. Alcohol. The cause of and solution to all of life’s problems. Homer Simpson sure had that correct. If you’re going to sip back on some adult beverages the day of the draft, just be sure that you’re coherent enough to do what you came there for. While you can chalk up drafting Sebastian Janikowski in the 7th round to one too many Fireball shots, the rest of your league will be reminding you week after week when you’re in last place.

    7. Know at least a couple under-the-radar players that play on bad teams. For this season, I focused a lot of my attention on both Allen Robinson and Brian Quick. While both players are on teams that are projected to finish at .500 or below, they will be utilized heavily during the season. Odell Beckham Jr. took the world by storm last season and the New York Giants finished  the season with a 6-10 record. Fantasy football statistics don’t carry a win-loss record. They also don’t adhere to the notion of, “That team sucks.” Your job is to draft players that are going to produce on the field. An Allen Robinson touchdown in the final minute of a game where the Jaguars are losing by 20 points counts the exact same as a C.J. Anderson touchdown on the first drive.

    8. Have fun. During your draft, someone will mock a selection. Do not take it personally. Despite anyone thinking they know how a player will perform, they don’t. Take any and all trash-talk in stride and stick to your plan. At the end of the day, it’s a game to enjoy. Hopefully you can take some of these tips and transform your fantasy football team into a contender this season.

    Next: Kenjon Barner is the new Darren Sproles

    More from Inside the Iggles