It's that time of the year again. A day of drinking, jokes, fun, and entertainment with some of your friends or some people you interact with once a year for this occasion. Some of these people you may see as competition, others you may see as a potential donation into your bank account. It’s your fantasy football draft, an event that could lead you to a fun football year or stressful weeks of finding players to fix what you screwed up on this day. Therefore, it would behoove you to take note of these draft day tips to help lead you to a successful fantasy football season.
1. Be Prepared
The first thing is to make sure you understand all your league rules and it’s scoring system and don’t hesitate to ask questions if you have them. As petty as it may sound, you don’t want to start off your season with one hand tied behind your back. Do research on what’s going on around the NFL up until the day of your draft. While the “experts” (hell, including us) have their way of seeing things, it is crucial that you formulate your own opinions. Make player selections based on your feelings about them as it is your team. Do a mock draft, I say one for every draft position as this will give you an idea of player values and a sense of what your team will look like. Also, pay attention to training camp injuries so you don’t wind up being that guy who drafts Jerick McKinnon a round later than your player cheat sheet tells you only to find out he tore his ACL a week earlier.
2. Don’t Draft For Positional Need
Now, of course, you will need to fill out your roster at some point in the draft. However, early on, you should select players that give you the best chance to win. An example of this would be, you’re sitting in round 3, and you have started your team with Todd Gurley and Dalvin Cook. Now you obviously have your two RBs set, but Nick Chubb is there for you in the third round and you like him better than the WR at the top of your list. Go get him! Don’t worry about getting a WR there as you have many rounds to fill in that position. Remember you can always make pickups during the season to get a breakout player. Your team will look a lot different at the end of the season anyway, so when drafting, get the best value you see fit.
3. Have An Idea Of How You Plan to Draft BUT Understand How To Adjust
Now, this doesn’t mean setting a position to draft in every round. Remember, the objective is to get the best value in every round so you are going to fiddle around with different ideas. For instance, my goal going in is to try and grab one of the top three TEs early on. This would refer to Kelce, Ertz or Kittle. These three guys are typically gone by the mid-third round, so if I pick later in the odd rounds, all of these guys may not be there. Kelce is a second-round value so I could grab him there but I’m not taking him before, let’s say, Odell Beckham or possibly James Connor. So this forces me to adjust to another tier of TEs like Evan Engram, Hunter Henry, or OJ Howard in the fifth or sixth round. It also allows me to get the best value in each round as opposed to focusing on just taking a position where I schedule it to be selected. You are technically the coach of your team and coaches must adjust to the draft board here.
4. Don’t Worry About Bye Weeks
You only have to focus on player’s bye weeks if you’re taking a backup QB or TE (which I typically don’t do). There will be plenty of QBs available if your drafted QB isn’t living up to his starting role. Also, the difference in a late round backup TE, or a waiver wire TE, isn’t worth the roster spot that you can use on a sleeper you may like (See The Late Round Diamonds Article In Our VIP Content). Some people think a lineup full of different bye weeks is a good thing, while others believe that a lineup with the same bye weeks is better because it means sacrificing only one week. I tend to focus more on getting value and worrying about bye weeks as they come. Remember, your team will look a lot different as the season goes on with injuries and pickups. So trust me, bye weeks are not a big worry on draft day.
5. Don’t Be Concerned With Positional Runs
While it may be getting old at this point, the goal of drafting is to get the best value with each selection. So, as it goes in most drafts, someone reaches to draft their QB in the mid-rounds and everyone gets antsy and starts doing the same. You’re sitting there, after six QBs have been taken in the last eight picks, feeling the same anxiety as the others. Calm Down!!! Patrick Mahomes was the number one QB last season, and he was taken after the tenth round last year in just about any draft. While that isn’t going to happen every year, the difference between Aaron Rodgers (the consensus #1 QB last year) and Philip Rivers (the consensus #16 QB last season) was anywhere from 5 to 25 points depending on your league’s scoring. I would take the 2 fewer points per game from my QB for a better value at another position way earlier in the draft. At the same time, let's say Mahomes is the consensus #1 QB this year and probably a third or fourth round pick in most leagues. If he is sitting there in the sixth round because everyone is waiting on a QB, I see no problem taking him there as this represents excellent value. The philosophy of most “experts” is to wait on a QB but, in the case of fantasy football drafting, the word “wait” pertains to getting good value with your QB selection.
6. Go Get Your Guys
Now as your draft moves forward and you get into the later rounds (meaning 11 to 16), don’t hesitate to take players that you think could be productive. If you do your research and hear good things about a guy, take him when you get the chance at this point. Take for instance Alvin Kamara in 2017. There were a lot of good things coming out about him, but the Saints already had Mark Ingram and just signed Adrian Peterson. This caused Kamara to slip into the twelfth or thirteenth round. Let’s say you heard these great things and liked him but he was behind those two studs. Who cares, take him! At this point, you’re looking for fliers that could help you succeed. What’s the difference between drafting a guy in the eleventh round or the thirteenth round? They are both bench players that you're hoping can contribute. When getting into the later rounds, while the value is still significant, get the guys you think will be productive whenever you can.
*Need help with the later rounds, see the Late Round Diamonds article in our VIP content.
7. Take Defense And Kicker With Your Last Two Picks
Kickers and Defenses are generally a coin flip when determining scores or ranks. You can literally focus on getting a new defense every week that plays against a shitty offense and ride the “streaming defense” philosophy that will work for you. That means, identify a team playing a lousy offense in week 1 as your draft selection. As for kicker, I like guys playing indoor and on good offenses like Will Lutz, Adam Vinatari, or Matt Prater. But, like I said, it’s a coin flip.
There you have it... some essential tips to follow when drafting your team this year. Ultimately, the best draft philosophy to follow is your own. Take advice from others, but draft YOUR team. It’s the team YOU have to live with for the season. While most leagues involve money, don’t forget to have fun with the process as well. It’s fantasy football, so don’t get too personal or competitive to the point you lose friendships and money over a game. Good Luck!!!!!!
The world of Fantasy Football Dynasty Leagues are beginning to explode onto the scene. More and more people seem to be coming over to the dark side every year wondering how to get started and if the strategy differs from redraft leagues. I am here to set your mind at ease and not only explain the approach to having a ‘Win-now team,’ but also give you the inside track to dominate your boys for years to come and show them what a real dynasty team looks like.
So let's dive into what differences you will immediately notice in a Dynasty League that will not be as prevalent in your home redraft leagues. Young guys go early, that's just the way it is. In a redraft league, Saquon and Zeke are interchangeable. This is not so in a dynasty league because Saquon has less wear and tear and is younger than Zeke. This means you will have him for longer, in theory barring injury of course, which means more production for a more extended period. When faced with almost equal value players (by your determination of course) always pick the younger guy. Your decision will always and should always be the #1 basis of your fantasy team.
As a fantasy analyst, I am not here to tell you who to pick, but to help you make that decision easier. A little reassurance goes a long way. Other things in a dynasty league that you will notice are massive rosters and starting lineups. Most non-individual defensive player Dynasty Leagues are 10 to 12 starting roster spots and 25 to 30 total spots. So in a 10 team league, there could be 300 players taken and in a 12 team league 360. That's a lot of players to know and consider having on your team, but when you think about handcuffs and third and fourth string wide receivers it becomes a little less daunting and that’s why you have us.
Let's think about some strategies that can help you set your team up for championship success for now and the future. Whether you are a WR lover or a RB lover, let's agree not to be the early QB lover. Picking the first QB in your home Dynasty Startup League will now and always be a terrible idea. Patrick Mahomes is a perfect example of why you should wait on a QB. You can say his 2018 season was an outlier and you would be correct. With that said, let us think way back to August 1, 2018. Who was the overwhelming consensus QB #1........ I'm giving you a chance to think......... Oh, yeah it was Aaron Rodgers and where did good ole' A-Rod finish? That's right, QB #9 in 6 points per passing touchdown leagues. So unless you are playing in a 2 QB or Super Flex League let's agree to wait on a QB, you'll thank me later.
Now back to if you are an RB lover or WR lover. The best strategy to being a dominating dynasty drafter isn't whether you love either, it's knowing the player's value and not reaching to the detriment of your team. For example, let's say you are trying a zero RB strategy, your first two picks are Davante Adams and Odell Beckham. In round three, you have Diggs, A.J. Green and Brandin Cooks who are all great options. But in your league, Damian Williams, or even Dalvin Cooks (interchange any RB you prefer if those are not to your liking) has fallen to the third round and are there for the taking. Do you stick to the zero RB strategy to the detriment of your team because that was your plan? NO. Bruce Lee once said, "Be like water my friend." Be ever changing to your circumstances and never stay stuck on an idea because it's your plan.
When going into a dynasty draft, KNOW YOUR LEAGUE SCORING. I can not emphasize this enough. Going into any draft dynasty or redraft you must know your league scoring system. Going into a draft without that essential piece of info is like going to a gun fight without your gun and expecting to win. Not a good idea under any circumstance. With that said, take advantage of your scoring system. For example, let's say you are in a league that all tight ends get 1.5 per catch and all yards rushing and receiving are worth 1. In that scoring system Travis Kelce would have been the #1 pass catcher in your league with a score of 345.6 to Tyreek Hill's 334 total. In that case, Kelce would be a first round pick if you ask me, and possibly the #1 pass catcher off the board. Knowing your scoring system can set you up to win your league and it takes just five to ten minutes to look through to see if there is something in your scoring that you can exploit to get that little advantage.
Handcuffing your studs is a must in a Dynasty League, especially if your studs are guys who have a history of catching the injury bug. Perfect examples are Leonard Fournette with his hamstring for half the year or Todd Gurley with his knee this year. Those handcuffs are worth their weight in gold when your stud goes down to a season ender. So if need be, go a round earlier than you like to get that handcuff and keep your mind at ease when the inevitable happens. If someone snipes you, try to make a trade and if they ask too much take a player they may covet to try to get a deal done. If all else fails, draft the guys who have a chance to become their team's starter such as Devin Singletary and TJ Yeldon from Buffalo or Damien Harris from New England. You'll want to look for players in situations that could have their names called during the season and that you don't have to spend a whole lot of draft capital on. Remember, selecting that player that has upside and becomes your league winner will feel much more satisfying than losing with a safe player who ends up leaving stains in the sheets from the massive shit he takes in your bed. (We are an R rated fantasy website and podcast sometimes lol.)
Knowing when to take risks in your Dynasty League is different than in a Redraft League. In a Redraft League you need to take more risk with your picks to see if they hit to give you that advantage you need to win. In Dynasty, you'll have those players for the long term so some risks are not risks at all if you think the players could develop into an excellent future player. This is the key to keeping your Dynasty team on top for years to come and watch your mid to late round developmental guys pan out and develop into really nice pieces later. Checking out our Dynasty ranks should help you with that as well.
Last but not least, setting up your very own dynasty tier system is a great way to get ready for your draft and is a whole lot easier then you may think. As I eluded to earlier, the younger the better when dealing with similarly ranked players. So get an idea of the players you like with our ranks and take them in the order you want by age. Also, remember that aging superstars may drop in dynasty leagues. If they do, take them and use them for a year or two. Then trade them for either future assets or a good player who is younger and will have more years to grow. Aging players are as follows: position RB's 28 and up, WR's 29 and up, TE's 29 and up QB's 34 and up. (I said aging, not old, and all that means is they're getting closer to their decline at these ages.) Dynasty is a growing part of fantasy football and is the closest thing you will get to owning your very own franchise so give it a try. You won't regret it.
Sleepers are players who go completely under the radar and then have a breakout season. This happens every year on a handful of different teams. How do you know who will be the next RB1/WR1 before anyone else? Let us take care of that. Your top picks will get you there, your sleepers will bring home the trophy.
So when your league is getting restless after hours of drafting and everyone is throwing names up on the board to get home, just sit still. Take the extra minute because these late rounds is where the real magic happens. Everybody is excited and gloating about their roster but they’re all going in with a set, flush or straight and your holding 4 aces. And the nuts never lose.
Don’t miss your chance to see who the experts feel are going to have that next big breakout season. You can find rookie and veteran sleeper names in our exclusive VIP section. And we never stop updating!
The zero RB draft strategy is one that picked up steam a few years back and it refers to using the first five rounds to fill the rest of your team. For example, 3 Wide Receivers (one as your flex), a Tight End and a Quarterback before drafting a Running Back. My version of zero RB is a little different as I’d like to start a round earlier drafting a RB and still wait on my quarterback. So for me, I’d be starting to draft a running back in the fifth round. With that being said, let’s look at the reason this draft strategy exists.
Let’s use last year as an example... Of the top 24 running backs drafted last season (using Fantasy Football Calculator for ADPs), 13 of them missed at least 2 games, and another (Royce Freeman), didn’t finish as an RB2. It leads to picking up handcuffs, or stringing RBs together, if you used high picks on RBs instead of Wide Receivers. While going Zero RB, you may be doing the same, however, you will have top wide outs and a top TE to carry you through the season. Wide Receivers just typically stay healthier throughout a season. By the same metric, of the top 24 receivers drafted last year, only 6 missed 2 or more games. That’s a lot better chance of having your top picks staying healthy if your drafting wide receivers over running backs.
Along with that, finding running backs becomes a lot easier as the season goes on. I’ll give you a real possibility based on last year with a lineup you could’ve wound up going Zero RB with:
QB - Deshaun Watson
WR - Antonio Brown
TE - Travis Kelce
By then, there was Chris Carson, Adrian Peterson, Marlon Mack, Tarik Cohen, James White, Nick Chubb and Aaron Jones, all who got drafted after round 5. Not to mention, Phillip Lindsay and James Connor, who were early waiver wire pickups. Plus, Matt Breida, Gus Edwards, Damian Williams, and Doug Martin all were waiver wire additions that you could’ve used to string along production from the RB position. Injuries, suspensions, and poor performances lead to opportunities for new Running Backs much more often than for Wide Receivers.
So let’s look at how that could play out this year. For starters, I would probably only use this strategy if I picked in the second half of round one because I believe the value of my top six running backs are higher than DeAndre Hopkins, my number one receiver. So let’s give myself the 10th position in the draft. I would aim to take Kelce at this point, if Devante Adams is taken. Then from there I hope to get Antonio Brown in round 2, Stefan Diggs in round 3, and Julian Edelman in round 4, all based on ADPs. Now remember, I still wait on QB for myself so here in round 5 I would hope say, Kenyon Drake or Mark Ingram fell to me, but I may have to settle for Tarik Cohen, which isn’t the worst scenario in PPR. Then, I’ve been trying to add Tevin Coleman in round 6, Miles Sanders in the 7th, Jordan Howard in the 8th, and Jerick McKinnon in the 9th. All these player’s ADPs are current, therefore you could potentially walk into this season with the 49ers backs, (that‘s a decent pair in a Kyle Shanahan system) the Eagles backs, and Tarik Cohen. Now you get your QB in round 10, maybe Big Ben or Phillip Rivers, or if you want to be risky, Jameis Winston, and your lineup is set.
This year, in my opinion, is a nice year to try out the Zero RB strategy and see how it works out for you. You, of course, could try to add sleeper Running Backs in the later rounds also, like D’Onte Foreman or Kallen Ballage, and hope they take over the starting jobs for their teams at some point. There are also going to be a handful of RBs that creep up throughout the season as there are every year. It seems like you may be streaming RBs throughout the year, but the idea behind this strategy is you’ll be carried by your strength at WR and TE positions. By the time playoffs roll around, your research will have landed you a couple RBs to get you to the promised land. It has worked for me in the past, so I’m pretty sure it can work for you as well.
From retirement bluffs, to trade rumors, to demands through rap lyrics, and teammates backing him while others attacking him, (Damn, I should rap myself.... anyway) the two year Leveon Bell saga featured everything sports drama is made of. The all world running back did any and everything to lead him to his new 4 year 52 million dollar contract with the Jets, including setting a potential trend of players sitting out long term to get what they feel they deserve. Meanwhile, doing this causes the circus around the team to grow from party balloons to lion tamers, and fans go from penthouse dreams to living in mental institutions.
Looking at it this year, players like Melvin Gordon and Ezekiel Elliot have already discussed holding out. Gordon has gone as far to say that if he doesn’t get a new contract he will request a trade to a new team willing to grant his request for a new deal. Robbie Gould, yes a kicker, wanted to be traded or released following the 49ers using the franchise tag on him. Fortunately for Gould and Niners, he reworked his deal and relationship with the team. Other players like Trent Williams of the Redskins and Jadeveon Clowney of the Texans are both excellent players that are expected to miss training camp, Williams due to bad communication from the teams medical staff and Clowney from being franchise tagged.
Now these players are not expected to miss games but, at this point last year, neither was Bell. Most people figured Bell would wind up as any typical holdout in recent years. He would miss camp, probably preseason too, then would report just as the season was starting. This didn’t happen, and it caused a stir about what this could mean for future holdouts. I was a Leveon Bell keeper league owner last season. He was my first round pick and I believed that he would play from game 1 but, unfortunately, another owner actually drafted James Connor late in the 15th round (our draft was after week 2 of preseason when Bell was considered a shoe in to return). I held on throughout the year with hope of him returning to boost my team into the playoffs, as I’m a good enough fantasy player to maintain despite missing my first round pick. The return, as well as my shot at the playoffs, never came and despite hitting the waiver wire, my RB core suffered. I will never put myself through that again.
I don’t believe Elliot will have too much of an issue, considering Jerry Jones went through this with Emmitt Smith back in 1992. Smith actually missed the first 2 games that year, both Cowboy losses, but was paid and then lead the team to the first of a few 90’s Super Bowl rings. Assuming Jones learned his lesson, if Zeke does holdout, I believe he will be taken care of. However, if an issue arises, I will be dropping him in my ranks and not drafting him until the dispute is settled. Melvin Gordon, on the other hand, may run into a problem. The Chargers just a few years back had issues getting Joey Bosa’s rookie contract settled. You know, the rookie contracts that are basically set in stone after the last CBA agreement.
They have replaced LaDainian Tomlinson and Ryan Matthews seemlessly in the past and, while their Super Bowl window is closing with an aging Phillip Rivers, it wouldn’t be shocking if this contract dispute stretched out a bit. Gordon is a guy who expressed love for Bell during his holdout and, from his recent comments, wants to get paid. Gordon is another player that I have already dropped in my ranks and will not draft if he misses a large majority of time. He already posses an injury history that causes him to miss a few games each year, and if there is a chance this holdout extends into the season, count me out. It’s just too much of a risk compared to what we saw with LeVeon last year.
Players were never really risky draft picks because of holdouts. Sure, some would say you had to watch for the soft tissue injuries if these guys weren’t preparing like other players, but not until Bell last year was I excluding players from my board all together if there aren’t signs their contract disputes are settled. For first round fantasy picks like Gordon and Elliot, missing extended time can cost you games, playoff chances, and money if it goes into the season. My money is too valuable to me and, after last year, I won’t be risking dollars on players looking for their dollars.
Allen Robinson had his career year in 2015 and has not done much since. We have heard year after year how this would be the year that Allen Robinson brings back that 1,400 yards 14 Td magic. Then year after year we have been disappointed. Whether it be from injury or just disappointing play, we have been let down by Robinson. In this article, maybe I can change your outlook on A-Rob or perhaps not. Either way, I believe you will see there is a possibility that he finishes in the top 20, maybe even top 15.
Let us begin where all the hype started in 2015, that 1,400 receiving yards and 14 Tds season. Robinson's metrics were: 142 Targets- 80 Receptions- 8 Drops- 17.5 Yards per catch- 4.4 Yards after the catch per reception. In 2018 his metrics were: 94 Targets- 55 Receptions- 754 Yards receiving- 4 Receiving Tds- 2 Drops- 13.7 Yards per reception- 4.0 Yards after catch per reception. So in 2015 he caught 56.3% of passes thrown his way. In 2018 he caught about 58.5% of his targets, so not a big increase. His total air yards in 2015 were 2,245 (#2 in the NFL), In 2018 his total air yards were 1,124 (#24 in the NFL). In total PPR points in 2015, he ranked #4, and in 2018, he ranked #36.
Now we break down those numbers... 142 targets in 2015 at 1,400 yards means he averaged 9.86 yards per target. In 2018, he averaged 8 yards per target. Why do I bring this up? Because it was a year after an ACL tear that held him out the entire 2017 season. His first year back from the ACL tear and in a new offense (team), he averaged just 1.86 yards less per reception. His average air yards were cut in half, and he still managed 8 yards per target. In comparison, Keenan Allen averaged 8.7 yards per target and is being drafted almost five rounds earlier. Now I am not saying draft Robinson over Allen. What I am saying is Robinson is getting drafted in round seven in most fantasy drafts. The numbers, along with being a year removed from a significant injury, say that's too low.
My argument is not that A-Rob's ADP should rise because I don't want that to happen. What I am saying is he has the upside of being an excellent WR2 for your fantasy team, and he is being drafted as a WR3 (sometimes 4) in all drafts. Now, as we all know, Matt Nagy is from the Andy Reid coaching tree. So let us take a look at some WR who have flourished under the Andy Reid west coast offense that the Matt Nagy Bears now run.
(Each Players Best Season)
In conclusion, is it such a stretch to believe that a player of the caliber of Allen Robinson can have a big season? I don't. I believe Allen is very capable of a 1,100 yard 10 Td season under the Matt Nagy System. I also expect a step up in play from Mitch Trubisky, who also has another year in this system under his belt. Only time will tell if Mitch takes the next step in his development, but if he does, than Robinson is going to be a steal in round seven of fantasy drafts this upcoming season.
One of the positions of least concern in fantasy football is the defense. Many wait until the last round of drafts to select a defense, most of which will be discarded throughout the season for better matchups. The idea of streaming defenses is one that most live by to get through the fantasy season and, in a lot of cases, it pays off. You can find teams playing bad offenses, like Miami this year for instance, with hope that an average defense puts up good fantasy numbers against them. Therefore we will take a look at the 5 best streaming options to start the season.
1) Dallas Cowboys
To start off the year the Cowboys have three very favorable matchups. They start off with the Giants, followed by the dolphins, and than move on to the Redskins. Dallas will be a top 10 defense in all three of these matchups and therefore is the best defense to stream. You can plug them in for the first quarter of the fantasy football regular season and not have to worry about finding another defense to stream.
2) Buffalo Bills
Similar to the Cowboys, Buffalo starts off with three very good matchups against the Jets, Giants and Dolphins. This will make them a defense that you can plug-in for the first three weeks and not have to worry about as they will finish top 10 each week. They are also an up-and-coming defense that finished number one against the pass last year and has an underrated run defense with middle linebacker Trumaine Edmonds leading the way.
3) Philadelphia Eagles
Their week one match up against the Redskins is the matchup that streaming defense owners thrive for. Washington is starting Case Keenum who, outside of one year, hasn’t shown he can be a capable starting QB. Philadelphia also packs a good punch up front that could lead to a good amount of sacks and turnovers. That is the key to getting good fantasy production from your defenses. Sacks and turnovers equal points.
4) Baltimore Ravens
Any team going up against the Dolphins in 2019 has the ability to be a top 10 defense. Thus in week one that team is the Baltimore Ravens. While they’ve lost some key pieces on the defense, this organization always puts up good production on that side of the ball. When going up against a team with Ryan Fitzpatrick starting, there is a sure opportunity for interceptions. The Ravens will also be a predominant rushing offense, which will keep their defense fresh and off the field and lead to little point production from opposing teams.
5) Denver Broncos
The Denver Broncos to me have the ability to end up as a top-five defense overall in fantasy football this year. With Coach Vic Fangio coming over from Chicago that pass rush led by Von Miller is sure to find its way to the QB. Week one they go up against the Raiders, a team with a bunch of new pieces on their offense. There’s also not a ton of chemistry between their QB and WR, considering Antonio Brown’s antics over the past month. Denver enters the week as a top ten defense and should be interesting to watch this season.
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