It's mid-August and that means that we're entering the thick of fantasy football drafts. This is the culmination of all of your research and strategy. I don't know about you, but my drafts rarely, if ever, go the way that I plan for them. Someone inevitably makes a pick that I scratch my head saying "What?" or the pick that I'm anxiously waiting to make is made by the guy in front of me. Maybe someone reaches for a pick. Maybe there's a run on a position well before I anticipated it. Even with a deep pool of QB's this year, it seems that as soon as we hit that 2nd tier (I put Rodgers and Vick in Tier 1 and they'll be gone right away), someone will start the run on QB's and as I'm planning on picking a quality RB or WR, I'm stuck with the dilemma of getting a decent QB or playing with a sub-par QB and sticking with my plan.
I'm not immune to making bad decisions. In the recent FFN Users League draft, I rushed into taking Drew Brees instead of Hakeem Nicks. I could have easily gotten a quality QB in the next two rounds so why did I pass up on Nicks? That's a good question that I'm still kicking myself over.
Steve Schwarz at The Sports Network has a great article regarding the Top 5 Draft Day Strategies. As I read this, I realized that I've used all 5 of those strategies in one draft or another (and perhaps a mixture of several in each). I fondly recall a friend of mine using the "The One Loss Theory" approach a few years ago when he drafted Tom Brady, Wes Welker, and Randy Moss. Remember that season when those guys put up insanely sick numbers? Yep - I was the only guy to beat him and it was the week that the Pats were on bye, but hey, a win is a win, right?
'Tis the season for draft advice. CBSSports.com's Dave Richard tackles the topic with his 2011 Draft Prep. He touches on Chris Johnson and the impact that his holdout is having on CJ2K's value...and why you should not write him off. You'll also find some great advice about this year's incoming freshman running backs (Mark Ingram - you are my rookie pick so don't disappoint!). What I particularly enjoyed looking at was Dave's Running Back Tier Chart to see what tiers he's putting guys in. This is a must-read before draft day. Be sure to also check out Which running backs are consistently great. A fantasy owner's #1 expectation is that our #1 pick will perform like a #1 pick, but that's obviously not always going to be the case.
Do you recall how your coaches, parents, and teachers always stressed the importance of practice? I have heard the phrase "Practice makes perfect" a million times, but I've always been partial to my high school wrestling coach's favorite phrase "Practice like a champion". It's been almost 17 years since he said that to me but I can still hear him clear as day. The best in the business didn't become the best by doing anything halfway. You've got to participate in mock drafts before the real draft comes up. Mock Draft Central and Fantasy Football Calculator are two of my favorites. Great sites and they have mocks running all day long. If I don't want to wait for a live mock draft, I'll generally head over to Fleaflicker.com where I have several leagues each year. They have a great free mock draft applet. It's pretty slick and I use it everytime I'm showing/teaching someone what a fantasy football draft is and how it works.
I'll be sure to run through a couple of more mocks in the next few days prior to the Fantasy Football Nerd Experts League draft. I'll be drafting and playing against some of the guys mentioned in this post along with some other incredible industry veterans.
Wish me luck!