Fantasy Football 2012 Draft Tips


When conducting your Fantasy Football Draft the best overall advice is to play it safe early. Don’t try to out smart yourself. Get your running back early, but then draft a balance of running and passing throughout the draft and save your gambles for mid and late rounds. When you do gamble, focus on running backs.


1. Check your Leagues Point System before the draft and occasionally during the season. Obvious, but often ignored. Notice during the season which categories seem to be manufacturing a lot of points. If you see a point strength in the some category make moves for players who excel at that category. You will be surprised how you can stop a weakness on your team and turn it into a strength in the league. Some leagues, like Yahoo Fantasy Football, have a STANDINGS scoring summary. Use this to analyze strengths and weakness of categories during the season.


2. Running Backs: Draft a “sure thing” veteran running back in the first round, always. Strongly consider another with your second pick, but don't be forced to take one whose value is much lower. The bottom line is you need to know that every week you will get consistent, top-scoring from one your running backs. Make sure you look at the running backs ability to score in the red zone and his ability to catch the ball. Those two factors are what separate to good fantasy backs from the average backs. Make sure to grab some extra running backs in the late rounds. Extra running backs are more important than any other position because of the lack of change that happens at the position. Take a gamble on a running back. A rookie or a back up of a top running team is a good gamble.


3. Quarterback: They will generally score the most points in Fantasy Leagues. But with most leagues having only one starting slot, even in a 14-team-league, you can get good starting QB's in the late rounds. Naturally if you are playing in a more competitive 2 quarterback league the position is much more valuable. Here are the levels:


A) The Franchise QB: This year three players qualify: Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees and Tom Brady. Cam Newton is right on the edge, but needs another year to prove himself. It is probably not worthwhile to take one of these ahead of the best running backs, but in 2012 all 3 of these players will likely go within the first 12 picks.


B) Fantasy Stud: These are sure-things and have potential to be a Franchise QB in any given season. Cam Newton, Matthew Stafford, Michael Vick, Eli Manning, Tony Romo, Matt Ryan and Philip Rivers qualify in 2012, making the QB position very strong. Ben Roethlisberger is as good as the above QB's and might be a fantasy stud depending on the direction of his team.


C) Fantasy Starter: This is the most common QB and can be drafted in the mid-late rounds and even found in free agency in most leagues. Jay Cutler, Josh Freeman, Ryan Fitzpatrick , Matt Schaub, and Joe Flacco are the types in this category. Peyton Manning could rise as far as stud, but he is still a bit of an unknown and should be drafted with caution.


D) Fantasy Hopefuls: These are either inconsistent veterans or young QB's. Carson Palmer, Andy Dalton, Alex Smith and Sam Bradford fit these bills. These can go higher than the solid veteran starter and make good gambles at the right time.


You should put all QB's into these categories to help your draft. The point here is if you don't draft a "Franchise QB" you are better to wait unit the mid-rounds to get a "Starter" quality QB. Either start the run on this type of QB's if the time is right or grab yours during the run.


4. Wide Receivers: The first bit of advice on WR's is to go back to the general draft advice, know your point system. Some leagues give points for receptions. If your league does, this gives possession-type receivers more value. It changes everything. After that is established, just like at running backs, you need to get at least one sure-thing WR. He needs to get the consistent 6-7 catches, 100 yards and a TD. Don't under-estimate the value WR's, but don't over-estimate them either. There are around 60 wide receivers to choose from, RB, TE and QB have half of that. After you have a stud, it is almost as likely to find a second or a third in free agency during the season as it is to find one in the draft. This is not to say don't draft more than one, it is to say be aware of it.


5. Save gambles for middle and late rounds. Plenty of places for gambles, just not too early.


6. Go into the draft with a small draft plan and some sleepers. Then throw away your plan. The most important thing during the draft is to ADAPT! Notice what positions are and are not being drafted. Can you hold off on drafting your Quarterback because everyone has already drafted one? Was there a run on tight ends? You better get one, even if it is a slightly over-priced player. Go with the flow of the draft and you will do better than sticking to a plan. If you are new to drafting and your league offers an auto-draft option, use it. This will give you a safely drafted team.


7. Finally, keep an eye on the player's bye weeks. But even more important, look at when your playoffs are and check the QB's you are drafting during those weeks. Make sure one of them has a good match up in each playoff week. It can mean the difference of a championship and second place. Also check the running backs, although they are generally more consistent, playing against a great defense probably means less TD's. It should just be another thing you weigh when you are drafting, not the only reason.


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