August 22, 2013

A Guide to Fantasy Football Draft Day

By - Tim Swift

It's that time of the year again; fantasy football.

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With drafts popping up all over the country, here is a useful guide to help you navigate your season.

- Know Your League

I've been doing fantasy football radio shows for 5 years now, and it still amazes me how people just grab a top 300 player list without bothering to study specific point values. In 6-point passing TD leagues, quarterbacks will be at a premium, so pay attention. On the other hand, if you're in a PPR league that rewards 4 points on passing touchdowns, you will have to focus on versatile running backs and wide receivers. Spend a few minutes on the day of your draft going over the rules so you can make your picks accordingly.

- Always Be Prepared to Change Your Draft Strategy

One of the first things I learned about fantasy football is that you can't change what guys do in front of you as far as picks go. During the draft, especially early on, always have a second or even third player in mind before it's your turn to pick. There is nothing worse than having to scramble to make a selection because you failed to have a backup plan.

- PPR Running Backs Are Even More Valuable This Year

Running back depth is at a premium this year, and guys who can catch 50-plus passes out of the backfield can accumulate some of your highest scores week-to-week. Darren Sproles may be the best example of a guy whose value soars in a PPR league. Sproles has caught 161 passes and 14 touchdowns over the last 2 years, and if you used him in a flex spot, he scored more than most RB2s or WR2s. Other guys who could have great PPR value who will be further down draft boards include Reggie Bush, Danny Woodhead and Shane Vereen.

- QB Depth is Great This Season

Last year it felt like quarterbacks were all the rage, with many going in the first round regularly. With all the depth at the position, quarterback shouldn't be your top priority this season. Double-digit QBs threw for 4,000 yards and at least 20 scores in 2012, so you don't have to think signal caller early. If you do wait on selecting a quarterback, try to be the first person to pick a backup to ensure depth.

- If You Go With a Read-Option QB, Balance That With a Durable Pocket Passer

Read-option QBs are popular picks because of the points they can give you in the run game, but they are much more susceptible to some type of injury. If you go after a guy like Colin Kaepernick or Cam Newton, back them up with someone like Eli Manning or Joe Flacco. They are good for 3,500 yards and 20 TDs, and are way more likely to play all 16 games.

- Switching Defenses Each Week Isn't a Bad Idea

If you don't have a top 5 defense, switching them from week-to-week isn't a bad idea. I've always liked the idea of chasing a particularly bad offense, as in, targeting one that is mistake prone. For example, if your D went up against Arizona's offense every week last season, you would have finished in the top 4 of most ESPN and Yahoo formats. The Jets, Jaguars and Bills are some of the offenses that could potentially struggle this year, so select a defense that's going up against one of those type teams every week to rack up easy points.

- The Tight End Position is a Mess

Jimmy Graham is clearly No. 1 and Jason Witten should be No. 2 (especially in PPR leagues), but beyond that, there are a lot of questions at this position heading into the season. There are so many problems due to injures and unproven players that I would select my starting running backs, quarterback, and wide receivers before I focused on a tight end. There should still be good depth left over at the position even in the mid-rounds.

- Pay Attention to Contract Years

There are no studies to show skill players perform better in contract years, but if you can't make up your mind between two guys, take the one that could be playing for a huge deal. Most skill players, especially RBs, only get one mega deal over the course of their career, so they tend to put forth a little more effort with all that cash hanging in the balance. Some guys to watch for who are playing in a contract season in 2013 include: Maurice Jones-Drew, Jimmy Graham, Darren McFadden, Hakeem Nicks, James Jones and Kenny Britt.

*Beginning September 8th, catch me on Fantasy Football Live every Sunday morning from 8:00 till 9:00 on Sports Radio 560 WNSR Nashville, as well as 95.9 FM, or online @


  1. Very insightful Tim. Looking forward to reading your weekly reports again this season.

  2. Seems like a few years back the focus shifted from running backs to quarterbacks in fantasy. So you think those days are over? Should you always going running back in the first round?