Once you have a completed a thoroughly researched list of players based upon whatever ranking system you felt was best, it’s time to start using your draft position to formulate an idea of what kind of draft strategy to use and get an idea of how your team is going to evolve.
I’ll usually have two lists of players in front me during any draft: an overall list of players ranked from best to worst; and a list of players by position broken down into tiers based on value. Where your particular tiers begin and end is subjective, of course. But your previous research should make it easier to identify where the gaps are.
When it comes to getting an early idea of who you’ll be drafting, it all start with your first draft pick, which varies depending on where your team is in the draft order. The higher up in the draft order, the narrower you can make your potential pick.
Have the second pick? You only have to decide between Chris Paul and Lebron James. Have the seventh pick? You should probably have about five guys in mind and prioritized. The highest one remaining when it gets to you is your pick.
Where you go from here depends on your format: head-to-head or roto.
For instance, if I have the sixth pick in my head-to-head draft and have Dwyane Wade, Kevin Durant, Kobe Bryant and Amare Stoudemire as my preference, whichever one I get will determine my ensuing moves. If I lade Bryant, my list of potential second round pick will be small ballers; if it’s Stoudemire I’m going big ballers all the way; while Durant and Wade give me some flexibility to go either way with the next pick.
In a roto leagues you can be far more flexible because often the best strategy is to go with the player who can help you in the most categories. In a head-to-head league, you’ll want to keep adding players who have similar profiles to players you’ve already drafted.
“Small ballers” are good in 3’s, FT%, Steals and Assists and “big ballers” provide some combination of FG%, Rebounds and Blocks. The idea is to pile as many players from one group onto your roster to dominate that group of categories.
Drafts usually happen so quickly (especially when done online with a 90 second limit), that is easy to overlook which players you have denoted as targets. Therefore it is important to make these players as clearly marked as possible.
Use red marker, a larger or bolded font, circle the names once your list in printed out….do anything you can to make yourself recognize names that can NOT be forgotten.
The next real question is, of course, what players to target. I’ll help out a bit more with this than I did last season by providing my own rankings with projections within the next week.
Do not denote every player you would like to own as a target, otherwise you’d have the first four rounds of players marked up. You want to focus on players that will increase in value and outperform their draft position and exceed their perceived value.
This becomes especially important in later rounds as many owners too often look at previous seasons to pick over-the-hill veterans or players who have switched teams in moves that will negatively impact their fantasy value.
Any monkey can wind up with a good fantasy team after six rounds. It’s the players that fill out your rosters – as well as injuries durinbg the season – that will most likely determine your fate.