Most experts release a “top 200” list, which lists the best players at every position. Many sites, like ESPN, will have a preset list, which is based on their expert picks. Owners are able to go in and customize the list, so this is good to do if you don’t have a lot of time to analyze before your draft day comes. I would avoid letting the computer auto-draft your team. You won’t end up with the best team because it will try to fill your starting roster out first, and it doesn’t technically draft the best value–only the best player on the board. It’s also not as fun. Why play fantasy football if you’re not even going to pick your players?
If you do have a good bit of time to prepare for the draft, I highly recommend a draft app. These apps have projections for every player, but the best part is that you can enter your league’s scoring rules and it will change the projections to show which players are the most likely to be top scorers in your league.
Of course, there are exceptions, and I don’t always go by everything the draft experts say, but they provide some pretty good guidelines.
If this is your first year playing fantasy football, you probably don’t have keepers, but, in some cases, you’ll be taking someone else’s place in a league and will inherit some players. This was the case the first time I played way back in 2002. If you’re in that boat, look over your roster and decide which players you want to keep. Always revert to the league rules to see which would be most beneficial to your team.
One thing I like to do when heading into a draft is to highlight 3 or 4 players at each position that I’m kind of targeting. One or two elite guys and one or two second-tier type players to keep an eye on. Drafts can be unpredictable, so if you do some homework ahead of time, you can have a good idea which guys you want to take.
Before the season, there will be a few players that you have a good feeling about…players that you think will do better than their projections. These are called sleepers. Take a chance on these players late in your draft instead of drafting a mediocre veteran that you’ll probably never start anyway. At least with sleepers, there’s a chance they will blow up and become start-worthy… and then you look and feel like a genius for taking them. Think about it: do you want Eddie Lacy or the next Kareem Hunt? Take a chance! Also, do some Google searches weekly to see who the experts think might be breakout candidates.
One thing I like to have on draft day is a “Do Not Draft” list. This list is for the guys who never live up to the hype, the ones who are frequently injured, or the ones who you think, for whatever reason, are going to be a disappointment this season. If you have these players on an actual list, you’ll know you had a really good reason for putting them there and can avoid them. The last thing you want to do is draft a WR that just had a good season, but you forgot that he tore his ACL in December. It can be embarrassing and also take a major toll on your team.