Navigating the Oh Fudge Moments of Draft Day

It’s finally draft time!  You settle in with your laptop, and personal cheat sheets, and you’re ready to strike fear into the hearts of your league mates.  The draft clock counts down, 3, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, What the F*#@$!  Your Wi-Fi goes down.  The baby starts crying.  A thunderstorm blows in.  The lights go out, the cat pukes and your spouse starts screaming “Where the heck are you??!!”

When the dust settles and the lights are back on, it’s round 6 when you finally get back online and you auto-drafted a kicker, defense, and somehow Brett Favre in the past 3 rounds.  You look up and your baby starts laughing, the cat starts begging for food and your spouse is snoring away on the couch. 

“Hey, at least Jalen Hurts is still available!” Then Lois from accounting snipes Hurts right out of your queue and you’re back on the clock as the thunder rolls again. “My son just got his jersey!” she proudly types in the chat to your chagrin. You’re frantically trying to figure out who to add and the clock ticks zero and you end up with Gardner Minshew II because you somehow pulled both Eagles QBs in the queue. 

Let’s put together a solid draft preparation plan together. 

Print/have screenshots of the ADP list for your platform

I can’t stress this enough.  You’ll see Twitter accounts rattling off all kinds of ADP numbers.  They don't mean squat.  If you play on ESPN, ADP will differ from Yahoo or CBS.  I don’t mean Christian McCaffrey is 2nd overall vs 1st overall, either. Check out this visual below for various ADP differences amongst platforms. 


Jaylen Waddle is going much earlier on Yahoo, and Tee Higgins goes later on CBS. These ADP lists are crucial to the tiers you've built, bought, or borrowed. 

Pre-Draft Prep - Product and Process

Know your magic numbers. Look at how each of the playoff teams did in scoring in your league.  Are there any patterns?  Verify your scoring settings and look at this season's projections and last season's scores.  Return yards, first down bonuses, and more can factor into how you rank players and give you a tie-breaking option better than a coin-flip. Look at past season's draft results if possible.  Do certain players in your league grab positions at certain rounds no matter what? Do they grab specific players each year?

Develop your plan for building the best team possible based on where you’re drafting in the snake.  If you won't know until ten minutes before the draft, so what? In the top 1/3 of a 12-team, you’ll grab an elite running back first. The middle might give a shot at a top WR and on the back 1/3, RB/WR, RB/RB, or even TE if you think that's the edge.  Once you have it figured out, line up your tiers.  Who do you feel is best at each position, and pencil them into a notebook.  Then reference their ADP. Pro tip: Divide the ADP number by the number of teams to get the expected round of the player.  Example: 36 divided by 12 equals an early 3rd.  66/12=5.5, so middle 5th.  If you like a player in the middle and you’re at the end, you may have to reach, and vice-versa. Do this for the first 8-9 rounds of your draft.  Then, go into your platform and create your preferred player list based on tiers versus platform ADP.  It should even out to alternating positions reasonably well for 8-9 rounds regardless of snake position.

Rounds 9-10, add the upside players you really like.  Auto drafters or folks who can’t stand seeing empty starting positions will start reaching for kickers and defenses.  DON’T DO IT!  Count your bench slots and make sure you have enough upside players set to fill your bench plus 2-3 extra in case your guys get sniped. Use this quick-hitting average ADP list to resist the urge to draft Justin Tucker in Round 9.

Draft these players instead of kickers and defenses early:

Darrell Henderson, Jr RB Rams 124
Skyy Moore WR Chiefs 135
George Pickens WR Steelers 156
Tyler Allgeier RB Falcons 151
Julio Jones WR Buccaneers 170
Gus Edwards RB Ravens 177
KJ Osborn WR Vikings 191
Isiah Pacheco RB Chiefs 201
Isaiah McKenzie WR Bills 222
Zay Jones WR Jacksonville 280

Last, I use league platform projections for Kickers and Defenses for the next 4 weeks. In a worst-case scenario, look at Week 1 projections.  Make sure to set 2-3 of each of those at the bottom of your draft queue and boom, you’re list is set.

Late K D/ST grabs with current average ADP:

Nick Folk Patriots 242 Broncos D/ST 196
Chris Boswell Steelers 267 Ravens D/ST 242
Jason Sanders Dolphins 270 Titans D/ST  256
Jake Elliott Eagles 295 Eagles D/ST 279
Greg Zuerlein Jets 312 Giants D/ST 280

Mock draft on both versions of your platform, at least once.  I can’t stress this enough. Mock at least once on the desktop browser so you know what changes were made since last year, and so you know your PC is up to running the live draft.  Also do a mobile mock draft on your phone or tablet, again, just in case.  Scout motto: Be Prepared.

In-draft issues

The biggest issue is losing connection to your draft room.  If your internet is as questionable as Will Fuller on game day, find a place with some solid Wi-Fi. Talk to your partner about keeping draft time distractions to a minimum.  Make sure your PC and Phone are good to go, charged up and all non-essential apps are closed.  If the weather looks iffy, make sure your pre-draft list is set and flawless in case you lose power, internet, or both. Pro tip: Cell services run on backup generators, so it may be slower, but you can still get the job done.

Getting sniped

The next biggest issue is getting sniped. It sucks. It can really get you upset if you let it.  If you've done everything so far in this guide, you shouldn't be phased at all.  Remember, you can toggle between your preset list and ADP list in-draft on these platforms.  Keep an eye open for value, runs on positions, etc.  Use a little reverse psychology if needed in the chat.  “I wouldn’t have taken him THERE.” “Oh man, that’s who I wanted (Narrator: It wasn’t)” Man, I didn’t know you were a (insert buddy’s most hated team) Fan!”  Remember, this is supposed to be fun!

Post-draft platform grades

They’re piles of steamy giraffe dung.  Anyone who is claiming a title before the Week 1 kickoff because some Yahoo at Yahoo said you had the best draft grade is just asking for it.  In my one home league, the person who “won the draft” has yet to win the ‘ship that same year. Don’t fall for it. 

Last call!

Set your roster for Week 1 ASAP after the draft.  Double-check your waivers for anyone that others might have missed that could be a solid bench stash.  No one is going to fight you pre-kickoff for a waiver move if you have open waivers, and usually, the FAAB cost is $0-1.  Make sure you’re live scoring apps are good to go on your phone and let the games begin!

 Please follow me at @DirtyAirFC on Twitter and drink your Ovaltine!

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