Why your drafts always suck!

You are on your 7th beer of the evening.  An empty pizza box stares back from the corner of your buddies garage.  Chicken wing grease covers your phone.  You just drafted the Colts defense.

It’s round 10 of your draft and things have officially gone off the rails.  

You thought you started strong.  Took that running back in round 1 like everyone told you to.  Next you scooped a solid wide receiver in the second.  Alright now we are onto something. Then you needed a beer.  Then your wife called.  Then you needed to piss.

OK you didn’t love your third round pick but you’ve got a sleeper set up for the fourth.  

Shit that guy was taken!  Who is left?  You are scrambling through papers and magazines.  You start to get to a point where you aren’t exactly sure who is good or even plays on what team.

“Wait AP isn’t on the Vikings?”  “Who does Jamaal Charles play for?”  “Someone Google Eric Decker’s wife”

Shit has officially hit the fan.  It happens every year.  You were going to study more this year.  Read a couple articles. Do a mock draft.  You didn’t.  Instead you are all juiced up and shirtless in a friends yard debating if you could beat Rich Eisen in the 40-yard-dash.  

This is why your trophy case is empty.  Your cash might as well be lit on fire at the draft.  You can’t win this way.  Won’t win this way.  

That changes today.  

This is how you change your draft fortunes and take your next step into fantasy greatness.

First of all I’m not saying don’t drink at your draft. I’m a liquor salesman for goodness sake but we need to scale it WAYYYY back.  Skip the pre-draft shots.  Don’t tailgate for the first round.  Pass on the double IPA’s.  We aren’t here to get fucked up, we are here to draft a team that will win a fantasy championship.  Drink AFTER you are done drafting.  Here’s the pro tip for drinking at the draft: Heineken Light.  Hear me out… first off it looks like you have some class and aren’t a dirty frat boy anymore.  More importantly it’s only 3.3% ABV meaning it doesn’t hit you like other beers.  If you are crushing 5% Budweisers or 7% IPA’s the decision making is going to get fuzzy a lot sooner. 

Holy shit how about we do some research this year?!  Yes that means doing a mock draft.  I have amazing friends who I love dearly but it’s like a badge of honor for them to show up as unprepared as possible to our home league.  Don’t be like my friends.  Swing over to FantasyFootballCalculator.com and do a couple.  You can even download mobile mock draft apps such as the one Fantasy Pros puts out and those take 3 minutes to finish a full draft.  

I’m not saying buy every magazine in the store or sign up for 20 pay sites but how about we read a few articles before drafting.  If you aren’t checking out FightingChanceFantasy.com daily for killer content then you are doing fantasy wrong.  Get with the program and start following smart people on Twitter also.  Fantasy is all about instant information and Twitter is the place to get it.  When news breaks you want it at your fingertips so you can make the crucial add to save your season.  

Start by following the fine folks of Fighting Chance Fantasy:

@DrakeFantasy - Brian Drake

@FightingChance - Ryan Hallam

@FantasyGeek37 - Steve Rapin

@TheKaceyKasem - Kacey Kasem

@FantasyTaz - Jim Day

OK now it’s draft day and you’ve got your drink let’s get set up.  I’m a guy who wants things simple at the draft.  I don’t need a laptop, iPad, phone, 3 magazines, and 4 cheat sheets.  Let’s keep it simple.  Have your phone, a cheat sheet, and one magazine to check bye weeks and schedules.  For the love of all things holy bring your own pen!  If you want a computer keep it focused on fantasy.  If I had a dollar for every draft I saw a guys laptop turn into a porn theater I’d be a millionaire.  (I swear my friends really are good people).  But you can get lost in the internet and stop following the draft.  

This leads to something many players struggle to do and it is watching the draft unfold in front of them.  If you draft at 11 and think, “Well I’ve got 20 minutes to kill til I’m back on the clock” you will miss something.  Be aware of runs.  See who around you needs what.  If you need a QB and so do the next two guys on the turn maybe you take yours before they can poach your signal caller.  Simply check off every player as they are called.  I like to have positional tiers on a sheet along with an overall top 250.  This way you can see if you are missing any overall value.  It doesn’t hurt to write down a ‘wish list’ roster and try to draft to match that.  You have to like the team you walk out with.  Go get your guys!

I see so many drafters get stuck after round four.  They panic and the lack of prep smacks them in the face.  Here’s where savvy owners make their moves.  You know about the depth at QB and aren’t worried about Tom Brady being there.  You’ve got knowledge of value Tight Ends like Jack Doyle in your pocket so you aren’t reaching for Zach Ertz when you should be taking your RB 2.  Letting QB and TE fall is the perfect way to build a sick roster.  Loading up on RB’s and WR’s makes your team balanced and full of trade bait.  You can land a QB so late the Heineken Lights will actually be hitting you by then.

Don’t be that guy who takes a defense in round 8 because you don’t like the other players.  I swear to you a defense taken in the final two rounds will finish top 5 at the position.  Besides its a weekly game.  Look for teams playing shit opponents in week 1 (or rookie QBs) hello Baltimore.

Kickers matter.  They are fickle and can easily be dropped but I like to grab one the round BEFORE the final round so I have my pick.  Say it’s a 16 round draft.  In 15 you land Justin Tucker or Jake Elliot and then while everyone is taking kickers in 16 you have a stud and you can your pick of sleepers (Taywan Taylor, Cole Beasley, John Kelly).

Speaking of Kelly I love taking upside RB handcuffs.  Maybe not mine but here’s where knowing your league comes into play.  If there is a guy who LOVES to trade go grab his cuff.  Know a homer, get his.  A few weeks in you play the “You know you want the backup to Zeke Elliot” card and instantly you can upgrade your bench.  

Another cheat move only works if your league rules allow it but if you can add/drop after games played.  What I mean is you draft the handcuff for the Thursday game then if nobody gets hurt you drop him and add a 1pm game cuff.  If no injuries you add a 4pm player and so on for every game.  This final spot on your bench keeps cycling but essentially you are trying to jump the waiver wire.  If you are diligent you can reap major rewards for it.  It doesn’t need to be a running back either.  Add the best upside player who would benefit from an injury.  For the Eagles-Falcons opener I’d add Dallas Goedert because if Ertz goes down you’re sitting on a top 5 TE.  Again, rules for your league may vary but test the boundaries.  It could pay off huge!

Finally I want you to get home safe from your draft.  As someone who lost his best friend to a drunk driver I don’t any of you to go through that.  Use an Uber, call a cab, just be smart and plan ahead.  Nothing ruins a fantasy season (and life) like losing your license or worse.  

Have fun and remember when all else fails take a running back, then take two more.  They never go out of style.  Happy drafting folks!

Follow Brian on Twitter @DrakeFantasy

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