Whether you’re a seasoned fantasy football champion that puts a great deal of time and effort into your fantasy football season or a casual fantasy football fan who’s looking to earn some bragging rights among your friends, it’s important to properly prepare for your fantasy football draft.
While you may make many trades through the season, and you will undoubtedly pick up and drop many players throughout the season, who you draft at the start of the season will have a strong effect on the end result of your fantasy football season.
Putting together a simple excel or Google doc spreadsheet is a good place to start. List out news sources, stats, strengths of schedules, expert rankings and any other information that helps make your information easy to access and use. To cut down on the amount of prep time you can use draft software. Fantasy Football Mastermind provides fantasy football draft software that makes planning for your fantasy football draft a whole lot easier.
Understand the Scoring System
Pretty self explanatory and usually not necessary, but if the commissioner made any tweaks to how points will be scored throughout the season it is important to be aware of them.
Get Up To Date on Trades
Off season trades can shake up performances of NFL players in a big way. A great example would be Eric Decker who had a fantastic 2014 season with the record breaking Denver Broncos offense but had no chance of putting up the same numbers with the New York Jets. On the other side of the coin players flying under the radar can have a huge future depending on the new players surrounding them. The Dallas Cowboys have a great offensive line, perhaps the best run blocking OL in the NFL. Any running back the Cowboys acquire in the off season should draw attention.
Participate in Mock Drafts
Mock drafts are great if you’re not familiar with the layout of the fantasy football drafting platform that you’re using, but there’s another really big added bonus.
Mock drafts give you a sense of a fantasy football player’s perceived value. There’s always a difference between how experts rank players and how they are actually drafted. While Jonathan Stewart might be the 17th ranked RB for the 2016 season, many people may have him in their list of top 10 or top 5 running backs. Figuring out when people draft who you would consider underrated or overrated players can be valuable information that you can capitalize on during your draft.
Look Up Schedules
While it’s easy to see when fantasy football players have byes, you should take it a step further and evaluate toughness of schedules during important weeks. You may have the lucky pick of either Todd Gurley or Devonta Freeman. While their projections may be very similar, if the Rams are going to be playing the Denver Broncos defense during the first week of the fantasy football playoffs and Atlanta will be matched against the bad New Orleans Saints defense then it should be a no-brainer.