I've heard all the draft theories there are. The two stud RB theory. The RB-WR theory. The "draft whoever falls" theory. Just about every fantasy football player has their preferred plan of battle heading into draft day.
And most of them flat out stink.
I have a secret. The most fantastic draft strategy ever devised. Want to know what it is???
Here we are:
Don't draft players who suck and pay attention to your scoring system.
Ta-Da!!! That's all there is to it. Just continually avoid hype, potential, off-season fluff pieces, and you'll be set. It really is this simple. Let me give some examples.
First, the most popular RB-RB draft strategy. This makes some sense because standard fantasy leagues are set up in a screwy way that makes running backs far more valuable than they are in real life. It's really simple math.
12 teams starting 2 RB's means 24 RB's starting every week.
12 teams starting 1 QB means 12 QB's start every week.
The 13th best QB will be a backup, and he's a heck of a lot more reliable than the 25th best RB, so just go after the RB's and ignore QB's. That makes sense. So why am I against it?
Simple. Only a lucky few actually get what they pay for in drafting "2 stud backs."
Here is a list of the the RB's drafted in the first 2 rounds (on average) last year:
1. LaDainian Tomlinson
2. Steven Jackson
3. Larry Johnson
4. Joseph Addai
5. Shaun Alexander
6. Laurence Maroney
7. Frank Gore
8. Reggie Bush
9. Rudi Johnson
10. Maurice Jones-Drew
11. Brian Westbrook
12. Willie Parker
13. Cedric Benson
14. Willis McGahee
15. Travis Henry
16. Clinton Portis
17. Ronnie Brown
Look at that list. Look closely. How many of those players were flat out busts or missed a large chunk of the season with injury?
I count 7 of 17(Jackson, L. Johnson, Alexander, R. Johnson, Benson, Henry, Brown)
How many of the others were just plain disappointing, or performed well below expectations?
I count 5 (Maroney, Gore, Bush, Jones-Drew, Parker).
That leaves 5 of 17 RBs taken in the first 2 rounds as "studs."
Think 2007 was a fluke with injuries and whatnot? Let's look at 2006.
1. LaDainian Tomlinson
2. Larry Johnson
3. Shaun Alexander
4. Tiki Barber
5. Clinton Portis
6. Edgerrin James
7. Rudi Johnson
8. Carnell Williams
9. Ronnie Brown
10. Steven Jackson
11. LaMont Jordan
12. Willis McGahee
13. Willie Parker
14. Kevin Jones
15. Warrick Dunn
Busts: 5 of 15 (Alexander, Portis, Williams, Jordan, Jones)
Disappointments: 4 of 15 (James, Brown, McGahee, Dunn)
Studs: 6 of 15
A little better, but still terrible. This happens every year! The belief that you are going to get two guys who will carry your team to victory is simply flawed. If you are temendously lucky you'll get two good RB's in the first 2 rounds with the RB-RB method. More than likely, you'll get one decent RB and one dead weight. If you're slighlty unlucky you have a completely trashed fantasy season.
You think the guy in my league who picked at the end of the first round whould have been better off picking Peyton Manning and Chad Johnson instead of Travis Henry and Shaun Alexander??? He would have been mocked and laughed at had he done so, but he would have been in a lot better shape. Instead he's a parrot who has taken the RB-RB method to heart and uses it every year no matter what kind of a junky team it leaves him with.
Now let me address the other issue. Pay attention to your league settings, and understand the ramifications those settings have.
A little story:
I was in a league last year that was 12 teams, and each team started 2 QB, 2 RB, and 3 WR. So the draft begins and RB's fly off the board like they're made of Gold. Then the draft shifts to WR's with everyone having the same strategy that QB's are worthless and that any old QB will do.
I drafted 2 QBs in the first 3 rounds, drafted Roethlisberger in the 6th, and just kept grabbing every decent starting QB available. I finished the draft with 5 starting QB's and was promptly made fun of.
At least until week 3.
12 teams starting 2 QB's. Means 24 start every week. Once bye weeks hit, that can remove as many as 6 QB's from the 32 starters. Throw in injuries, several QB's the calibur of Rex Grossman and Tarvaris Jackson, no platoons or carry sharing, and throw in one dillhole who's sitting on 5 of the top 20 QB's and there was a massive QB famine in the land. One week I was matched up against an opponent starting John Beck and Trent Green at the same time...and it was their bye week.
His 2 stud RB's didn't help him one bit. It was a bloodbath.
Moral of the story: you must have the ability to resist the wisdom of the brainwashed masses. Pay attention to you league, and understand why people draft the way they do. Once you understand the reason why people draft RB-RB so often, you will know when to depart from conventional wisdom.
So, in summary, when you draft, draft sure things. A wide receiver that you can count on to produce is more valuable than that 17th ranked RB coming off knee surgery on a new team with a new head coach. It's common sense people. Avoid the landmines and even if you don't have the most flashy roster you'll do just fine.