Fantasy football has exploded in popularity over the past decade or so, and it seems like more and more people are joining a fantasy league each year. According to Nielsen, over 12 million Americans played fantasy football in 2017, a substantial increase over the 7.4 million players in 2012.
If you’re getting ready for your first season of fantasy football, or just trying to get a leg up on the competition this year, it is essential to be prepared for your fantasy draft. The players you select on draft day will make up the majority of your fantasy team all season long. Sure, you’ll probably pick up a few different players along the way, but the heart and soul of your team are going to depend on the draft. Here are a few ways to get yourself prepared.
Attract a crowd
When it comes to fantasy leagues, the more, the merrier. If you’re putting together a league or trying to bring some new people in, you need to get them excited about it.
So, why is fantasy football so popular? Simply put, it’s a hobby that has something to offer for everyone. You can put together a league with friends and co-workers, or opt to join a league with complete strangers. Some fantasy players prefer leagues with a cash prize, while others are content to play for bragging rights.
The choice is yours, and there is always another league to join. On top of all this, you don’t need to be an NFL expert to play fantasy football. Sure, fantasy football can be an immersive and rewarding experience for die-hard NFL fans, but it can also be a fun way to learn about football and the NFL for newer fans.
A great way to prepare for a fantasy draft is to participate in a few mock drafts. A mock draft is a simulated version of a fantasy draft intended solely for practice. Mock drafts can help you prepare for the overall feel of the draft program, familiarize yourself with the draft dashboard, and make sure that the draft program runs smoothly on your desktop, tablet, or smartphone. You’d be surprised how many fantasy players wait until the draft starts to enter, only to discover they need to update their browser or operating system.
Playing out a few mock drafts can also help you get a sense of when certain players will be selected in your real draft. Preparing a draft order of players to target based on their average draft position helps you build a well-rounded team as quickly and efficiently as possible. Be sure to enter mock drafts containing the same amount of participants as your real draft, that way your average draft position rankings will be as accurate as possible.
No fantasy draft strategy is complete without a few sleeper picks. A sleeper pick is a player not generally expected to perform well in the coming NFL season, either due to past injuries, age, or a recent decline in performance. Rookies can also be considered sleeper picks since they are still largely unproven at the professional NFL level. Finding sleepers can be tricky, and they don’t always pan out, but a fantasy football draft kit can help you discover a few lesser known players for your fantasy team.
Another big part of draft day preparation is knowing your player rankings, both overall and for each position. This is especially true if you aren’t well versed with the current NFL — studying overall player rankings will help you learn about the best players right now.
However, at a certain point in the draft, you’ll have to start drafting by position to fill out your team, which is why it’s important to study player rankings by position as well. For example, if you already have two all-star quarterbacks on your team, you want to draft a running back or tight end with your next pick, even if a few great quarterbacks are still up for grabs.