Thursday, August 11, 2011

2011 Fantasy Football Draft: Get a gameplan

What’s up GHL readers?

I’m currently in the works of a 2011 fantasy football busts list which should be good to go by tomorrow. I don’t have a big post today for you, got a lot of other stuff going on. But I’ll be back to the usual pace again tomorrow.

In the meantime, I’ll throw together this little post reiterating something I have spoken a little about already.

I want to re-address the importance of planning out your entire draft. I touched upon this in the “Top Ten Fantasy Draft Mistakes” post last month, but I feel that just touching on it is not doing it justice. This is hands down one of the most important parts of your entire fantasy football season. Think about it. Before you start playing the games and making the decisions about who to start, before you pick who the weeks upsets and busts and sleepers are going to be, before the very first week of competition, you are setting everything into motion. The fantasy football draft is the very first and most important step. It is the catalyst to your entire season. If you have a bad draft, you are pretty much dead in the water.

Last year we had a cute little gimmick where each week I would make my pick’em predictions, and Jordan would make his pick’em predictions, and my girlfriend’s little sister would make hers. She would choose the winner by color or team name or a pretend quarter flipping in her brain. But I promise you that if I set up an ESPN or Yahoo window, she would draft the first four rounds as well as anyone. Because the thing it, you don’t have to know a single damn thing about football to excel in the first portion of the draft.

The true skill of the draft is in the mid to late picks: the backups, the sleepers, the fillers. These guys are your insurance in case something goes awry. These guys are the WR3s and Flex positions that can make or break a team. And if you are going into your fantasy football draft without thinking through round 5, then you are clueless when it comes to filling these all important spots in. You need to take a little time, use a little foresight, and maybe read a GHL article or two and figure out a plan of attack.

Here’s a couple fun little thoughts for you:

1) Of the top 12 fantasy football running backs taken in 2010, only 5 finished in the top 10.

2) Of the top 12 fantasy football wide receivers taken in 2010, only 5 finished in the top 10.

Yeah. Let that soak in a bit. Are you ready to admit that you should probably start thinking things through a little deeper if you have any hopes of competing this year?

The fact is that things happen throughout a fantasy football season. And if you don’t prepare for them, then you really have no point in playing at all. So study up, ask questions, that’s what God Hates Losers is here for. It’s time to make the first step to that fantasy football trophy.


  1. Hey, I just had my $$$ league draft last night. I was just wondering what you thought of my team and if you think i have a shot. I had the 6th overall pick in a snake draft. I would like your honest opinion. I went rb wr wr rb rb qb te qb....

    QB Josh Freeman, TB
    RB Ahmad Bradshaw, NYG
    RB Jahvid Best, Det
    RB/WR Ray Rice, Bal
    WR Roddy White, Atl
    WR Vincent Jackson, SD
    TE Vernon Davis, SF
    D/ST Chargers
    K Mason Crosby, GB K
    Bench Matt Schaub, Hou QB
    Bench Austin Collie, Ind WR
    Bench Ryan Williams, Ari RB
    Bench Willis McGahee, Den RB
    Bench Braylon Edwards, SF WR
    Bench Roy Helu, Wsh RB
    Bench Bernard Scott, Cin RB


  2. I gotta say. I'm pretty impressed with it. Ray Rick, Roddy White and V Jackson in the first three rounds, pretty good draw. Lots of good sleepers here too. Could be a great season if these guys step up like they should.
    Whats your plan at QB? I'd probably play them based on matchup. I've always been more of a one QB guy though.

  3. Yea, it'll probably be match up based, unless one of the two is in a prime time game in witch case i will play him. i love watching my players play, almost as much as winning. its just so exciting!

  4. Haha. I'm with you there. I never thought I'd find myself screaming at the TV because Johnny Knox needs 14 more yards for me to win.

  5. Here's a situation I've been grappling with lately:

    Say you get an RB1 in the first round (anyone from AP to Mendenhall depending on your draft slot). As your pick comes up in the second round, you can get an elite WR (say, anyone from Fitzgerald to Jennings to Nicks) or an RB whose stock has fallen a bit for one reason or another (SJax or Gore, who are both still workhorses). Would you go for the latter because of the relative depth of top flight WR's this year? Or would you start building your WR corp because there's a few high upside RB's to be had later?

    I realize it's a pretty vague question and a wide range to boot - but it's a situation that's come up in a few of my mocks. Maybe more specifically I'll ask: would you rather have say, Ray Rice and Frank Gore or Peyton Hillis - or Ray Rice and Larry Fitzgerald or Hakeem Nicks?

  6. I've gone both ways. And you can definitely win both ways.

    The reason I have been talking about going RB/RB so heavily this year is just the depth at the position. We are seeing fewer and fewer truly elite running backs each year. More teams are going to running back by committee type lineups, so there are only a handful of guys that you can accurately predict because there are so many questions about the position. Wide receiver is much deeper, and while it would be great to have Larry Fitzgerald or Hakeem Nicks, you could easily wait til round three and pick up Mike Wallace, Reggie Wayne or Vincent Jackson.

    I plan on posting something like this tomorrow. An alternate strategy saying that you dont necessarily have to go RB/RB and that RB/WR is perfectly fine. Stay tuned for that as I'll go deeper into which RBs to go with in rounds 3, 4 or 5.

    Thanks for the question.

  7. Gotcha. I guess there's really no wrong choice here. I think there's more upside and potential with Nicks or Fitzgerald, etc. than there is with Gore or SJax; but you know those two will touch the ball 20+ times a game (pending injury) and probably do have higher floors.

  8. Speaking of gameplanning. I have pick # 6 in my league... This is seemingly the hardest position to strategize. It is a 3WR, 2RB and 1 Flex league. All the elite WR will make it to me in Round 1 but my gut is to draft RB/RB. What would you do and who would you take first in a non-PPR league?

  9. 6th position has a lot of ups and downs. Youre right that it is very hard to strategize for it. But you do have the advantage of going with the flow. You are right in the middle of the action and get a good feel for who is going when in this draft.

    I agree that you should go RB first. McCoy and Mendenhall should both be there for you so take your pick. I like Mendenhall if its nonPPR. Then feel it out from there. If they are taking a lot of RBs after your first pick, you might want to take the remaining elite guy, if there isnt one left, go WR. If they are taking a lot of receivers and there is still a great RB for you, then take him.

    With the sixth pick you need to stay more alert than anything else. And you need to understand value more than any other spot in the draft. Take the best person on the board in a position you havent filled.

    Hope this helped.

  10. Yes, thanks! Would you even consider MJD\McFadden\Turner at 6?

  11. ADP on all three of them is the beginning of the second round in 12 team leagues. While I think that all three have the potential to being among the top RBs, they would all be considered stretches.

    If youre in a 10 team leauge, you might even be lucky enough to have one fall to you in your second pick. I wouldnt recommend going as high as 6 for them though.

  12. I appreciate your thoughts.. My draft is this Sunday and I am just trying to tweak my strategy and fine tune things.

  13. Understandable. I'm working on my updated player rankings at every position. So stay tuned for that. Probably up tonight or tomorrow. About 300 players listed. Should be a good one.