Fantasy Football Draft Prep: Developing Your Strategy

It’s that time of year again. Training camps and preseason workouts are underway which means a brand new Fantasy Football season is right around the corner. Regular season football games will be upon us and every Tuesday morning in Fantasy circles we’ll either be celebrating the prior week’s victory or lamenting the defeat. Hopefully you’ll be celebrating more victories than defeats and that’s what we’re here to help you with.

This article is to help you prep for the coming season’s fantasy football draft, very generically in this case but there will be follow-on articles that address certain strategies specifically. 

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Developing a Strategy

There are some core pieces of information that you should know before going into your draft that will aid in the development of your strategy:

  • How many teams are in your league (i.e. 10, 12, 14)?
  • What is the point scoring format (i.e. PPR, half-point PPR, Standard)?
  • What is the makeup of a team (3 WR or 2 WR + 1 Flex, can the Flex spot have a TE, can it have a QB)?

Knowing these things will help guide how early or late to take a player or if you should prioritize taking a second QB over another RB, for example.

League Size

Let’s say it’s a ten team league. After 2 rounds there would be 20 players off the board; but if you’re in a 14-team league then there will be 28 players gone by the end of Round 2. That’s an 8 player difference, so that wide receiver you like might be available near the end of Round 2 in a 10-team league but long gone at the end of Round 2 in a 14-teamer. 

Scoring Format

Now, if it’s a PPR league and you’re in one of the later rounds where you’re deciding between the likes of Tyler Allgeier and Antonio Gibson, you would be wise to lean toward Gibson who had 2 or more catches in every game but one in 2022, whereas Allgeier put up zeros multiple times last season even after he became the “lead back” of that offense (and he’s no longer the lead back in 2023 with Bijan Robinson there). These types of decisions can come at any point in the draft and the situation may even involve a WR versus a RB, not necessarily the same position. So it’s imperative you know the scoring.

Team Makeup

As for the team makeup, if it is a super-flex where a QB can be used in your Flex spot, then you should expect QBs to be going early and often. Conversely, if it’s not a super-flex then you may be able to wait until Round 4 or 5 or later to lock up your QB (assuming you’re fine with someone else not named Mahomes, Allen, or Hurts). Knowing what positions will need to be drafted is essential to success.

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Preparing Like a Pro

Now that you know the core information outlined above you need to prepare. How do you go about doing that? Here is what you need to do:

  • Practice
  • Expect the Unexpected
  • Determine Pre-Draft Rankings


So how do you know who is going to be available in what round? Well there’s plenty of ADP (average draft position) info out there on various sites that you can look at. ADP looks at what slot players are being drafted (i.e. 8th overall or 10th overall) and determines on average where they are going off the board (i.e. 9th overall). But to truly pull a strategy together you should be mock drafting. A mock draft is a fake draft where other managers are drafting too, but in the end the team you draft is not your actual team. After several mock drafts you get a sense of who is available in each round and, perhaps more importantly, you get a sense of which player you might pivot to if one of the managers in front of you “snipes” your guy.

Expect the Unexpected

As many seasoned fantasy football managers will tell you, you should have a strategy but nothing should be set in stone. You need to be flexible so that if something unexpected happens you can take an educated next step. For example, part of your strategy might be to take two wide receivers with your first two picks, but if Christian McCaffrey is still available at pick 12, you might have to change your strategy. Or you think you’ll wait to take a QB until Round 6 or later, but if Patrick Mahomes is staring you in the face in Round 4 maybe you change your strategy. Or you were planning on taking Nick Chubb and Tony Pollard at the Turn but they’re both gone, do you still take the two best RBs available or are you now taking two WRs? I think you get the point.

Determine Pre-Draft Rankings

Also, if you have the time it can be helpful to determine your own pre-draft rankings so that when you are reviewing the players that are left during a draft, it will help you to more easily focus on the players you like instead of sifting through a pre-sorted list someone else made up.

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Additional Tips

  • Know the room – even if you aren’t drafting next to each other in a physical room, you need to know if that manager in front of you or behind you is a die-hard Eagles fan, for example. If they are, chances are they have their eye on Jalen Hurts, so if you want Hurts you may need to take him earlier than you otherwise would.
  • Bye Weeks – they aren’t necessarily something you should highly prioritize, but you should be mindful of them. You don’t want your starting QB, WR-1, and RB-1 to all be out the same week. If that ends up being the case you could draft some backups with different bye weeks but remember there is also the waiver wire to pick through later on. And if your backup gets injured that plan goes out the window anyway.
  • Draft Position – you may not know this until about 30 minutes before draft time so there may not be much you can do about this, but all the more reason to set your own pre-draft rankings so you have an idea who you might pick and won’t be scrambling to find someone as the clock is ticking down.
  • Defense – once you’ve filled out your starting lineup don’t feel the need to be taking a Team Defense in Round 8, in my opinion. The top pre-season defense rarely ends up being the overall top defense, and plenty of team defenses come out obscurity to end up being start-worthy by mid-season. I typically find a “sleeper” defense at the end and if it doesn’t turn out I’m fine streaming throughout the remainder of the season. Same goes for kickers.

Good Luck!

Because you will need it. Follow all these steps to a T and there’s still no guarantee you’ll win, or even come close. But there is a famous saying by poet John Milton — “Luck is the residue of design.” In simple terms, you can get lucky as a result of thoughtful planning and preparation.

Bonus Bets

What’s a football article without some wagers?! Below are some of my speculative picks for the season:

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Bijan Robinson Offensive Rookie of the Year : he landed in a great spot that should afford him plenty of opportunity to run away with this. There are some rookie QBs that will have opportunities too, but likely not much success, in my opinion. And it’ll be harder for a WR or TE to wrangle this away from Robinson.

Nick Chubb Most Rushing Yards: While Robinson should have a fine rookie season, Chubb will lead the league in rushing yards. He’s proven to be pretty durable and isn’t too old yet (27). Kareem Hunt is out of the picture and the offense should take a step forward with Watson at the helm for a full season. The Browns offensive line is ranked among the best so will block things up for Chubb and he’ll have room to run.


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Jarod Rupp, Fantasy Sports
Jarod Rupp, Fantasy Sports
Jarod is a long-time fantasy sports veteran, with over 20 years of experience using salary cap, season-long, best ball, and DFS formats - mainly centered around MLB and NFL. Ever since the "Sid Bream Slide" he has been a die-hard Atlanta Braves fan. He also enjoys collecting trading cards and memorabilia from his favorite teams and players.

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