Links to other parts of this series:
It wouldn't be a proper series without a roundtable. Here is some advice from the pros here at Footballguys:
There is a difference between good NFL players and fantasy players. Between starting requirements and positional scoring settings, valuable NFL options could be borderline irrelevant for fantasy value and vice versa. Some examples include scoring slanted towards rushing quarterbacks, shifting to two-tight ends mandatory in fantasy lineups, or adding quality scoring for return yardage.
Have minimal allegiance to late-round draft selections in your fantasy draft. Once the season begins, if not earlier, there will be appealing waiver wire options available which put pressure on those final roster spot players. At most, view late-round picks as 'needing clarity to keep them' by later September but having some of them as 'I will keep them beyond Week 1 only if X-Y-Z occurs' is a strong approach as well.
Beginners today have a decided advantage, as the quality, availability, and breadth of tools and services have never been better. When we started Footballguys, the league hosts (e.g., ESPN, CBS, Yahoo!) didn't focus much on the content/advice side of the ledger, and so it took a lot of ad hoc analysis and information retrieval to compete as a first-timer. Today, every hosting site has built-in rankings, analytics, and recommendations. While those tools may not afford you the skill to compete against the best of the best, they're good enough to assure you're in playoff contention with a bit of luck and a modest amount of time commitment.
The trick a beginner has to ask is when and if they want to transition from someone in the hunt but rarely gets a championship ring to someone who league members fear and is considered one of the favorites year in, year out. If that's their aspiration, leveraging Footballguys is the answer.
Don't pay too close attention to ADP, especially if you want to "get your guy." Also, once you have your starting lineup drafted, it's more than OK to get the bench players you want. ADP is even less of a concern then.
I usually advocate selecting players on good offenses. Even the WR3 on a good offense tends to have more productivity than a WR2 on a poor offense. Also, target upside and high ceiling over a veteran with a high floor, low ceiling. There are exceptions, but later in the draft, I'd rather have a guy like Donovan Peoples-Jones or Amon-Ra St. Brown than say... Sammy Watkins or Randall Cobb, or another veteran that we know what we're going to get.
- Understand the scoring system for the league.
- If possible, check how the players scored last year in this system at all relevant positions.
- Ignore fantasy advice that isn’t relevant to your league, and pay close attention to the advice that is relevant to your league.
- Make every pick count.
- Every player has value. There are no must-have or must-avoid players.
- Understand value. This means basically two things:
- Completely understand your scoring system and starting lineup requirements, and
- Understand supply and demand and how that affects value. Russell Wilson in an 8-team league that starts one quarterback has a very different value than Russell Wilson in a 14-team league that starts two quarterbacks.
- Understand fantasy football is two events. First, the draft and then managing your team. Both are equally important. But understand a great draft makes managing your team that much easier. With that said, most leagues are won or lost by how they manage the waiver wire and how quickly they can spot trends.
- Have fun. It's your team. Draft accordingly. If you can't stand Tyreek Hill off the field, don't draft him. If you think Darrell Henderson will be a huge value, snag him. Be part of the league's community and realize it's like most things in you'll get out of it as much as you put in.
Don't be afraid to swing for the fence with your last few picks. Having a handcuff RB who could become a stud if the lead back goes down is a LOT more valuable to your roster than a backup TE, DEF or PK.
Read some of the 'what to do if (player x) is injured' and target the guys from those articles instead of having a backup defense. Those guys have a lot more upside and can easily be cut if needed.