A Rookie's Fantasy: Pulling the perfect draft

Here it is the long awaited Rookie’s draft guide. More an epic piece of writing so bear with me through this. I have actually scrapped what I originally wrote after a draft for another league some of the Gridiron Gentlemen are involved in. Here I will give some guidance rather than who to pick as well as how the draft works.

So to start it is worth checking out various fantasy podcasts at http://games.espn.go.com/frontpage/football and www.nfl.com/fantasy. Here there are some really good podcast guides to the draft and of course articles. But be aware of all articles (even this one, though not so much) as most are written with the certainty that they are right. This one is slightly different, here I will try and be objective.


What players to pick and when is all a matter of strategy and getting the best available. Now most drafts are live drafts and you are able to create your own draft pick list that will be used in the instance you cannot make the draft. Do not worry too much if you do not set your own pick list the auto-list is actually pretty good. Be prepared that you will not get all your first choice players. But it is quite a good idea to have a wish list and possibly set the first 7 rounds of the draft. Or at least a few choice players as first pick for each round. Yes for a 14 league team this is 98 players but that covers your QB (Quarterback), 2xRB (Running Backs), 2xWR (Wide Receiver), TE (Tight End) and Flex (RB/WR/TE). From then on maybe just set one or two other players further up just to get them on your bench or try and get one of the top defences. Or as this is quite a last minute document draw up a list of key players (maybe 28?) put them at the top of your draft list and go.

Doing your research helps, but do not necessarily go on pre-season performances. Many rookies and lower depth players (such as teams no.2 and 3 RB or WR) were fielded. To save some time I have included various lists of players for your perusal.


My initial plan was to give you a pick who in which round series. I have scrapped that after last night and just say this, it is your choice but come up with a plan and stick by it! Probably the most important thing: stick to your plan.


There seems to general consensus to pick your top two RB and WR as early as possible, certainly in the first few rounds and to wait on picking your QB. Generally in fantasy terms the QB is the top scorer over a season with the RB the second top scorer, the WR the third and TEs the fourth. This really applies to the top in each of the positions. For some reason the depth in good QBs is pretty deep. These are the top 14 from last year and all were in the top 10 scoring QBs per week for over 5 weeks.

The points these guys score per week certainly differs as you move down the list and certainly there are different tiers but nothing quite like what happens at RB or WR. In predicted season score terms you drop almost 104pts from 1st to 14th.. By rank 28 the difference is almost 160pts or 10pts per week. With WR it is not as great but then the total scores are somewhat less. The difference between 1st and 14th is only 50pts (as predicted by NFL.com). And by 28th only dropped a further 20pts or so. Tight ends score even lower but the difference between 1st and 14th is about 85pts.

And so the theory is get the best early and of course this depends where in the draft you are. Pickin 1st and last are actually the toughest as you have to wait so long then get two picks in a row. If I’m close to the bottom in round 1 I will try and get the best WR I can as I know I will shortly get a reasonable RB in round 2. There will be a temptation to get a QB early. Try and hold off to round 4 or 5.

Anyway I am getting ahead of myself. Research is what matters and actually some things that seem counter intuitive. For RB, WR and TE the focus is often on yards rushed or received. Important yes but what pre-season shows is you get better points with a touchdown and somebody who does not fumble (drop) the ball. Arian Foster nearly scored as many fantasy points as Doug Martin purely through having scored 5 more touchdowns even though Martin had 255 more receiving yards. But Doug only fumbled the once compared to butter fingers Arian who fumbled twice. Still not convinced? Marshawn Lynch ran further than Foster but only scored 12 touchdowns to Fosters 17.


It is a similar story at WR, with Marshall and Johnson separated by 4pts mainly due to Marshall’s prolific touchdown scoring. Yeah ok so it is more to do with receiving yards here but put it this way. A player who receives for 10yds and then gets a TD scores you 7pts. Better than receiving for 50 yards only (5pts). Even the mighty Brandon Marshall averaged 94.2yards per game, only Calvin Johnson averaged over 100yards per game. But Marshall pretty well scored a touchdown 2 out of 3 games! That means that 1 in every 3 weeks on average he will get you 9.4pts but the other two weeks you will get >10pts. A handy number of points.


To find out projected and past scores for players click on the “players” tab in your fantasy team/league home page. Explore from there! Probably the most helpful of sources of information.


So that is my big tip, look for those who regularly score touchdowns. And actually the same goes for the Defense. Look for teams who can score touchdowns (fumble return, kick return or interception). Keeping a clean sheet is all well and good but a touchdown goes a long way to getting a good score. Really you are looking for teams that sack the opposing QB frequently and/or who intercept passes regularly. But do not worry about defence until maybe round 7 or 8 at the earliest.


May be useful to now include some lists of players. The first table is taken from the rankings as devised by the experts at www.nfl.com/fantasy found under the “rankings” tab. For a fourteen team league this list should cover the first three rounds. After that then just get who ever. You may well be getting a bit fed up by round 12.


1. Adrian Peterson MIN – RB 15. A.J. Green CIN – WR 29. Roddy White ATL – WR
2. Marshawn Lynch SEA – RB 16. Julio Jones ATL – WR 30. Drew Brees NO – QB
3. Arian Foster HOU – RB 17. Jimmy Graham NO – TE 31. Aaron Rodgers GB – QB
4. Ray Rice BAL – RB 18. Demaryius Thomas DEN – WR 32. Frank Gore SF – RB
5. Doug Martin TB – RB 19. Chris Johnson TEN – RB 33. Victor Cruz NYG – WR
6. C.J. Spiller BUF – RB 20. Larry Fitzgerald ARI – WR 34. Reggie Bush DET – RB
7. Jamaal Charles KC – RB 21. Randall Cobb GB – WR 35. Peyton Manning DEN – QB
8. LeSean McCoy PHI – RB 22. Andre Johnson HOU – WR 36. Cam Newton CAR – QB
9. Trent Richardson CLE – RB 23. Stevan Ridley NE – RB 37. Darren McFadden OAK – RB
10. Calvin Johnson DET – WR 24. Steven Jackson ATL – RB 38. Tom Brady NE – QB
11. Alfred Morris WAS – RB 25. David Wilson NYG – RB 39. Marques Colston NO – WR
12. Matt Forte CHI – RB 26. Maurice Jones-Drew JAC – RB 40. Reggie Wayne IND – WR
13. Dez Bryant DAL – WR 27. Vincent Jackson TB – WR 41. DeMarco Murray DAL – RB
14. Brandon Marshall CHI – WR 28. Roddy White ATL – WR 42. Antonio Brown PIT – WR
        43 Andrew Luck IND – QB



Ok so this is interesting what does the pre-season tell us? Below are the top 80 fantasy point scoring RB, WR and TE from the pre-season (up to week 3). Probably not much help for your first and second choice but possibly for flex and bench positions.











The reason I have not included a list of QB from pre-season is that pre-season in fantasy terms did not tell us much on who is going to score well as mainly back up QBs played, though admittedly the front QBs did throw further more often than not on fewer passes.








Pre-season defence scores? Have the teams with the top 40 scores, makes interesting reading.





I have not mentioned kickers. Because there is dissent in the Gridiron Gentlemen about how important they are. They are 10 a penny but actually getting quite a good one is handy. Wait towards the end of the draft to pick one maybe round 10. Many can average you 7 points a game and some a bit more. A good kicker can win you a game. But that is just my view and it must be remembered that I am not a champion just a rookie runner up.


Well that’s it the end of a different draft guide. Only thing to do is make sure you have a drink of some kind maybe some nibbles and go to the loo before hand. Good luck and see you in the draft room! (For Gridiron League, 8pm BST 3rd of September).


Toodle pip.