On this site, we have emphasized the importance of the draft when playing fantasy sports. In the below article, we share an extensive fantasy football draft guide. It includes strategy, tips, an explanation of different types of drafts and the importance of a mock draft.

First-round: draft guide fantasy football 

The first rounds of the draft are to secure that you have covered the most important positions. Focus on getting the best quarterbacks, running backs and wide receivers. Although it might be tempting to pick an excellent kicker or defense, those should be kept for later rounds. That’s because in fantasy football these players won’t collect you the most points. Keep in mind your main goal, which is to pick the players that will collect you the most fantasy points.

draft guide fantasy football

Mind your sources

Since fantasy football has become insanely popular, there is a wide variety of news sources available both online and offline. However, fantasy football just as real-life football is a fast game. Therefore a source is quickly outdated. Be critical in terms of what information you use as a basis for your draft. You need to have the most up to date information, for example in regards to injuries.

Additional information

Football magazines might provide valuable information in terms of player’s qualities and performance in previous matches, but doesn’t take into account the players current personal conditions. That could be an injury, or being prone to injury or even what is going on in his personal life.  Keep a variety of sources at hand to ensure accuracy.

Avoid risk

It’s tempting in fantasy sports to pick players for your team considered ‘high risk, high reward’. Every season there are a bunch of surprise players, also called fantasy football sleepers, that basically come from nowhere and become the heroes of the season. Although that type of gambling seems tempting, don’t add any of these players to your team in the early rounds of the draft. Of course, if you have space left and you have a good feeling about a player, it might be worth taking the risk. Just not in the early rounds.

No bias

This is perhaps the hardest thing to avoid in your drafts, but nevertheless a must. As football fans, we’re easily biased when it comes to our hometown team. We want to include them in our football draft whatever the cost. However, if you really want to win at this, you have to keep your bias aside and keep your draft as rational as possible.

Types of fantasy football draft

In fantasy football, there are different types of drafts. This is essential to mention in our fantasy football draft guide. That’s because each type of draft requires a different approach. Below we explain each draft and the required strategy.

Snake draft

This is the most prominent type of draft in fantasy football. Basically, this draft rotates the order of choosing each round. So let’s say you get to pick first in the first round. That means that you get to pick last in the second round. This way there is a fair rotation for all participants. There is a lot to say for the snake draft, as it’s the fairest way of going about a draft. No player will be left out and get the bottom of the round each time. As a general rule, you can have a maximum of 3 players from the same club, and there is an obligatory set-up of 2 goalkeepers, 5 defenders, 5 midfielders and 3 strikers.  

Auction draft

Although similar to the regular snake draft, auction draft has a slightly different concept. In the auction draft, the player goes to the highest bidder. At the start of the draft, each participant gets a set amount of virtual money to purchase players for their team. Aside from the fact that there is a budget to purchase the players and the highest bidder gets the player, the other rules are the same as in the snake draft. 

Straight draft

The straight draft is a less common type of draft in fantasy football. It’s ‘unfair’ in the sense that the position you get assigned in the draft is the position you have in each round. That means if you get first to pick in the first round, you’ll get that position in all rounds. Of course, this is great if you find yourself in a good position, but not so much if you are at one of the final rounds.

Auto pick draft

Not every fantasy site offers this option, but the auto-pick is great for the lazy players amongst us. It’s riskier and therefore makes playing fantasy football a game of luck rather than skill. When you use an auto-draft, you let the system pick your team. The auto-draft isn’t entirely random though,  you can pre-rank players to indicate your preferences. If you don’t submit a list, the system will pick your team entirely random.

Preparation

The draft is the most important part for you as a team owner. That’s why when we talk about the draft process in fantasy football, we have to discuss the importance of preparation. The best way to prepare for your fantasy football team draft is to make a mock draft. Unlike you might think, there is quite a specific way to make a mock draft. That is if you want to draw the benefits from doing so.

Mock draft

A mock draft is essentially the same as the real draft, but it serves to practice. Why is practicing so important, you want to know? That’s for several reasons. First of all, it helps you to prepare for the different draft rounds. It helps you to fine-tune who your first, second and third choice will be. Also, it shows you possible traps. Perhaps when doing the mock draft, you’ll find out that your strategy is failing. That gives you an opportunity to improve it. Basically, the essence is to get an excellent feel for what players to draft and when. For example, which positions are smartest to cover first, last and with whom.

ESPN mock draft example

Joining a mock draft

Big fantasy sites often have some sort of mock draft simulation, so it’s possible you can do one on the site you’re going to play. Sports sites like ESPN, the NFL or Yahoo each have their own simulators so simply check out which one is most to your liking. To get the most out of the mock draft process, only join a mock draft with the same number of teams like the one you’re going to play in. Secondly, find one matching your draft type. Above we explained the different types, from auction to snake and automated. That’s it, from there you can simply start playing!