Ok guys, since we just finished our mock draft two weeks ago I’m going to talk to you about some drafting philosophy. We spoke on our podcast last week about the obvious things like not drafting a kicker until the last round and not drafting a defense too early. A prime example of how this can work to your advantage came last year when I drafted Steve Smith NYG in the 14th round, long after most people took their defense. It seems like no matter how much I preach against these practices, the top four or five defenses will come off the board before round nine. Don’t be that fool, depth at wide receiver and running back is more important.
Now let’s talk about the different mindsets I like to have for different draft positions. For our purposes we’ll break the draft into three separate segments 1-4, 5-8, and 9-12. First, let’s talk about positions 1-4. Most years I feel like drafting in these spots gives one a distinct advantage towards winning a championship. You are almost guaranteed to get a player who will produce at a high level all year. Because I would have one of the best players to build around, I would make sure that my following selections (rounds 2-9) have a high “floor” of production, but maybe not as high of a “ceiling.” I’ll label these types of players as Low risk/low reward and some examples in my mind this year would be Peyton Manning, Marion Barber, and Hines Ward. These players are relatively safe picks that will help prevent your opponents from making up that talent gap that you established in the early rounds. In the later rounds you can draft for upside like others.
Next, we’ll talk about drafting in spots 5-8. It generally takes a more competitive and well studied player (or maybe just plain lucky) to succeed when drafting from these spots. It’s all about value in the middle of the draft. You pick the talents and situations that fall to you, but in order to do so you must have spent considerable time on your cheat sheets. Almost as important is being aware of who everyone else has drafted so you can predict who should fall as the value picks. Keeping track of these picks can be done with a simple table including all the teams in your league. It also helps to mock before your draft to help you know who might fall to you when you are one of the middle picks.
Finally, let's talk about drafting from the bottom of the draft, picks 9-12. Here is where the high risk/high reward players need to be targeted. Players like Jamaal Charles, Joe Flacco, and Johnny Knox need to be in the crosshairs. Only by making picks like these will one be able to make up the talent gap that the earlier picks have over them. If you drafted late last year and landed CJ2K and Ray Rice, who each had some question marks about their role, you probably made the playoffs and maybe even won your league.
Well that’s all for today folks good luck, and most of all have fun.