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Lee P., Facebook
How do you recommend setting up your draft list for unattended drafts? Straight up by value or positions?
A first-round Brees?
My knee-jerk retort: "Always go to your draft!" Only then can you truly maximize the ebbs and flows of the picks.
In all seriousness, this is an important question, because not everyone can or feels like attending. Is the draft online or in person? It's tricky, because so are computer programs ... and your league mates who may try to screw you.
I'm one to start with the safest non-QB values in the first two or three rounds then build outward from needs and remaining options. Taking into account your scoring system, league size and roster size, figure out which positions will be the trickiest to fill in the middle rounds and cover yourself before that happens.
If your selections will take place online, examine the default rankings and gauge who you think your league mates would overvalue and undervalue based on the site's listings. As with any draft, you should clearly define your tiers within each position - set your rankings so you can catch a certain group of running backs in the middle rounds, for instance. Locate vulnerabilities in the player pool and as a result align your choices in a solid order.
Also, I'd check if the web site has options that automatically fill out your starting lineup before you can take bench players, or any other idiosyncrasies in its automated control.
If your pick 'em will go down in person, keep the web tactics in mind, but also tell your designated drafter that you want to follow certain permutations. For example, if you have two RB and WR over the first three picks, you can instruct your proxy to select a QB next.
Either way, there's a lot of guess work involved with trying to predict patterns, considering you won't be able to ride waves and recognize trends through the rounds. Make an educated guess about your opponents' motives, but more importantly, have a coherent plan in which you can settle for several targets at each of your turns.
Denis H., Facebook
Should I keep Brees or Rice? Brady & Rodgers will be keepers. Brees outscored Rice last year by 50%
Really depends on your scoring system, Denis, and how long you can keep players, but I lean Ray Rice. We often see plenty of QBs having plenty of distance between their point totals and other positions, but that doesn't mean you have to make them your top pick. A superb surprise season from the likes of Jay Cutler or another midrange slinger could outscore a highly ranked RB in a season. You have to bet Matthew Stafford, rarely a pick in the top five rounds last year, trumped many carriers.
Rice is one of the closest things to a sure RB, and QBs offer some of the best value picks in the middle of drafts. Drew Brees is safe but a perpetrator in what I consider a positional bias.
Jerry N., Facebook
Is Aaron Rodgers at the first overall pick crazy?
Not crazy, but I wouldn't do it. See my last answer for my opinion on quarterbacks. I get that QBs can make a huge difference week to week, but unless you're starting two in a deep league, there are plenty of opportunities for midrange tier profit. Plus, there's a slim part of my fantasy football brain that says Tom Brady outperforms A-Rod this year.
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About Tim Heaney
Tim's work has been featured by USA Today/Sports Weekly, among numerous outlets, and recognized as a finalist in the Fantasy Sports Writers Association awards. The Boston University alum competes in Tout Wars and LABR and has won several industry leagues in both baseball and football.
During baseball and football season, hear him every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore. On Thursdays, he visits 106.1 FM WMTI in New Orleans and Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio, where he often crashes other shows, as well.
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