When I first started playing fantasy football years ago, I knew nothing. I didn't have the luxury of searching for articles about how to be good at it because no one was playing it yet. To this day it's hard to find legitimate material that can seriously improve your outcomes and there are literally millions of people enjoying this fun game. For someone who has never drafted, this article will help you seem like an expert. For someone who has drafted a hundred teams, I'm still going to try to teach you something. If you are new to fantasy football or you're a 10-season veteran, the method of preparing for fantasy football draft that I use, will help you! I'm going to cover the routine I use to prepare each season that has helped me to tons of top 3 finishes, and plenty of season winnings. Here is what I think is the best way to prepare for your fantasy football draft in 2013:
Get your cheat sheet ready! - If you're going to be drafting your fantasy football team, you need to have your cheat sheet ready. This is going to be a piece of paper, or maybe 5 pieces of paper, with every player, who is available to be drafted, ranked in their particular position. If you're searching the internet for a set of rankings, find at least 2 unrelated sources to use. No one really has the best set of rankings, so having multiple will help you to get an idea of where players stand. I like to find 3 sets of rankings and develop my own rankings list, but this is not necessary to draft a great team.
Be aware of injuries and free agents!- This could be included in your cheat sheets, you could go through and highlight players who, at the time of your draft, are injured or still unsigned in the NFL. I like to make a list of players presently injured and unsigned, and then alter the list up until the time of the draft. If any of my predetermined picks (Ill get to this in a bit) are on the injured/unsigned list, I absolutely do not draft that player. For best results, try to update your injuries and free agency list all the way up until the time you draft. If you're serious enough you'll even be checking player statuses between your picks!
Know your league settings! - This is a simple idea that hurts many people on draft day. Determine what your league settings are so that you can draft accordingly. Be sure to know if you are drafting for points-per-reception(PPR), how many for players for each position, and how many teams are in your league. Its also nice to know upfront if there will be any point bonuses such as an extra 5 points for wide receivers who manage to get 100 yards in a game. Knowing these types of things can help set you apart on when it comes to preparing for your 2013 draft.
Mock Drafts - Mock Drafts are the best way to prepare for fantasy football in 2013, and probably every other year as long as there are programmers to give us the drafting programs. I suggest that you do a minimum of 2 mock drafts, start to finish, for each league type you'll be joining. I know that sounds confusing but I will elaborate. Lets say you intend to join a point-per-reception(PPR) fantasy league that hosts 12 teams. For that league, you should participate in at least 2 mock drafts prior to drafting. This will help you to get an understanding where particular players are being drafted. Doing multiple drafts will show you multiple results for comparison. Now, if you also intend to join a 10 team a, standard scoring league, you should do 2 mock drafts with that predetermined system as well. What does it matter if there are 12 teams, 8 teams, or 14 teams in a mock draft? The amount of teams in each league should determine your strategy for picking. If you only have to wait 7 picks to pick up a running back (RB), you can probably hold off. However, if you have to way 28 picks(snake style draft), and you need a RB, you should pick one up now as a good RB might be gone by the time that its your turn.
Research, Research, Research! - "But you already told me about cheat sheets, and mock drafts, and knowing settings, isn't that enoughresearch?" That easy and lazy answer is yes. Those things alone can set you apart. Websites like Yahoo.com, NFL.com, CBS.com, and ESPN.com have great free research tools that I guarantee to help you not only have great preparation, an outstanding draft, but also get you off-the-wall fantasy points every season. These free tools help you to do things such as analyze mock drafts. Yes, websites save everything that you do in these drafts and organizes the results for us, FOR FREE! The analyzer tool shows you what position players are averaging. For instance, last year, Yahoo.com's analyzer tool showed us that Ray Rice was being chosen 1.1 overall (first round, first pick) on average by everyone in the world. Pretty cool, huh?
Pick your picks before you can pick em'!- When preparing for your fantasy football draft in 2013, have a general idea of who you are picking before you begin drafting, I cannot stress this enough. Cross check your must-have's with your injuries/unsigned list, and once you've done this do some analyzing yourself. Listen to what people in your leagues are saying. It's a good assumption that Vikings fans will choose Adrian Peterson first overall(not saying I wouldn't), and if you are not picking #1 overall, you may be able to count Peterson out. Another tactic I like to try sometimes Is talking up players who I don't want so they seem more desirable by other fantasy league owners. "Man, did you see how many TD's Jamaal Charles had last year?".
With these 6 steps to preparing for your 2013 fantasy football draft, remember that the more work you put in to being great, the better your chances you will have at being successful. Using the research, analyzer, and trending tools throughout the season will help to keep you on top of your game. And as I always say, these steps were put into place to help you get better at preparing for your fantasy football draft, it does not mean that the very same concepts can not be applied to other fantasy games.