Brian Sullivan (@MadManScouting)

It’s officially fantasy draft season for the next two weeks, so this is the week to hit you guys with some advice on how to win some money this season. I’ll go more in depth later in the week, but for now, these are simply some tips and tricks to outsmart your opponents. These rules apply most years, but a few are catered to this specific season. So here we go.

Take Advantage Of Mock Drafts

Ok, so this one is obvious, but would you want to go into a presentation without doing any preparation? Would you go out and try to perform a set with your band without some practice? No, so why treat this any differently? Take advantage of the great Draftwizards mock draft site if you’re short on time. Practice picking from different slots. Get a feel for which positions go earlier or later. Get a feel for who will be available when. Don’t just go in like a rookie, beat your opponents with strategy.

Double Up On Running-Backs With Your First 2 Picks, And Take 3 With Your First 4 Picks

So speaking of strategy, you’ll notice that running backs are scarce as the draft goes on. Don’t fall for the sexy wide receiver pick. Obviously there are exceptions, if Antonio Brown falls to #9 in PPR, you can take him. But there will be perfectly fine receiving options available later. You don’t want to have to rely on Theo Riddick as your #2 option if one of your backs goes down. Get dependable starters; if they all stay healthy, you have some fantastic trade chips later in the season.

Do Not Draft A QB Early

I know I know, you want Aaron Rodgers. You want Cam Newton. You want Tom Brady. But have you ever noticed that if you try to trade a good quarterback during the season, nobody wants them? It’s because nowadays, there are so many valuable starting quarterbacks. Instead of giving up a potential starter at RB or WR for Russell Wilson, wait until the later rounds. Double up if you must, take a safe option like Matt Ryan or Philip Rivers, then take a risky pick like Patrick Mahomes or Jared Goff. You will be fine starting any of them on a weekly basis, don’t give up prime options early for a hot QB name.

Don’t Draft Defenses Based On Talent – Consider Their Matchups

Every year, defensive rankings baffle me. First of all, don’t waste a pick on a defense before your last three picks. It’s not worth it. Second, don’t take a defense that has a ton of tough matchups. Minnesota is loaded, but they play Aaron Rodgers twice a year, Matthew Stafford twice a year, the Patriots, the Saints, the Rams, the 49ers… a lot of good quarterbacks. The Patriots don’t have as much talent, but they get 6 games against Buffalo, the Jets, and Miami… those are nice match-ups. Look at the schedule, and be willing to take a less talented defense if their match-ups benefit them.

Take A Kicker With Your Last Pick Only

This goes without saying… don’t be a bozo.

Take A Flier On Suspended Players

Trust your draft strategy, and don’t be afraid of missing a few weeks of a great player. Julian Edelman is a fantastic starting option in PPR, but he’s falling about 3/4 rounds further because he’ll miss four games. Will that matter when you’re in the Playoffs? This also applies to players that are dealing with small injuries that might cause them to miss a week or two. Take a flier on Marlon Mack or Sony Michel, you’re getting fantastic value because people are afraid of a player missing one or two games.

Go High Risk/High Reward With Your Last Few Non Defense/Kicker Picks

Assuming you knew what you were doing, and you have a nice starting lineup and a few dependable depth pieces, take a few risks that could pay off in the last round. John Kelly has been awesome for the Rams in the preseason, take a flier on him being this year’s Alvin Kamara, instead of just taking the safe Mohamed Sanu pick. Take a gamble on Michael Gallup or Anthony Miller instead of going safe with Rex Burkhead. Need a backup? Don’t just play it safe with Alex Smith, go for Sam Darnold and see what he can do. Mike Gesicki is a more fun backup TE option than Charles Clay. Ignore the rankings for your last 2 non defense/kicker picks, take some gambles. Maybe they’ll fall flat, but that’s what the waivers are for.

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