Draft Guide

Fantasy Football Definition of "Draft Guides"

A "draft guide" is a draft preview publication that covers all the players likely to be drafted or who may possible be drafted. An NFL Draft Guide covers hundreds of college juniors and seniors who have entered the draft and could be drafted in one of the seven rounds of the yearly NFL Draft. A fantasy football draft guide covers the hundreds of NFL players who might be drafted in yearly fantasy football drafts. We'll discuss fantasy draft guides here.

Fantasy Football Magazines

A "fantasy football draft guide" is frequently known as a fantasy football magazine. Many of the biggest sports media companies will put our their own draft guides: USA Today, Sports Illustrated, ESPN, The Sporting News and Fanball are just a few with draft guides. These draft guide magazines tend to come out about 6 weeks to 2 months after the yearly NFL Draft, usually in early to mid-June.

Draft Guide Coverage

Most draft guides follow a similar format. The draft guide will typically start with a few articles about the latest trends in fantasy football and spotlights on some of the most interesting players that year in fantasy football, from can't miss picks to sleeper picks to the hottest rookies in the game. A draft guide will also feature a mock draft with 10 to 12 draft experts drafting from 14 to 16 rounds. The fantasy mock draft gives you an early idea where players are likely to be taken in your upcoming local draft.

Also included in your draft guide coverage will be cheat sheets, including a combined cheat sheet (featuring usually the Top 200 fantasy football players) and individual cheat sheets for the 6 or 7 positions: fantasy quarterbacks, fantasy running backs, fantasy wide receiver, tight ends, field goal kickers, team defenses and fantasy football IDP players. This allows you to take the draft guide to your fantasy football draft and mark off players as they are taken. Some ff players rip out these cheat sheets to use at their draft.

Besides the fantasy football cheat sheets, there is usually a much larger section where you get a breakdown of the fantasy football rankings by position. Each player profile tends to includes their relevant fantasy football stats for the past three years, their physical stats, the NFL team they now play for and a couple of paragraph write-up describing why the fantasy magazine has them rated where they are. There are usually about 40-50 quarterbacks rated per draft guide, as well as about 60-70 running backs, 70-80 wide receivers, 40 tight ends, 35 field goal kickers and all 32 NFL team defenses. Increasingly, you'll also find individual defensive player write-ups broken down by three positions: defensive linemen, linebackers and defensive backs.

More Draft Guide Coverage

Also, most draft guides will include auction draft suggestions and a recommended price guide for each player detailed in the draft guide, as well as an article on this year's recommended auction draft strategies. Some fantasy football draft guides include a page devoted to each NFL team, including grades for each unit on the team. The skill position analysis are interesting enough, but I find the offensive line ratings to be useful for determining which fantasy football skill position players will have the best year. Other useful information contained on these individual team pages are strength of schedule analysis and important free agent moves in the offseason.

Draft Guide - Bye Weeks

Draft guides also contain a full NFL schedule, as well as a bye week chart. While a few purist fantasy football owners don't like to be seen walking into a fantasy draft with a fantasy magazine among their notes - they don't want to be seen using a "crutch" - I prefer to take a draft guide with me, so I will have a handy bye week schedule that isn't loose and free and easy to lose.

While draft guides tend to be outdated by the time the fantasy football draft arrives (injuries, benchings, waivers), a draft guide is a useful tool when preparing for the next fantasy football season. And when I see the first fantasy football draft guide at the book store, I consider it the first sign that fantasy football season is just around the corner.

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