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Fantasy Football Draft Tip #6: Avoid Running Back By Committee
It's a trend in the NFL these days. More and more teams are using running back-by-committee, or RBBC. This is when a team uses 2 or more runners to get the job done, instead of one single runner. These teams might use one on 1st and 2nd down, while using a second runner in 3rd down or passing downs.
Or a team might use one guy to help move them down the field, then bring in a short yardage specialist to score the touchdowns. These situations halve the production of your starting running backs, making their scores entirely unpredictable. One runner might have a big week one week, while the other ones gets the totals the next.
This is easier said than done, and is usually only a possibility when drafting running backs in the top two or three rounds.
Note that a handcuff is not the same as a running-back-by-committee. A traditional handcuff is a runner who only comes in when the starter is hurt, while a committee running back is switching out within a game situation. Some teams still "handcuff" both or all members of a running back committee, knowing they will still have a running back in case of injury. Handcuffs can provide valuable support for your team.
Fantasy Football Draft Strategy #7: Don't Draft a Quarterback High
With all this praise, you might think I'm advising you to draft Peyton Manning early. That is definitely not the case.
Yes, quarterbacks can be inconsistent from one year to the next, but that works both ways. Fantasy owners can find productive quarterbacks low in a draft. If you draft one in the 6th or 7th round, there's probably not that much of a dropoff from what was drafted in the 3rd or 4th round.
Also, there are enough quarterbacks to go around, that you can draft three of them a little lower and play the odds that one of them has a breakthrough year. This might require a few weeks of fiddling around with your starting quarterback, but you should be able to make up the difference with the quality running backs and receivers you drafted.
Every time I've drafted a quarterback high, I've felt the whole draft that I was playing catch up with the teams who drafted runners and receivers high. In the end, the passer I got wasn't much better than some Q.B. drafted 5 rounds lower. I felt like I hadn't worked the draft very well. (If only I'd had a coach of my own to provide me with some fantasy football support.)
Fantasy Football Draft Tip #8: Assign Values to the Positions
Some experts advocate a complicated strategy of evaluating which fantasy football positions should be prioritized in a draft.
For instance, project numbers for each of the potential starters in a league. If you have a 12-team league, list who you believe will be the top 12 quarterbacks. Then project the numbers for each of these 12 players.
After you have done this, figure out the number difference between the #1 and the #12 rated quarterback. Do the same for the starters at each and every other position which is started in your league.
Once you know the difference in starters at each of these positions, you should draft players with the largest gaps in production between them and the peers under them.
As an example, let's say you have the top quarterback projected at only 50 points ahead of the 12th rated quarterback. But your top tight end is 100 points better than your 12th rated tight end. You should probably draft the #1 tight end, instead of the #1 quarterback. You are gaining a bigger advantage in doing so.
The same goes for the other rungs on the ladder, of course. If you think there is a huge gap between the 6th and 7th rated wide receivers, but the difference in the 13th and 14th runners (and those directly below them) is not that much, then you should probably draft the receiver and wait a round before drafting another running back.
Remember to have players ranked in tiers. This way, you have a reminder that you expect a large dropoff in one player and another.
Fantasy Football Draft Tip #9: Keep Track of Your Opponents' Rosters
Don't just write down the players on your roster. Keep a running tally of what each other team owner in the draft has drafted. If you don't want to write down every name, at least write down how many each owner has at each position. (If you have a 13 year old son, he can provide valuable assistance by helping you take notes.)
If you notice that all the other teams have drafted a quarterback or a defense, you might as well wait another round or two before you draft your own. More than likely, those owners will be addressing other needs before they draft a backup quarterback or defense. In this way, you maximize the value you are getting in the draft, sniping one or two players instead of drafting a defense that is likely to be there in one or two rounds.
This can be taken too far.
I know a guy who always gets too clever when drafting quarterbacks. (He's exactly the kind of guy who needs some serious fantasy football assistance.) He waits until everyone has their QB's, then waits a little longer. Eventually, he waits until people start drafting their backups. When he finally drafts his signal caller, he is drafting a 3rd tier player.
Don't be like my friend. Wait until it looks like teams have their starting positions filled, then pull the trigger before a new run on backups start.
For more fantasy football help, check out the next in this series of articles: fantasy football strategy.