As someone once put it, few things are harder to do than win games in the National Football League. It is likewise extremely difficult to win fantasy football games. However, just like a losing franchise can "build through the draft," so, too, can you increase your chances of winning your league by what you do on draft day. With this article, I put forth a strategy for drafting a winning team.
First of all, let’s assume that we have a 14-man roster in a standard, 10-team league, fielding the following:
Coming up on the first round of the draft, everyone knows that running backs are the thoroughbreds of the NFL, and traditionally FFB owners have wanted to have a large stable of them. However, I think there should be more focus on getting the best player at several positions in order to give your team some balance. Thus, the focus shouldn’t be to just stuff your team with as many RBs as possible.
That said, I’d still encourage taking RBs with your first two picks. You will need them, and a good RB will provide a lot of bang for the buck.
In the third round, there are probably still a few quality RBs around, and some of your fellow owners will be cackling with glee at the thought of getting them, but it’s time to move on; you’re now looking at wide receivers. You may not be the first to draft a WR, but this early in the process some of the top names will still be on the board, and most people who veer away from RBs at this point are focused on getting a top QB (for which they will overpay this early in the draft). And let’s be honest: there are maybe 5 guys in the top tier of WRs, 5 in the 2nd tier, and then it’s kind of a gigantic melting pot. That’s why your third and fourth picks are going to be WRs.
In the fifth round, pick your tight end. This early, he will probably be the first TE to go, so you should have the number one guy at that position. In the 6th round, pick your quarterback. Some of the top QBs will probably be gone at this point, but there will certainly be enough talent still available that you can land a top 10 QB – maybe even top 5.
In rounds 7 and 8, go back and pick up another RB and WR. Generally, you should get the best guys available at those two positions. At this point, you essentially have all the major pieces of your team in place. With six draft spots left, it’s probably advisable to pick up another QB (for bye purposes and to maybe deny a good QB to other owners) and another WR, to be followed by the best available RB and WR. (This is also the zone in which you can experiment with selecting a couple of choices with breakout potential.)
You can draft a kicker and a defense last. There’s no need to give those positions a high draft priority because those are team components that you can pick up at any time. (In fact, I know guys who draft free agents for those positions every week, based on who’s projected to score the most points.)
In the end, this drafting strategy should field you a pretty strong team. There’s no guarantee that you will win your league, but you will surely be competitive.