The Know-It-All’s Fantasy Football Prep: The Perfect Draft Formula… and DON’T MESS WITH IT!


Kyle Stafford – @KStafford32 









The Great Unknown, aka the 1st Round of a Fantasy Football Draft. Here is where the foundation of a team can be built, or a foundation of jokes about the guy who takes Brett Favre with #1 overall pick are built. The average team owner is in the dark when it comes to making that first round selection. A lot of guessing and man crushes for players become exposed in the top half of a draft. You can take advantage of this glorious opportunity.

While the rest of your league is blindly selecting their team, you can already have your team set before the first sticker is tagged on the board. Your first move is to look at your league rules and scoring. Determine if your scoring is based on Points Per Reception (PPR), Touchdowns + Yardage, or my personal favorite PPR + TD + Yardage. Once you identify your scoring, you can now decide how you will draft.

Remember when you are drafting, you are drafting for production. The goal is to put together the most complete team that will put you in the best chance to win throughout the season.


This is not Rocket Science. This is about numbers. If you can identify numbers than you can put together a successful draft formula. Here are 3 areas pay attention to:

Position Scarcity: What position is the least depth found? If you look at the previous years stats this is a no-brainer, it’s Running Back. There is a huge gap after the Top 15 players. There is a larger gap after the Top 20. Quarterback is the sexy pick in the 1st round, but look at the Top 20 overall in 2010:




Tom Brady, NE QB  



Aaron Rodgers, GB QB  



Peyton Manning, Ind QB  



Michael Vick, Phi QB  



Philip Rivers, SD QB  



Drew Brees, NO QB  



Arian Foster, Hou RB  



Josh Freeman, TB QB  



Matt Ryan, Atl QB  



Matt Schaub, Hou QB  



Eli Manning, NYG QB  



Matt Cassel, KC QB  



Joe Flacco, Bal QB  



Carson Palmer, Cin QB  



David Garrard, Jac QB  



Jay Cutler, Chi QB  



Kyle Orton, Den QB  



Ben Roethlisberger, Pit QB  



Adrian Peterson, Min RB  



Ryan Fitzpatrick, Buf QB  



Notice only two Running Backs are in the Top 20. Quarterback is so deep Ryan Fitzpatrick made the Top 20. You should be looking nothing but Running back in Rounds 1 & 2. If you are in a straight PPR league you should consider a Top Wide Receiver in later part of the 1st Round, but the pass catching Running Backs are gold. When evaluating PPR don’t look at receptions, look at how many targets a player is getting.

Quarterbacks can be found late, Ryan Fitzpatrick was a top fantasy scorer last season.

Consistency: You want players that are going to contribute positively all season long. A player that can’t keep himself on the field is dead to you. This should be your mindset when selecting any starters. The more consistent players also tend to be on the more successful teams. Know the players you are drafting, for more information take a look at my previous article on “Player Evaluation”.

Actual Value:  If you can draft the same type of player in the 2nd round that you can get in the 6th round why waste the pick? My example for this is Quarterback. Sure everything would love to have Aaron Rodgers, but what if I told you that you are better off with Josh Freeman? Now you think I am crazy. The stats do not lie. Rodgers averaged 21.8 pts in 2010 while Freeman put up 18.5 pts a game. That’s only 3.3 points per game between the two. Let someone else feed their mancrush and waste a pick on Rodgers so you can draft your pass catching running back in the 1st round or stud wideout in the late second, early 3rd round. You will come out of the draft with the more complete team, while the rest of the league still has holes to fill and questions unanswered.

What Does It Look Like?

1st Round: Target the pass catching, high production Running Backs

2nd Round: Do the same, but if your friends also read this article go after a Top Wideout

3rd-5th Rounds: Standard Rosters have 2 RB, 2 WR, and 1 Flex. I would draft best available player between RB & WR until you fill those starting spots.

6th Round: Here is where you take your Quarterback. There is a good chance you will see names like Freeman, Cassel, Flacco, and Cutler. Take your choice.

7th Round: Here is where you pick your TE. Todd Heap, Pettigrew, Keller, Hernandez are all nice options here

8th Round & Beyond: I would stack heavy on RBs on your bench, and then look for quality WRs. I would not take a backup QB cause you normally can find one off FA the first 3 weeks of the season. Do not draft backup TE, Defense, or Kicker.

I always make a list of probable players to look for in each round. It helps me judge if I am reaching or getting a steal at that particular pick.


Thou Shall Not Take a Kicker till the Final 2 Rounds! Kickers are as irrelevant in fantasy football as they are in real life.

Be on the lookout for more Draft Prep Articles as we get closer to the season.

Questions? Comments? Follow Me on Twitter @KStafford32


5 responses to “The Know-It-All’s Fantasy Football Prep: The Perfect Draft Formula… and DON’T MESS WITH IT!

  1. I think this a great article for beginners or the misguided. I agree about everything except tight ends. If I’m going to wait for a lower end QB, I could easily wait one more round and get the exact same QB. If you picked a QB round earlier you might get Roethlisberger who always puts up top ten QB stats (consistency) but no one seems to want. I find that while TE (theoretically are deep this year) in actuality there is point distinction in top tier TEs versus 2nd tier TEs. Let’s be clear, Gates puts up as much points as many WR1s. That is like having an extra player on your team, while others wonder will Hernandez or Gronkowski get the points this week. Anyway, I find if you switch your order and grab a TE the round before your QB you might land Gates, Clark, Finley or Davis and still get the same crappy QBs that you mentioned in your article a round later. Part of the reason why, is because when others see that you are “reaching” for a TE they realize that the top tier ones are almost gone and so they go on a run of TE picks. Happens every time. 😉 Overall a very good article. And ideal to get newbies to think outside of the box, or at least in the right box.

    • You are right, the top TE’s do put up similar top WR numbers, but the problem I find with them is the injury history. 3 out of the 4 TE’s you listed has serious to IR leading injuries last year. Vernon Davis is still a little bit of an Unknown if you look at his career as a whole. My arguement is to make safe picks that will give you consistant production throughout the entire season. After the top tier of TEs it is pretty easy to find a TE that will give you 50+ catches and be productive throughout the season. In the drafts I have been in, I have seen huge runs on TE as high as the 3rd rounds. I was able to build my RB/WR core at their expense.

      THANK YOU VERY MUCH for reading and responding to the my article, I always enjoy feedback.

      Kyle Stafford

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