One of the most important, if not the most important, strategies on Draft Day is Tiering. Everyone knows who’s good and who’s not but that's not enough.
The basics of Tiering are as such. The Rankings get broken down into “Tiers”. Every player in any particular tier becomes interchangeable. They don’t have names at this point they have numbers. They will all put up similar numbers so it doesn’t matter which one you take. The idea is to move away from certain positions when tiers are wide open and grab a player in another position, maybe someone that you perceive you don’t need as much, that has more value at the time.
The biggest mistake that people make on draft day is that they draft by position. I draft by tiers. Who cares that you have 2 runners and no WR’s and need a WR. If the tiers tell you to take a runner than you take a runner. Ultimately, you will get that WR later in the draft. It’s almost like getting two players for the price of one.
Do not draft two Studs from the same team
You don’t need us to tell you to avoid drafting Randy Moss and Daunte Culpepper, Peyton Manning and Marvin Harrison or Marc Bulger and Marshall Faulk. But there are some other combinations that will be available to you on draft day and that you should avoid as well. The saying “Don’t put all your Eggs in One Basket”, applies to Fantasy Football as well. The idea is not to beat your opponent 140 to 90 when Manning hooks up with Harrison on 3 TD’s and have them both, as the days when they score no TD’s you will likely lose. Championships are won with consistency. It is much better to score 110-130 points a week, by having Studs on different teams, than to have one big week and score 140 to 150 points and blow away your opponents when your guys go off and score 90 points when they do not.
Examples of pairs you may want to avoid:
Peyton Manning and Marvin Harrison
Daunte Culpepper and Randy Moss (previous example)
Donovan McNabb and Terrell Owens
Marc Bulger and Tory Holt
Aaron Brooks and Joe Horn
Sometimes drafting 2 key players from the same team can be rewarding, however overall there is much more volatility in your results and your odds of winning a Championship will decrease.
Draft you studs' backup
In almost all circumstances it makes sense to grab your best players’ backups – IF they are capable players. This is referred to “Handcuffs”. There are some that are obvious and some that are less obvious – The reason you backup your Studs is two fold:
1. To make sure you have a starter if and when your Stud goes down. The way you win at Fantasy Football is by having a deep bench and planning for the worst. Expect your best players to go down at some point, as most players in the league miss some time over the course of the year. Those of us that are prepared hardly miss a beat and are 1 step ahead of the competition.
2. To prevent other owners in your league from benefiting from your misfortunes. If you draft Priest Holmes, and neglect getting Larry Johnson later in your draft, when Holmes goes down that other owner will have a tremendous option to insert into his lineup. It likely would have only cost him a 10th round or later pick and at that price, insuring your 1st rounder is a no brainer.
This does not hold true for all players, as taking Randy Moss’ backup will not benefit you very much. But the point is that if you spend an early round draft pick on a player, and his backup would flourish if they were the starter, make sure to get him later in the draft. It also does not hold true if your league only has 16 or fewer roster spots, as the waiver wire pool will be deeper, and you will likely be able to acquire starters from there if you had to.
There is another way this strategy can help your drafting, and that is if you are unsure of 2 players at a certain point in the draft, or they are in the same tier. You can opt for the player with the stronger backup because you can likely get the back up later in the draft cheap, and the combination of the two will be better insurance that you will always have a starter. People may think that this talented backup will cannibalize the starter, but that is often not the case. We are talking about situations where this guy’s only role is to give the Stud a breather, but if needed for a few games could excel.
The point is to pay attention to your key players, and if they have a capable backup – someone who you could spot-start if the starter goes down, be sure to get insurance for your team.