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COJOMAY
07-14-2006, 09:35 PM
Draft methods: Preseason does count

Roger Rotter / FOXSports.com
http://msn.foxsports.com/fantasy/story/5773722?BAC-0MS739019835&promoCode=000006MSHPFFAFLNN&FSO1&ATT=HMA
Aside from knowing the significant fantasy players at the critical positions, it helps to have methods to orchestrate a successful draft.

I offer five methods that will help avoid flops, snare sleepers and ensure solid picks.


1. Preseason does count
Larry Johnson averaged 8.2 yards on 31 carries, including a 97-yard touchdown run, in the 2005 preseason. That may have been all you needed to know that Johnson would have a dominant season if given the chance. Also knowing that Priest Holmes was prone to injuries, you may have bumped Johnson up your draft list.

Chester Taylor led all preseason runners with 270 yards and had a 6.9 average. You may have cooled on Jamal Lewis knowing a productive backup was ready to replace him after Lewis spent an off-season in prison and recovering from injury. Indeed, Taylor rushed for 487 yards, taking away carries and preventing Lewis from gaining 1,000 yards.

In Denver, Mike Anderson averaged 8.8 yards on 24 carries, including a 93-yard touchdown run, showing he was undervalued for a season where he would be one of only 16 runners to gain 1,000 yards.

Obviously, not every player who does well in the preseason will be a fantasy star. Oakland's Johnnie Morant was second in the league in receiving yards (315) last preseason. He caught zero passes in the regular season, stuck behind Randy Moss, Jerry Porter, Doug Gabriel and Alvis Whitted.

With or without my help, you can also decipher which stats and players are important in the preseason, and which ones are meaningless. That's part of the fun of figuring fantasy football heroes or zeroes.


2. Track training camp news
Injury updates, player news and position battles drive the fantasy news from training camps, and it's up to you to track them.

You would have known that Anderson was No. 1 and ranked ahead of Tatum Bell in Denver's running back depth charts during training camp. Or that Cedric Benson was a rookie holdout, allowing Thomas Jones to claim the starting job in camp that he would never relinquish that season. These developments may have helped you put these vets above their inexperienced counterparts on your draft list.

When Terrell Owens was suspended a week after arguing with coach Andy Reid in training camp, that incident would have raised a red flag. You may have avoided a malcontent Owens in your draft. Instead of picking Owens, you may have elected to draft another top No. 1 wideout like Marvin Harrison or Torry Holt. They finished the season with better stats and would have saved you from a costly second-round disappointment.


3. Read team reports and local newspapers
Sports online sites, such as FOXSports.com, offers team reports in the off-season that may provide a glimpse of the future. Newspapers covering cities where teams reside yield valuable information from the beat writers.


4. Create a tier system
Every round presents a myriad of choices. How do you decide which position to take, let alone which player? Classifying players at each position by groups of similar ability will help you decide which position to draft and who to take. For instance, if you are deciding between an equally rated running back and wide receiver in the sixth round, you can take the player who is one of few remaining at that class, rather than one of many left at a similar level.


5. Review league drafts
Analyzing the past drafts already conducted in leagues or reviewing experts drafts can help you set your draft list. You can avoid taking your sleepers too high by seeing where they are chosen. If you've targeted a player, you'll know by which round you likely need to draft him in order to land him.

For instance, a top tight end like Antonio Gates may have to be taken by the third round. Reviewing past drafts will also help you highlight overvalued and undervalued players. You can create a blueprint of who you can reasonably pick in a 16-round draft, especially if you know your draft position.

Roger Rotter is entering his 10th season covering fantasy football, having dispensed advice as Dr. Gridiron, Hector the Projector and under his own name. He's also produced a number of wireless fantasy games and live scoring applications, and is currently a fantasy analyst and editor for FOXSports.com.

boognish
07-14-2006, 09:41 PM
Does anybody know a good fantasy site with a free draft "kit" (i.e. info, rankings, insights, etc...)?

COJOMAY
07-14-2006, 09:44 PM
I think if you go to the link I provided there is some stuff like that.