The temperatures outside aren’t the only thing heating up. The arrival of August also means that the next season of NFL football has arrived and fantasy football draft season is about to kick off.
It seems like each year more and more people are embracing fantasy football and with that growth comes increasingly competitive leagues. Dedicated fantasy veterans need to look for any edge they can get to compile the deepest roster and that includes seeking out advice from other successful players.
What’s your top 2021 fantasy football draft advice?
— Jody Smith (@JodySmithNFL) August 11, 2021
Along with the growing popularity of fantasy football, each season’s draft approach can be drastically different and ever-evolving. In addition to some of the helpful tips in the above tweet, here is some useful advice on how to build the best roster with our 2021 fantasy football draft tips.
Mock Draft Early and Often
Participating in mock drafts is the best way to keep sharp and stay prepared for market trends and corrections. When you starting mocking early and stay sharp, it helps you recognize when your league mates are making mistakes and how you can capitalize in a hurry.
Do enough mock and you’ll start to see players that are regularly available later than you anticipated and others that you may need to pull the trigger early on. Look at mock drafting as OTAs and training camp for fantasy football players. It’s those practice sessions that make perfect.
The best place to enter a live mock draft and win some amazing prizes for simply mock drafting is at mockdraftnow.com. Not only do you get that valuable practice for the season, but FulltimeFantasy members also get 5 free entries to earn the coveted title of Mock Draft World Champion.
Attack Running Backs Early
Three-down workhorse running backs are scarce and those that stay healthy still dominate the fantasy scoring leaderboards. While the top-tier backs generally go in the first five picks of the draft, there are still plenty of rushers that have the potential to also make an impact in the passing game.
Backs like Antonio Gibson, Austin Ekeler, Nick Chubb, and Najee Harris offer top-5 upside, are plus receivers, and are often available well into the second round. Pairing these backs with an Ezekiel Elliott, Aaron Jones, or Jonathan Taylor is a tremendous start to any draft.
Even running backs like Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Chris Carson, and Darrell Henderson offers three-down upside and can be targeted even later. The depth at the position dries up considerably after that, so securing two reliable every-week scorers at a premium position that lacks depth is a huge competitive edge over attacking wide receiver, which is arguably 30-plus players deep.
An Elite TE Makes a Huge Difference
The advent of so many spread and high octane offenses has caused a major shift in how fantasy football fans view tight ends. These days, even in standard leagues, elite tight ends are drawing as many targets and catching as many passes as top-notch wideouts. The scarcity of TE depth only exasperates the value of the top players at the position.
While sacrificing a valuable second or third-round draft pick on a tight can have a negative impact on depth or your final RB/WR starting spot, the advantage gained by having elite weekly production at the TE spot more than makes up for it.
Snagging Travis Kelce is likely to cost you a first-round pick, but acquiring Darren Waller, George Kittle, Mark Andrews, Kyle Pitts, or T.J. Hockenson can also deliver a competitive edge over opponents who choose to disregard tight ends until the mid-to-late rounds of their fantasy drafts. It’s a strategy that many successful fantasy analysts are taking and is one that is even more crucial in leagues that offer bonus points for tight end targets or catches.
Target Slot Receivers
Championship rosters are often made in the middle and late rounds. After starting lineups are secured, targeting slot receivers from high-volume offenses can be a lucrative way to fill out your bench, especially for managers who attack RB early.
Russell Gage was a great example of this last season, going from virtually unknown to posting WR3 numbers.
Be Proactive, Not Reactive
With enough mock drafts and research under your belt, you should enter draft day with a pretty good feel for how things are going to go. By the time Round 3 winds down, well-prepared fantasy managers should be able to identify value and recognize an opportunity.
They should also have a good feel for how things are about to go in the crucial middle rounds. Forecasting a round or two ahead can give you a huge edge and also open up the possibility for you to take players ahead of their expected ADP if you’re in a room full of sharks.
Set the pace, don’t let others make the moves first, and force you to adapt.
Solid 2021 candidates to be productive inside receivers include Jakobi Meyers, Rondale Moore, Parris Campbell, and Randall Cobb.
Get. Your. Guys.
As they say, “no guts, no glory.” Spend enough time watching film, or simply just reading articles online all offseason and you’re bound to have a handful of players you really dig. After all, that kind of passion is what makes this hobby so much fun.
When the draft unfolds, don’t hesitate to go out and get those players that you’re passionate about. They might not all hit but putting in your due diligence and assembling a roster of players you really like gives you a real sense of accomplishment and really lets you try on your general manager cap.
Nothing can deflate a solid draft like having your favorite mid-round sleeper sniped away right when you’re on deck. Don’t be afraid to reach for those coveted players a round or two before their ADP. This can also be doubly rewarding if you keep snagging all the sleepers your opponents wanted.
Doing necessary preparation and entering a draft or auction with a distinct strategy is a great plan, but rigidly sticking to that plan when things don’t go as expected is a huge mistake. Drafts rarely go exactly as expected and being able to adapt is vital.
While starting off RB/RB is definitely recommended, if 11 other players start that way, then being able to call an audible and take advantage is crucial. Refusing to recognize your competitor’s mistakes and adapting your own strategy can lead to you reaching for players far too early and falling into their trap.
Pay attention to what all of your fellow competitors are doing, including their roster construction, depth, and trends. If you’re torn on a QB or the dwindling WR depth near the end of a round and the managers after you all have their signal-callers already, take that wideout and get your QB on the wraparound. Being flexible can help you exploit unexpected events.
Don’t Forget to Have Fun
For a lucky few, making a living off of season-long and daily fantasy football is a reality but for the vast majority of enthusiasts, that option won’t be in the cards. That doesn’t mean you can’t make a little spending cash, but chances are you’re not quitting your 9-to-5 this week.
Too many people forget that and begin to get stressed out, which negates the entire purpose of this great hobby. Don’t forget to embrace the fun factor of fantasy football. Trash talking to your buddies, bragging, posting memes…all are fair game for the four brief months of football goodness we get each year.
Being too dedicated to winning, of course, can have negative consequences, so try to remember that we are all blessed to bond over such a wonderful game. Take a little time to relax, and try to bring some fun traditions or activities into your league and make draft day even better.
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