More fantasy teams are eliminated on draft day than any other day during the fantasy season. That's because so many owners go into drafts unprepared or with little more than an evening or two worth of preparation and a newsstand draft guide offering projected rankings or dollar values. Every league has those guys, and pretty much every year you can tell in which half of the standings those teams will finish before the first pitch of the season is thrown.
That's not to say that even the most inept of fantasy owners don't occasionally get lucky and finish in the money, but luck is a part of the game and one that even the best of fantasy owners can't control.
On draft day those advantages come from having a draft plan laid out (and maybe having an alternate draft plan) and being prepared for the draft. By being prepared I don't mean having a prepackaged draft guide (although many of us do use them as cheat sheets), but by having YOUR draft guide, which can be figurative, a prepackaged one with your own personal notes added in or a totally custom one which you've created.
The depth of preparation you put into this should help give you a feel for the value of players you want to draft, a feeling about positional scarcity, multi-positional players, guys with upside, guys likely to regress and cheap speculative targets for the late rounds of draft.
In serpentine drafts it may allow you jump the gun and grab players who you really want before the prepackaged draft guides project them to be taken, and in auction leagues it can lead to a better feel for what YOUR dollar values should be.
And it's in auction leagues that YOUR dollar values matter most. After all, no draft is identical and each league has its own idiosyncrasies. If you've played in a league for a while you probably have a feel for the other competitors. You know who'll do his best to make another owner pay $3 for a guy he wants for a $1. You know who'll build a team around pitching, who will pay extra for players from his favorite team, and you'll know who has the same "must have" guys year after year. All of that should factor into your preparation for draft day
All of this should give you a leg up on value and readiness for your draft. And provided you make your decisions intelligently, with a strong basis in reality with solid analysis, it will put you miles ahead of the weaker owners in your league and plenty of the stronger ones too.
With a plan, and a superior sense of player values in your own league, you'll have a much greater chance of walking away a "winner" on draft day. If you can do that you've taken the first step towards having a championship season.
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