- Scott Engel, ESPN Fantasy Games
While many fantasy owners focus heavily on their first draft pick, building a successful team requires a broad focus. You must be ready for anything at any time, and adjusting on the run is a must. You never know for sure which players might be available or unavailable at any point of the draft, so it's smart to plan ahead for the entire process. Never believe what the other owners tell you ahead of time about their strategies, because they might be trying to keep you off balance, and their own strategies and approaches will change throughout the draft. The "snake" draft is a great ride, but you should know all its twists and turns before you strap yourself in. So here's an in-depth look at what you should expect and prepare for from start to finish in a yearly fantasy draft.
If you're lucky enough to have one of the top three picks, you know you will have a shot at one of the elite three running backs. Anyone who picks in the top eight is pretty much assured of getting an established top-level back if they want one. Grabbing Clinton Portis or Rudi Johnson is a safer than going for upside with Steven Jackson or Ronnie Brown. If you pick in the top six or eight, take the best RB available, because they are likely going to fly off the board. Once the "upside" RBs are gone, then you can consider Peyton Manning late in the round, because he's the only quarterback who seems to guarantee both above-average statistical production and durability every year. If you're picking at the end of the first round in a 10 or 12-team league, you will likely be looking at promising players like Carnell Williams or a possible injury risk like Domanick Davis. The first round likely will be a heavy run on running backs with Manning being the only possible exception. If another owner changes course and tabs a top WR, that can only improve the quality of RB that can fall to you in the first round-and-a-half. Follow the run on RBs, because you really won't have any other choice. Questions about many of the top RBs this year will make them disappear seemingly faster than usual.
Scott Engel examines a fantasy football draft round-by-round.