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So you’ve committed to the fantasy life. You have your league, you paid your buy-in, and you chose your stupid team name with its obligatory nonsense pun. But for a beginner, you’re about to face the toughest part of the season: the draft.

People will tell you that it all amounts to luck in the end and that you can’t predict injuries, but they don’t want you to win. Ignore the people trying to win your money, we’re here to set you up for success.

With still more than a month to go, we’ve got plenty of time to get you in shape. Drafting can be a pretty intimidating process for the uninitiated but as long you don’t draft with your heart and you FOLLOW THE STATS, you should be fine.

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Snakes, Auctions, And Other Scary Sounding Words

For beginners, the best way to ensure you don’t embarrass yourself is to

1) Learn your positions


3) Have backups


Everyone preps differently for their draft, but you’re a beginner so scanning rankings and stats 15 minutes before the draft probably isn’t going to help you much. I wanted to make a joke about how important being ready for your draft is, but it’s really no laughing matter. Drafting your team is the most important thing you’re going to do all season; have a strategy going into it.

I made the mistake of joining an auction draft my first season. I wouldn’t recommend it, as it’s going to be particularly difficult balancing the challenges of a budget with knowing how to accurately appraise players for fantasy play. Auctions involves getting a set amount of fake dollars to spend for each team, then putting each player up one at a time and bidding on them until no one wants to bid any higher. Auctions are another way of making the game more miserable once you’ve mastered the basics of being unhappy.

As a n00b, you should be sticking to leagues with a “snake” draft, a type of draft that goes back and forth through the draft order (the order in which you draft), offering even the most negligent team owners the chance to score a decent player by chance. That means that after everyone gets a chance to draft in the order they were selected, the last person to draft will draft again and will continue in the reverse order. I don’t know why it’s not called a pendulum draft, that’s a much more accurate and much less scary description, in my humble opinion.

Typically, with slight variations amongst leagues, you’re gonna have a roster that contains the following:

1 PG - point guard

1 SG - shooting guard

1 PF - power forward

1 SF - small forward

1 G - flex guard

1 F - flex forward

1 C - center

and 3 Util - Utilities, which you can think of as bonus player of any position

You’ll also have 2-4 bench positions

Find rankings lists and utilize them. There are multiple rankings articles online, some right here on this website, that can give you a breakdown of the best players for each position. I think this should be obvious, but it’s worth saying: as you draft, try to collect as many highly favored players as possible, but just as important, don’t draft 4 point guards in a row. Instead, try to draft a backup for each position. If you can, try to alternate your drafts between teams from each conference, East and West.

By having a balanced roster you’ll maximize the amount of game time your team sees, which will help your overall score. While it’s important to attain highly coveted players that’ll post big numbers, it doesn’t help if it’s at the expense of another scoring category being completely deficient. With that being said, if you have an opportunity to stack your bench, don’t be militant about the ratio of your starters to bench players. There’s always opportunity to trade or drop later in the season. Be flexible, it’s a draft and unexpected things happen.

If you can make it through the draft, you’ve made it through the toughest part! Congratulations! Next week, we’ll be covering the 5 months that follow the draft and how to remember you’re in a league during the holidays.


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