The Packers roster is set and the team is off until Monday as the Labor Day holiday weekend beckons.
The perfect lull to turn our attention to a favorite fan activity during the NFL season.
Like many NFL aficionados , I participate in a few Fantasy Football Leagues. Our FOX 25/48 Fantasy League draft is already in the books, courtesy of our commissioner Cory “Die-hard Bronco Fan” Gylock, a native Yooper who has experienced much success in his numerous leagues over the years.
I have a neighborhood Fantasy League—”Drinking in the Garage”—draft coming up after the holiday weekend and asked Mr. Gylock to share his expertise and insights on draft strategy. The following are his 10 Commandments.
“Follow me, and I will make you become champion of your league!”
- Let the board dictate your picks – I’m not a believer in mock drafts. I’m not saying you shouldn’t be, many are, but I’ve had a good deal of success in my fantasy career and I’ve never done a mock draft. My belief is mock drafts create a closed-mind draft approach. You start looking for specific players on your board who were there during your mock drafts rather than paying attention to what’s actually in front of you on your draft board. I’ve had 2 fantasy drafts this year, both 14 team leagues. In one league, Clyde Edwards-Helaire fell to the bottom of round 2. In the other league, he was taken in the Top 6. Stephon Diggs was a Top 10 pick in one, while he fell out of the Top 20 in another. Draft boards are so volatile from draft-to-draft. Stick to your strategy and use the board that is in front of you. Do this all draft long and you’ll have great success.
- Don’t reach on any of your first 3 picks – Along the lines of the 1st commandment, take what’s in front of you. If Diggs falls to you late in round 2, don’t pass on him just because you took Davante Adams early in round 1 and you’re panicking to fill a RB need. Every year multiple people in my leagues reach for a QB in round 2, or a splash RB who would have probably went in Round 4 but they REALLY wanted that particular player, and every year those teams don’t make the playoffs. If you go best available in the first 3 rounds, you’re probably getting 3 Top 20 flex players regardless of position, even in a 14 team league. Get guaranteed points early, fill needs later.
- Prioritize RB early, but don’t overreach – If I’ve got two players ranked similarly, I give the tie breaker to the RB. When you look at the Top 30 flex players in this year’s draft pool, I would only take about 1/3rd of the guys over a RB ranked similarly. I don’t consider that reaching. Zero RB drafters would disagree entirely, and I’m not saying their strategy doesn’t have merit, but non-contact injuries know no bias in today’s league and that’s accounts for 90% of the devastating injuries your player could suffer. I always feel a lot better entering a season with 3 RBs with Top 10 potential, knowing the odds say at least one of them makes it to the end of the season without losing time.
- Avoid biases – You’re a Packer fan, we get it. (Or worse yet, a Broncos fan!) For the love of the holy fantasy spirit, don’t reach on AJ Dillon in the 3rd round. You’ll look like a genius if Aaron Jones misses time, sure. But otherwise, there’s probably two other Packer fans in the draft room cursing you because they were going to reach and everybody else is laughing at you and thanking you for wasting a pick.
- Know the room – On the other side of that piece of advice, if you’re in a room with a few people who you know carry biases, be aware of that. Use that against them and consider that in your strategy. I had a draft on Monday where I was picking 13th in order and the person picking 14th was a Chargers fan. We were in the 4th round, and at this point I was looking for my 3rd RB. I liked either Darrell Henderson or Gus Edwards here, but I knew the Chargers fan had two picks before my next pick and he already had a good rb, a good wr, and a good te, so he was going to go any direction with his next two picks. Keenan Allen was on the board and so was Robert Woods, both well beyond their ADP at this point. Knowing I wanted one of those RBs, and I had Woods/Allen ranked similarly, I went Woods here. Sure enough, Chargers boy took Keenan Allen and Darrell Henderson, I get Gus Edwards on the way back. Strategy executed!
- If Kelce, Kittle, or Waller don’t fall to you, don’t bother – Kelce is ranked super high in all formats. I personally wouldn’t take him Top 5, but I see why somebody would. So far, he’s fallen to the back half of the 1st round or early 2nd round in my drafts, I’m good with him there. Beyond that, I would say if you can secure Kittle or Waller around the 4th round, assuming a 12 team league, I’m comfortable at that point depending on what your needs are. After that, I say don’t bother. The TE position is always extremely top heavy. Those three are the only legit candidates to finish TE1 (my famous last words). Guys like Hockenson and Fant are guys I like just as much as Pitts and Andrews, who are going much earlier. If one of those big 3 don’t fall to you in the first 4 rounds, forget about TE till about the 8th or 9th round and focus on building out your depth. From there, grab who you like.
- If it’s not a double-digit round, don’t touch a DEF – It’s so tempting to grab that high profile defense isn’t it? Trust me, depth is more important. Your defense will not make or break you. Don’t be one of THOSE people. It’s a wasted pick before round 12 in my opinion.
- If it’s anything other than the last round, don’t touch a kicker – I don’t care if your favorite team’s kicker is there. Don’t waste the pick! I took James Robinson in round 13 (second to last round) in two leagues last year, he finished RB3. I took Alvin Kamara in round 13 in two leagues his rookie year, he finished RB4. You may not think there’s value in those rounds and you should just go ahead and reach on Justin Tucker or your team’s kicker, but never forget about James Robinson and Alvin Kamara. Stash a rookie RB WR, give them a couple weeks and see what happens. You can’t lose a league in the 13th round, but you can win it, and not by drafting a kicker.
- Remember, the draft is only a piece of the puzzle – You can’t win a league in the draft, but you can lose it. In my opinion, fantasy football is 25% draft, 35% waiver skills, 25% roster management skills, 15% dumb luck. You can’t control your matchups. I’ve seen it happen many times (even to me), the person who finishes the season with the 2nd highest score and doesn’t make the playoffs. That’s just luck, can’t do anything about that. But the overwhelming majority of the season is played between weeks 1-17, right? So what you do in that time is what’s most important. It never fails that the teams most active on the waiver wire are generally always in contention. That’s not a coincidence. It’s just like anything in life, if you’re willing to put in the work, you will have better results!
- Have fun – The most important rule of all. Football is back. Be thankful for that, for your health, for another season of fantasy fun!