How to Prepare for your Rookie Draft: April Edition (2022 Fantasy Football)
Over the years, I’ve learned a lot of tips and tricks on what I find to be vital as we head into the NFL Draft in April. First of all, there is no one right way to draft, much like there is no one right way to play fantasy football. Do whatever makes you happiest. These are just some dos and don’ts that I’ve found helpful in my experience that you might find helpful in your own drafts.
How to Prepare for your Rookie Draft
Do use tiers when making your rookie draft list
Before you sit down to draft in your league, make sure you get a good unbiased rankings list. I recommend doing this yourself as much as you can. Once you’re done making your rookie draft list, use tiers to separate the players into groups. You can find specific picks to target in your rookie drafts. For instance, if you rank five players in your top tier, 1.05 is a prime trade target option. If you have four players in your second tier, try to get 1.09. This way, you can try to get as much value as possible without overpaying for picks, whether you trade for them now or at the draft itself.
Don’t just trust a single source
While building your list and putting players into tiers, make sure you use more than one source for your rankings. FantasyPros Rookie Expert Consensus Rankings (ECR) is an excellent resource because it already factors in a lot of the top dynasty experts, both on this site and others. It also creates tiers for the players for you to make it easier. But even ECR shouldn’t be relied upon entirely. Watch some player highlights, look at their measurables, and move players accordingly. Doing this extra work doesn’t need to be a full-time job, but do a little for players you’re close on. Make the list your own as much as you can.
Do try to add as many picks as possible to your roster, and the sooner, the better
Generally speaking, draft picks are among the few assets in a dynasty that consistently accrues value over time. As soon as a draft pick turns into a player, it usually is worth less than the pick used to select them. This is because you remove the “what if” factor associated with the pick. This means that you should be acquiring as many rookie picks as you can heading into the draft, but not necessarily this year’s picks. Looking ahead can sometimes give you a head start and allow you to add picks for cheap in next year’s draft.
Don’t trade your draft picks unless the offer is impossible to resist
That being said, don’t trade away your draft picks just to make a trade. Other managers may be using tiers to find targets and may have a similar rule about adding rookie picks. If you want until you’re on the clock, you might get more value for that exact pick. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t trade picks at all right before your draft; just make sure it’s an offer you can’t refuse. If you wait to trade your picks until right before they become a player, you maximize their value, which will only help your team in the long run.
Do look at the other rosters in your league for weaknesses
Many dynasty managers draft based on what their team needs the most. Sometimes you can use this to your advantage. If you notice a manager is weak at RB, you can send one of your bench running backs for a similarly valued pick at the bottom of a tier you’ve already identified. If a team in your league is looking rough at QB, but you have an extra asset you can move, now is the time to send an offer to acquire a pick in exchange for a player if the value is right.
Don’t worry about your roster all that much
Again, this is the opposite of what you should be doing on your team. I am a firm believer in “draft for talent, trade for need.” The best time to add value to your team outside of trading assets is at the rookie draft. Most drafts occur in May or June, months ahead of any lineups that need to be set. Instead of worrying about what position you need most, draft the player(s) with the most value to the league, not your roster. That way, you can trade them away for more picks or assets later that will help you when lineups eventually do matter more.
Do as many mock drafts as possible leading up to your own rookie draft
The best way to determine what players are worth the most, in general, is to mock draft a lot. Once you’re done, do another one. Think of these as practice reps that help you get smarter when your draft begins. The FantasyPros Mock Draft Simulator is a great way to do these quickly during a break from work or before you go to bed. Doing them often will help you see what players are going in what places and help you determine how aggressive you might need to be when it counts.
Don’t forget that this is fun
Last but not least, don’t forget that this is all for fun. This hobby can be both exhausting and exhilarating, and it can be both frustrating and rewarding. In the end, the main reason any of us play this game within a game is to have fun and connect with others who share a common bond. Strategizing and planning out your rookie draft is supposed to be fun, so don’t forget that.
If you want to dive deeper into fantasy football, be sure to check out our award-winning slate of Fantasy Football Tools as you navigate your season. From our Start/Sit Assistant – which provides your optimal lineup based on accurate consensus projections – to our Trade Analyzer – which allows you to instantly find out if a trade offer benefits you or your opponent – we’ve got you covered this fantasy football season.