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F&C Gets You Prepared: 5 Rules To Follow On Draft Day

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The most important day of the year is arriving. No, it's not your wedding anniversary, birthday or Father's Day. It's Fantasy Football Draft Day.

Besides, I know you can't tell me what you did for your last anniversary. But I know you can give me the blow-by-blow of your last fantasy football draft. Round for round.

You have vivid, slow motion memories of the guy who called out Peyton Manning's name just before you did. And you can probably recall who's house the draft was at, what you ate and drank and what you were wearing.

But can you tell me what your wife was wearing and where you went to eat on your wedding anniversary? Even what's your anniversary day? Yep. Thought not.

Onto the most important day. 

I've compiled a list of five rules to follow on draft day. Follow these rules and you'll have a successful draft. Don't...and your draft will just plain suck. Probably. 

Rule #1: Drink, But Don't Get Drunk

"When used separately, women and alcohol can be a lot of fun, but when you mix the two you because a dumbass." -That 70's Show

The same holds true for fantasy football and drafts.

Scientists have discovered that fantasy football drafts actually cause humans to drink alcohol. It's just a fact. And for some reason, these drafts also cause some to over-indulge. Don't be that person.

There's always going to be at least one or two of them at your draft. They are the ones who actually brought their own cooler so they don't have to get up to walk to the fridge.

That's the same guy who is overly excited because he somehow managed to slip out of the house, away from the wife and kids, and make it to the draft. 

We're not telling you to be socially awkward. Enjoy a beer or two. Just don't start doing keg stands between picks. If you do, then you're team will look like it's doing keg stands all season long. 

Just say no. Besides, friends don't let friends draft Chris Johnson.

 

Rule #2: Don't Rely on Ink for Rankings

You've heard the poker expression: "If you can't spot the sucker at the table, then it's you." Well, the same principle will apply to your draft.

Come draft day, when you're huddled around your friends, you should be able to pick out the sucker—the guy who is at a serious disadvantage. That guy will be the guy flipping through magazines looking for information on his next pick.

Magazines have outdated information. And when I say outdated, it could be by the minute. Fantasy news comes out on a minute-by-minute basis these days.

Your fantasy draft will most likely take place during the preseason games—preferably after the third week of the preseason when teams begin to rest their starters. After that weekend, teams will announce injuries or other issues with players that can make the difference for your virtual squad.

Don't be the dunce thumbing through magazines at your draft. If you're looking at any paper, it should be printed off a website right before walking into your draft. Or better yet, have a website that you trust up on your ipad or laptop as you're drafting.

You'll have the information that you need streaming right to you as you make each essential pick.

Rule #3: Mock it Up

My dad drilled his motto into me: "Always be prepared." No matter what you're facing, you have to be prepared for it. 

When it comes to fantasy football, the way to get prepared for the regular season is to do mock drafts. And with fantasy football becoming a year-round exercise, you can start mocking at any time.

At least one website (fantasyfootballcalculator.com), has mock drafts going all year. 

Some managers know their draft position early and some have to wait until draft day. Either way, it is essential to have your draft strategy cemented in your mind. 

Of course, you should be flexible and have contingency plans. You may be set on drafting a quarterback early, but be sure you make a finite list of the signal-callers that you'll take in the first or second round. If one of those quarterbacks isn't on the board when you're on the clock, go to plan B. And always have plans B and C ready to deploy.

Don't just draft any ol' quarterback because that was your original plan.

Develop a sound strategy through several mock drafts, but be ready to stick-and-move if things don't go as planned during your draft.

Rule #4: Don't Get Lazy in the Late Rounds

The first few rounds of a fantasy football draft are filled with excitement. You've been waiting months to draft your team: The adrenaline is rushing through your veins like water in a water slide. You're rearing to go.

You nail all your picks, you grab LeSean McCoy and Drew Brees, and even snag Jordy Nelson—you're set.

Now that you've gotten off to a solid start, it's time to really focus and make sure you stack your team.

The first few rounds will start your season off, but the later rounds is what gives you an edge to keep winning through injuries and bye-weeks.

Making smart picks is essential if you play in a dynasty league where you get to franchise a player for the following season. 

Don't sleep on some nice value picks in the late rounds of your fantasy draft. Stay focused (and sober), and come away with a solid team with nice depth. Guys in the later rounds, such as Benard Pierce and Jarrett Boykin, can make the difference in landing a playoff spot or not.

Rule #5: Don't Draft a Quarterback Early

One of the biggest dilemmas in fantasy football drafts is when to take a quarterback. The answer is to wait on a quarterback. 

If you decide to draft Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers or Drew Brees in the first or second round, then your running back and/or wide receiver positions will haunt you all season long.

The top three quarterbacks are consistent and provide a nice statistical boost, but not when considering the drop-off you'll see in the production from your running backs and wide receivers.

You can land a Tony Romo or Matt Ryan in the later rounds of your draft while still being able to secure a top wide receiver and running back.

It's better to have a nice balance on your team rather than putting one guy's performance on your team's shoulders all season.

And in 2014, there will be at least 12 quarterbacks who can lead you to the playoffs: Peyton Manning, Rodgers, Brees, Brady, Newton, Romo, Rivers, Stafford, Ryan, Ben Roethlisberger, Joe Flacco and Jay Cutler.

No, you can't rely on Michael Vick. You need a solid back-up passer to prepare for the inevitable injury that will come Vick's way. In fact, if you draft Vick, make sure to take a medic in the next round.

But any one of those other 12 quarterbacks would suit you just fine in making a playoff run. The difference is in order to secure the services of Rodgers, Brees and Brady, you'll have to sacrifice severely at your other positions.

With the depth at quarterback, there's no need.

Some say the most important thing to do during draft day is to have fun. Well, at F&C, the most important thing to do is win. Follow our rules and you'll accomplish both. 

Cedric Hopkins

Cedric Hopkins Bio

Cedric Hopkins runs this sports law/fantasy football blog. If you have issues with it, it's all his fault. Cedric was an athlete-student at the University of New Mexico (Basketball - Go Lobos!). He then morphed into a student-athlete when he attended law school in San Diego. Age replaced athleticism and now he writes appellate briefs for criminals (alleged criminals, of course) in state and federal cases, including writing U.S. Supreme Court briefs.

For years Cedric has researched and written about legal issues but maintained a love for sports. With FieldandCourt.com, he's combining his two passions: researching and writing about sports. When he's not in court arguing a case before a judge (or writing about himself in the third person), he'll be doing the same with his articles on FieldandCourt.com. Follow me, er, him on Twitter (opens in a new window).

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Cedric Hopkins

Cedric Hopkins runs this sports law/fantasy football blog. If you have issues with it, it's all his fault. Cedric was an athlete-student at the University of New Mexico (Basketball - Go Lobos!). He then morphed into a student-athlete when he attended law school in San Diego. Age replaced athleticism and now he writes appellate briefs for criminals (alleged criminals, of course) in state and federal cases, including writing U.S. Supreme Court briefs.

For years Cedric has researched and written about legal issues but maintained a love for sports. With FieldandCourt.com, he's combining his two passions: researching and writing about sports. When he's not in court arguing a case before a judge (or writing about himself in the third person), he'll be doing the same with his articles on FieldandCourt.com. Follow me, er, him on Twitter (opens in a new window).