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Draft this man. Just do it.

You ever hate when class gets cancelled for a certain amount of time, but the teacher comes back earlier than expected? Well this shouldn’t be one of those times, because this is Fantasy Football class, and there’s no reason why you shouldn’t want to be here (plus you aren’t paying for this nor does this require you to leave your comfy bed sheets). I said I’d be gone until the 27th, but I love you guys too much. Last week I went through a few basics of Fantasy Football, and this time around I’ll get a little more specific on drafting tips. Class starts in 8, 7…

Lesson #6: 1st Round goes to RBs

The first eight picks of Round #1 in no particular order will be: Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Ray Rice, Arian Foster, LeSean McCoy, Matthew Stafford and Megatron. I’m not arguing this. These eight players are on an upper echelon of their respective positions and I can’t see why anyone would be picked before any of these guys. After those eight, my advice is pick a running back. Yes I know that means skipping over Cam Newton and risking one of the guys behind you choosing him, but I think you’d be best investing in Chris Johnson, Marshawn Lynch, Matt Forte, Jamaal Charles or Darren McFadden. If you’re in an eight person league then well, your first round already ended. For 10+ team league owners, grab a RB. The position isn’t as clear this year so I say grab a great one while you can and worry about quarterback later where you can pick up other solid options at a bargain.

Lesson #7: Don’t panic

Let’s say it’s Round #2 and your turn is coming up. Top 3 QBs and the highest ranked RBs are gone. Jimmy Graham and the Gronk? Gone. Megatron? Gone. Don’t panic. Although you do want to obtain at least one of the players I’ve listed thus far, you still have hope. People worry too much about drafting players who are ranked highly in the preseason, but every year the season has breakout stars no one saw coming. Newton, Darren Sproles, Lynch, Steve Smith and Victor Cruz all came from nowhere last season. Look for a solid healthy guy in a good situation with breakout potential. Eric Decker, Nate Washington, Darrius Heyward-Bey, Donald Brown, and Doug Martin all have potential this year. Fill out your roster with whoever best is left and in later rounds pick up guys that have tremendous upside and little downside.

Lesson #8: Don’t panic (Part. 2)

I can’t stress this enough. I’ve seen people panic because they think a position is dwindling down and that the guy they want may be taken before they can get him, so they reach and spend a pick they could’ve used on someone better. DO NOT LET THIS BE YOU! Earlier this morning I guest co-hosted my buddy Mike Macchi’s radio show (check it out here, excuse my voice at the beginning) and a caller asked about picking Eli Manning or Matt Ryan in the second round because he thought they’d be gone otherwise. Both Mike and I agreed that this was a HUGE reach. In that situation pick an RB. So what if you lose Eli or Ryan, are they really that much higher than guys like Vick, Roethlisberger, Rivers, and Cutler? The latter three in general are taken much lower than everyone else, yet I can see them putting up solid, if not great numbers this year (more on that later). Don’t waste your picks in panic, make the safe choice in the beginning and take your gambles in the fourth round and later.

Lesson #9: You don’t need the sexiest name

Ben Roesthlisberger isn’t the coolest name to pick for a fantasy QB, but the guy is throwing to Mike Wallace and Antonio Brown. His team is also missing it’s key RB (Mendenhall) for a part of the season. He’ll have numbers. Cutler is reunited with Brandon Marshall and still has dual threat Forte. He’ll have numbers. Marques Colston missed two games last season and reached a career high in receiving yards. Robert Meachem left, which means he’ll have more targets aka, he’ll have numbers. Percy Harvin is on a subpar Vikings offense, yet he finished last year 8th in fantasy points among WRs. Willis McGahee has the Broncos backfield to himself and will get most, if not all, of the red zone touches. They both, will have numbers. You don’t need the guy everyone is talking about online and on TV, you need the guy that gets the job done with the most value for your pick.

Lesson #10: Be careful with trade bait

You grabbed Aaron Rodgers with your first round pick. It’s coming to your second round pick and you want to draft a RB, but you realize that Brady, Brees, and Newton are gone so the only marquee QB left is Stafford. Drafting Stafford would possibly guarantee you a great trade in the future, but by spending that second round pick on him you’ll be losing out on getting a great player for one of your other positions. For all you know, the QBs that the other owners could get may have great years, or they simply won’t even want to trade for the player you have because of your trade demands. Get a key player in the three main positions (QB, RB, WR) before you start making picks for trade bait. That way you have your key spots filled and can risk taking guys in positions you don’t need for trade bait during the season.

Hope you all enjoyed class number two. Next time I’ll focus on auction drafts, due to their completely different nature. Some of these lessons still apply, but auction drafts are a whole other style than your standard snake format. Until then, have fun developing your strategies and feel free to find me on Twitter at @PassTheControlr with any questions. Fantasy Football is my life after all.

Yes Megatron. You want me to draft you? I’ll do my best sir.