Almost all of the major Fantasy Football hosts have a mechanism to pre-rank players, and it is essential to understand why it is so important to do so.
Many fantasy players believe the ranked players only come into play if you are not physically present at your draft i.e., you're on autopilot.
But how many times has your computer screen froze during a draft, or your computer crashed altogether? They'll never admit as much, but oftentimes the glitz is on the other end. If CBS has a freeze during a draft, surely you don't think it will go back and make things right afterwards. You'll be stuck with whatever pick the system assigns to you.
You've seen it happen before: you look at a guy's roster and you see he drafted an injured player who is out for the year. The reason is that player was assigned to the team because the system's rankings were entered before the injury. Go in before the draft, move down the injured players, and move up rookies. If players are making a big impression in preseason, move them to you.
Once you get into your draft room, after the traditional trash talking and physical threats are over with, pre-rank all the players in the draft according to the order you want them, breaking them down by position.
Notice though, that there is a queue box in the draft room. Move your top ten picks into it. Remember your position need changes with each round. For example, if you pick a QB in the first round, you won't want to queue up another right away.
By keeping 10 players stacked in the Q-Box you'll be insured should the system crash, the system will give you players you want while you re-boot. In the event of a massive computer failure, like a power outage, the draft software of the host will move to your pre-ranked list after the Q-Box is empty – at least you'll be protected against taking injured players, or players you are convinced are going to be Fantasy duds.
It is also important to know real-time rankings are more important than the rankings on the host sites. For example, T.Y. Hilton of the Colts had a ranking of between 40 to 50 on most sites; in reality, he's moved into the top 30 after two impressive performances.
Giovanni Bernard, the Cincinnati rookie running back, was rated as the fifth best rookie back a few weeks ago, somewhere between 30 and 40 overall. Now, he's in the 20 to 25 range after a blistering touchdown run last week. However, the stock of Le'Veon Bell of Pittsburgh, the top rated rookie RB, has plummeted since he injured his foot last week.
If you are drafting this week, he's probably rated much too high in your system's auto-rankings, which means if you're not paying attention you'll end up getting him too early in the draft. One guy we know actually ended up with Aaron Hernandez, who was recently indicted for first degree murder. If convicted he's bound to be suspended for four games or so!
Other risers to watch: Daryl Richardson was just named starting running back for the Rams; jack him up to between 17 and 20. Josh Gordon and Chris Givens are two wide receivers moving upwards, from the 40 to 50 range to about 30 or so. Michael Vick's stock is skyrocketing now that he's been named the Eagles' starter: he was the top Fantasy Football QB in the league three years ago.
What round do you take these players? That's up to you. Be forewarned, though, in an experts' league the team owners are extremely aggressive. If they really want a player they will go down and get him, maybe a round or so before he would figure to be picked. Dez Bryant is a great example – people are really high on him, so lately he's been going late in the first round in a lot of drafts, especially PPR leagues. Just a few weeks ago, you could get him in the third round. In other words, if you want him you have to pay for him.
You have to take chances to win; my rule of thumb, though, is don't do it in the first round – take the sure thing, the highest ranked player when your turn comes. The time to gamble is the middle rounds.
"Skippy Brown" recently won the Draft King Spring Fling contest, besting over 1000 other professional fantasy baseball players. For comments, tips, advice, rants, or just to annoy him you can now contact the Skipper via email: firstname.lastname@example.org