Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas
- Fantasy football drafts are among the most exciting part of the fantasy football season.
- While live drafts are typically preferable, online fantasy football drafts are the most common and convenient.
- With this in mind, we offer five quick tips to ensure your online fantasy football draft is a successful one.
For many, fantasy football drafts are the most fun and exciting part of the entire season. This makes sense as they’re very social, inspiring gamesmanship and plenty of trash talk.
Plus, fantasy football players have the entire offseason to research, rank players, pinpoint sleepers to target, etc. before their drafts.
Because of this, there’s plenty of top-notch statistical analysis written by fantasy football experts, including The Action Network’s team of gurus like Sean Koerner, Matthew Freedman, Chris Raybon and Ian Hartitz, who will cover everything fantasy football players need to know.
However, there are tips about drafts that many players, especially new ones, also need to know.
Here are my five most important tips for fantasy football drafts.
Online Fantasy Football Draft Tips
1. Test Your Computer and Software
Live fantasy football drafts are incredible. I encourage everyone who plays fantasy to try and hold your drafts in person, but for those of us busy with work, family, summer vacations, etc., it can be hard to find a day and time that works for everyone in your league. Because of this, most fantasy football drafts are held online.
I’ve been the commissioner of many leagues over the years and have lost count of the number of times someone has called me in a panic 10 minutes before the draft saying the draft software won’t work on their computer.
Forget the fact that I remind everyone throughout the summer to test their systems, which always falls on deaf ears for at least one person.
So, before you draft, take a minute to log into whichever fantasy football draft platform your league uses and make sure your computer is compatible.
2. Try a Mock Draft
This is related to the tip above, but a great way to ensure you’re ready for the draft is to do one.
By doing a mock draft, you’ll not only test whether your computer can handle the software, but you also learn how to navigate the platform to search for players, scroll between positions, physically draft your players, etc.
When you’re under-the-gun during a fantasy football draft, not wasting time trying to navigate the software can be the difference between making the pick you want and autopicking a kicker because your time expires.
3. Enter Your Draft Room Immediately
I’m using three of these tips to touch on problems with draft software because it’s that important and that common of a problem.
Most drafts are open 30 minutes prior to your start time, so join your draft room as soon as you can. This gives you the most time possible to react in case there are problems, like your computer not able to handle the software or your WiFi deciding to crap out.
4. Have a Backup Device Ready
This doesn’t mean you need a setup straight from “The Matrix,” but if you’re using a computer — which I do recommend rather than mobile devices — be sure to have your platform’s app downloaded on said mobile devices.
Also, make sure you’re already logged into the app and are familiar with the draft layout. I’ve personally had the draft software freeze up or my internet drop for a minute or two multiple times over the years.
Luckily, I had my smart phone right next to me and was able to jump on the app and make my pick using my cell phone data plan. Once in the clear between my picks, I had time to reboot my computer and/or the modem/router and get back up for the next round.
5. Print Out Updated Fantasy Football Rankings
While it’s important to ensure you have fantasy football rankings — whether they’re your own or from your experts of choice — it’s even more crucial that the rankings are updated.
Football is a physical game and an unfortunate consequence of that is injuries. Every offseason there are injuries to key skill-position players during training camp and preseason games that shift the landscape of fantasy football value.
If you’re not someone with the time or desire to stay up-to-date with breaking NFL injury news, be sure to print out our up-to-date fantasy football rankings — which you can customize for you league size and settings with our Draft Kit — to ensure your rankings reflect the latest injuries, and which players will benefit from a fantasy football perspective.