In 1863, German novelist and playwright Gustav Freytag wrote Die Technik des Dramas, a book that would lay the foundation for what would be known today as Freytag’s Pyramid, a 5-act dramatic structure used in theatre. Also known as the dramatic arc, the 5 acts laid out by Freytag’s Pyramid are, in order: exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and denouement.
So how is Freytag’s Pyramid relevant when relating it to fantasy football? The definition of the climax in literary work is “a decisive moment that is of maximum intensity or is a major turning point in a plot”. So if we consider the “climax” of our fantasy season the actual draft itself, the events preceding the climax, the rising action, play the most important role in setting up the event where thousands of fantasy football leagues are won and lost- the draft!
In an effort to help you write your perfect fantasy football story, I’ve compiled a list of what I feel are the most instrumental elements to consider when prepping for your fantasy football draft.
Know Your League’s Scoring and Settings Rules
Many of the points I’m going to make may seem like basic knowledge to some, but they can make or break your season before it even begins. Knowing which player positions will score the most, or how many players you can start on a weekly basis can positively or negatively affect how you rank potential draft candidates. Being able to recognize the scoring differences between a Standard league and a PPR (point-per-reception) league, and understanding the intricacies across league types like Superflex, Two-QB, IDP, and “basic” leagues is just the first step to taking the league crown. Identifying the most efficient path to scoring the maximum amount of points is how you win!
Reference Expert Rankings, but Don’t Solely Rely on Them
Expert rankings are a wonderful tool for gauging how the fantasy community expects a player to perform in the upcoming season. ESPN, Yahoo, DLF, and even our senior staff here at TFA compile a rankings list of how they would rank each player overall and at their respective positions. Their rankings are based on performance history, opportunity share/expectation, and personal opinion among other determining factors. While these rankings are a good way to generalize how a player will perform among their position mates, they will never be 100% correct. As JJ Zachariason often notes in his Late-Round Podcast, fantasy football is unpredictable, and you will be wrong, even the “experts” will be wrong. Rankings are great but do not only rely on them for your info.
Using Average Draft Position
Average draft position (ADP) is data that has been calculated from the results of hundreds of fantasy drafts, resulting in a breakdown in an average of where players are being selected. For example, so far in 2017, David Johnson is being selected at an ADP of 1.07, the first player selected, on average. Conversely, T.Y. Hilton is being selected at an ADP of 19.23, the 19th player selected, on average. Having this knowledge of where players are generally being drafted can help you determine which prospects will potentially be available at your turn to pick. Two of my favorite sites for finding ADP data are fantasyadhd.com and fantasyfootballcalculator.com, and the best part is, they are totally free!
Follow Team Beat Writers
Other than the coaches themselves, no one is more connected to an NFL franchise more than their beat writers. Beat writers cover their respective teams daily and report on the various goings-on around practice. From who is practicing with the first team, to who is looking like a likely cut candidate, the teams’ press members have an all access pass to team practices. Twitter is an excellent platform for getting informed on how players are faring on a day to day basis. All teams have beat writers that tweet on the daily practices, and by giving them a follow you may just stumble upon the next sleeper before anyone else in your league even knows who he is.
Join a Mock Draft
Along with using ADP, joining a mock draft is the closest you can get to the actual draft. If you already know your draft slot, or you just want to try drafting from different positions, joining a mock draft will most satisfy your drafting urges. Not only will it help in identifying which players could be available at your pick, you can also try building different lineup combinations from the same draft slot. Knowing ahead of time which roster you like best can set you up for future domination in your league. Fantasy Football Calculator and My Fantasy League are my favorite free options for setting up mock drafts.
As the league season is beginning in a little less than 3 weeks, we find ourselves entering the prime drafting season. Using the tips and advice I mentioned above, the denouement to your fantasy season could be YOU engraving YOUR name in championship trophy. Write your own perfect fantasy football story.