For some reason the past couple of years I have never found much success at drafting good players in late rounds. I usually have what most consider a mediocre to pretty good draft the first 6 rounds. But my natural bent for picking players with high risk/high reward has landed me usually at about 4-7th place in a 12 man league. I think some of it has to do with my lack of knowledge but I'm trying to research more and get better at it. However, even last year with a solid receiver core and having LT as my running back I fell short and and got 4th place.
My tendency to get frazzled is also very high in the late rounds. This usually ends me up with no depth what so ever and one injury sends my team into a deep dark abyss. So my question ultimately is, is there anything you guys can recommend for late round drafting and is my problem just lack of knowledge?
In the late rounds you just always have to look for that elusive sleeper. Also, try to get as much RB depth as possible. If you have an elite RB, use the late rounds to grab up your handcuff to that back. And finally, use the internet to you advantage. This website as well as many others has constant discussions going on about late round sleepers and whatnot. Good luck!
Make sure you have a good cheat sheet prepared that is long enough to get you through those latter rounds. Too many people get flustered at that point 'cause they don't really have any in depth rankings and are usually just winging it by the end of the draft and relying on Yahoo's rankings (or whatever site they are using) and when their turn comes up they really don't know who to grab and panic for 90 seconds and then just grab anyone. Pre-rank as many players as you can to make it easier - mainly RB's and WR's since that's who ya wanna stockpile on your bench - and also keep some notes handy at draft time (but NOT too many, just some concise crib notes/cheat sheets - ya don't have time to do a lot of reading and ya don't wanna be fumbling through a lot of papers - do your reading before the draft).
So basically check out reliable sources - and the Cafe is an excellent one - find out who those RB's, WR's, and QB's are that you should be targetting in the latter rounds and add them to your cheatsheets and pre-rankings. And find out who the top 10 or 12 ranked kickers and defences are so you can leave them until the very end and fill your bench first.
And if ya can't find exactly what you're looking for here, just ask, you'll find lots of guys willing to help you out!
Fantasy Football: "Luck is where preparation meets opportunity"
Don't always be looking for that elusive sleeper in the late rounds. Going after one or two is ok, but I would rather have a guy like Joey Galloway who I know is good for 600-800 yards and 5-7 TD's, than a guy that might break into the starting linup by week 8. Unless you are in a keeper league, I would stay away from most rookies as well. I can't tell you how many people I have seen take Brady Quinn and think that he is going to lead them to a great 2nd half of the season. I don't know if this will work for you, but I have made the playoffs all 4 season of my current league with this logic. Good Luck.
All of what you have read I would agree is good advice...what I can add: you can go out and buy fantasy mags and download ranking spreadsheets, but if you really don't KNOW the real NFL teams, you may end up sort of blindly picking. Take this one guy in my main league. This particular guy, for example, showed up to the draft last year, ready to go with like five magazines, pens and highlighters...and picked Adam Vinatieri in the 6th round. And a backup kicker in the 17th. This was "prepared" in his mind but not really knowing the difference between this years' Brandon Jackson, or Mark Clayton, or Kevin Curtis. So instead of even blindly picking, he picked the most unimportant position, one with little difference or predictability, between the best and the 12th best. He will, i am sure, get to the 6th round again this year, and not know the difference between 3rd/4th tier receivers and make sure no one else gets Neil Rackers because he had an awesome year 2 seasons ago. He is either thinking it doesn't matter after the first couple of rounds, or he just hasn't learned yet (*sigh*).
My point: Read the team and player profiles, pick up the NFL previews in all the bigger sports magazines...basically, YES, do more research. You should know by heart players that have changed teams or QB's, team depth charts, new offensive coordinator schemes. Also, pay attention to the setting nuances of your league. If it's a PPR, depth at WR is just as important as RB depth. If return yards count, start looking at guys that pull double-duty.
You have to pay attention to off-season moves and coaching changes. You also have to scan the team depth charts and find the most likely backup player to step into and perform well in a major role in the event of an injury. I would also avoid all rookies in the late rounds, because if they actually turn out to be that good, you'll usually be able to pick them up off of the waiver wire instead of wasting a draft pick, ALA Maurice Jones-Drew.
Look for teams that have hired new coaches and have new major role players in town. Miami, for example, and stay away from them ( I generally do). Too much change and a learning curve going on there. Look for players that have moved to other teams, like Joe Horn from New Orleans to Atlanta, and see who is going to be bumped up to take his place (Devery Henderson). That guy could be a good mid-late round "sleeper" pick that flies under a lot of radars. Sometimes guys are traded away because the coaching staffs have some confidence in the next guy in line.
Basically, to draft a sleeper, you'll have to do your off-season homework, while those guys that will come out of nowhere can always be found on the waiver wire (you just have to be quick).
Thanks guys, appreciate it. A lot of it seems like stuff I should be doing and stuff that should be common sense but I can tell you I didn't think of more than half of the things just mentioned. Perhaps experience is also something I need. I've only done fantasy sports for about 4 years which isn't the shortest amount of time but doesn't make a true champion either. Thanks, again.