Cornbread Maxwell wrote: go into a draft with a flexible game plan since a draft is continuously changing.
CM has illuminated the greatest axiom in FF here. Chisel this one in granite.
I agree completely. I don't have any set strategy going into the draft but I may have a few possibilities sketched out to begin with based on my draft position. Strategies also may depend on how many teams are in your league, type of league, and scoring system. However, I do sort of have some rules of thumb (that I normally apply to 8-12 team "traditional" leagues) such as
1. Making sure I get one RB in the first 2 rounds. I've seen some of the mocks this year where somone took maybe Manning and Moss in the first 2 rounds. 2 top players but with not having the option to take your 1st RB until the end of the 3rd round, I feel this kind of dooms your team. I think you need alot more breaks to happen for you than if you would grab one solid RB in the first 2 rounds. There is a such thing as taking chances and then there is putting yourself in a hole from the get go and hoping a bunch of things fall into place.
2. I don't draft a QB in the first 3 rounds. I just feel that since I only have to start 1 QB and and 2 or more RBs and receivers there will typically be more value later at QB than RB and receiver.
This has changed a little this year though for me. With certain committee RBs breaking up (Hearst leaving SF, Dillon to NE, Staley leaving Philly) and certain teams getting better at RB (Detroit, Dallas, Washington) I think the RB is much deeper at the draft this year than it was last year. I also think that there will be better value at RB later this year (again, we're adapting our strategy) and that a number of guys who will get drafted in the 2nd round and early 3rd round, I don't want because I have certain concerns that lead me to believe that there will be players later on in the draft who will do the same or have more upside versus the guys who will be take early and are sort of capped out because of their situation or age.
This is just my educated opinion and people may disagree but I will stick by my reasons.
These are players who you will probably see taken in the 2nd or 3rd round who I will be staying away from and taking a different approach. This may change if I pick like last in the first round, because I typically like getting a RB in the first 2 rounds...anyways.
1. Marshall Faulk - People keep waiting and hoping he exhibits some semblence of his old studly form but his best days are behind him. Way too risky for me to be spending a 2nd round pick on. He's going to get hurt at some point. He hasn't played all 16 games in what 5 years. Factoring in that I also think Steven Jackson is going to find his way onto that field enough that it is going hurt Faulk's stats somewhat, he's just not worth the 2nd round.
2. Fred Taylor - Let's face it everyone. Last year's performance landed him in the top 10, 11 RBs this year. Factor in that Greg Jones will assume the Stacey Mack role and steal all Fred's short yardage TD's and you now have a recipe for a letdown. Don't look at last year's stats because he won't touch them this year. You'll need a lengthful injury to Jones for Taylor to be worth where he'll be taken.
3. Stephen Davis - We know that Carolina's offense is predicated around the run, we also know that if there is a featured back in that offense, he will get pounded 25-30 times a game. While it's nice to have a back like that, Stephen Davis is too old to handle that kind of workload at this point in his career. It really showed in the last half of the year. He only managed to play in 6 of the last 8 games and gained 100 yards + only once. If you had him last year, you know what I mean. He really screwed you when you were making that playoff run if you were fortunate to get that far. He played against horrible defenses during every week in the fantasy playoffs and did nothing. I don't see him topping what he did last year. Either they will be forced to work Foster into the game more often, giving him around 1/3 of the workload or Davis will break down early. The point being that he won't come close to what he did last year and again, not worth a 2nd Rd pick IMO.
4. Travis Henry - If Henry will get the bulk of the workload then he's a 2nd round steal. I personally think McGahee is way to talented and explosive to not have in the game. Keeping him on the sidelines would be a travesty. Mularkey will realize this and adjust the offense likewise. I envision something out of the Bo Jackson/Marcus Allen or Kevin Mack/Ernest Byner realms, ala Tecmo Bowl. Should work well for the Bills. Not for us.
Well I can't elaborate on others on my list such as Rudi Johnson, Tiki Barber, Kevan Barlow because other people need to use the hotel computer but guys in place of those I will be looking hard at are Julius Jones (he could go at anytime, you take your chances waiting on him but I think he'll make the 4th or 5th round), Michael Bennett, and Brian Westbrook. After taking one of these guys and hoping they outperform a 4th or 5th round pick, I'll try to steal handcuffs like Foster and S. Jackson hoping that the starter gets sidelined with a lengthy (but not serious)
The biggest thing I've learned over the course of my FF experience is that you need to take chances in FF to win. Ask most of the experienced players here and I'm sure they would tell that if you try to draft strictly by the cheatsheets, used a standardized strategy (RB, RB, WR, etc.) you'll either end up with an average team or a big disappointment.