Fantasy football strategies: Take the best player available

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One of the overwhelming themes of my fantasy strategy has always been an unpopular one. I simply look at point totals based on the round in which you're drafting and select the most valuable player regardless of position. In seasons past, the thinking was that once you pass on one of the top five running backs when you're selecting in the top five, there is no way to recover from that decision. Last year and likely this season, we'll see that same formula applied to the quarterback position with a run on Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Tom Brady, Cam Newton and perhaps Peyton Manning and Michael Vick in the first round.

But I like to look at it from a straight numerical standpoint, almost a double-blind evaluation. Take the top 100 overall, figure out what adjustments you need to make for your projections this season, and don't even look at the player, just take the guy based on point production. Obvioiusly you'll have to go up or down a few spots here or there based on position need, but don't overthink it. Maybe you go wideout/wideout in the first two rounds, chances are you'll still get a running back that's comparable to the point totals of that round where you'll be drafting them.

Take advantage of the conventional thinkers by going off their board while they're just looking at a certain position group. If Tony Romo is you're guy in the first round, then so be it. If Jimmy Graham is waiting for you in the late second round, no problem, just be sure to get value for your pick in every single round.

One other thing I would caution is to not simply look at season totals, but instead examine game logs. Jordy Nelson getting 57 of his 210 points last season in Weeks 16 and 17 isn't going to help you win your league when one of his six single-digit weeks shows up in Week 15 and you get bounced in the playoffs. A 240-point total is a lot more attractive when it's giving you close to 15 points per week, instead of a couple weeks of boffo numbers mixed in with a third of a season of pedestrian ones.

Build your draft board like a team builds their draft board. In the NFL they have needs, they have position groups, and then they have the "Vertical 150" and throughout the draft they constantly monitor each concurrently. If you expect to win your league, you'll have to do something similar, and gain that advantage on the competition.

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