NFL fantasy football: Stick to your draft plan

Looking for a sure-fire fantasy football strategy? Get the first pick. That'll solve all of your problems.

Okay, I kid. Actually, I've seen plenty of fantasy owners crumble under the pressure of selecting first. Mostly because their eyes light up at the prospect of grabbing Adrian Peterson or Arian Foster while the rest of their planning floats away like so many Kevin Kolb overthrows.

So if there's any strategy that I'd recommend, it's to set an actual strategy and stick with it. You never know how your fantasy team is going to turn out until the games are played on the field. Or paper. Or computer ... whatever. The point is that if you stick to your gameplan, you can walk out of your draft at least feeling confident that you put together the best team you possibly could have. How those players perform is out of your hands.

But you, dear reader, are probably looking for more a concrete blueprint. Well, let's start with the basics: get a running back with your first pick. And probably your second. It's a suggestion that you're going to hear umpteen times between now and the time you draft your squad. There's a reason for that -- it's sound advice. Sorta like your mother always hounding you to iron your shirts.

Beyond that, it's about recognizing which personnel groups you think are the thinnest and making sure you're in a position to grab a quality player from that group. It means paying attention to who's off the board and what needs the other owners in your league still have. Sure, it sounds easy. But if it was easy, everyone would win a fantasy championship.

Be bold, but prudent. Don't be afraid to take a chance on a guy others are too skittish to select. Just don't be too avant garde and take them well above the level of production you can reasonably expect from that player. Otherwise you'll end up drafting Jason Witten in the third round. Is Jason Witten a good fantasy tight end? Yes. Is he a good third round draft pick? I think you know the answer to that.

However, it does mean that you should have several players in mind for a particular pick. Over the course of a draft, you're bound to have at least one targeted player go off the board just before it's your turn. Having a Plan B (or C, D and E) isn't just good fantasy draft etiqutte to prevent you from holding up the proceedings, it also means you're less likely to freak out and draft LeGarrette Blount in the seventh round.

More than anything, just relax and have fun. If you make a questionable pick, shake it off. Chances are, someone else in your league will, too. But if that pick turns out to be the sleeper of the draft, just think of the guffaws you'll have at everyone else's expense. And really, isn't the reason you decided to play fantasy football anyway was for one more chance to laugh at your friends?

Marcas Grant is a fantasy editor for You can follow him on Twitter @MarcasG.

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