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2021 Fantasy Football Strategy: Redraft Leagues | Fantasy Football 101 Series

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The 2021 Fantasy Football Strategy season is upon us. This Fantasy Football 101 Series will cover a myriad of topics to give you confidence heading into your Fantasy Football draft season. This column will be geared towards the 2021 Fantasy Football Strategy: Redraft Leagues.

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2021 Fantasy Football Strategy: Redraft Leagues

Preparation is Everything

There is nothing worse than going into your 2021 Fantasy Football draft without a clue. You do not want to be that player who shows up, whether in person or online that just gets ripped to shreds both in the draft and via ridicule. You need to prepare for battle. But how do we do that?

Know Your League (Rules, Members, History)

Dig deep into the league rules and determine if there are any weird roster restrictions or if there is bonus scoring involved in your league. Make sure to take notes on how many players you can have at each position, if your league allows for a deep bench, or if there are taxi spots and injured reserve designations.

Know your opponent’s weaknesses. Does Mitch get frazzled when you talk to him when he is going to pick soon? Do your league members have terrible poker faces when someone is selected that they wanted? Write these things down and take note of any reactions you see. Especially if that person picks around where you select. It could be the “tell” you need to decipher his next position target.

Look up the league history and see if there are any drafting trends for each owner. In a few leagues, I know members that constantly choose a quarterback early whether it is the optimal choice that year. Other leagues have members in them where they select as many players as they can from their favorite team.

These are all edges that you can use to your advantage.

Have a Rankings Sheet on Hand 

Do not go into a draft without some sort of game plan. It starts with at least recognizing that all players are not created equal. A rankings sheet is the first resource you should bring with you in person or have up on your computer.

While drafting, cross out players being selected, or be sure to use that option on your draft board. This will help you realize if there is position scarcity and if you need to pounce on a player early, or if you can wait a while.

Rankings are Good, Tiered Player Rankings are Better

Rankings are great, but even more importantly are how you Tier those players heading into your draft. Sometimes there are drastic differences in value and talent between a single spot in the rankings. 

By tiering players into different values, you can identify if you can wait to choose someone from the tier, or if that player gets picked, are you about to see a significant drop off in talent and potential production?

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Account for Byes

When drafting, be sure to track your current rostered players bye weeks. You do not want to end up with a lack of viable options when the bye weeks start to hit. If you draft two quarterbacks with the same bye week, you potentially will have to drop one of them or another solid roster acquisition just to pick up a starter for one week.

Mock Draft, Mock Draft Again, Now Mock Draft Some More

Mock drafts are amazing for practice. It is the 2021 Fantasy Football Strategy version of standing out on your driveway and shooting free throws. There is no glory involved. Nobody really cares about the results. But it is imperative to make sure you are prepared for the unforeseeable events that happen in a draft.

By practicing in very random mock drafts, you are exposed to all sorts of strategies and weird decisions. They force you to adapt, pivot, and adjust on the fly with your roster and strategy.

Plan for Committee Situations

Some people say not to handcuff running backs. To some extent, they are correct. But not all handcuffs are created equal. There are a few key spots every single season where the current starter is often injured, or maybe is on a short leash heading into the season. Those are the situations you want to identify. Those are the situations where you need to evaluate the backup and put a value on their potential.

If the backup is going to slot into a committee situation with another backup, or if you think the team will just go pass-heavy, then they likely are not a solid handcuff. If the backup is talented but stuck behind a stronger talent, it does not mean they will not succeed when their number is called. Identify those players and roster them for depth and security.

It’s worth noting that this specific concept is not specific to your 2021 Fantasy Football Strategy. This is something that has been worthwhile for quite some time and only becoming more useful as teams shift towards role-playing running bacs.

Assess Your Draft Live

While drafting, it is important to assess your roster before each pick. Do you feel like you have a roster full of home run swings and now you are worried about striking out too much? Well, then it is time for you to draft a safer option, even if you are sacrificing a bit of upside.

On the flip side, if you feel like your roster is full of safer options that lack league-winning upside, then you need to use the middle and the end of the draft to take some swings at guys that can win you a title. 

The ability to assess a draft live is derived from your preparation into your 2021 Fantasy Football Strategy. The more prepared you are, the quicker you can assess and adapt during a live draft.

Track Rosters

Pay attention to your league’s rosters. If you notice, there are only two guys left in one of your quarterback Tiers and there are three league members that need a quarterback. You might want to try to snag one of those two guys prior to the next selection for your friends. Sniping the needs of others can often put you in a good position for the next part of the article.

Accumulate Trade Targets

Oh, yes. This is the fun aspect of Fantasy Football. Having what others need in abundance. Having a surplus in Fantasy Football is always solid if you know there will be a demand for what you have.

If you have stockpiled strong quarterbacks, you might find yourself having trouble off-loading them because the position is so deep. If you have two of the top-10 running backs, you might be able to trade away some of that high-end talent for roster depth at positions you might be needing security in.

Do not Panic

Whatever you do, panicking will not help. Seriously. Keep your cool, take a few laps around the table or room. If you followed the 2021 Fantasy Football Strategy here, you likely will not be in a position where you must panic in the first place.

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