Drafting a fantasy football team this weekend? The Huddle has you covered for everything needed to dominate in the final weekend before the 2020 NFL season begins.
Week 1 is merely days away, but there’s still time to draft a winner, and The Huddle’s 24th season online is a testament to our dedication to making you a champion!
Let’s not waste any more time and get right into what you must know ahead of the big draft weekend.
NFL roster cut day
Saturday, Sept. 5, at 4 p.m. EDT: the deadline in which teams go from 80-player rosters to 53 men, which is the standard number a team carries into the regular season. That means if you’re drafting early Saturday, it’s entirely possible one of your players could get the ax.
You cannot change your draft day, in all likelihood, but gamers can stay on top of the latest transactions and more by following our Huddle news feed. Make sure you’re up to date on the cuts and then waiver claims, which are due by 4 p.m. EDT Sunday. Gamers also can remain updated the latest injury news through our feed.
Fantasy football draft-day rules to live by
Our annual “draft prep” series mostly caters to novice players, but every once in a while a veteran player requires a refresher on basics we may take for granted.
These rules are in no particular order, and they apply to all levels of experience among fantasy owners. Just as important as the “what you should do” to create a winner in fantasy drafting, avoiding simple pitfalls is a must.
1) Living in the past: Assuming successes and failures from last year automatically will carry over to this year’s results is a quick trip to Loserville. Each year is brand new and requires a reset of the old memory bank.
2) Stay sober: While it may seem silly, don’t let one draft of hard boozing affect an entire season of fantasy football. Party it up after the draft and celebrate your soon-to-be championship roster.
3) No one likes a homer: Well, except for that Homer. Heavily drafting players from your favorite team tends to lead to an entire season of hangover-filled mornings. This also includes taking a specific player over a better option just because that player is on your favorite team. Be objective.
4) Draft by the rules: Not knowing your league’s scoring structure, lineup composition, and/or bylaws generally results in utter failure. At a minimum, it translates into lost points.
5) Stretch it out: Flexibility in fantasy drafts is essential. Gamers with a rigid strategy miss out on key value due to their inability to zig when others are zagging.
6) Avoid F.O.M.O.: All too often owners will see or sense a miniature run at a position and overreact out of the fear of missing out. Always having a sound backup plan alleviates concern in this area.
7) Mocking mock drafters: “I don’t need preparation!” declares the eventual last-place owner on draft day. Everyone needs practice. Look back at all of the things in life that required some repetitions before you improved. Don’t take my word for it … ask your spouse.
8) Bye week blues: This cuts both ways — getting caught up in not paying attention to bye weeks and outright passing on talent because it would create multiple players at the position on bye. Later in the year, bye weeks are easier — not harder — to overcome due to months of roster manipulation.
9) Leaving money on the table: Specifically for those who participate in auctions, leaving any amount of money on the table is inexcusable. Spend it all, even if you have to pay up at the end of the auction on an inconsequential player.
10) Peer pressure: Let’s face it, even seasoned veterans of fantasy don’t enjoy being ridiculed by 11 mates after making a questionable pick. There’s a major difference between being laughed at for taking a kicker in Round 1 and reaching a round or two for a sleeper at a skilled position.
11) ADP obsession: Time after time, owners get hung up on what the average draft placement suggests. It is merely a guideline, and anytime a service offering ADP compiles the data, it is impossible to weed out all variations and nuance. Use it for nothing more than a ballpark idea of when positional trends typically begin.
12) Drafting to trade: For some unknown reason, every year I have gamers asking me about which players to target solely for trading purposes. Drafting players for a potential trade bargaining piece down the line is unwise. Way too much can (and usually does) go wrong in this scenario.
Fantasy football PPR rankings*
*Requires a subscription to The Huddle’s draft guide
- Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens
- Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs
- Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys
- Kyler Murray, Arizona Cardinals
- Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks
- Christian McCaffrey, Carolina Panthers
- Saquon Barkley, New York Giants
- Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys
- Dalvin Cook, Minnesota Vikings
- Alvin Kamara, New Orleans Saints
- Michael Thomas, New Orleans Saints
- Davante Adams, Green Bay Packers
- Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons
- Tyreek Hill, Kansas City Chiefs
- Kenny Golladay, Detroit Lions
- Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs
- George Kittle, San Francisco 49ers
- Mark Andrews, Baltimore Ravens
- Zach Ertz, Philadelphia Eagles
- Tyler Higbee, Los Angeles Rams
Fantasy football sleepers*
*Requires a subscription to The Huddle’s draft guide
Fantasy football freebies
Best values in fantasy football drafts
QB Philip Rivers, Indianapolis Colts: A fresh start, promising weapons, and brilliant pass protection will get 2019’s QB24 back on track.
RB Matt Breida, Miami Dolphins: Mid-round investment for an explosive back who could finish as a weekly play is tough to ignore.
WR Jamison Crowder, New York Jets: The 2019 PPR WR26 in Round 9 is little risk, all upside. Suspect competition only adds to his appeal.
TE Jack Doyle, Indianapolis Colts: Knows system, TE-dependent QB, risky WRs, stud line limits blocking need, weak TE competition.
PK Ka’imi Fairbairn, Houston Texans: A less prolific offense should mean more field goals after a down year for the 2018 PK1.
DT Kansas City Chiefs: Lost only one defensive starter after 2019’s 9th-place fantasy finish; growing pains ahead for AFC West opponents.
Biggest risk in fantasy football drafts
QB Kyler Murray, Arizona Cardinals: No real OL improvements and a questionable backfield the only things standing in his way of top-three QB play.
RB Kenyan Drake, Arizona Cardinals: A microscopic, albeit wholly impressive, stretch of elite production has to be questioned.
WR Keenan Allen, Los Angeles Chargers: Drastically different system, first-time coordinator … mediocre journeyman or a rookie QB has to give pause for his PPR prowess.
TE Rob Gronkowski, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: The year off cuts both ways. What happens if his 43-year-old QB falls apart? System hasn’t been TE-friendly.
PK Josh Lambo, Jacksonville Jaguars: Increased offensive scoring prowess generally results in fewer three-pointer opportunities.
DT New England Patriots: A ton of key personnel turnover. Last year’s schedule was laughably easy, and the Pats struggled vs. strong competition.
Fantasy football breakouts
QB Drew Lock, Denver Broncos: World-class arm talent, notable upgraded weapons with a blossoming WR1, dangerous RBs and a proven offensive system.
RB Raheem Mostert, San Francisco 49ers: The likely 1a of the one-two punch with Tevin Coleman has way more upside and showed a nose for the paydirt down the stretch in 2019.
WR Diontae Johnson, Pittsburgh Steelers: Stands to make the biggest Year 2 jump of any WR. Big Ben’s return and healthy talent around him only help.
TE T.J. Hockenson, Detroit Lions: Viable system, strong QB play. Monitor health status before investing, but has hallmarks of becoming a fantasy starter.
PK Austin Seibert, Cleveland Browns: Slower-paced offensive design could mean more 3-pointers after promising rookie campaign.
DT Indianapolis Colts: Shored up DL and improved on the back end, too. Exploitable divisional opponents, plus reasonable schedule.
Fantasy football busts
QB Daniel Jones, New York Giants: A new system for a streaky QB is a major concern during a pandemic; inconsistency is a killer in weekly leagues.
RB David Johnson, Houston Texans: Living off of one monster season in 2016, Johnson is officially a one-year wonder with injury concerns.
WR Stefon Diggs, Buffalo Bills: Not a true No. 1, the pouty WR faces a terribly inaccurate QB in a run-first offense — all in Western New York.
TE Austin Hooper, Cleveland Browns: The richest tight end in the NFL will struggle to see enough passes to matter in fantasy will be difficult in a run-heavy system loaded with receiving talent.
PK Younghoe Koo, Atlanta Falcons: No long-range track record is compounded by a questionable offense in a tougher division.
DT Minnesota Vikings: No Everson Griffen, Linval Joseph, and top three CBs from 2019 … plus a rookie starting CB. Even with Yannick Ngakoue, there’s too much turnover to warrant confidence.
Fantasy Football strength of schedule series
COVID-19 and fantasy football tips
The NFL has been remarkable successful to date in its efforts to keep COVID-19 at bay. That’s not to say players may not face an influx in infections once the season is under way and players begin traveling.
- Be nimble and prepare for an exhausting season of working the waiver wire.
- Expect stars to get put on the COVID-19 list and miss a few games. That’s inevitable.
- Draft for continuity. Players on teams that have experienced as little turnover personnel-wise and within the coaching staff are in a better position to succeed, especially early in the year.
- Rookies will likely struggle early and often without a full offseason program. Running back is the easiest position to learn, though.
- Brace for some ugly football in the opening month. Low-scoring fantasy games may be the norm for several weeks, so taking a chance on fringe players in starting lineups could come back to bite you more so than in years past.
- Trading may be more difficult than ever in terms of assessing fair compensation. Work with what you know at the time and hope for the best, because that’s about all we can do during such uncertain times.