First things first: Make sure you understand your league’s scoring system. “On a fundamental level, the players you target are dependent on league type,” says Jonathan Bales, founder of FantasyLabs and author of the Fantasy Sports for Smart People series. Do QB’s get four or six points for touchdowns? How many points do they lose for interceptions? Do players get points for receptions?
“For example,” says Rotogrinders fantasy football expert Chris “Beermakersfan” Prince, “[Detroit RB] Theo Riddick's 80 receptions look great in a full PPR [point per reception] scoring system, but in non-PPR those 80 points go by the wayside. As a result, Riddick goes from a mid-round target to a late-round flier.”
Bales tends to draft conservatively early in his season-long fantasy drafts. “I'm looking for safety early in drafts and upside late." He adds that there are five types of players he looks for:
- Mobile quarterbacks
- Pass-catching running backs
- Big, heavy receivers and tight ends used as red zone targets
- Defenses that can pressure a QB
- Kickers on potent offenses that play in decent late-season weather
Here’s a run-down of some of the players Bales, Prince, and other fantasy experts will be targeting and avoiding heading into their 2016 fantasy football drafts.