Research Options for Fantasy Football Drafting

Preparing for a player draft is one of the most important aspects of fantasy football. There is an endless supply of NFL players to choose from.

The challenge for fantasy owners is to figuring out who to pick. Even those with many years of fantasy experience need some help figuring this out. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to prepare before the big day arrives.

Below you will find an overview of the basic resources available for fantasy football draft research.

Magazines
Most newsstands around the country are flooded with fantasy football magazines every summer. Some of the most popular are produced by ESPN, Sporting News and Yahoo. Most fantasy publications cost around $8 and in many stores actually outnumber magazines with real NFL content.

Fantasy football experts and prognosticators fill magazines with information and advice for the upcoming draft. Inside you will find full articles about player rankings, sleeper predictions and projected stats. Many also include “cheat sheets” and blank roster forms, making them valuable resources at drafts too.

A downside of fantasy magazine research is that some information may be inaccurate, depending upon publication date. Some release dates are many months prior to the season, meaning that certain injury updates or roster moves will not be factored in. Because of this, relying solely on magazines for draft preparation is usually not recommended.

League Hosting Site
When first signing into a league, you should find a link for drafting tools. Most fantasy team hosting sites offer useful draft information to team owners. Normally this can be viewed or downloaded at no extra cost.

For example, Yahoo leagues have a 70-page draft kit available in PDF format. Fox and ESPN both have comprehensive web pages full of rankings, analysis and other aspects of the game.

A big advantage to using online information is that it is updated frequently, as opposed to magazines. However, you will probably need to print these draft materials for future reference. Depending upon your printer hardware, this might create additional costs in ink and paper.

Pay Sites
Aside from hosting sites, other online draft resources exist as well. Usually these are sites which contain similar content, but for a fee also offer some advanced tools.

One example of this can be found at Fantasy Football Champs. The site has a customizable cheat sheet that uses algorithms to predict draft busts and sleepers. The entire draft package there is available for $29.95 a year. Other pay sites include Fantasy Football Sharks, Rotoworld and Football Docs.

Some sites charge over $100 a year for their draft research services. Obviously the biggest concern here is how much you money you really want to invest in fantasy football. If you decide to use a pay service, thoroughly check things out first to ensure it is worth the cost.

Mock Drafts
Fantasy football owners have a chance to practice picking players before the draft. This is done online in what is called a mock draft. The service is offered on team hosting sites as well as those which are just fantasy related.

A mock draft is done by entering into a virtual room, just as you would in the normal online draft format. Once the draft begins, each person picks players as though they were actually for a real roster. Mock drafts are usually offered free to registered users of a site, but there are often daily and/or weekly limits.

Participating in mock drafts is extremely helpful preparation for the real thing. One reason is that it quickly familiarizes owners with player names, rankings and average draft positions. This is also beneficial since you can learn new strategies while observing and talking with others in the mock draft room.