Basic fantasy football draft strategy?

So I’m going to my first fantasy football draft party tonight.
I’ve got my “cheat sheets” that rank the players in their positions and give projected fantasy points.
Twelve teams and I pick 5th, 20th, 29th, 44th, etc.

So besides grabbing the player who has the highest projected points available when it’s my turn what other strategy is there?
Positions to fill first? Positions to fill in later rounds?

What “strategy” do you use?

The bolded part above is not exactly what you want to do. You want to pay attention to scarcity, and how much difference there is between top performers and replacement-level players at the individual positions.

For instance, year in and year out, the difference between the top RBs and the last few starting fantasy RBs is much greater than between the top QBs and the adequate QBs, for example. This can vary with differing starting lineups in various leagues – QBs get a bump in value if you must start two, RBs get marked down a tick if you start one and/or have a flex position available that allows you to replace a RB with another position.

Drafting based on scarcity is known as “value-based drafting”, or VBD for short. Google those terms, and you’ll find copious reading material.

What generally happens in leagues with mainstream starting lineups and scoring rules is that teams draft a RB the first round, the best of the remaining RBs/WRs in the second round and third rounds, start looking for QBs in the 4th and TEs in either the 5th or 6th, and save kickers and defenses for the last few picks. But all that is all very, very general and is highly dependant on your draft position. For instance, it is popular for a person drafting in the middle to pull the trigger on the top TE in round 3, because the value at TE drops like a stone after the first 4 or 5 arre taken. Another exception in recent years has been Peyton Manning – after a certain point (6-10 RBs in), the speculative value of Peyton over the #2-ranked QB dictates that he’s actually worth a low-first round/high second-round pick.

Hampshire, read this article before you go to your draft. It lays out the principles of VBD in a quick, beginners-level read.

If you have a favorite team, be sure to check yourself when you want to draft players off of them. There is a tendency, I have found, for people to overvalue players they like on their favorite teams. I’m not saying don’t do it, just be careful. This is of course moot if you want to have the player on your team simply because you like the idea of it. Of course you can look at it like a hedge. Say you love the Eagles and you end up with Donovan McNabb. Cool, except when McNabb has a crappy game and the team lose you get hit twice, in fantasy football and in your real life allegience, making for a miserable weekend.