The 2015 fantasy football season is almost here. Truthfully, as I piece this 2015 draft guide together, we’re literally one week away from the first real game of the year. That leaves us little time to get ready for any remaining fantasy football drafts, to scour the waiver wire for last minute upgrades and to finalize our starting lineups for week one.
That’s where this fantasy football draft guide comes in. Most leagues wisely wait until the final week leading into the new season, as injuries and roles have helped paint a much clearer picture. ADP actually makes sense, you have a better grasp of sleepers and busts and you know in your gut for the most part who you do and don’t want to draft when you’re on the clock.
Unless, of course, you have no idea what you’re going to do. Whether you’re just touching up on a summer-long fantasy football cheat sheet that includes paper mache’, tears and the Draft Wizard (use it, bruh), or you’re just getting started now, the content we’ve produced over the past three months should come in useful. Breaking Football doesn’t have a prettied up draft guide, rather we’ve assembled all of the fantasy football advice we think will prove helpful to guiding you to success, whether it be in season long fantasy leagues or DFS fantasy football games in week one.
We’ve got you covered from every angle, and as extensive as this is, we’re still here for you all year long. With that, have at our 2015 fantasy football draft guide:
Fantasy Draft Strategy
A lot of people have different takes on the exact fantasy draft strategy that works every time. I’m not sure one exists. Not only because league size, scoring and settings in general can shake things up, but because there are so many different combinations to drafting that a ton of it is ultimately decided by a blend of luck and in-season decisions. We asked all of our fantasy football writers to sell you on their fantasy football strategy in a few sentences, and here’s what they said:
Kevin Roberts – Quarterbacks and wide receivers are insanely deep, and you can wait on tight end, kicker and defense. Get 1/2 stud running backs early and then draft solely based on value. The biggest key of all for drafting, though, is to adapt and react to situations and not draft like a robot. When value presents itself, you need to be able to pull the trigger. Successful fantasy teams are built on a foundation of able top shelf rushers and value. Get your stud running backs early and build out a deep, balanced squad throughout the rest of your draft.
Taylor Smith – I’m taking a RB in the first round like 99% of the time. That position sucks, so you’re pretty much screwed if you don’t manage to nab one of the few good ones. Similar story for TE. You can always find value QB/WR later.
Keet Bailey – Building a fantasy caliber championship team can be harder than it looks. One key mistake that’s made is when a run of QB, TE, D/ST and even K happen, people tend to get scared and jump the gun. When that run happens, I stockpile Flex/bench depth for RB and WR because worst case, it gets me some trade bait down the road or a key sleeper that you don’t have to worry about missing out on in the waiver order. No matter what, D/ST and K are the last two picks and you don’t need to draft two tight ends ever. Play the waiver wire with TE, D and K and focus on skill.
Terrence Kirker – With my first three picks, no matter what pick I have, it’s best available rb/wr 2 to 1. So either 2rb/1wr or 2wr/1rb. I try for 2 rb because the rb crop is smaller but not at the expense of value.
Joel Empey looks a little deeper into fantasy draft strategy with his 5 Tips to Help You Win in Fantasy Football. Need a look into the IDP side of things, too? Sweet, because in-house IDP guru Jonathan Pollak has you covered with his 2015 IDP Primer.
Mock Draft Central
Nothing prepares you for your fantasy draft like mocking it. You can use the sweet Draft Simulator to practice from your exact spot in precisely how your league is set up, and then later analyze the draft with in depth detail. Or you can just check out these rundowns of 8, 10 and 12-team fantasy mock drafts:
Who Goes #1 Overall?
Okay, so you have a strategy in place and even have done some mocks, but you have the first pick in your league’s draft and you have no clue to pick. The nice thing is you have a lot of options. The bummer is the days of LaDainian Tomlinson being the easy/obvious call are long gone. There are still some pretty safe guys and plenty of elite options, but what position and which specific player to pick is understandably a tough call.
Joel Empey eases your mind as he breaks down who you should take first in 2015. If you take an elite rusher in round one, don’t worry about them getting hurt. Just be sure to check out our Top Running Back Handcuffs so you know who to pick up later in drafts.
Players to Avoid
Joel Empey isn’t too high on Nick Foles this year, and it’s hard to blame him. Foles started looking shaky last year with the Eagles and now he’s on a new team with worse weapons and playing in the brutal NFC West. Foles lands on Empey’s fantasy football busts list. See who else you may want to avoid in fantasy football this year.
Fantasy Team Previews
We took the time to look at a lot of players that are in question for one reason or another, but we weren’t able to cover them all individually. We did touch on every single NFL team and all of their top options with 32 fantasy team breakdowns, however, which should give you a good idea of who is worth drafting on every single NFL squad this year.
Two key situations everyone has been all over are the injuries to Jordy Nelson and Kelvin Benjamin. With both wide receivers out for the season, who stands to benefit the most? We’ve got that covered in our team outlooks, while we also break down the impact of suspensions for Tom Brady, Martavis Bryant and Le’Veon Bell, among other things.
Safe vs. Risk
There are players to flat out avoid, and there are others just to be aware of that they might suck. There’s a distinct difference, as some guys could have red flags but at some point in the draft may represent value you just can’t pass up – especially if they carry a good amount of upside. Rob Gronkowski is one such player, as he has the talent and role to be a nightmare mismatch for opposing defenses all year long, but he also has a laundry list of injuries. The Gronk seems to be totally fine after crushing heads and taking names and finishing 2014 as the undisputed top option at the tight end position, but you have to draft him as early as round one to get him. All things considered, is Gronk too risky to draft this year? Perhaps, perhaps not. Our writers tackle it from both angles, as they take a look at some of the safest and riskiest picks entering the 2015 fantasy football season. Hit the links for the Safest and Riskiest picks this year.
Top Draft Steals
Value is a big thing we preach here at Breaking Football, and whether you’re a season long kid or a DFS degenerate, value is always going to be something you’re willing to search high and low for. In season long fantasy drafts, that value starts to appear in the middle rounds, and can extend all the way to the end of your draft. The best way to find it is to use ADP (Average Draft Position) findings and mock your draft to see when and where you can get specific players. We took a gander at some of the top fantasy draft steals just waiting for you:
Not enough fantasy steals for ya? Great, because Adam Funk talks about Brian Quick and a few more late round steals right here. Fantasy team defenses aren’t touched on very much during the preseason, but they probably should be. Adam Funk takes a look at a few defensive units that may be flying under the radar a bit heading into 2015.
DFS Help For Week 1 (And All Season)
Everyone wants to win the big money in DFS fantasy football. If you hadn’t noticed, we’ve got a few banners in this fantasy draft guide, where you can either put up some of your own cash and win millions, or play FOR FREE and win a piece of a massive $100k prize pool in week one. Pick your poison.
Regardless of how you roll in DFS, Taylor Smith has you covered all year long with his weekly fantasy football advice pertaining specifically to winning big in DFS (although a lot of it surely applies to season long leagues, as well). He’s already pieced together some killer insight pieces, while Joel Empey added a preview for Fan Duel sleepers in week one, as well. Enjoy:
- Week 1 Fan Duel Value Buys
- Advice For the Week 1 $100k Free Roll
- QB Value at DraftKings in Week 1
- Breaking Down the Top RB Values
Value buys are fun to point out, but they might be worthless if you don’t pay attention to all of the matchups. Taylor Smith has put the time in to check out the top fantasy matchups to avoid, as well as the matchups to target in DFS week one action.
Oh, and we’d be damn fools if we didn’t specifically point out DK’s $10 million game in week one. Here’s some special Insight on How to Pick the $2 Million Winner.
All of this is just a taste of the type of insight you’ll get on a weekly basis all year long. Let’s top it off with Taylor Smith’s look at the top values at the quarterback position in week one.
All of the Fantasy Rankings
Kevin Roberts heads the fantasy football portion of Breaking Football and presents his 2015 fantasy player rankings as a member of FantasyPros.com’s yearly accuracy challenge. Hit the rankings in the constantly updated window below: