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Engel's Angles: How to Avoid Getting "Sniped" in Drafts


Some people don’t believe the things I say when I talk about some of my approaches to fantasy football. For instance, I do not check my live scoring during Sundays until the 4 pm ET set of games is over. I prefer to stay level-headed and ease my potential fantasy stress, and I don’t want to get too distracted from watching the games as they develop.

It is true, I don’t drive myself crazy with the ups and downs of following live scoring. I know there will be surges and outages, ebbs and flows. I just want to see the score when the majority of the games are finished. That’s when you get a truly better picture of what your weekly outlook may be.

The other thing that some don’t believe? I never get “sniped” on a pick in a draft. I would never lie to my readers. So how is it possible?

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Never Get Sniped: Cut Out the Guesswork

It happens as early as the first round. You are sitting at the No. 7 spot in the first round and hoping Clyde Edwards-Helaire falls to you. So before the draft, you start guessing what the first eight picks could be. Maybe you even talk to a few people ahead of you to see who they are thinking about taking. After running through the scenarios in your head many times, you are ready to draft, with the hope that your guy will be there when it’s time to pick.

So you stress and guess as the picks go off the board on your computer screen. McCaffery, Barkley, Elliott, Kamara. Yup, that is how you thought it would go. The next two picks are crucial. Your heart races as the clock winds down. Then the selected No. 5 pick pops up: Dalvin Cook.

Now everything rides on the sixth pick. You are going nuts as the clock winds down. If the No. 6 team GM/coach takes Michael Thomas, you are getting Edwards-Helaire. That is how you hoped and projected it would work out. Then, with 30 seconds to go, Clyde-Edwards Helaire’s name appears as the player taken by the sixth team.

You let loose with some sort of wording I cannot write in this space and then tell the league member who picked him how they “killed you.” This was the player you were hoping would anchor your squad. Now you have to settle for someone else, and the draft is already frustrating you.

This is a mistake-filled process that many fantasy players put themselves through when they don’t have to. I never do. First, you should not invest too much time in trying to guess what other drafters will do ahead of you. They may change their minds on the fly or might not be fully forthcoming with you. Some of them will pull surprises you never expected. Very often, other people simply won’t share your thought processes.

Playing the guessing game is an exercise in anxiety that really is not necessary. You should also not invest your energies on a player that may never make it to your draft slot. You cannot pin so much hope on a guy that may never end up on your team at all and then be disappointed when you never get the opportunity to draft him.  You should be targeting groups of players throughout the draft, never pining for one player to land in your draft slot.

You will be driving yourself crazy until your turn comes up and you don’t need to do that to yourself. Get rid of the drama and focus on executing the draft with a steady, focused hand by always being ready in your queue. The ones who don’t have groups of players queued up every round are the ones who use the whole clock when it’s the seventh round. They aren’t prepared at the beginning of the draft, and they don’t adjust on the run. These are the types who are most likely to get “sniped.”

 

Embrace the Queue

You can avoid that feeling of frustration by simply queuing up several players even before the draft begins. If you are picking from the seventh slot, then simply pop in your top seven players overall: McCaffery, Barkley, Elliott, Kamara, Cook, Edwards-Helaire, and Miles Sanders as an example.

Then, the scenario in which you watch the players come off the board becomes much different and easier to handle. Instead of pinning all your hopes on Edwards-Helaire, you know that the best-case result is to take CEH if the No. 6 drafter passes on him. If Edwards-Helaire gets picked, you are now mentally prepared to ride with Sanders.

No bad words flying. No feelings of frustration. You prepared instead of speculated. Now all of your mental energies are focused on the next pick.

That should be the case. But I have talked to many fantasy players who start thinking heavily about singular players with their next selection, and the one beyond that. “Yeah, it could be great if I end up with Sanders, Ekeler, and Godwin to start out.” This process can repeat itself every round and groups of rounds if you don’t prevent it at the very beginning. After you saw Ekeler and Godwin “sniped” from you in the next two rounds, you start hoping for D.J,. Moore in the fifth. DK Metcalf in the sixth. And it goes on and on.

You are obviously not going to get “sniped” five times in five rounds, but you get the idea by now. You cannot project and plan your draft ahead of time. That edict goes for the entire draft, too. You cannot rigidly plan how your draft will go ahead of time. Have a “shell” of plan ready, but always be ready to adjust on the run. Of course, you may have heard this before, yet you still spend a lot of time mock drafting trying to see how your team might look. Every single draft is different, though, even the mocks. You may be talking to the screen right now, saying “Scott I know to go with the flow of the draft.” If you are getting “sniped”, though, you are not really following that rule the whole way through.

 

A Consistent and Calm Approach

Once the first round is over, you must immediately start queuing up players for the next round. This becomes even easier if you have pre-ranked players or have imported your own ranks or those from an expert you trust. Don’t worry too much about missing picks that happen in real-time as you do this. As you queue up the players you may want, they will disappear from the queue if they are taken. Once you finish queuing up players you will likely still have time to catch up on the previous picks anyhow. No matter where you pick, there is always a considerable wait time between rounds.

Once the queuing is finished, you can calmly sit back and see who falls to you in every round. Now I am not telling you I never have a situation where I am seeing a certain player nearly fall to me, hope I get him, and then it doesn’t happen. But I don’t react negatively because there is always a “next man up” for me in the queue.

The flipside of getting “sniped” is the thrill of seeing an unexpected value fall to you. When you are prepared in every round with groups of players you may want, you are much less likely to feel “robbed” at any time. So start emphasizing preparation over speculation. Pre-rank or import player lists that you trust and queue up groups of players to target for every round. Then you will always find yourself operating smoothly instead of reacting with disappointment. You took the best available player in every round to suit your needs. You can walk away with a feeling of satisfaction on draft day.



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The 2020 MLB season will always be one for the record books, even if everything that took place will have multiple asterisks attached to it. Evaluating Statcast numbers is a nice way to find hot and cold hitters, as well as underachievers and overachievers. Now that the regular season is over, let's reflect on the... Read More


Daily MLB Injury Roundup for October 16th, 2020

RotoBaller has assembled a list of daily MLB injury updates to help you prepare both your seasonal and daily fantasy baseball (DFS) lineups, every day of the MLB season. Below is our updated list of injured MLB players for October 16th, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


Daily MLB Injury Roundup for October 15th, 2020

RotoBaller has assembled a list of daily MLB injury updates to help you prepare both your seasonal and daily fantasy baseball (DFS) lineups, every day of the MLB season. Below is our updated list of injured MLB players for October 15th, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


Daily MLB Injury Roundup for October 14th, 2020

RotoBaller has assembled a list of daily MLB injury updates to help you prepare both your seasonal and daily fantasy baseball (DFS) lineups, every day of the MLB season. Below is our updated list of injured MLB players for October 14th, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


Bubba and Bat Flip 53: 2 Early Mocks APD Trends & More - Benched with Bubba (Episode 315)

Bubba (@bdentrek) is joined by Bat Flip Crazy (@BatFlipCrazy) to take a deeper look at the 2 Early Mocks ADP. They dig into trends, some interesting risers/fallers, and much more. They also go over some listener questions at the end to keep the Fantasy Baseball information coming even in the offseason. Be sure to subscribe... Read More