Profile Picture of Brad Perniciaro

The Best Fantasy Football Draft Strategy Guides for 2017

Updated 8/10/2017 by Brad Perniciaro
Fantasy Football Magazines

When it comes to prepping for a fantasy football draft, many owners follow the path of least resistance. They wait until draft day, grab the latest printable cheat sheets, then simply work their way down the list as they make their selections.

And there's nothing wrong with that. It certainly beats them looking over your shoulder at the rankings you carefully researched and compiled! By the way, you can cure this problem with this ingenious, fake fantasy football cheat sheet.

Some owners put in a little more effort, maybe spending a few hours to a day reading articles, scanning sleeper lists, and creating their own cheat sheet based on the knowledge they glean during this short research session. Again, this is a perfectly legitimate way to cram for a draft and many fantasy championships have been won in this manner.

Using Theory and Science to Gain a Draft Day Advantage

Fantasy Draft Strategy

But there is a small minority of fantasy owners that take this game a bit more seriously. They not only want to know who the best players are, but they want to apply proven draft strategies to their fantasy drafts in order to gain a substantial advantage over their competition. For these elite fantasy enthusiasts, there are fantasy football draft strategy guides.

Fantasy strategy guides go beyond the purely data-driven analysis of fantasy magazines to analyze overarching football trends, applicable game theory, and proprietary player valuation algorithms that were developed specifically for the purpose of building fantasy championship teams before, during, and after your fantasy football draft.

In this article, I will review four of the best fantasy football strategy guides for the upcoming 2017 NFL season.  Here is a list of the guides I'll be reviewing in detail below.  You can click on any of the links to quickly check their current price.

 

 

The Power of a Good Draft Strategy Guide

If you're looking for the latest player rankings, cheat sheets by scoring system, or mock drafts results, a fantasy draft guide probably isn't what you're looking for. That's because much of the content in a modern football draft guide [typically] centers around broader and more Evergreen topics. These might include:

  • Team and coaching analysis
  • Proven draft strategies
  • NFL data analytics
  • Game theory as it relates to fantasy sports

That isn't to say that fantasy football magazines with the latest player evaluations aren't useful. They certainly are. But being knowledgeable about player potential is only half the battle. The other half is applying that knowledge scientifically to maximize your roster's fantasy potential at your draft.

Let's look at some reasons why fantasy football guides can be so useful.

Evergreen fantasy football strategies never expire

Although strategies in fantasy football have evolved over the years, at its core the object of the game is still the same: pick the players whose collective performances will produce more points than your competition, based on your league's scoring configuration.

Even though this sounds simple, translating stats directly into player rankings doesn't always produce the best results. Fantasy football experts exhort various formulas for calculating player valuations, algorithms for formulating cheat sheet rankings, and strategies for roster management that use science to give you an advantage before, during, and after your draft.

The application of these scientific principles never go out of date and can give you the edge you need to win in a game where champions are routinely decided by a point or two.

Coaching philosophy can play a huge role in player valuation

Coach Sean Payton

Player values can sometimes fluctuate wildly based on their team, injuries, or depth chart shuffling. However, each NFL coach's style generally remains constant regardless of the team or players they are coaching. Some coaches are conservative on offense, others don't mind taking huge risks to put the ball in the end zone.

Coaching philosophy plays a significant role in player valuation. This is because coaching tendencies give you a glimpse into how players of a particular position will likely perform under their direction.

For instance, a wide receiver coached by Sean Payton would have a much higher ceiling than one coached by Jeff Fisher. This is an extreme example, but you get the point. A player's performance won't always live up to their abilities.

Draft guides typically include coaching analysis because it stays somewhat consistent and has a huge impact on the potential of so many players.

Team performance projections can significant affect player projections

Team performance has a direct impact on its players' potential value because they are obviously limited by the strength of their team as a whole. Team performance is harder to predict than coaching philosophy, but a good fantasy expert can draw some sensible conclusions based on past performance and roster turnover.

Knowing how well a team is expected to perform is an important consideration when making your draft selections. As such, most fantasy draft guides will include team projections for this purpose. In some cases, experts compare their team projections against the projected win and loss records according to Vegas.

The Best Fantasy Football Draft Guides Reviewed

Let's jump right in and talk about the top draft guides for the 2017 season. All of these guides have something unique to offer, and each has its strong and weak points. Some are stronger on theory while others shine when it comes to analytics.

Pay special attention to the pros and cons of each publication as they can give you a good indication of which guide is a better fit for your drafting style.

 

Warren Sharp's 2017 Football Preview

Warren Sharp is a civil engineer by trade who is renowned for developing computer models to understand the factors that contribute to NFL success. He applies these frameworks to create a yearly football preview that is a staple in the industry.

His football research has been published worldwide including the Wall Street Journal, Yahoo!, and the Huffington Post. Warren is a regular guest on sports radio shows and his expertise has been recognized by ESPN.

This 2017 draft guide covers fantasy football thoroughly but also provides insight into many meaningful aspects of NFL business. Some of the more notable topics include:

  • Coaching analysis
  • Discussion of Vegas odds
  • Front office analysis
  • Visualized data analytics
  • Team evaluations

Bucking the trend to achieve fantasy success

This 2017 draft guide is the antithesis of what you normally see in fantasy football guides, and that is by design. Warren preaches that the most successful fantasy football players are those that do the opposite of what the majority of publications preach.

His strategy is to first consider football fundamentals, then evaluate each NFL team (including their coaching philosophy), and ultimately assess the players. Warren uses detailed visualizations to illustrate his system and straightforward data analytics to support his strategy.

Reviews for the 2017 Football Preview are off the charts, with the most damning criticism being a few spelling or grammatical errors. If you'd like to get your fantasy football prep from an engineer's mind, and not some arrogant frat boy in a tie, then this is the fantasy football guide for you.

PROS

  • Clear and actionable analytics
  • Easily digestible graphics
  • A proven track record of accurate predictions
  • Outstanding customer satisfaction

CONS

  • Minor spelling and grammatical errors

 

Fantasy Football Black Book

The 2017 version of the Fantasy Football Black Book is Joe Pisapia's 10th edition. For the nine previous years that his fantasy draft guide has been on the market, Joe has been the #1 Best-Selling fantasy sports author on Amazon.

Joe's credentials go beyond simply being a top author. His radio show was also named the FSTA Fantasy Radio Show of the Year. So he's got skins on the wall when it comes to being a legit fantasy football expert.

Joe's success as a fantasy football prognosticator is partially due to his formula for evaluating players known as Relative Position Value (RPV). He is a big proponent of value-based drafting and the Fantasy Football Black Book goes into detail on why you should adopt this strategy in your own fantasy football leagues.

In his 10th edition of the Black Book, Joe brings in fantasy experts from across the web to provide their insights. This list includes Jake Ciely of RotoExperts, Gary Davenport of IDP Sharks, and Sammy Reid of Fantasy Insiders.

This fantasy guide has been on the market for longer than many of us have been playing fantasy sports. Consider grabbing a copy of the 2017 Fantasy Football Black Book and take your fantasy game to the next level.

PROS

  • A proven, 10-year publication
  • 2017 draft strategies for all league formats
  • Digestible for both newbies and established players
  • From a renowned, well-respected author

CONS

  • Some readers have reported grammatical errors (although appears this was resolved)

 

RotoRadar's Fantasy Football Draft Strategy Guide

This new fantasy football guide from Patrick Tursic takes a page from game theory to offer draft strategies that focus on finding value throughout the draft process.  Patrick has written several books on fantasy strategy spanning much of the sports landscape to include football, baseball, and basketball.  

This guide starts with a review of game theory and how it applies to fantasy football. From there Patrick delves into many draft strategies that have proven to be successful in the context of fantasy football.

Instead of re-hashing player rankings, or telling you exactly which draft strategy to use, this guide presents you with various drafting styles and how each can be used to give you an edge on draft day.

Some of the popular strategies discussed include:

  • Value-based drafting
  • The Zero-RB strategy
  • The Zero-QB strategy
  • ADP-based drafting

If you're looking for a draft guide that is heavy on theory and will not lose its value when the next fantasy football season rolls around, check out RotoRadar's Guide. If nothing else it will undoubtedly increase your fantasy football IQ.

PROS

  • An evergreen guide that will retain its value
  • Covers all popular draft strategies in detail
  • Heavy on theory and backed-up with data

CONS

  • Light on player evaluations

 

Triple J's Fantasy Football Report 2017

This fantasy football guide is brought to you by two authors who specialize in high-stakes fantasy football. James "Triple J" Wagner has placed as high as 4th place in the High-Stakes Fantasy Football Grand Prize Competition. Scott Bolton is a lifetime NFL fan and has won thousands of dollars in High-Stakes Circuits and on DFS websites.

Although this fantasy football guide is marketed as a high-stakes fantasy football guide, the principles taught throughout are just as useful to a fantasy football novice as they are to an expert. In other words, the content is just as applicable to local leagues as it is to high-stakes games.

One of the more interesting aspects of this fantasy guide is that they present you with completed draft boards from some of the high-stakes drafts taking place in 2017. James and Scott analyze the first five rounds of each board to give you a glimpse into the mind of a high-stakes fantasy football expert. You'll learn to think like they do and avoid common mistakes during your own fantasy drafts.

Imagine sitting with a poker pro at the World Series as they give you a play-by-play of how each hand is played out. That's what you'll get from the 2017 edition of Triple J's Fantasy Football Report.

This draft guide is only available in digital format.

PROS

  • Draft analysis from real high-stakes experts
  • Thorough breakdown of each NFL team
  • Players on each team to avoid like the plague

CONS

  • Only available in digital format
Share this article
blog comments powered by Disqus
Legal

Cheat Sheet War Room is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to cheatsheetwarroom.com.