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Scott Pianowski

Tip Drill: Leftovers

There are plenty of bite-size fantasy tips out there that don't merit a strategy entry all their own. Here's a bunch of them, for the same one Tip Drill price. Good for dipping.

Travel light on game night. You're not studying for the bar exam.

If resources or time won't allow you to track full rosters of your opponents, downshift to tracking positions only. Knowing where teams are shallow or deep at all points of the evening has a value.

Roughly sketch out ahead of time what you want your roster structure to be. It's not a mandate, just a guide.

When choosing between two similar running backs or kickers, take the guy on the winning team. Run the numbers over the last decade or two and you'll see the advantage backs and kickers have if they're on a winning club.

If you're drafting in a long-time league, stop to consider the biases of your opponents. Are they in love (or in hate) with the local team? Do they target the same guys every year? The same type of player? Does the room go crazy for rookies?

Most auctions have a break or two but you might need one at a different time. Simple: nominate the best player on the board that you don't want, announce the minimum price, and go do your business.

Exhibition results mean less for established players, and more for role-battling players. And most of what happens in the second half of any preseason game can be thrown immediately in the garbage. The third game for most teams turns into the dress rehearsal, and has more merit than the other weeks.

If rules allow it, I'll occasionally pass on drafting a kicker, instead opting for one more lottery ticket at RB or WR. Before Week 1, I'll discard the least-valuable guy on my roster and claim my kicker.

All that matters in the late rounds is upside. Any halfback is generally better than a fullback. Kurt Warner might be worth more than Rex Grossman in a lot of leagues, even if he's not starting initially.

If I know most of my opponents are using one source for their rankings or information, I'll get familiar with that source, too, at least to a limited extent.

Make a pick because it helps you, not because it frosts your opponent. Yeah, it's satisfying when you jump ahead of a rival and take a guy they coveted, but if you're doing it for that sake only, you're missing the point of the draft - collecting talent to your roster, and filling your needs.

Do a couple news sweeps before the night of your draft; one right before you start is always a good idea.

Don't bother with a lot of depth at tight end, kicker and defense. In some groups I can see taking a second tight end, but it's usually a waste of resources to carry two defenses or kickers.

Knowing the max bids remaining is a huge chunk of the auction endgame. And if you're the most liquid guy at the table and you're sure a late player will go max, bid the ceiling of the next-richest owner first, it saves you an important endgame dollar.

Limit the distractions on draft night. Wait a minute, we mentioned that. And on that note, let's open the floor for questions, comments, suggestions and manifestos.

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