What drafting consistent starters means is in the early rounds of your fantasy football draft you should be picking the higher valued players who are more likely to produce closer to their predicted value and have done so in the past. We want to take the least amount of risk with our first few picks. I like to assure my team with the best chance of making my league's playoffs in the early rounds and win the playoffs in the later rounds with sleepers and a good bench.
Let's look at an example
Please Note: In the preceding example I will be using my personal 2012 fantasy football rankings as a guideline but not restrictively. You very well could and will have players ranked and drafted at different spots. My rankings just help address the point of the fantasy football tip better.
It's the late first round and you've got the ninth pick in a 10 team league. Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Arian Foster, Ray Rice, LeSean McCoy, Maurice Jones-Drew and Calvin Johnson have already been taken.
Breaking it down
By popular perception many fantasy football owners would most likely choose a running back here so we'll assume you're looking at players like Chris Johnson, Matt Forte, Ryan Mathews, Marshawn Lynch, and Adrian Peterson.
Each of these running backs has their upside and downside, which if research was done correctly should be known. Most importantly though, one thing they have in common is that they're not elite players at their fantasy football position.
It's the same reason Detroit Lions wide receiver Johnson is being taken high in the first round of fantasy football drafts this year despite playing a position that usually produces in the mid-100s for total fantasy football points. He's elite, the best at his position, increasingly outscoring every other receiver and unless cursed by injury he's destined to be the number one or two fantasy football receiver this year. Consistent elite value like this can't be assured this year by the five fantasy football running backs mentioned early.
So unless you're drafting an elite back like Foster from the Houston Texans, Rice from the Baltimore Ravens, McCoy from the Philadelphia Eagles or the highly consistent Jones-Drew from the Jacksonville Jaguars, I suggest waiting on your fantasy football running back at a point like this. I know it might be difficult but trust me it'll be worth waiting for.
Who to take at this point
Based on past trends quarterbacks consistently play up to their perceived values more often than any other position. So we should take a quarterback. It's safer to assume Lions Matthew Stafford or Carolina Panthers Cam Newton will be more successful than the other potential choices.
As for a side note, after Stafford and Newton, I feel fantasy football quarterbacks really begin to fall off. So in this scenario you're going to want to snag the last elite quarterback as soon as you can.
Overall there are so many different scenarios that it's almost impossible to develop just one strategy that is successful for each one of those scenarios but what is possible is to implement the "draft consistent high quality picks early" aspect to your strategy. This way you can assure yourself a spot in the playoffs and then win them in the later rounds of your fantasy football draft with higher reward picks.
Jake has played fantasy football for years and has won numerous leagues. Follow him on twitter, @JGilfix, for his latest sports news, fan perspective articles, or just to talk sports or fantasy sports.