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Screen Shot from Draft Advisor Software

Screen shot from FootballDocs Draft Advisor Software

Draft Advisor Help

Get the most from the Draft Advisor!

We want to make sure each and everyone of you maximize the Draft Advisor (DA) for your fantasy football draft.  It is a handy little tool that can really help.  What we personally love about the Draft Advisor is its ability to give immediate feedback for relative value at each position in each unique league scoring system.  We use it every time we are in a new system to give us a feel for how to draft. Depending on league scoring setup, you do not want to use the same draft strategy in each league.  Standard overall rankings are pretty useless beyond standard performance leagues.  The Draft Advisor provides a means by which you can accelerate your knowledge and timescale required to be competitive in a variety of fantasy football scoring leagues.  It will show you what positions are valuable for each system and help with a draft strategy for each unique scoring system.  With that in mind, we wanted to make sure "help" for the Draft Advisor could be easily found and readily available.   Here are a few things to keep in mind when using the Draft Advisor:

First, be sure to remove any previous versions of the Draft Advisor from your computer prior to installing any new or updated versions.  Otherwise, the player rankings from older versions will be used even though the operating environment may appear to be that of the newer version.  Simply follow the instructions for uninstalling the Draft Advisor given below.  As for installing the new version, the Draft Advisor Download is a zip file that contains the Draft Advisor program.  Be sure to "extract" all zip files prior to attempting to run the setup file.  For those with Windows, Windows already has a zip extraction tool included with it.  Simply "double mouse click" the Draft Advisor zip file.  A window will appear with the file contents inside.  RESIST the urge to click on any of those file contents.  Rather, in the left-hand menu is a link labeled "Extract all files".  Click on that link and follow the step-by-step instructions in the Extraction Wizard.  At the conclusion of the Wizard, all files will be extracted.  At that point, just double click on the "Setup" file in the unzipped Draft Advisor folder and follow the onscreen instructions.  The Draft Advisor will automatically be installed as an item in your "Start Menu" under "All Programs".

Windows 7 includes a security feature that when a new file comes from another computer, it's blocked. Once the zip file is extracted, right click on each file and choose properties. In the bottom of the General Tab, there is a section labeled Security (this is NOT the Security tab). Next to the section title is the following information: "This file came from another computer and might be blocked to help protect the computer." Next to the information there is an Unblock button. Click Unblock and then click OK. Do this for each file in the deployment (the setup.exe, the .application, and all the files in the folder below FootballDocsDA). Once this is done on each file, the security area goes away and cannot be viewed again by choosing properties on the file unless it is re-downloaded. You may need to perform this sequence of events each time you download the updated version of the Draft Advisor. Once all the files have been unblocked, setup runs normally. Click here for a screen shot to further illustrate.

Prior to installing any newer versions of the Draft Advisor, the older version must be uninstalled from your computer.  It is a very quick, simple process and involves doing the exact same thing you would for any program you wish to remove from your computer.  For Windows users, click START >> Control Panel >> Add or Remove Programs.  Then find the "FootballDocs" entry, highlight it with a single mouse click, and select the "Change / Remove" button.  Follow on-screen instructions and viola!  It's gone.  You are now ready to install the updated version.

A single mouse click directly on a player's name will access the in-depth write-up for that player (if available for that player).  The write-up will appear in the lower right-hand corner of the Draft Advisor in the "Player Profile" Box.  Note the write-up will NOT appear if you click on other values listed in the same row as the player (i.e. "RB", "ATL", etc), so be sure to click on the player's name to access the Player Profiles.

A simple "double-click" on a player will move them to and from the "Available Box" and the "Taken Box".  A "double click" on a menu title such as "Value", "Pos" (Position), or "Point" will sort all players in that box by that menu item.

Right click and you can add players to up to 20 different teams. Players will then be shown on that team's page and in the general "Taken" tab. If you add a player you didn't mean to add, you can easily place them back in the available pool list. To move that player back to the available list, just double click on the player's name and they will be returned to the top of the available players list. You can move a player back from the general taken list or from a team page. It doesn't matter which one you choose.

The Draft Advisor is packed with loads of statistical information for each player.  Note the scroll bars associated next to each box in the Draft Advisor window.  They can be used to access more statistical information.

The color tiers are designed to provide an easy, visual reference to indicate players of comparable fantasy football value for the scoring system entered.  You can select whether or not you would like to see the color tiers by simply checking or unchecking the "Color Tier" box at the top of the Draft Advisor window.  Note that the tiers are generated using a special, complicated mathematical algorithm.  This algorithm has proven to be very robust in a variety of fantasy football scoring systems; however, it is impossible to test every possible scoring system out there.  If you get unusual results, send us an email and we will review the results to make sure they are appropriate for your system.

We tried to account for just about any flex position based system out there.  Please read all the FLEX entries carefully when entering the required starts for your fantasy scoring system under "Customized Scoring".  The most important thing is to be sure to only enter what specifically applies and do not account for a required starting position twice (i.e., if you have a single RB/WR flex position, denote it as "1" in the "RB/WR" flex category.  Do not count for it twice by adding "+1" in the RB category, "+1" in the WR category, AND "+1" in the RB/WR flex category.  By doing that, you have entered a system that requires a RB, WR, and RB/WR flex start!).  Just to make sure things are perfectly clear, here's an example:

Suppose you are in a fantasy scoring system that has the following setup:
QB, RB, WR, RB/WR flex, RB/WR flex, RB/WR flex, TE, K, and D.

You would enter the following in the Custom Scoring of the Draft Advisor:

• Number of Starting QB's per team = 1
• Number of Starting RB's per team = 1
• Number of Starting WR's per team = 1
• Number of Starting TE's per team = 1
• Number of Starting K's per team = 1
• Number of Starting D's per team = 1
• Number of Starting FLEX (WR/TE) per team = 0
• Number of Starting Flex (RB/WR) per team = 3
• (All other entries = 0)

You can save your Draft Advisor rankings by simply clicking the Save button (disk icon) at the top of the menu bar.  Name your rankings anything you wish.  Just click the file folder icon when you want to reopen a saved file to pick-up where you left off prior to your last save.

To open a saved session, start the Draft Advisor in the "Default Mode". Then click the open file icon from the main Draft Advisor window. Don't try to use this option from one update to the next because player values will have changed and your saved session will have the player values of the previous update that you saved.

We encourage all subscribers to "experiment" with the Draft Advisor using different scoring formats to see what unique ranking lists it provides.  When iterating with different scoring systems, please note you simply have to close the program, reopen, and enter new scoring information as prompted.  Also note to close any help windows that may have been open; otherwise, when attempting to restart the Draft Advisor nothing will happen as it associates the execute command with an already open help window (Note this help window can be "hidden" behind other windows on your screen and does not appear as a menu item in your start menu.  Minimize all other windows to find the open help window and close it prior to restarting the Draft Advisor).  While not as convenient as on-the-fly revisions, it is four mouse clicks of an inconvenience (close window, double click to open, and then click to "I agree").  We have been working on trying to make this more convenient in future releases, but at no risk to the accuracy or functionality of the computed results of the program. 

There are three options to print:

• The quickest and easiest way to print is to click the "PrintTop200" button on the menu bar at the top of the Draft Advisor Program window.  This will immediately send a print of your unique rankings list to your printer (make sure it is on).  Naturally, the list will be restricted to your Top 200 rankings in an effort to save paper.  Color Tiers will be denoted by text showing a break in player value.

• Similar to the "PrintTop200" button, there is the "PrintTop400" button to the right of it. This is intended for those folks that need a longer list due to playing in larger fantasy leagues.

• The last option is the "PrintToTextFile" button on the menu bar.  This generates a text file of the rankings by clicking the button and choosing the location and name for the text file (**VERY IMPORTANT** Note the location where you saved the text file).  The text file can be opened in Excel for printing (if you do not have Excel, the text file itself can be printed using a Text Editor).  Here are step-by-step printing instructions using Excel:
1. Open Microsoft Excel
2. Click File -> Open -> choose the text file you just created "YourFileNameHere.txt"
3. Select "Delimited" and click "Finish"
4. Click File --> Print

• Do be patient when waiting for the Draft Advisor to compile your unique rankings.  It can take up to 30 seconds to complete.
• Do take the time to read the in-depth write-ups.  They provide key pieces of information to help in critical moments of your draft.
• Don't overwrite or erase the "newDAinput.dat" file.  Without this file, the Draft Advisor cannot run.
• Don't run more than one version of the Draft Advisor at the same time.
• Do experiment with the Draft Advisor. It provides a powerful means to expose players and positions of value in a variety of systems.

First off, any time we are asked to participate in either an expert or highly competitive league with a scoring system we aren't quite familiar with, we immediately go to the Draft Advisor as our first mode of operation.  The Draft Advisor does a great job of exposing players of value in a load of different scoring formats.  It gives immediate feedback for what positions are valuable, what positions can slide, and what type of players you need to target for a particular scoring system.  It is a great starting point and ultimate ending point on your draft day.

The above is no small contribution.  Make no mistake, there is no replacement for experience in a particular scoring system.  However, the problem with experience is that it takes YEARS to develop and refine.  After all, there is only one NFL (Fantasy Football) season each year, so you only get the opportunity to learn the "do's" and "dont's" for a particular league scoring system once per year.  Learning takes iterations to nail down.  Need three iterations?  It will take three years.  The Draft Advisor will bring you up to speed quickly and help you field a competitive team in an unfamiliar scoring format immediately out of the gates.  It will also point to positions of value, which you can target for free agent pick-ups during the year as well as for trades.  Suddenly, you have reduced the time it takes to develop expertise in each unique fantasy football scoring system.

Let us give a "for instance".  For instance, say you dominate each year in a standard performance scoring system (1 pt. / 10 yards rush & receive, 1 pt / 20 yards pass, 4 pts per Pass TD, 6 pts per rush & receive TD, etc).  Try playing in a league that has the same system but adds a full point per each reception (PPR).  After trying to apply your "proven" draft strategy, you learn real quick it doesn't quite hold in that format.  In fact, you learn WRs behave much like RBs in that format, and the value of pass catching RBs.  It can get much worse.... say you are in a new PPR league that also makes you start 2 QBs... ouch... you now also learn the QB value lesson for those particular leagues real quick, but it will take you a year or two (in standard performance formats QBs are one of the ideal positions to let slide in your draft while grabbing other high demand positions such as RB and WR -- refer to our Quarterback Free Fall article in our Fantasy Football Article Archive. Suddenly most rankings online and available in fantasy magazines are frankly pretty worthless.  They are based on a standard performance system and cannot account for your system.  They can lead you to make poor, misinformed decisions for your particular scoring format.

The point is, if you had the Draft Advisor (which you do), it would red flag those positions for you.  In the aforementioned example, the Draft Advisor will generate a ranking list that is much more heavy in WRs and QBs than traditional overall rankings lists.  The Draft Advisor is trying to show you what positions you need to pay attention to in your draft relative to your particular scoring system.  If you put in a more extreme scoring system and the DA lists 25 QBs for the first 25 picks (i.e. say 3 QB required for the start and equal fantasy points awarded for passing, rushing, and receiving.... i.e. 1 pt per 10 yards pass/rush/receive), clearly don't take QBs with your first 10 picks, but the Draft Advisor is telling you that QBs had better be in your draft plans early or you could suffer the consequences.  You can back-fill with other positions later after nailing a top flight QB.  This is where the "a little discretion can go a long way" comment on the download page is worth its weight in gold.  Folks familiar with the Draft Advisor know this and use it all the time to their advantage.

The Draft Advisor will show you a custom rankings list and also show relative value between players of different positions (as well as color bands now).  Again, it is great for showing you a draft strategy for your scoring system.  It immediately targets a draft plan for you, while giving you a load of flexibility to show you the most valuable players at each position relative to other positions.  This helps you draft based on team need.  If the Draft Advisor shows the top 25 positions are completely dominated by QBs... grab a QB in round one (assuming only 1 required for start) and then grab the next best available position for round 2 (RB, WR, whatever is listed).  Given the extreme weight of QBs in the above, aforementioned format in the previous paragraph, you may consider grabbing another top flight QB in either round 3 or 4 to make sure you are covered.  Again, the Draft Advisor is just trying to tell you that you can ill-afford to let the QB position slide in that particular system.  In other systems, it may be RB, WR, or even TE.  (We can assure you, there are ALL kinds of systems out there)!  In other systems where QB, RB, and WR are more equal in value, the DA will show you the best value pick based on what is still available.

If the Draft Advisor generates a ranking list that appears very odd, just drop us a note and let us give it a look for you as a double check..  After all, it is impossible to cover every possible system out there, and we have no direct control over what rankings list is generated by the Draft Advisor.  Remarkably, in our experience, the Draft Advisor typically does a very good job on the first cut in almost any system, but again, drop us a note if unsure. We are happy to help.

Thanks for taking the time to read and enjoy the Draft Advisor!

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